Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ranbabir Singh Thapa

He is one of the gallant warriors who had shown bravery in great Anglo-Nepal War. Ranabir Singh Thapa, the youngest brother of Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa, was posted in Makwanpur to command the Nepalese troops in the Anglo-Nepal War. His troops badly defeated by the advancing troops of the British. After the war, he was appointed as the administrator of Palpa and the General of the Kalibaksh and the Sabuj battalions. After some years of his service, he retired and then adopted an ascetic life with the famous name of 'Swami Avayananda' after the downfall of Bhimsen Thapa.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bom Shah

Bom Shah is another gallant warrior of Nepal who had shown his bravery in Anglo-Nepal War. Bom Shah was the administrator of Kumaun, appointed by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa during the Anglo-Nepal War. He was stationed at Almoda in Kumaun (western front ) and had strongly fortified the fort surroundings. The British army under the commander of Edward Gardener attacked Almoda. For four days, the Nepalese troops, under the command of Bom Shah, fought bravely. Hastidal Shahi who had arrived at Kumaun with additional forces from Kathmandu was surrounded near Almoda by the British forces. Compelled by the adverse situation and rumours spread by the British that Nepal lost battles elsewhere, the Nepalese troops including Bom Shah, the commander, surrendered on April 28, 1815 A.D. They, then, evacuated the entire territory of Nepal in Kumaun. Further, the proposal of awards did not tempt Bom Shah to take the honours offered to him by the British if he agreed to join the British forces. Bom Shah's loyalty, commitment and sacrifice to defend the sovereignty of Nepal and the Nepalese people is an inspiring example of heroism in the history of Nepal.

Bhakti Thapa ( One of the gallant warriors during Anglo-Nepal War)

Sardar Bhakti Thapa was in the troops of Keharinarayan Shah, the King of Lumjung. Later, he was admitted to the Gorkha troops. During the Anglo-Nepal War, Amarsingh Thapa was in charge of the western fronts. He defended the fort Malau. Bhakti Thapa was 70 years old during the war. He guarded the fort of Surajgarh. The western part of Nepal became insecure when the British force captured Deuthal which was 1000 yards away from Malau. On 16th March 1815, Bhakti Thapa led teh 2000 Nepali soldiers to the battlefield. Nepalese troops were armed with scimitars, khukuris and swords. They faced the British troops without caring about bullets and cannons. A fierce battle took place. Bhakti Thapa attained martyrdom on the battlefield after he was shot in the chest with cannon ball. About 700 Nepalese soldiers were killed. British troops too had heavy casualties. All the officers in the artillery were killed except one on the British side who was using the arsenal. Major-General Sir David Ochtorloney wrapped the dead body of Bhakti Thapa with a yellow shawl and handed it over to Nepal with due honour to the gallant adversary. His last rites were performed the next day with state honour. His two wives went 'sati' on the funeral pyre of Bhakti Thapa. He left his son in the care of Amarsingh Thapa. The results of Anglo-Nepal War went against the Nepalese soldiers and Nepal. The invading British forces kept on celebrating their victory. The brave, patriotic and herioc contribution of 70-year-old Bhakti Thapa will remain high source of inspiration to all the Nepalese. His valiant efforts to safeguard the identity and sovereignty of Nepal and the Nepalese people will always be remembered.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Amarsingh Thapa ( Another hero of Anglo-Nepal War)

Amarsingh Thapa was the son of Bhimsingh Thapa. After the death of Bhimsingh Thapa in the war of Palanchowk (1759 A.D. during the time of King Prithvi Narayan Shah), Amarsingh Thapa was given the 'marwat', which means that the son would receive the post, salary and other benefits that were given to the father. Amarsingh Thapa played an important role during the victory over Baise Rajya ( union of 22 states) and Chaubise ( union of 24 states) in course of unification campaign.

During the Anglo-Nepal war, Amarsingh Thapa was in charge of all the wars on the western fronts ( from the Jamuna to the sutlej River). He was stationed in the fort of Ramgarh. On the side of the British invading force, Major General Sir David Ochtorloney was the commander of the western fronts with 7000 troops. A year before the war, the sons of Sir Ochtorloney and Amarsingh Thapa had sworn to maintain friendly relations. Several times during the course of war, Ochtorloney requested Amarsingh Thapa to surrender before the British Army. In doing so, the British assured to reward Amarsingh with  huge plot of land in the Terai region, and in the kingdoms of Kumaun and Garhwal. Amarsingh Thapa rejected the British proposal. Despite the efforts made by the Nepalese troops to defend their territory, the war went in favour of the well-equipped British. Amarsingh Thapa received the news of the defeats of the Nepalese force at many places and he was discouraged. He made a treaty with the British force and gave up Malau. When such great warrior also set back, Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa decided to sign the Sugauli Treaty. Amarsingh Thapa was against the treaty and wanted to wait for suitable time to recover the loss. Eventually, Nepal was forced to sign the Treaty of Sugauli. The grief caused by the loss of Nepalese territory depressed Amarsingh Thapa greatly. He turned into an ascetic. He went to Gosainkunda and died on the way.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Balabhadra Kunwar ( 1 of the heroes of Anglo-Nepal War )

Amasing Thapa had given the responsibility of defending Deharadun to 20 year-old Captain Balabhadra Kunwar. About 5 miles nothwest of Deharadun of Uttaranchal ( India ) on the war to Mussoorie there is a place known as Nalapani, which belonged to Nepal before the Anglo-Nepal War (1814-1816 A.D). Balabhadra Kunwar built a fort at Nalapani on raised land of about 600 feet. That fort was known as the fort of Khalanga. Balabhadra Kunwar had about 600 people including men, women and children. Major General Gillespie and his assistant Colonel Maubi were commanding about 3500 well-equipped soldiers and eleven cannons. They attacked the fort from four sides on 30th October 1814 A.D. On the night before attacking the fort, Sir Robert Rolls Gillespie sent a letter to Balabhadra Kunwar asking him to surrender. Balabhadra Kunwar boldly replied, " I am not in the habit of reading letters at midnight. I will meet Gillespie soon." He, then, tore the letter apart. The next day, the East India Company troops fired cannon balls at the fort and attacked it from all the sides. The Nepalese troops responded with guns, arrows, stones, logs and bricks. The bullets fired by the Nepalese troops hit Lieutenant Ellis, who was leading the attack, and he died. Furious Major-General Gillespie himself advanced towards the fort with a sword in his hand. In an attempt to climb the wall of the fort, Gillespie was shot dead by the Nepalese troops. The British troops were forced to retreat. After having defended the fort, Balabhadra sent letter to Kathmandu requesting additional reinforcement of soldiers, equipment and food supplies. But there was no response from Kathmandu. A troop from Nahan, which had come to assist Balabhadra Kunwar and defend the Khalanga fort, was blocked on the way by the English troops.

After much preparation, the English troops attacked the fort for the second time under the command of Colonel Maubi in November 1814. They also cut the supply of water to the fort. As a result of thirst, many people died in the fort. The foul smell of dead bodies, and lack of food and water supply, compelled the Nepalese troops to desert the fort. At last, finding no alternatives, Balabhadra Kunwar left Nalapani with 70 men and women on 30 November 1814. Without caring about the bullets and cannons, they went to the nearby stream and quenched their thirst. British army remained standing in surprise. Before proceeding to Jitgarh, Balabhadra boldy remarked to the British troops, " It was impossible for you to conquer the fort but now I am leaving it on my own will. Go, occupy and declare your victory." Impressed by the bravery and patriotism of the Nepali people, the British erected an inscription in which the following lines were inscribed, "This is inscribed as a Tribute of Respect for our Gallant Adversary Bulbudder ( Balabhadra) Commander of the fort and his Brave Gorkhas". Captain Vansittart and Princep, in their books, praised the bravery shown by the Nepalese women in the war.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Provisions of the Treaty

  1. There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between the East India Company and the King of the Nepal.
  2. The King of Nepal accepted the sovereignty of East India Company all over the disputed territories prior to the war.
  3. Nepal accepted to handover the Terai region with an exception of Butwal.
  4. The East India Company agreed to pay an annual pension of two hundred thousands of rupees to the chiefs and courtiers of Nepal as the compensation of their income from the Terai.
  5. Nepal ceded the right of the territory west of the river Mahakali (Kumaun and Garhwal) to the Company's government.
  6. The King of Nepal will not make any claim over Sikkim. If any differences arise between Nepal and Sikkim, the King of Nepal will abide by the arbitration of the Company's government.
  7. The King of Nepal will not employ any British or European or American subjects in his service without the consent of the Company's government.
  8. In order to secure and improve amenities and peace, it is agreed that the representatives of each government shall reside at the capital of the other.
  9. The King of Nepal shall ratify this treaty within fifteen days and the Governor General of East India Company within twenty days.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Consequences of the Anglo-Nepal War

  • Nepal had to sigh an insulting treaty.
  • Nepal lost one-third of its total land to the East India Company. The places lost by Nepal are Kumaun, Gadwal, Nainital, Darjeeling etc.
  • British representatives continued to interfere in the internal affairs of Nepal, which was against the spirit of the treaty.
  • Downfall of Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa and conspiracy within the palace of Nepal.
  • Nepal's unification and expansion campaign came to an end forever.
  • Recruitment of Nepalese youths in the British army began.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Immediate Cause

The immediate cause was the dispute over Butwal and Syuraj. The King of Palpa obtained Butwal and Syuraj by paying land revenue to Nawab Bajir of Awadh. During the Unification Campaign when Palpa was brought under Nepal's control, Butwal and Syuraj automatically came under Nepal's territory. However, the British East India Company claimed its right over these two places. The problem could been solved peacefully. But the British East India Company needed some pretext to declare a war on Nepal. Lord Marquis of Hastings sent a threatening letter to Nepalese government demanding that they vacate the two places within 25 days or face war. However, Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa of Nepal, a patriot as well, was not afraid of the British threat. Lord Hastings declared the war on Nepal on November 1, 1814 A.D. The army of the East India Company had already entered Nepal eight days prior to the formal declaration date of the war.

The Anglo-Nepal War lasted for two years. Nepalese soldiers fought the war bravely but nothing could work against the well-equipped and large army of the mighty British. Bhimsen Thapa appealed to the Indian princely states of Punjab, Gwalior, and Maratha to jointly fight against the British. However, these states did not support Nepal.

Eventually in February 1816 A.D. Nepal was forced to sign a treaty at Sugauli known as "the Treaty of Sugauli." If Nepal was unwilling to accept the defeat, Major General Ochterloni with 20,000 soldiers was prepared to attack Kathmandu.

Rajguru Gajraj Mishra accompanied by Chandra Shekhar Upadhya went to continue peace talks with British representative Major Bradsaw. The Treaty of Sugauli was signed on 4th March 1816 A.D.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Geographical or Climatic Causes for Anglo-Nepal War

The British people came from a cold climate. They disliked the hot and humid climate of the Indian plains. They wanted to live in places having moderate climate. The hills of Nepal had such climatically suitable places for the British. Therefore, the British wanted to occupy the hills of Nepal for their summer residences. The British liked Nepal for the following reasons:

  • Pleasant and cool climate of Nepal.
  • Nepal's richness in eco-geographical aspects like water, forest and natural beauty.
  • Nepal's geo-strategic location between China and India.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Economic Causes for the Angol-Nepal War

  • Nepal rejected the trade and diplomatic relations proposed by British East India Company, which caused the failure of several missions of Nepal.
  • The British East India Company wanted to use the hard wood of the dense forests of the Terai region of Nepal to extend railway lines in India, and to build ships.
  • The British East India Company wanted to establish trade relations with Nepal, so as to establish trade routes to Tibet through Nepal. However, the Nepalese government of that time did not encourage foreign traders inside Nepal.
  • British East India Company wanted to utilize the medicinal herbs, fertile lands of the Terai, and other natural resources.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Political Causes for Anglo-Nepal War (1814 A.D - 1816 A.D)

  • The kings of the Biase and the Chaubise States who were defeated by the Gorkhali forces went to India for asylum. These kings sought the help of British-India to get back their kingdoms from the Gorkhali occupation. These kings instigated British India against Nepal.
  • Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa had proposed Asian unity to drive away the British from Asia. He appealed the Kings of Panjab, Gwalior, and Maratha etc to get united to drive away the British from Asia. It alerted the British to prepare for war against Nepal. Bhimsen Thapa was against colonialism, imperialism and the interference of foreign powers in the internal matters of other countries. His vision was very useful from the nationality point of view. His vision is relevant even in the present context as Nepal's nationality and self-esteem are of the first and foremost importance for us.
  • Both Nepal and the British East India Company were expanding their territory at the same time. The British was expanding its territory to the north, and Nepal to the south, east and west. Thus, in the course of their expansion campaigns, they encountered each other. The East India Company took the growing strength of Nepal as a serious threat.
  • Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa deployed French experts to train Nepalese army. New weapons and ammunition were produced. Nepalese army was gradually modernized. The military preparation of Nepal became a serious threat to British India. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Preparing for Anglo-Nepal War

Governor General  Marquis of Hastings drew up the actual plan of operations. The Company's forces were to launch a five-pronged attack on Nepal from Rupar, Saharanpur, Gorakhpur, Saran and Purnea ( all these are places). The first division was placed under the command of Colonel David Ochterlony and consisted of 7,000 men and 22 cannons together with 4,500 extra soldiers, to which was later added  a battalion of soldiers recruited in Nepal itself, bringing the total number of soldiers under his command to 11,500. This division was to attack the westernmost part of Nepal and advance by the Rupar Road. The second division was under Major General Gillespie, encamped at Saharanpur, was to invade Garhwal. It at first consisted of 10,000 men and had about 20 cannons, but eventually 6,500 extra soldiers were added to this division. The third division, consisting of 5000 regular soldiers and about 1000 irregular soldiers, was placed under Major General John Sullivan Wood, who was encamped at Gorakhpur and had 15 cannons. The fourth division, which was to make a direct advance on Kathmandu by the way of Makwanpur, was under Major General Bennet Marley. It consisted of 8,000 soldiers and 26 cannons. The fifth division of about 2700 men under Captain Baree Latter was to guard the frontier between the Koshi and the Tista rivers and to launch expeditions into eastern Nepal whenever possible. In all, nearly 45,000 soldiers and 85 cannons were brought into action against Nepal.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Background of the War (1814 - 1816) with the East India Company

Lord Moira, later Maruquis of Hastings (1813 -1823) had arrived as Governor General in 1813 determined to end the Mughal Government and to replace it with the British rule. Furthermore, the East India Company had recently renewed the Charter of the East India Company in such a way as to leave no doubt the British Government's sovereignty over the lands in India.

The Nepali Government had been willing to hand over the British the control of the 22 villages of the frontiers of Saran pending the outcome of a joint inquiry and investigation. In the case of Butwal and Syuraj (places), Major Paris Bradshaw, the British representative on the Joint Inquiry Commission, unilaterally concluded the proceedings of inquiry and informed his government that the investigation had fully established the right of the Company's government to those districts under dispute. In May 1814, the Company's government was actually the first to use force. Its men captured Butwal and Syuraj.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Anglo-Nepal War

Nepal before the Anglo-Nepal War

Social Condition

  • Nepalese had strong and deep-rooted hatred towards the British.
  • A feeling of "do not offend" but "do not leave when offended" was common.
  • The Nepalese used to regard British as social intruders.
Political Condition
  • Many infant kings ruled Nepal, conspiracy for power was common.
  • No political unity among the people.
  • Refugee kings of Baise and Chaubise states provoked the British to wage war in Nepal.
  • Anti-British (close door) policy of Nepal.
  • Call for Asian unity to drive away the British from the Asia by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa.
Economic Condition
  • Nepalese economy was self-sustaining: productivity was high and the population was of a manageable size.
  • Agrarian economy: land tax on agricultural products and forest products were the main sources of income. Cottage industries thrived well.
  • Foreign trade was profitable with Tibet and India.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Victory Over Kantipur

On the day of 'Indrajatra' ( one of the festival celebrated in Nepal ) on 13 Ashoj 1825 B.S.or September 30 1768 A.D., Gorkhali forces attacked Kantipur from three sides. Kantipur was not prepared to face the surprise attack, and without much resistance, Kantipur surrendered to the Gorkhali King Prithvi Narayan Shah. On October 11, 1768 A.D Patan also surrendered to Prithvi Narayan Shah and the Gorkhali force attacked Bhaktapur on 14 November 1769 A.D. On 17 November, 1769 A.D, Gorkhali got victory over Bhaktapur after a three-day long battle. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Victory Over Kirtipur (1767 A.D)

Prithvi Narayan shah could not defeat Kirtipur in both the battles. He surrounded Kirtipur from Panga, Chobhar and imposed six-month long blockade upon Kirtipur. The blockade made the life of the people of Kirtipur miserable and chaotic. He even blocked the supply of water to Kirtipur. It created the height of suffering, confusion and fear in the people of Kirtipur. The serious crisis compelled to surrender to the Gorkhalis in 1767 A.D. Thereafter, Kirtipur became the territory of Gorkha.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Second Unsuccessful Attack on Kirtipur ( 1767 A.D September)

After creating economic crisis in the Kathmandu Valley, Prithvi Narayan Shah took a chance to invade Kirtipur for the second time in September 1767 A.D. At this moment, Patan and Bhadgaon ( now Bhaktapur) did not support Kirtipur. However, Kirtipur fought bravely and drove the Gorkhali invaders away. Shur Pratap Shah, the younger brother of Prithvi Narayan Shah, lost one of his eyes. The Gorkhali lost both lives and properties in the battle with Kirtipur.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Victory over Makwanpur

Makwanpur was supplying goods necessary to fulfill daily needs to the Kathmandu Valley because Makwanpur was against Gorkha. Makwanpur wanted to side with the three kingdoms of Kathmandu Valley i.e. Kantipur, Bhadgaon and Patan). So, Prithvi Narayan Shah thought it crucial to conquer Makwanpur and tighten the economic blockade on the valley. Further, there was misunderstanding and cold relations between the Gorkhali King and Digbandan Sen, the King of Makwanpur. Prithvi Narayan Shah wanted revenge too. Makwanpur had fertile land and a suitable climate for agriculture. It was also a trade route to the south. Thus, Makwanpur was in every sense the most strategic state to be occupied by the Gorkhali forces. On 1762 A.D., the Gorkhali force invaded Makwanpur and occupied it without  much effort. Digbandan Sen fled to India and sought refuge from the Nawab of Bengal, Mir Kasim. Digbandan Sen asked Mir Kasim for military help in order to rescue Makwanpur from the Gorkhalis. Mir Kasim sent 2500 to 3000 soldiers to Makwanpur under the command of Gurgin Khan. On 1763 A.D the Gorkhali soldiers surrounded the forces of Gurgin Khan. The Muslim forces could not resist against the guerrilla warfare of the Gorkahlis. Thereafter, the Gorkhalis occupied Bara, Parsa, Sarlahi and Mahottari of the Terai. Similarly, Dhulikhel, Panauti, Nala, Banepa etc. all of which surrounded the Kathmandu Valley, were strategically controlled. This made it possible to tighten the economic blockade on the Kathmandu Valley.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The First Attack on Kirtipur (1757 A.D)

After the victory over Nuwakot, Prithvi Narayan Shah began to occupy the places that are located east of the Kantipur ( now Kathmandu). They were Naladum, Mahadevpokhari, Dahachok, Sankhu, Changu, Dolakha, Shindhupalchowk, Lamidanda, Pharping, Chitlang etc. According to the friendship treaty with Bhadgaon ( now Bhaktapur), some of these places had to be given to Bhadgaon as gifts, but Gorkha did not do so. That act of betrayal seriously annoyed King Ranajit Malla of Bhadgaon. He wanted to distance himself from the Gorkhalis. The Malla rulers of Kathmandu clearly understood the intention of Prithvi Narayan Shah to attack and occupy the Kathmandu Valley. Therefore, King Jaya Prakash Malla of Kantipur sought the help of Patan and Bhadgaon to defend the attack of Gorkhali forces. The three kingdoms ( Patan, Bhadgaon and Kantipur) jointly organized a common force to face the Gorkhali invasion. Jaya Prakash Malla took the leadership of the united force. On the other hand, the series of victories had encouraged Gorkha to attack Kirtipur immediately. On May 5, 1757 A.D., the Gorkhalis attacked Kirtipur on the Day of 'Vijayadashami' ( one of the most great festival of Hindus). Serious fighting took place for six hours at Balkhu and about four hundred Gorkhali soldiers were killed by the 3000 well-equipped soldiers of the united force. General Kalu Pandey of Gorkha was also killed. Prithvi Narayan Shah himself had a narrow escape. He saved his life by running overnight to Nuwakot. In this battle 400 Gorkhali soldiers were killed. However, he kept his soldiers at Dahachowk. The death of Kalu Pandey was a great loss to the Gorkhalis. The loss was due to the hasty decision of Prithvi Narayan Shah who never listened to the wise advice of the courtiers like Kalu Pandey.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Victory over Nuwakot (1744 A.D)

Prithvi Narayan Shah learnt lessons from his past mistakes. Further, he was inspire by the advice and guidance of his elder stepmother Chandrapravawati, cooperation from the subjects of Gorkha and was also encouraged by the stable internal situation, thus, Prithvi Narayan made favourable administrative, economic and diplomatic situations in areas outside Gorkha. His soldiers were trained and equipped better than before. He decided to invade Nuwakot for the second time. He sent his soldiers to Nuwakot disguised as farmers. On the night of Ashoj 14, 1801 B.S (25 September 1744 A.D) the Gorkhali soldiers reach Nuwakot secretly. He helped his soldiers cross the Trishuli River. General Jayanta Rana, the incharge of Nuwakot knew about the possible attack on Nuwakot by Gorkha. He went to Kantipur (then Kathmandu) to get military support from King Jaya Prakash Malla but King Jaya Prakash Malla did not give much attention. Taking the advantage of the situation, Prithvi Narayan Shah surrounded and attacked Nuwakot the early in the morning on Ashoj 15, 1801 B.S. ( 26 September 1744 A.D) Nuwakot was under the command and control of Shankhamani Rana, son of Jayanta Rana. The Gorkhali attacked Nuwakot from the sides of Dharampani and the Gorkhu Khola or Gorkhu River in english. Shankhamani was unable to resist the sudden and surprise attack of the Gorkhalis. Dal Mardan Shah, the brother of Prithvi Narayan Shah, killed Shankhamani Rana with the stroke of a sword. Nuwakot came under the control of the Gorkhalis. Jayanta Rana did not return to Nuwakot. Instead, he went to Belkot to his house where he got the news of the attack and the death of his beloved son. Prithvi Narayan Shah asked Jayanta Rana to join the Gorkhali force and fight for Gorkha. However, Jayanta Rana replied that he had committed to serve King Jaya Prakash Malla of Kantipur. Prithvi Narayan shah conquered Belkot, arrested Jayanta Rana and killed him. This was meant to be a lesson to other soldiers that a betrayer of the Gorkhali King would face the same punishment.

Gorkha too had lost many of its trained soldiers in the battle of Nuwakot. However, Gorkha got control of the main trade route to Tibet via kerung of Nuwakot. Gorkha was in a position to improve its economic condition by initiating trade with Tibet. At the same time, Gorkha was in a better bargaining position with Kantipur in terms of trade because Kantipur had to use the Kerung route to carry out trade with Tibet. The fertile basins of Nuwakot too benefited Gorkha. The food granary of Gorkha improved. The soldiers were encourgaged by the victory and economic benefits.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Resistance from the Chaubise States and friendship with other states

Prithvi Narayan Shah signed a friendship treaty with Hari Shah, the king of Jajarkot in Benaras ( in India). While returning from Benaras, he paid a courtesy visit to Mukund Sen, the King of Palpa, in Butwal. He also sent a peace delegation to Lamjung because Lamjung was likely to attack Gorkha form the west when Gorkha marched to the east for the unification campaign. Prithvi Narayan Shah met Ripumardan Shah, the king of Lamjung, through Kalu Pandey in 1739 A.D. They signed a treaty of understanding and friendship that when the Gorkhali marched to the east to carry out the unification campaign, Lamjung would remain neutral. Similarly, when Lamjung attacked other Chaubise States ( union of 24 states) Gorkha would support Lamjung. In the same manner, Prithvi Narayan Shah sent his envoys or representatives to Tanahun, Kaski and Palpa to develop friendly relations and cooperation with Gorkha. He also sent his envoy to Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon to remain neutral when Gorkha attacked Kathmandu or Kantipur. Gorkha would, in turn, give Bhadgaon Palanchowk, Dhulikhel, Sankhu and Changu, which were under the control of Kantipur. Prithvi Narayan Shah thus applied various diplomatic efforts to protect Gorkha from all types of threats from the Baise States ( union of 22 states). He, then marched to the east for the unification campaign.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Economic Obstacles and Re-organization of the Army

After the unsuccessful invasion of Nuwakot, Prithvi Narayan Shah (1st king of Unified Nepal) realized his weakness, and thus, gained some practical wisdom. He first focused on improving the quality and quantity of his soldiers and weapons, and on the economic condition of Gorkha. Compared to the Baise states ( union of 22 states) and the Chaubise states ( union of 24 states), Gorkha was economically and militarily weaker. Prithvi Narayan Shah consulted with the people of Gorkha about how to improve the economic condition of Gorkha especially for buying weapons and ammunition. The 12000 households of Gorkha contributed cash, kind and services such as manpower or labour to the state at the advice of tailor 'Bise Nagarchi' and other Gorkhali subjects. On the pretext of going on a pilgrimage tour to Benaras or Banaras ( in India), Prithvi Narayan Shah collected weapons and some experts to deal with the weapons. He returned from Benaras to Gorkha with some weapons, ammunition and Muslim experts to train the Gorkhali soldiers as well as to make weapons. As per the people's wishes, he promoted Kalu Pandey (Banshidhar) to the post of Kazi ( Chief). The administration of Gorkha was improved. The 'Marwat System' encouraged the recruitment of soldiers, and also encouraged the new soldiers to become loyal and committed fighters. In Marwat System plot of land is provided to the family of dead soldier until his offspring get matured.  Prithvi Narayan Shah encouraged and trained his soldiers on using guerrilla warfare. He also sent delegations consisting of his trusted and competent courtiers to Tanahun, Lamjung, Kaski and Bhaktapur to develop trust and friendship. He intended to gain their favour when Gorkha was on its unification campaign in the east.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unsuccessful Invasion of Nuwakot (1743 A.D)

Prithvi Narayan Shah wanted to occupy Nuwakot for the following reasons:

Nuwakot was the gateway to the Kathmandu Valley.

The high hills and ridges of Nuwakot were suitable for building forts and palaces, which would strengthen his military base.

Fertile land of Nuwakot would provide food supplies to the Gorkhali soldiers and the civilians.
Gorkha could block the trade of Kantipur with Tibet and could extend Gorkha's trade to Tibet.

Nuwakot was on the main trade route between Tibet and the Kathmandu Valley. It would improve the financial situation of Gorkha. After the death of Narbhupal Shah ( father of King Prithvi Narayan Shah), Prithvi Narayan Shah became the king of Gorkha. He was ambitious and he became anxious to carry out a unification campaign. In 1743 A.D Prithvi Narayan Shah attemted to invade Nuwakot without much preparation. The unplanned and hasty attack was repelled by the well-equipped troops with Kantipur (Nuwakot was the territory of Kantipur then). The Gorkhalis were badly defeated. The soldiers of Kantipur had 50 guns whereas the Gorkhali soldiers had no such artillery. Jayanta Rana was the commander of the Gorkhali army when Narabhupal Shah attacked Nuwakot but Gorkha was defeated. Jayanta Rana was blamed for the defeat. So, he ran to Jaya Prakash Malla ( king of Kantipur) for refugee. Jayanta Rana was made the chief (Umaraw) of Nuwakot by Jaya Prakash Malla.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Efforts for Unification of Nepal by King Prithvi Narayan Shah

During the initial unification campaign by Prithvi Narayan Shah, there was about 12 thousands people of Gorkha capable of fighting in the battlefields. Prithvi Narayan Shah took the help of those loyal people to begin the unification process. During his accession to the throne, there was several Baise State ( union of 22 states) and Chaubise States ( union of 24 states) more powerful than Gorkha. At the same time, British-India was focusing on the expansion of its market to Tibet through Nepal. There was a serious threat to the existence of Nepal. In such a difficult and complex situation, Prithvi Narayan Shah and his soldiers began the unification campaign in 1799 B.S or 1742 A.D.

Diplomatic and peaceful efforts of Prithvi Narayan Shah during the unification campaign

Date - 1793 B.S / 1736 A.D
Prithvi Narayan Shah established matrimonial relation with the king of Makawanpur, Hemkarna Sen, by marriage his daughter Indrakumari Sen. Makwanpur was fertile for agriculture, and a route to the eastern Terai. However, the marriage was not much beneficial.

Date - 1796 B.S / 1739 A.D
Prithvi Narayan Shah sent Kalu Pandey ( Army General of Prithvi Narayan Shah ) who concluded a treaty with Lamjung. It was to maintain peace, friendship and support during peaceful days as well as war times, and to end historical enmity between Lamjung and Gorkha.

Date - 1797 B.S / 1740 A.D
Prithvi Narayan Shah visited Bhaktapur ( 'Bhadgaon' at that time) as a guest of King Ranajit Malla. Prithvi Narayan Shah became the sworn in freind of Birnarasingh Malla, the son of Ranajit Malla. Prithvi Narayan Shah also became the friend of Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu ( 'Kantipur' at that time). Prithvi Narayan Shah got an opportunity to study the political and the geographical situation of the valley.

Date - 1814 B.S / 1757 A.D
Prithvi Narayan Shah and the King of Kantipur signed a treaty on the use of gold coins and the sharing of a common trade route with the Tibet.
Prithvi Narayan Shah promised to the King of Bhadgaon to give some parts of the captured teeritory ( by Gorkha) if Bhadgaon remained neutral during the Gorkhali ( now most of the country know it as Gurkhali) invasion on Kirtipur and Kantipur.
King Prithvi Narayan Shah got his daughter married to the King of Salyan and established relationship in the western Nepal.
King Prithvi Narayan Shah improved relations with Tibet and the East India Company by sending a delegation under the leadership of Haridev Upadhyaya and Dinanath Upadhaya respectively.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shah Period

The last dynasty that ruled Nepal was Shah. Before ruling Nepal or Kathmandu Valley they were ruling a state called 'Gorkha'. The first king of Gorkha was King Drabya Shah. He earned Gorkha by becoming first in the running event. In brief, there was a rules in ancient Gorkha that those who runs faster in the competition became a King for a year. These sorts of events was used to be happen in Gorkha till King Drabya Shah ruled it.
 During the middle of the 18th century, there was about 50 states in Nepal. The British Empire was colonizing India. King Prithvi Narayan Shah ( from the state of Gorkha) believed that unless Nepal is unified, it is in danger of going into the hands of British India. He started the process by unifying the small states. In 1768, after ten years of preparation, siege and attack, Kathmandu fell to Gorkha on the day of the festival of Indra and the Virgin Goddess. Hence, Prithvi Narayan Shah is known as the creator of Nepal. He died in 1775 and was later succeeded by his son Bahadur Shah.
During Shah period, Nepalese tasted Rana regime for 104 years. It was Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana who  triggered this regime. During this period, the country was kept in isolation and the people were deprived of political and social rights. The power structure and state money were expended for the self interest of the Ranas. It was said that during the establishment of Sigha Durbar( palace of Shree Teen Maharaja Chandra Shamsher JBR), the whole country was got to produce pulses and it should be given to the palace so that the palace could be established. At that time, presence of King could be questioned because they were under the complete control of the Ranas. In 1850, Jung Bahadur visited England and France to seek foreign support for their system.
After the revolution of joint forces of Nepalese People, political parties and King Tribhuvan, the Rana regime got full stopped. Then, democracy was invited to Nepal in 1950s which again last for ten years. In 1960s political parties were banned by the new King Mahendra (son of Tribhuvan) and Panchayat system was introduced. Mahendra's son King Birendra reinstated multiparty after the movement in 1989. When the late  King Birendra and his entire family were assassinated on 2001, his brother, Gyanendra Shah became the king of Nepal. King Gyanendra reinstated the parliament after the People's Movement II in 2006. In May 14 2008, the newly elected Constitution Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic abolishing the 240-year-old shah dynasty.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Malla Period

The Malla period was a glorious era in the history of Nepal when trade and commerce, industry, religion and culture, art and architecture flourished and developed. The Malla rulers are also known as the incarnation of God Vishnu. They were Hindus but accepted Buddhism, Shaivism etc. as well which shows a religious tolerance during that period. At that time, an aristocratic elites dominate the administrative feudal by their supremacy. By dividing society into 64 occupational caste, they had their own monopoly.

The 1st king of the Malla Dynasty was 'Ari Dev'. He started to rule over Nepal in the 12th century.

The most popular king of that period was 'Jayasthiti Malla'. He codified the Nepalese society in a mainstream of Hindu frame. Jayasthiti Malla built many temples and facilitated the development of art and literature. He was also an economic reformer and introduce a system of measuring land and houses.

Another famous Malla king was Pratap Malla. He was influenced by religion, music and the art of welfare. He was a Hindu, but accepted other religions too. He reconstructed the Buddhist shrine of Swayambhunath. He built Krishna Mandir, the Shrine of Taleju, Rani Pokhari as well as Guheswari temple. He is considered as the most powerful rulers of the Malla Dynasty.

Jaya Prakash Malla was the last king of Kantipur, today known as Kathmandu. His name is written in Guinness Book of World Record for issuing 'World's smallest coins'. During his rule, Kantipur was attacked by Gorkha. He tried to save the valley from the assault of Gorkha by calling for unity among the three states around Kantipur but could not succeeded. Calling army from the East India Company was also not fruitful and ultimately the war was lost to Gorkha. Fighting within his family was also partly to blame. Another king from the Malla period was 'Ranjit Malla' who was the last king of Bhadgaon, today's Bhaktapur. As a lover of rare and precious things, he added many courtyards at his palace. And to improve economic conditions in his kingdom, he imported silver exporting it as coins. Similarly, 'Tej Narsingh Malla' was the last king of Patan.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lichhavi Period

The ancient period of Nepales history was overule by Lichhavi Dynasty. They ruled Nepal from the year 300 BC to 1200 A.D (approx).  The Lichhavi Period is the first documented period in the history of Nepal. After having lost the political in India they entered Nepal . After coming to Nepal, they were attracted by the monarcial system and they defeated the last Kiranti king Gasti. They were probably the Rajputs of today's Bihar and Uttar Pradesh of India. The 1st king of Lichhavi period was Jai Dev I.

The 1st historical king of Nepal, Mandev, the son of King Dharmadev. During his reign, the political and cultural development is found to be developed. He was said to be talented and brave king who was responsible for the conquests in the east and west. He stroke the copper coins and started the numismatic history of Nepal.

Another famous king of Lichhavi period is King Amshuvarma. Amsuvarma was not a Lichhavi but he became the actual ruler in 602 A.D because he had married the daughter of a Lichhavi king Shivadev, who was the maternal uncle of Amshuvarma. His reign is considered as the Golden Era of Lichhavi Period. Amsuvarma was a far-sighted ruler in aspect of making family connections making him a great diplomat. He married his sister to an Indian prince and his daughter 'Bhrikuti' to Tibet's powerful King Tstrong tsong Gompo. Bhrikuti is believed to have taken as part of her dowry the begging bowl of Gautam Buddha and other artifacts of Buddhism. Together with Gompo's second wife, a Chinese Princess, Bhrikuti converted the king and the Tibet to Buddhism.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kirant Period

After the dowfall of 'Mahispal Dynasty', comes 'Kirati Dynasty'. They ruled Nepal for more than 1225 years and their capital was Gokarna. During Kiranti or kirati period, there were 29 kings who ruled Nepal for more than 1225 years.Yalamber was the first Kirat King . His name is mentioned in great Hindu epic 'Mahabharat' . He had the dubious honor of being slain in the battle of the Mahabharat, in which gods and mortals fought alongside with each other. Legends credit him with meeting Indra, the lord of heaven according to Hindus, who ventured into the valley human guise. It is said that during the battle of Mahabharat, Yalambar went to witness the battle with a view to take side of the losing party. Lord Krishna, incarnation of Lord Vishnu, knowing the intention and the strength and unity of the Kirants war would be unnecessarily prolonged if Yalamber sided with the Kauravs (villians in Mahabharat). So, by a clever stroke of diplomacy, Lord Krishna cut off Yalamber's head.

During the rule of the 7th Kiranti King Jitedasti, Lord Gautam Buddha is said to have come to the valley with his several disciples and to have visited holy places of Swayambhu and Guheswori etc. and to have preached his religious teaching. The Kirantis of the valley refused to follow his doctrine but welcomed Lord Buddha and  his disciples.

During the rule of the 14th Kiranti King Sthunko, the Indian Emperor Ashoka is said to have come to the Kathmandu Valley with his daughter, Princess Charumati. During his stay in the valley, he is said to have four stupas built around Patan in the four cardinal directions and one in the centre. He is said to have arranged his daughter Charumati's marriage with a Prince Devpala of Kirant Dynasty. Prince Devpala and his wife Charumati lived at Chabahil near Pashupati area. Later Charumati had the stupas of Devapatana built after the death of her husband in his memory.Charumati later on became a nun herself and built a convent where she resided and practiced Lord Buddha's Doctrine. We can still find a Charumati Stupa in Chahabil.

During the rule of the 15th Kirata King Jinghri, another religious doctrine, Jainism, was being preached by Mahavir of India. Bhadrabhau, a disciple of Mahavira Jaina, is said to have come to Nepal. But Jainism did not gain as much popularity as Buddhism in Nepal.

During the rule of the 28th Kirata King Paruka, the Sombanshi ruler attacked hsi regime many times from the west. Although he successfully repelled their attacks, he was forced to move to Shankhamul from Gokarna. He had a royal palace called "Patuka" built there for him. The "Patuka Palace" can no longer be seen, except its ruins in the form of a mound. Patuka changed Shakhamul (place in Kathmandu) into a beautiful town.

The last king of the Kirant Dynasty was Gasti, a weak ruler, who is said to have been overthrown by the Somavanshi ruler Nimisha. This ended the powerful Kiranti Period that had lasted for 1225 years. After the defeat, the Kirants moved to the Eastern hills of Nepal and settled down there, dividing into small principalities. Their settlements were divided into three regions, i.e., 'Wallokirant' that lay to the East of the Kathmandu Valley, 'Majkirant' or Central Kirant region and 'Pallokirant' that lay to the far East of the Kathmandu Valley. These regions are still heavily populated by Kirants.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Initial Period

Initial Period is the first period in the history of Nepal.It comprises of three dynasties, they are Gopala Dynasty, Mahispal Dynasty and Kirat Dynasty. This period lasted for more than 2000 years. Actual date of start of this period is not available as information of the first two dynasties are extracted from the hindu epics, texts and holy books of various temples and stupas.

According to the holy books and epics, kaliyuga started in the dense forest lied in the bottom of the himalaya (Nepal Valley or now Kathmandu Valley) where Gopal  Dynasty emerged and ruled. They were the first rulers.Essentially, they entered Nepal from India. Their main occupation was rearing cows. They developed  the concept of ownership very slowly. Bhuktamaan was the first king of this dynasty and Yaskya Gupt was the last king. Eight Gopal Kings ruled upto 505 years and 3 months.

After Gopals, 'Mahispal Period' entered Nepal and ruled.They defeated Gopals and started their reign. Their main occupation was 'Buffalo rearing'. Their concept of ownership is little bit advanced than the Gopals. The first king of Mahispal dynasty was Var Singh while the last king was Bhuwan Singh. Three Mahispal Kings ruled Nepal for 161 years and 2 months.

Then Kirats defeated Mahispals and thirty-two Kirati Kings ruled for 1225 years and 8 months. This is the Initial Period of Nepalese History. The information on above two dynasties, Gopals and Mahispals has not been found yet in brief. The later one, Kirats period will be described on up coming article.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pre-historical Period

According to Hindu text, the history of the development of Nepalese civilization and culture can be traced back to the Golden Age (Satya yuga). King Manu, who is regarded as the first king of the world ruled Nepal in the Golden Age and Nepal was known as the Land of Truth(Satyawati) at that time. It was called the Land of Solitary Meditation and Penance (Tapovan) in the Silver Age (Treta Yuga). Similarly, Nepal was Known as the ladder fo salvation (Muktisopan) in the Copper Age (Dwapar Yuga). It is renowned as 'Nepal' in the Iron Age (Kali Yuga), i.e., the present age of science and technology. The kings of the Solar Dynasty ruled Nepal in the Golden Age. They contributed much to the development of the Nepalese civilization and culture. The fact that we still follow the Solar Calendar in celebrating festivals and ceremonies testifies to the rule of the Solar Dynasty kings in our country.
The country, full of great forests, was chosen place for sages like Kanwa, Biswamitra, Agastya, Valmiki, Yajnavalkya and others. King Dushrath of India married Shakuntala, the adopted daughter of Kanwa Rishi of Nepal. Their son Bharat ruled over here. Then Nepal was called Mahabharat, and the surrounding territories under the sovereignty of King Bharat was called Bharat (now the other name of India).
The Mahabharat range stands to corroborate this belief of King Bharat's supremacy. There are several references in the religious books of Hindus about Nepal. King Janak of Janakpur was known widely for the administration of justice. Some people believe that the Ramayan was composed or written at the bank of the Saptagandaki by Valmiki. Veda Vyasa was born here. The Vyas Cave at Damauli (Vyasnagar) signifies this belief. Similarly, Biratnagar, the kingdom of King Birat is also mentioned in the Mahabharat. All these references show that Nepal had developed long before Manjushri visited the Kathmandu Valley. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

History of Nepal

Nepalese history can be regarded as an oldest history of the world. According to Hindu belief, the history of development of Nepalese civilization and culture can be traced back to the Satya Yuga ( Age of the Truth). However, I put these information under the topic of "Pre-historical Period" because many of the historians do not regard it. According to Historians, Nepalese History is divided into four period. They are :-

  1. Initial Period
  2. Ancient Period
  3. Medieval Period
  4. Modern Period
Gopal Dynasty was the first dynasty of Nepal while the Shah dynasty was the last one. The Lichhavi Dynasty in the ancient period is taken as the golden period in the history of Nepal. I will post each and every thing of my country's history beginning with the pre-historical period.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Etymology of the word 'Nepal'

EAfter the short description of evolution of Nepal. Lets talk about the formation of the nation, Nepal or how this country got its name 'Nepal'.

There are several stories and arguments over the establishment of country as Nepal or how and why 'Nepal' is named to this country. The various reasons are as below:

  • A very long long time ago, the Kings of the Gopala dynasty ruled over it. They were called 'Nepa',so, after the name of the dynasty who ruled over it, the country was named as Nepal.
  • In epoch "Himbatkhanda" it is complied that during 14th to 15th century Ne muni (son of Marichi) prayed to Goddess and as per her wish and order, he established a country. As Ne muni formed the country and became the protector(pala) of this land and the founder of the first ruling dynasty, people called this place Nepal.
  • It has been suggested that the name Nepal comes from the Tibetan word "Niyampal" which means "holy land".
  • Again, according to some Nepal came from the compounding the words Ne (which means wool) and Pal ( which means tented house). A long time ago, Nepal used to produce a lots of wool and the houses were used to store the wool. Hence, the word Nepal formed.
  • The word 'Nepal' may be derived from the Sanskrit word 'Nipalaya' which means ' at the foot of the mountains' or 'abode at the foot'.
    In the Gandaki Mahatmya, it is mentioned that a king named 'Nepa' ruled over it. He conquered many kingdoms and established shankar as his deity. He founded a country and named it 'Nepal' after his own name.
    In Newari language (language of ancient tribe of kathmandu valley) 'Ne' means 'center' and 'Pa' means 'country'. So, 'Nepa' means a country situated at the centre. Nepal is situated between two giant countries India and China. So, it was called a central country or Nepal.
    In the dialogue of Lepchas (one of the ancient tribe of Nepal), 'Ne' means 'holy' and 'Pal' means 'cave'. As this place is holy for both Hindus and Buddhist, it got its name 'Nepal'.
    Kirats, one of the dynasty that ruled Nepal in ancient times, had a clan called 'Nepar' living in Kathmandu Valley. So, the name Nepal might be derived from the word 'Nepar'.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Emergence of Nepal

About 60 million years ago, when Indian subcontinental and Eurasian continent collided. Due to this collision of huge two masses of land Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau was formed. Along with these, a beautiful place got evolved which is known as Nepal now. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Namaste! ( greetings in Nepalese language) to all of my readers.

This is  the very short description of my country Nepal. There are very few countries in the world that are as fascinating as Nepal. For its size, you will find variety  and diversity found nowhere else. From Everest and seven other eight-thousanders forming Nepal’s crown to the mystical Valley of Kathmandu with its living culture and world listed heritage, from numerous pilgrimage sites to jungles teeming with exotic wildlife, there is something of interest for everyone. Here winds whisper the legends, where mountains stand tall, where rivers flow in abundance, and gods and goddesses dance. Most of the places have some historical myths which I would love to share with all of my readers someday. 

Please do comment all my articles over here so I can do a little more better and provide you a nice piece of information.