- Jang Bahadur
Jung Bahadur (or Jang Bahadur), GCB, GCSI, (
June 18, 1816, Kathmandu, Nepal- February 25, 1877, Kathmandu) was a ruler of Nepal and founder of the Rana dynastyof Nepal. His real name was Bir Narsingh Kunwar but he became famous by the name Jang Bahadur, given to him by Mathebar Thapa, his maternal uncle.
During his lifetime, he eliminated the factional fighting at the court, introduced innovations into the bureaucracy and the judiciary, and made efforts to "modernize" Nepal. He remains one of the most important figures in Nepalese history, though modern historians have also blamed Jang Bahadur for setting up the dictatorship that repressed the nation for more than 100 years and left it in a primitive economic condition. In reality, it is his nephews, the Shumsher Ranas, who are to blame for Nepal's dark period of history. [Purushottam Sham Shere J B Rana, chief Historian of Nepal, Jung bahadur rana-The story of his rise and glory, ISBN 81-7303-087-1 ]
Jang Bahadur's great-grandfather was an important military leader under King
Prithvi Narayan Shahin the eighteenth century, and during the war with China(1791-1792) his grandfather was also a military leader, who became one of the four chief administrators (kaji) of the Gorkha-Nepalese state. His father, Bal Narsingh Kunwar(aka Bala Narsingh Kunwar), was in court the day Rana Bahadur Shahwas murdered and killed the murderer Sher Bahadur Shah on the spot. For this action, he was rewarded with the position of "Kaji", which was made hereditary in his family,also he was the only person allowed to carry weapons inside the court. Jang Bahadur Kunwar joined the military service in 1832-33 at the age of sixteen. As maternal grandson of Bhimsen Thapa's brother Nain Singh Thapa, he lost his job and his property when the latter fell. After wandering in north India for several years, he returned to Nepal as a captain in the artillery in 1840. In November 1841, he was asked by the king to join his bodyguard, and in January 1842 he began work as Kaji in the palace. When Mathbar Singh, Jang Bahadur's maternal Uncle, returned to power, Jang Bahadur rose with him but Mathbar Singh disliked his ambition and had him removed to a lesser position on the staff of the heir apparent. When Fateh Jang Chautariacame to power, Jang Bahadur became fourth in the hierarchy of the coalition government and took pains to flatter the queen while showing no signs of ambition to Gagan Singh. A career opportunist, he was ready and waiting when the time came to act at the Kot Massacre.
Lakshmidevi, the favourite wife of King Rajendra Bikram Shah was not pleased by the new prime minister. She conspired to eliminate Jang Bahadur Kunwar and elevate her son to the throne. The Basnyat Conspiracy, so called because many of its participants belonged to one of the last leading noble families, the Basnyat's, was betrayed, and its ringleaders were rounded up and executed in 1846 at Bhandarkhal Parva. A meeting of leading notables packed with Rana supporters found the queen guilty of complicity in the plot, stripped her of her powers, and sent her into exile in Banaras along with King Rajendra. The king still had delusions of grandeur and began plotting his return from India. In 1847 Jang Bahadur informed the troops of the exiled king's treasonous activities, announced his dethronement, and elevated Rajendra's son to the throne as Surendra Bikram Shah(1847-81). Rajendra was captured later that year in the Tarai and brought back as a prisoner to Bhadgaon, where he spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
By 1850 Jang Bahadur had eliminated all of his major rivals, installed his own candidate on the throne, appointed his brothers and cronies to all the important posts, and ensured that major administrative decisions were made by himself as prime minister. At this point, he took the unprecedented step of travelling to Britain, leaving from
Calcuttain April 1850 and returning to Kathmanduin February 1851. Although he unsuccessfully tried to deal directly with the British government while he was there, the main result of the tour was a great increase in goodwill between the British and Nepal. Recognizing the power of industrialized Europe, he became convinced that close cooperation with the British was the best way to guarantee Nepal's independence. From then on, European architecture, fashion, and furnishings became more prevalent in Kathmandu and among the Nepalese aristocracy in general."'
As part of his modernization plans, Jang Bahadur Kunwar commissioned leading administrators and interpreters of texts on
dharmato revise and codify the legal system of the nation into a single body of laws, a process that had not been carried out since the seventeenth century under Ram Shahof Gorkha. The result was the 1,400-page Muluki Ainof 1854, a collection of administrative procedures and legal frameworks for interpreting civil and criminal matters, revenue collection, landlord and peasant relations, intercaste disputes, and marriage and family law. In contrast to the older system, which had allowed execution or bodily mutilation for a wide range of offences, the Muluki Ain severely limited-- without abolishing--corporal punishment. For example, the old system gave wide scope for blood vengeance by aggrieved parties, such as cuckolded husbands, but the Muluki Ain restricted such opportunities. Substitutions included confiscation of property or prison terms. Torture to obtain confessions was abolished. Strict penalties were set down for the abusers of judicial positions and also for persons maliciously accusing judges of corruption. There were statutes of limitations for judicial actions. Caste-based differences in the degree of punishments remained throughout, with higher castes (for example, Brahmans) exempt from the corporal punishments and heavy fines that lower-caste members incurred for the same crimes. This distinction was in keeping with the traditional approach of the dharma shastras, or ancient legal treatises.
Control of Nepal
After his return from Europe, Jang Bahadur took steps to increase his hold over the country. He reduced the king to a prisoner in his own palace, surrounded by agents of the prime minister and restricted and supervised at all times. No one outside the king's immediate family could see the king without permission from the prime minister. All communications in the name of the king were censored, and he was allowed to read only approved literature. In 1856 the king issued a royal decree (sanad) that formalized the dominance of the Kunwar family. There were three main provisions in this crucial document. First, the prime minister had complete authority over all internal administration, including civil, military, and judicial affairs, and all foreign relations, including the powers to make war and peace. Second, Jang Bahadur was made great king (maharajah) of Kaski and Lamjung districts, in effect serving as their independent ruler. The Shah king retained the title of maharajadhiraja (supreme king) and the right to use the honorific term shri five times with his name. The prime minister could use shri three times with his name. In this way, Jang Bahadur stopped short of taking the throne outright but elevated his family to a level second only to the royal house, which remained as a symbol of the nation. Finally, provisions were established for hereditary succession to the post of prime minister. Brothers and then sons would inherit the position in order of seniority. These provisions meant that the dictatorship of the Kunwar family, a virtual monarchy within the monarchy, would be passed down in the family for generations, with no legal mechanism for changing the government. Later, Jang Bahadur established official Rolls of Succession that ranked all his descendants in relation to their hereditary rights to the office of prime minister.
Jang Bahadur sealed the arrangement with the
Shah Dynastyby arranging marriages between his heirs and the royal house. In 1854, his eldest son Jagat Jang(aged eight) married the eldest daughter (aged six) of Surendra Bikram Shah. In 1855 his second son married the second daughter of the king. The ultimate test was passed in 1857, when heir apparent Trilokya Bir Bikrammarried two daughters of Jang Bahadur. A son of this union, Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah, ascended to the throne in 1881.
Nepal began to experience some successes in international affairs during the tenure of Jang Bahadur. To the north, relations with
Tibethad been mediated through Chinasince Nepal's defeat in 1792, and during the early nineteenth century embassies had to make the arduous journey to Beijingevery five years with local products as tribute to the Qing emperor. By 1854, however, China was in decline and had fallen into a protracted period of disturbances, including the Taiping Rebellion(1851-64), revolts by Muslimethnic groups north of Tibet, and war with European powers. The Nepalese mission to Beijing in 1852, just after the death of the sixth Panchen Lama, was allegedly mistreated in Tibet. Because of this slight, the Nepalese government sent a protest letter to Beijing and Lhasaoutlining several grievances, including excessive customs duties on Nepalese trade. In 1855 Nepalese troops overran the Kuti and Kairang areas. Hostilities lasted for about a year, with successes and failures on both sides, until a treaty negotiated by the Chinese resident and ratified in March 1856 gave Nepalese merchants duty-free trade privileges, forced Tibet to pay an annual tribute of 10,000 rupees to Nepal, and allowed a Nepalese resident in Lhasa. In return, Nepal gave up territorial gains and agreed that it, as well as Tibet, would remain a tributary state subject to China. As the Qing Empiredisintegrated later in the century, this tributary status was allowed to lapse, and even Tibet began to shake off its subordination.
The outbreak of disorder to the south also allowed the Nepalese army to take a more active role in international affairs. The
Indian Rebellion of 1857, beginning in May 1857, was a series of related uprisings throughout north India that threatened to topple the power of the British East India Company. The uprisings began with widespread mutinies in the company's army and spread to include peasant revolts and alliances of the old Mughal aristocracy against the foreigner. Most of the major cities west of Bengalfell into rebel hands, and the aged Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah II, was proclaimed the leader of a national revolution. Initially there was some fear in British circles that Nepal would side with the rebels and turn the tide irrevocably against the British East India Company, but Jang Bahadur proved to be a loyal and reliable ally. At that point, immediately following hostilities in Tibet, the army of Nepal had grown to around 25,000 troops. Jang Bahadur sent several columns ahead and then marched with 9,000 troops into northern India in December 1857. Heading an army of 15,000 troops, he fought several hard battles and aided the British in their campaigns around Gorakhpurand Lucknow. The prime minister returned to Nepal triumphantly in March 1858 and continued to aid the British in rooting out "rebels" who had been dislocated during the chaos and sought refuge in the Tarai.
After the Sepoy Rebellion had been crushed and Britain had abolished the British East India Company and taken direct control of India in 1858, Nepal received a reward for its loyalty. Western sections of the Tarai that had been ceded through the
Treaty of Sagauliin 1816 were returned. Henceforth, the British were firm supporters of Jang Bahadur's government, and Nepal later became an important source of military recruits for the British army. [From the Anglo-Nepalese War to World War II , ch. 5)]
In 1858 King Surendra bestowed upon Jang Bahadur Kunwar the honorific title of Rana, an old title denoting martial glory used by Rajput princes in northern India. He then became Jang Bahadur Rana, and the later prime ministers descended from his family added his name to their own in honor of his accomplishments. Their line became known as the house of the Ranas. Jang Bahadur remained prime minister until 1877, suppressing conspiracies and local revolts and enjoying the fruits of his early successes. He exercised almost unlimited power over internal affairs, taking for his own use whatever funds were available in the treasury. He lived in the high style of an Anglicised native prince in the British Raj, although unlike the Indian princes he was the ruler of a truly independent nation, an ally rather than a subordinate of the British.
Presently if someone carries the name Shumshere Jang Bahadur Rana, then they come from
Dhir Shumshere's lineage (Jang Bahadur's younger brother) whose son Bir Shumshere committed the coup d'etatof 1885 murdering most of Jang Bahadur's sons and forcing the remaining sons, as well as, Prince General Dhoj Narsingh Rana(son of Sri Teen Maharaja Ranodip Singh) to seek refuge in India. The descendants of Jang and Ranodip live today in North India (mainly Dehra Dun, Allahabad and Udaipur) and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Another branch of descendants of Jung Bahadur are from two of his sons Ranabir Jung and Padmabir Jung who fled to Allahabad. Ranabir Jung later attempted to reclaim his position, after having raised an army, but was thwarted and finally killed in battle. Ranabir Jungs descendants with the title Bir Jung Bahadur are very widespread, and live in Kathmandu, Dehra Dun, Delhi, Kolkata, Australia and The UK.
* [http://memory.loc.gov/frd/cs/nptoc.html Library of Congress]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Jang Bahadur Rana — Prime Minister Jang Bahadur Rana Maharaja Jung Bahadur Rana (Nepali: जंग बहादुर राणा) (or Jang Bahadur Kunwar (Nepali: जंग बहादुर कुँवर), GCB, GCSI, June 18, 1816, Kathmandu, Nepal February 25, 1877, Kathmandu) was a ruler of Nepal and fo … Wikipedia
Dev Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana — Teen Maharaja, Dev Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana (July 17, 1862 February 20, 1914) was Prime Minister of Nepal for only 144 days in 1901. Contents 1 Family and early life 2 Coup 3 Accession 4 Family life … Wikipedia
Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana — Field Marshal Maharaja Sri Teen Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, GCB, GCSI, GCVO, GCMG, FRGS (8 July 1863 26 November 1929), was the fifth Prime Minister of Nepal from the Rana dynasty. He served in this capacity from 27 June 1901, following… … Wikipedia
Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana — Field Marshal Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, GCB, GCIE, GBE (23 December 1885 6 January 1967) was the prime minister and foreign minister of Nepal from 30 April 1948 until 12 November 1951. He was the last prime minister from the Rana family,… … Wikipedia
Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana — (anglisiert auch als Chandra Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana; nepali: चन्द्र शमशेर जङ्ग बहादुर राणा, Candra Śamśer Jaṅg Bahādur Rāṇā; * 8. Juli 1863; † 26. November 1929) war vom 27. Juni 1901 bis 26. November 1929 Premierminister von Nepal. In seine… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Deva Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana — Sri Teen Maharaja, Prime Minister Deva Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana was born on July 17 1862 A.D. (1919 Shrawan 4 B.S). He was born to the Chief of the Army Dhir Shamsher Rana (a younger brother of Jang Bahadur) and Rani Nanda Kumari. He became the … Wikipedia
Bir Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana — Maharaja Sir Bir Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, GCSI, (10 December 1852 5 March 1901), was the third Prime Minister of Nepal from the Rana dynasty. He was born to the Chief of the Army Dhir Shamsher Rana (a younger brother of Jang Bahadur). He and… … Wikipedia
Kaiser Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana — Field Marshal H.H Sir Kaiser Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, GBE (8 January 1892 7 June 1964) was a field marshal in the Royal Nepalese Army. He was the third son of H.H Maharaja Sir Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, GCB, GCSI, GCMG, GCVO, Kaiser i … Wikipedia
Baber Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana — Commanding General Sir Baber Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, GCVO, GBE, KCSI, KCIE,(27 January 1888 12 May 1960) was the last Minister of Defense of Nepal from the Rana dynasty. He was the second son of Maharaja Sir Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana … Wikipedia
Bir Shamsher Jang Bahadur — Maharaja Sir Bir Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana GCSI, (10 December 1852 5 March 1901) was the third Prime Minister of Nepal from the Rana Dynasty. He served from 1885 to 1901. and was invested as Tung ling ping ma kuo kang wang in 1889. He was… … Wikipedia