Friday, June 19, 2009

Expansion of Nepal


After the death of Prithvi Narayan Shah, Pratap Singh Shah ascended the throne on 11th January 1775 A.D., at the age of 23. Pratap Singh Shah was the eldest son of Queen Narendra Laxmi. He was born after his father had embarked on the conquest of Kathmandu valley and he grew up during this period when Prithvi Narayan Shah was fighting against Malla kings. Prithvi Narayan Shah had never been able to spend his time with his son. Pratap Singh Shah got education about `Sastra', poetry and music. He did not get any military training though his father always wanted to make him a great warrior.

When he had ascended the throne, his uncle Dal Jit Shah, and his brother Bahadur Shah hatched a conspiracy against him. But the plot was detected and Bahadur Shah was imprisoned in Nuwakot jail while Dal Jit Shah ran away. Bahadur Shah, however, was released later at the request of the Chief Priest Gajaraj Misra and was allowed to go to Bettiah.

Pratap Singh was a man of peaceful temperament. He was inclined to peace rather than to wage war. He maintained friendly relations with his neighbours as far as possible. He concluded a commercial treaty with Tibet in Sept. 1775. He settled the disputes with Tibet over the countrfeited Nepali coins peacefully. He sent troops under the leadership of Kazi Abhiman Sing Basnet to Tanahun. He conquered it and annexed Upardang Gadi, and Chitwan. He attacked Athinga, the king of Morang 17 times. On his 18th attempt he succeeded in defeating him. He waged ware with Sikkim but could not conquer it. Thus, Pratap Singh Shah could contribute a little to the unification of the country started by his father, Prithvi Narayan Shah.
Pratap Singh wanted to reform the internal administration of the country. In this task, he took Kazi Swarup Singh Karki into his confidence. With his advice, Pratap Singh divided the lands of Nepal valley into 4 categories in order of productivity viz., `Awal', `Doyam', `Seem' and `Chahar' and planned to lower the revenue to the rate of one-sixth of the gross product.

Pratap Singh was very interested in Tantricism. With the help of a Nepali scholar, he wrote a book called `Purascharyanava'. He made for the first time the custom of erecting a Linga (pillar) in the Indrajatra festival at Hanuman Dhoka. He had also organised a conference of Sanskrit scholars at Balaju, in which, it is said that scholars from about 12 countries had participated.
After reigning for two years and ten months he died on 7th November 1777 (1834 B.S.). Thus, Pratap Singh became the ruler of the shortest tenure in the modern period of the history of Nepal.

King Rana Bahadur Shah was born on 25th May 1775 A.D. and was crowned as king of Nepal on 17th November 1777 A.D. His regency was held by Queen Mother Rajendra Laxmi for 8 years and uncle Bahadur Shah for 9 years. In mid April 1784 A.D. Rana Bahadur Shah took the power of government into his own hand.
Struggle for Power

After the death of Pratap Singh Shah, Bahadur Shah returned to Nepal from Bettiah. He began to carry on the administration as regent of King Rana Bahadur Shah. Kazi Swarup Singh Karki had fled to India to escape from punishment. For sometime, both Rajendra Laxmi and Bahadur Shah carried on the joint administtration. Bahadur Shah began to think of conquering Baise and Choubise Rajya. In the mean time, the quarrel began between Rajendra Laxmi and Bahadur Shah. Rajendra Laxmi always suspected that Bahadur Shah would take the revenge for the harm done to him by her husband Pratap Singh Shah, Bahadur Shah modernized the Army and collected Arms and ammunition. Rajendra Laxmi strongly opposed the work of Bahadur Shah. So with the help of Sarbajit Rana, she suddenly arrested and imprisoned Bahadur Shah. But sometime later, with the request of Guru Gagraj Mishra, Bahadur Shah was freed. Bahadur Shah again began to start the work of administration. Then, he arrested Rajendra Laxmi and killed Sarbajit Rana. Bahadur Shah turned his attention to the expansion in the west. He gave order to Bamsa Raj Pande to attack Tanahun. Bansa Raj Pande attacked and captured Sur, the capital of Tanahun. The Gorkhali commander continued his counter attack on March 1779 A.D. The combined Choubisi Army attacked Someswor and got victory. Hearing that news, Bahadur Shah reached there, attacked Someswor and captured it. Meanwhile, Rajendra Laxmi came to power with the help of Bal Bhadra Shah (son of Mohadam Kirti Shah). She took the whole responsibility of administration as a regent. Bahadur Shah became helpless, he went to Bettiah again.

Rajendra Laxmi was the mother of Rana Bahadur Shah. At the death of her husband King Pratap Singh Shah, her minor son Rana Bahadur Shah was put on the throne. So, Rajendra Laxmi began to rule in the name of her son, as a regent. Pratap Singh Shah had exiled his brother Bahadur Shah during his reign. Bahadur Shah was spending his days at Bettiah. Rajendra Laxmi called Bahadur Shah from Bettiah and for some time they ruled jointly as co-regents in the name of Rana Bahadur Shah. But misunderstanding developed between Bahadur Shah and Rajendra Laxmi which led to the imprisonment of one by the other, in turn.

When Rajendra Laxmi was released from her imprisonment, she exiled Bahadur Shah and began to rule as the sole regent of Rana Bahadur Shah. Taking the advantage of such internal troubles in the capital, the Chiefs of Chaubisi Rajya, under the leadership of the king of Palpa, made an attempt to invade Gorkha in 1781 A.D. Rajendra Laxmi sent a troop under the leadership of Amar Singh Thapa. Amar Singh Thapa defeated the combined forces of Chaubisi Rajya at Chiplete and then at Sirhanchowk and Tarkughat. Bir Mardan Shah of Lamjung was so afraid of the Gorkha troops that he ran away from the kingdom, without facing them in the battle. Thus, both Lamjung and Tanahun were annexed to the kingdom of Nepal in 1782 A.D. The king of Kaski, Siddhi Narayan Shah also surrendered before the Gorkha troops.

Flushed with success, Rajendra Laxmi sent a troop under the leadership of Kazi Abhiman Singh Basnet to invade Palpa. Taking this advantage, Kirtibam Malla of Parbat attacked Lamjung. The Gorkha troops had to retreat from Palpa to defend Lamjung. A fierce battle was fought in July 1784 A.D. between the troops of Gorkha and Parbat at Makaidanda. Ultimately, Parbat was defeated. Then the Gorkha troops attacked Bhirkot, Rishing Satahun, Garahun, Dhor, Paiya and Charikot and annexed them all to the kingdom of Nepal.

Rajendra Laxmi died on 13 July 1785 A.D. During her short regency period of nine years, Rajendra Laxmi contributed much to the expansion of the territory of Nepal. During her regency, Karna Sen's widow also made an unsuccessful attempt to control over Kirat state in the east.

Bahadur Shah was the second son of Prithvi Narayan Shah. King Pratap Singh Shah was afraid of his growing popularity. So, Bahadur Shah was imprisoned and then exiled. He spent some time in Bettiah. At the news of the death of Pratap Singh Shah he came back to Kathmandu and helped the regent Queen-Mother Rajendra Laxmi in the administration. He bacame so powerful that he could have sat on the throne himself had he so desired. But he was perfectly true to the baby king and did not think to dethrone him.

When the regent queen mother died on 13 July 1785 A.D., Bahadur Shah came back from Bettiah and resumed the charge of the government as a regent to the baby king. He found that some of the states of Chaubisi Rajya were annexed to the kingdom by the regent Queen Mother Rajendra Laxmi. Now he determined to annex the rest of the states. Realizing the strength of the Palpa State, he maintained a matrimonial relation with Palpa, marrying the daughter of King Mahadatta Sen, the king of Palpa. Now, Bahadur Shah was convinced that the king of Palpa would not intervene in his policy of expansionism. He formed a strong force and invaded Gulmi, Khanchi, Dhurkot, Kushma and Baglung, one after another.
Then Bahadur Shah sent troops to the far-western side. The Gorkha troops under the command of Damodar Pande and Amar Singh Thapa invaded Piuthan, Dang, Jajarkot, Musikot, Dailekh, Achham and Doti. In this way, by 1790 A.D. the western border of Nepal reached up to the Mahakali river. The Gorkha troops also invaded Almorah, Garhwal and Kumaon. In the meantime, the Nepal - China war broke out and Bahadur Shah sent a message to his troops to come back to the capital concluding a treaty with Garhwal. So, the victorious Gorkha troops had to retreat to the capital in 1791 A.D.

The Gorkha troops also marched eastwards. They invaded Illam and reached up to Sikkim. They gallantly annexed some portions of Sikkim to the kingdom of Nepal in 1789 A.D. Thus, under Bahadur Shah, Nepal grew from a small Gorkha kingdom into a mighty, big Nepal. Nepal's territory was extended to Tibet on the north, to Kashmir and Dehradun on the west, to Bhutan on the east and to the British Indian territories on the south. The nine years of Bahadur Shah's Mukhtiyarship was really the golden age of Nepal's unification. Prithvi Narayan Shah had to labour 25 years in the conquest of the valley. Rajendra Laxmi had spent 8 years for the conquest of western tiny states (Choubise). Bahadur Shah was able to conquer the whole far western side within 9 years.

In the year 1794 A.D. when King Rana Bahadur Shah attained the age of 20 years, he removed Bahadur Shah from the regency and began to rule personally. In course of time, Rana Bahadur Shah increased the land revenue in the country which was opposed by the people. Bahadur Shah also opposed it. So, the king became angry with Bahadur Shah. The king asked Bahadur Shah to submit the account of the Nepal-Tibet war expenses. Bahadur Shah needed some time to do it, which he was not given. Bahadur Shah also corresponded with China about his visit to Peking. Rana Bahadur Shah suspected his loyalty and imprisoned him. Bahadur Shah was greatly shocked at the treatment of the king towards him who always had fought for the good of the king and the country. Bahadur Shah is said to have committed suicide on 14 Asar 1854 B.S. (June 1797 A.D.). Such was the tragic end of a true patriot, a great warrior and a loyal servant.

Rana Bahadur Shah began to rule personally at the age of twenty. He had three wives-Bidya Laxmi (the princess of Gulmi), who was also known as Raj Rajeswari Devi, Subarna Prabha and Kantamati. Later on he married Chandravati, the younger sister of Kantamati in 1804 A.D. and again another one called Tripura Sundari Devi. Raj Rejeswari had no child. The second wife Subarna Prabha had a son called Ranoddhat Shah. He discarded both these wives in favour of Kantamati, the daughter of Tirhut Brahman, who possessed uncommon beauty. She also gave birth to a son, named Girbana Juddha Bikram Shah on 8 March 1799 A.D. Rana Bahadur Shah declared Girbana Juddha Bikram Shah as his heir apparent, setting aside the rightful claim of his first born son Ranodhat Shah. In this task, he had taken the help of the king of Palpa.
Rana Bahadur Shah, under the name of Nirgunanda Swami began to pass his days in Kashi. Bhimsen Thapa accompanied him. He wanted to get back his throne with the help of Bhimsen Thapa. With the assurance given by Lord Wellesly, the Governor-General of the East India Company, he came to Nepal after four years. Damodar Pande went to imprison Rana Bahadur Shah at Thankot, but the troops took Rana Bahadur Shah's side. Because of the presence of mind of Bhimsen Thapa, Damodar Pande was arrested and ultimately beheaded. Thus, Rana Bahadur Shah came to power and began to rule as a regent of Girbana Juddha Bikram Shah. Bhimsen Thapa was made Prime Minister.

As Rana Bahadur Shah grew older, he became more cruel and violent. His faithful wife Raj Rajeswari was driven away to Helambu instead of rewarding her for her services to him. The `Birta' (trust lands) of the Brahmans were confiscated in 1862 B.S. (1804 A.D.) which is known as `Basatti Haran'. In the meantime, an epidemic of small-pox broke out. Acting on his whims, he drove out of the town all the children who were not vaccinated. The courtiers grew discontented with him at his violent and whimsical acts and started hatching a plot against him. At that time, Rana Bahadur Shah ordered his brother Sher Bahadur Shah to go to war. But Sher Bahadur Shah refused to obey his order. so Rana Bahadur Shah ordered for his imprisonment. Then in Baisakh 1863 B.S. (1806 A.D.) Sher Bahadur, the king's brother, at one stroke of his sword, despatched Rana Bahadur Shah. Sher Bahadur, however, was killed by Kazi Bal Narsingh, the bodyguard of the king.

The reign of Rana Bahadur Shah was full of events and various uncommon activities. King Rana Bahadur Shah is still remembered in the villages and remote areas. It is believed that the coin of Rana Bahadur Shah relieves the labour pain of a lady and the baby is born if the mother is given the water in which the coin of Rana Bahadur's reign is dropped.

Tibet had been using Nepali coins since the time of the Malla kings. When Prithvi Narayan Shah had launched the economic blockade to the Kathmandu Valley, Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu had to face an economic crisis. So he had minted a lower quality of coins mixed with copper. Again, when Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the Kathmandu Valley and firmly established the rule of the Shah Dynasty in Nepal, he minted coins with pure silver. So, the two types of coins were found in the Tibetan market. On the plea of counterfeited coins, Tibet started spreading rumours that it was in a position to attack Nepal. The Nepalese merchants in Tibet were harassed and Tibet started sending salt to Nepal mixed with dust. Nepal wanted to settle the dispute by peaceful means. So, a delegation was sent to Tibet which was rejected by the Tibetans. It was a direct challenge to Nepal.

In the year 1789 A.D., Bahadur Shah sent Gorkha troops under the joint command of Damodar Pande and Bam Shah to attack Tibet. The Gorkha troops entered Tibet through Kuti and reached as far as Tashi Humpo (about 410 km. from Kuti). A fierce battle was fought at Shikarjong in which the Tibetans were badly defeated. Now, Tesu Lama and Shakia Lama requested the Gorkha troops to have peace talks. So, the Gorkha troops left Shikarjong and went towards Kuti and Kerung.

When the Chinese Emperor heard the news of the invasion of Tibet by Nepal, he sent a large troop of the Chinese Army under the command of General Chanchu. General Chanchu came to know the situation from the Tibetan Lamas. He decided to stay in Tibet till the dispute was settled.

The representatives of Tibet and Nepal met at Khiru in 1790 A.D. to have peace talks. Int he talks Tibet was held responsible for the quarrel. So, Tibet had to give compensation to Nepal for the loss incurred in the war. Tibet had also to pay tribute to Nepal a sum of Rs. 50,001 every year. Nepal had to give back to Tibet all the territories acquired during the war. The Nepalese representatives were given Rs. 50,001 as the first instalment, so giving back the territories - Khiru, Kuti, Longa, Jhunga and Falak, came back to Nepal. But, Tibet no longer followed the terms of the treaty. It refused to pay the tributes from the very second year of the conclusion of the treaty. As a result, Nepal's war with Tibet continued.

As Tibet had refused to pay the tribute to Nepal, Bahadur Shah sent a troop under Abhiman Singh Basnet to Kerung and another troop under the command of Damodar Pande to Kuti in 1791 A.D. Damodar Pande attacked Digarcha and captured the property of the monastery there. He also arrested the minister of Lhasa, Dhoren Kazi and came back to Nepal. As soon as this news was heard by the Chinese Emperor, he sent a strong troop of 70,000 soldiers under the leadership of Tungthyang to defend Tibet. Thus in the year 1792 the Nepal - Tibet war turned into a Nepal - China war.

The Chinese troops asked Nepal to give back the property to Tibet which was looted at Digarcha. They also demanded them to give back Summur Lama who had taken asylum in Nepal. But Nepal turned a deaf ear to these demands. So, the huge Chinese troop marched towards Nepal. Following the bank of the Trishuli river they reached Nuwakot. The Nepalese troops tried to defend the aggression of China at several places. There was heavy losses on both sides in the war.

At that time, Nepal had to fight at three places. Sikkim had started creating trouble in the eastern border. In the far-western side, the war with Garhwal was continuing. At the same time, the kings of Achham, Doti and Jumla had started revolting against Nepal. Bahadur Shah was so busy that he could not arrange properly for the defence against the Chinese aggression.
As the Chinese troops had reached south of the Betravati river, near Nuwakot, it was difficult for the Nepalese troops to wait for them at Kathmandu. Though there were only about 200 soldiers left at Kathmandu they boldly resisted the Chinese troops at Betravati. It was the night of 19th September 1792 when the Nepalese troops attacked the Chinese at Jitpurfedi. They carried flaming torches in their hands, tied the torches on the branches of trees, and they also tied the flaming torches on the horns of domestic animals and drove them towards the enemy. The Chinese troops thought that they were surrounded from all sides and fled away. Many Chinese soldiers were killed, many were injured. China suffered a heavy loss that night.

Now the Chinese commander Tungthyang lost all hope to march forward. He sent a proposal to the Government of Nepal for a treaty. Bahadur Shah also wanted to have cordial relations with China. He readily accepted the proposal and they concluded a friendly treaty at Betravati in 1792. The terms of the treaty were as follows:
1. Both Nepal and Tibet will accept the suzerainty of China
2. The Government of Tibet will pay the compensation of the property of the Nepalese merchants which were looted by the Tibetans at Lhasa.
3. The Nepali citizens will have the right to visit, trade, and establish industries in any part of Tibet and China.
4. In case of any dispute between Nepal and Tibet, China will intervene and settle the dispute at the request of both the countries.
5. China will help Nepal defend against any external aggression.
6. Both Nepal and Tibet will have to pay tribute to China every five years of their products.
7. In its return, China will also send friendly gifts to both the countries and the people who carry the tribute will be treated as important guests and will be provided every facility.

The Coronation ceremony of Girbana Juddha Bikram Shah took place in 1797 A.D., but his personal rule began only after the assassination of his father Rana Bahadur Shah in 1806 A.D. Bhimsen Thapa, however, continued to be the Prime Minister. He instituted an inquiry to find out the real culprit behind the assassination of Rana Bahadur Shah. The king of Palpa, Prithipal Sen, Kazi Tribhuvan Khawas, Jagat Pande, Bidur Shahi and Kazi Narasingh Gurung were found guilty and were put to death.

Bhimsen Thapa, then sent a troop under the command of his father Amar Singh Thapa, in 1806 A.D. to Palpa, and thus Palpa, the last of the Chaubisi Rajya was annexed to the kingdom of Nepal. Amar Singh Thapa was made the Governor of Palpa who annexed Butwal and Shiva Raj to the kingdom of Nepal. The annexation of Butwal and Shiva Raj was opposed by the British and they prepared for war against Nepal.

By the end of the 18th century, the British East India Company was firmly established in India. The East India Company had occupied almost all the princely States of India. They were looking for an opportunity to enter Nepal. The British were welcomed to Nepal during the Malla rulers. But Prithvi Narayan Shah did not allow them to stay in Nepal and a troop of British soldiers under the command of General Kinloch was badly defeated by the army of Prithvi Narayan Shah at Sindhuli in 1765 A.D. So, the British were aware of the strength and courage of the Gorkha soldiers. During the regency period of Bahadur Shah, East India Company put forward a proposal that the British might be allowed to trade in the boarder areas between Nepal and Tibet. But Bahadur Shah rejected that proposal. In 1792 A.D., a commercial treaty was concluded between Nepal and British India, but that was not enforced. Later, when Rana Bahadur Shah was in Banaras, Damodar Pande concluded a commercial treaty in 1801 A.D. That treaty did not favour British interest. East India Company always tried to maintain friendly relations with Nepal.
The East India Company wanted to trade in Tibet. The only way to Tibet was through Nepal and Nepal would never allow the British to go to Tibet through her territory. Moreover, giving permission to the British to go to Tibet through Nepal meant loosing her own market, i.e., Tibet.

In such a situation, the East India Company thought to threaten Nepal with war.
Another reason for British aggression to Nepal was that they wanted to reside in cool and healthy hill stations like Dehradun, Kumaon, Shimla and Darjeeling. These places were under Nepal at that time. But the immediate cause of the war was annexation of Shiva Raj and Butwal to Nepal in 1806 A.D. For some time there were meetings and talks to settle the disputes over Shiva Raj and Butwal. Ultimately, in 1814 A.D. the East India Company declared war against Nepal.
Preparation for War

Before the declaration of war, British government collected the valuable information about Nepal. Captain Knox himself had been instructed by the Governor-General to obtain detail information of Nepal, its internal and external defence. Lord Hastings, the Governor- General of the East India Company, prepared a detailed plan to attack Nepal at five points:
(i) A regiment consisting of 6,000 soldiers, equipped with 16 pieces of ordnance under the command of General Octorlony, marched from Ludhiana to attack Nepal from the far western border in order to engage Kazi Amar Singh Thapa's forces.
(ii) A regiment of 3,500 soldiers, under the command of Major-General Gillespie was to invade Dehradum, Garhwal, Srinagar and Nahan through Sohranpur.
(iii) A regiment of 4,000 soldiers, under the command of Major-General John Sullivan Wood marched from Gorakhpur to invade Palpa.
(iv) Major - General Laitor with his troop of 2,000 soldiers marched from Purnea to attack Biratnagar. He was also given the responsibility to incite Sikkim to invade Nepal from the eastern side.
(v) Major-General Morley with his troop of 8,000 soldiers equipped with 26 pieces of ordnance, marched from Bettiah to attack Makawanpur.
To fight with Gorkha soldiers, the British collected 23,500 troops, later augmented to 26,000 troops, well equipped with guns and cannons. The British Army was divided into 5 units. On the war only Ochtorlony was able to adopt warfare. The remaining 3 commanders, Gillespie was killed in Nala Pani war, Wood was completely discredited, and Morley deserted. Lord Hasting borrowed Rupees 2,50,00,000 from the Nawab of Oudh. In the Anglo-Nepal war, Nepal government sent 12,000 troops under the command of Amar Singh Thapa and Balabhadra Kunwar.
During the reign of King Girbana Juddha Bir Bikram Shah, the British Government began to think of occupying the Terai region of Nepal. So the British Governor-General Lord Hastings ordered Nepal Government to leave Butwal and the 22 villages within 25 days. After that, General Thapa supported the idea of war. He knew that the British Government wanted to occupy Butwal and Shiv Raj at any cost. According to the plan, Lord Hastings ordered to unite the Bengal Army to occupy Butwal and 22 villages. The Governor of Palpa remained silent and was waiting for an order from Kathmandu. Some days later, the Palpa Governor got an order from the centre, then they attacked British Army. 18 British soldiers were killed and the rest fled from the battlefield. After that Lord Hastings declared war against Nepal on 1st November 1814 A.D.

Lord Hastings, the then Governor-General of India, declared war on Nepal on 1st November 1814. But ten days before the declaration of war, Gillespie, entered Dehradun. Balbhadra was in charge of the fort of Khalanga. He had only six hundred persons with him, including women and children. Fighting broke out between the English and the Nepalese troops. Gillespie was killed in the battle. The Nepalese troops hurled stones and logs of wood upon the enemy against their shower of bullets. General Maubi, who succeeded Gillespie, cut off the sources of water supply to the fort of Khalanga. As a result, lot of people died inside the fort for want of water. When the survivors, about 70 in number, saw that they has no hope of surviving, opened the gate, came out of the fort, and ran towards a stream nearby on 30th November 1814 A.D. The British troop was surprised to see this. After they had quenched their thirst, the brave Balabhadra said to the Britishers: "Go and occupy the fort. We have deserted it". When the British troops entered the fort, they found there nothing but corpses. In this way, fighting for 39 days, the Nepalese troops went away, but did not surrender before the British troops. The British left an inscription on a stone.........'As a Tribute of Respect for our Gallant Adversary Balabhadra Singh and his brave Gorkhas........" This inscription still sings the glory of Bir Balabhadra and his soldiers.

Jaspau Thapa and Ranajor Singh Thapa were in charge of the defence of Jaithak. The British troops had to suffer humiliation at the hands of the Nepalese troops in the battle of Khalanga, and they marched towards Jaithak. The Nepalese troops had a total strength of two thousand two hundred persons, including women and children. They were attacked from two sides by six thousand soldiers of British troops on 25th Dec. 1814 A.D. The British troops were armed with guns, whereas the Nepalese had `Khukuri' in their hands. The British troops suffered heavy loses in the battle. The British troops, along with the Marathas, under the command of General Martindale, unsuccessfully attacked Jaithak three times.

General Morley's troops advanced to attack Kathmandu through Hetauda. He divided his troops into three groups. he sent one from the right and another from the left, and the third unit was commanded by Morley himself. All the units tried to advance towards Kathmandu. The Nepali troops were commanded by Rana Bir Singh Thapa. He stayed at Makawanpur. All of a usudden, the Nepali captain Sarbaju Rana and Shumsher Rana attacked upon the British troops in Parsa and Samanpur. The British commander had never thought that the attack would be so quick and sudden. The British commander was killed and his troops ran away. General Morley himself fled. From that attack much arms and ammunition fell into the hands of Nepali troops.

Major-General Wood was planning to invade Nuwakot, but suddenly the Nepalese troops, under the leadership of Ujir Singh, fell upon the British troops at Jeetgarh (near Butwal) and shattered their plans. The British troops were unable to cope with the surprise attack, so they had to run away from the battle-field. Major-General Wood now simply planned to defend Butwal and Gorakhpur. After three months, General Wood attacked Butwal again. But the Gorkhali troops drove the British troops out.

Amar Singh Thapa was entrusted with the task of defending the west. A regiment of six thousand British troops made a surprises attack upon five hundred Nepalese troops and captured Nalagarh and Ramgarh. Amar Singh Thapa had stationed his troops at Gadwan. The Nepalese troops took the offensive. The British troops were defeated and fled. Octorlony wrote to Hastings for reinforcements. Even with reinforcements, every attack of Octorlony was repulsed. Amar Singh Thapa showed an uncommon bravery in this battle.

The seventy year old Bhakti Thapa was in charge of the defence of Deuthal and Suryagarh. The nearby Malun fort also was not safe. Deuthal was surrounded by British troops. In such a situation, leaving his small child in the care of Amar Singh Thapa, Bhakti Thapa marched forward with a naked sword beheading the enemies. The British troops were killing the Nepalese troops with guns and cannons to the enemy's side. In the meantime, he was shot by a bullet in his thigh and he fell down. The British troops were surprised to see the bravery of Bhakti Thapa. They saluted the corpse of Bhakti Thapa for his bravery even though he was their enemy.
Now the British were ready to negotiate peace terms. The Nepal Government also, without the knowledge and consent of Amar Singh Thapa, proposed a treaty. Actually, the treaty was in favour of the British, and according to the terms of the treaty Nepal had to suffer a great loss of her territory. When Amar Singh Thapa heard this, he sent a letter to Kathmandu protesting the proposed treaty. The treaty was rejected when it was put before the meeting of the courtiers.
Now the British were ready to negotiate peace terms. The Nepal Government also, without the knowledge and consent of Amar Singh Thapa, proposed a treaty. Actually, the treaty was in favour of the British, and according to the terms of the treaty Nepal had to suffer a great loss of her territory. When Amar Singh Thapa heard this, he sent a letter to Kathmandu protesting the proposed treaty. The treaty was rejected when it was put before the meeting of the courtiers.

After the Anglo-Nepal war, a treaty of peace and friendship was signed between the government of Nepal and the East India company. It is popularly known as "The Treaty of Sugauli, 1815". It was agreed upon on 2nd December 1815 by Gajraj Misra and Chandra Sekhar Upadhayay, on behalf of the government of Nepal, and Lt. Col P. Bradshaw, on behalf of the East India company. The signed copies of the treaty were exchanged on 4th March. 1816 at Makawanpur by Chandra Sekhar Upadhayay and General Octorlony. The terms of the treaty were as follows:-
1. There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between the East India company and the king of Nepal.
2. The king of Nepal will renounce all claim to the lands which were the subject of discussion between the two States before the war; and will acknowledge the right of the company to the sovereignty of those lands.
3. The king of Nepal will cede to the East India company in perpetuity all the under mentioned territories:-
(i) The whole of low lands between the rivers Kali and Rapti. (ii) The whole of low lands between Rapti and Gandaki, except Butwal. (iii) The whole of low lands between Gandaki and Koshi in which the authority of the East India company has been established. (iv) The whole of low lands between the rivers Mechi and Teesta. (v) The whole of territories within the hills eastward of the Mechi river. The aforesaid territory shall be evacuated by the Gorkha troops within forty days from this date.
4. With a view to indemnify the chiefs and Bhardars of Nepal, whose interest will suffer by the alienation of the lands ceded by the foregoing Article (No. 3 above), the East India company agrees to settle pensions to the aggregate amount of two lakhs of rupees per annum on such chiefs as may be decided by the king of Nepal.
5. The king of Nepal renounces for himself, his heirs, and successors, all claim to the countries lying to the West of the River Kali, and engaged never to have any concern with those countries or the inhabitants thereof.
6. The king of Nepal engages never to molest or disturb the king of Sikkim in the possession of his territories. If any difference shall arise between Nepal and Sikkim, it shall be referred to the arbitration of the East India company.
7. The king of Nepal hereby engages never to take or retain in his service any British subject, nor the subject of any European or American State, without the consent of the British Government.
8. In order to secure and improve the relations of amity and peace hereby established between Nepal and Britain (East India company), it is agreed that accredited Ministers from each shall reside at the court of the other.
9. This treaty shall be ratified by the King of Nepal within 15 days from this date, and the ratification shall be delivered to Lt. Col. Bradshaw, who engages to obtain and deliver to the king the ratification of the Governor-General within 20 days, or sooner, if practicable.
In fact, this treaty of Suguali was in favour of the East India Company and Nepal had to suffer a heavy loss of her territory. So, a subsequent agreement was made in December 1816 according to which Nepal got all the low lands (Terai) from Mechi, in the east, to Mahakali, in the west. Therefore, the indemnity of two lakhs of rupees ceased to continue. A land survey was also proposed to fix the boundary between the two States.

After the end of Anglo - Nepal war small pox and chicken pox epidemic spread in Nepal. Many people died of smallpox and chicken pox. On 20th November 1816 king Girbana Juddha, 2 years old Rajendra Bikram Shah became the king of Nepal. As the new king was of a tender age, Tripura Sundari, the royal baby's grandmother, continued to act as Regent.

Bhimsen Thapa was born in 1775 A.D. at Borlong. He was the son of Kazi Amar Singh Thapa. He had accompanied Rana Bahadur Shah to Kashi. Rana Bahadur Shah had great faith in him. It was because of his superior diplomacy that Rana Bahadur Shah could come back to Nepal, and because of the practical wisdom of Bhimsen Thapa, Damodar Pande was made a prisoner and ultimately killed. He ruled as Prime Minister for a period of 34 years, serving three generations of king in succession. He extended the territory of Nepal far and wide. The Anglo - Nepal war broke out in his time.
His administration was wise and enlightened. In order to retain the independence and sovereignty of Nepal he had to balance the Chinese and the British power. He even appealed to the native states of India, China, Tibet, Burma, Iran and other countries for Asian unity against the Western Imperialistic elements. He was all in all in the kingdom till 1832, when the Queen Mother Tripura Sundari died.
General Bhimsen Thapa brought various reforms in the country with the consent of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari :
a) He fixed the market rate of food grains and other commodities, he made the measurement of mana, pathi etc. He established many selling depos for the sale of timber. b) He tried to develop trade and industry, so he passed different kinds of law for the development of trade and industry. He tried to develop new towns in different parts of the country.c) He developed the postal services. d) He made public parks, garden, roads, bridges and golden and silver doors in the temple of Pashupatinath. He built the temple of Satyaswor Mahadev in Ridi. e) In the Judiciary, he set up law courts in different parts of the country. He did a land survey and divided the kingdom into several districts and appointed new officers for the administration. f) He had controlled the system of selling children in Magar tribe. He tried to abolish slavery as well. g) Bhimsen Thapa built Dharahara and Sundhara for the memory of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari.h) Bhimsen Thapa re-organized the Nepalese Army on modern line. He established cantonments, army barracks and gave military training to the troops. He introduced new uniform which were designed for the army. i) In Nepal, there were certain systems which allowed one to marry one's sister-in law and among the Limbus, one to marry one's mother in law. Bhimsen Thapa passed laws forbidding such evil systems. j) He stopped the system to take more interest from the debtors. He was successful to circulate the Nepalese coin in Tibet.
The death of Queen Mother Tripura Sundari marked the beginning of the downfall of Bhimsen Thapa. The appointment of Mathbar Singh Thapa as a general excited the jealousy and suspicion of the Pandes. Meanwhile, in 1833, a terrible earthquake took place and Kathmandu valley suffered a heavy loss of life and property. Bagmati river was over flooded. Bhimsen Thapa was held responsible for such natural calamities. In order to remove him from power, Bhimsen Thapa was sent as an envoy of the Nepal Government to Calcutta.
After three years, Bhimsen Thapa was recalled to Kathmandu. King Rajendra Bikram Shah had come of age and his two queens, Samrajya Laxmi Devi and Rajya Laxmi Devi, were mainly responsible for handling the affairs of the country. In the meantime, Samrajya Laxmi Devi's third son, Devendra Bikram Shah died all of a sudden. The enemies of Bhimsen Thapa accused him of poisoning the prince to death.
King Rajendra dismissed Bhimsen Thapa and then Rana Jung Pande was appointed in the post of Prime Ministership. Bhimsen Thapa went back to Borlang. After some days, Pandit Ranga Nath and Chautariya Fatte Jung began to fill the ears of the king against Rana Jung Pande. King Rajendra had no self-confidence. He didn't apply his conscience but listened to others. He dismissed Rana Jung Pande and appointed Pandit Ranga Nath on the post of Prime Ministership. Rana Jung became commander-in-chief. The elder queen was in favour of Rana Jung Pande. She demanded that Rana Jung Pande should become Prime Minister. King Rajendra refused to fulfill the demand of the elder queen. She left the palace and began to live Devpatan. The senior queen's aim was to strengthen the position of her son, with the help of Rana Jung Pande. The king was weak minded man. He could not give any decision. So Ranga Nath gave his resignation. Then Chautariya Puskar Shah became the prime minister. He did not get any help to conduct the administration. So he resigned from the post of prime ministership. Rana Jung Pande was re-appointed to the post of prime ministership.
Now, he thought to remove Bhimsen Thapa for ever. prime minister Rana Jung Pande advised the king to call Bhimsen Thapa to Kathmandu for taking some advice. When Bhimsen Thapa came to Kathmandu, he was put into jail. The properties of his kith and kin were confiscated. Some false documents were made against Bhimsen Thapa. Bhimsen Thapa heard in jail that his wife would be taken undressed round the city. So he preferred death before dishonour, and committed suicide on 28 July 1839 A.D.
After the death of Bhimsen Thapa, Prime Minister succeeded one another rapidly. The Senior Queen Samrajya Laxmi, exercised supreme power. She began to prepare for war with the British, but the British resident in Nepal, Hodgson, averted the conflict. In spite of it, the willful queen ordered her troops to invade British territory and nearly one hundred villages in Ram Nagar were occupied. When the East India Company warned king Rajendra about the possible consequences of such aggression, the Nepalese troops agreed to evacuate the territory. Rana Jung Pande was accused of folly, and so he was replaced by Ranga Nath Paudyal as Prime Minister.

1 comment:

  1. Can you post about queen Rajendra Laxmi, the queen consort of Pratap Singh?