Bahadyr, Rana



Autograph Card Signed

"Maharaja Jung Bahadur Rana (June 18, 1816, Kathmandu, Nepal -February 25, 1877, Kathmandu) was a ruler of Nepal and founder of the Rana dynasty of Nepal. His real name was Bir Narsingh Kunwar but he became famous by the name Jung 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 Jung Bahadur for setting up the dictatorship that repressed the nation for more than 100 years and left it in a primitive economic condition. Others exclusively blame his nephews, the Shumsher Ranas, for Nepal's dark period of history.

His father, Bal Narsingh Kunwar (aka Bala Narsingh Kunwar), was in court the day Rana Bahadur Shah was murdered by his own half-brother Sher Bahadur Shah; as a retaliation Bal Narsingh killed him 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.

After Jung Bahadur's visit to Europe, he 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, Jung 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, Jung 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, Jung Bahadur established official Rolls of Succession that ranked all his descendants in relation to their hereditary rights to the office of prime minister.

Jung Bahadur sealed the arrangement with the Shah Dynasty by arranging marriages between his heirs and the royal house. In 1854, his eldest son Jagat Jung (aged eight) married the eldest daughter (aged six) of king Surendra. In 1855 his second son married the second daughter of the king. The ultimate test was passed in 1857, when heir apparent Trilokya Bir Bikram married two daughters of Jung Bahadur. A son of this union, Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah, ascended to the throne in 1881."