(Exclusive notes only BSW II St. Xavier's college –History, discuss, debate but not to be distributed to others.)
THE AMERICAN REVLOULTION OR AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
In 1607 Captain John Smith and 105 cavaliers in 3 ships landed on Virginia Coast, started first permanent English settlement in New World at Jamestown in the month of May. The extent of the British colonies, were a mere fringe of population along the coast; the oldest settlement colony was Virginia. The name 'Virginia' commemorates Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603), the Virgin Queen of England. It was during the reign of James I (1603-1623) that a Virginia company (1606) was founded and at the same time, a mother company, the Plymouth obtained a Charter for settlement on the coast named New England, comprising of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. These settlers pioneer ship was the Mayflower which founded New Plymouth in 1620. The dominant colony was Massachusetts.
George I (1714-1727) became king of England, with his accession the foreign policy of England underwent considerable change, and the ambitious colonial projects in the New World by Spain was checkmated by Triple Alliance of France, England and Holland.
But the death of George I and George II (1727-1760) succeeding to the throne of England, made rivalry between England and Spain overtrade in the Spanish colonies result in Jenkins's Ear War (1730) against the Spaniards. In the next year the war of Austrian Succession broke out (1740-1748) and was closed by the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.
Another war in Europe to have its impact was the seven years war (1756-1763) which had the colonial and commercial rivalry between England and France reaching an acute stage. This war was to decide whether England or France was to be the greatest commercial and colonizing power in the world. In India the victory of Clive at Plassey and Sir Eyre Coote over the French at Wandiwash registered the triumph of the English and the ruin of French cause.
Thus the seven years' war came to a close by two separate treaties:-
1) The Peace of Hubertsburg between Austria and Prussia and 2) The Peace of Paris (1763) between England and France. By this treaty France ceded to England the whole of Canada, Nova Scotia and Cape Sreton in North America. Thus the French empire in America was gone, and ensured the naval greatness and colonial supremacy of England.
English Colonists in America
As the events unfolded during the 1760's and the 70's that led to the American Revolution, English colonists in America constituted a unique population. For more than 150 years, Europeans, especially immigrants from Great Britain had made their way across the Atlantic in the search of new lives in America- from the establishment of Virginia's Jamestown to the founding of the last colony, Georgia, in the 1730s. the British colonies had become home to 2.5 million people by 1750.
They represented a diverse population. While the majority (about 60%) came directly or indirectly from Great Britain, other European, nations provided important populations including Scots and Scots-Irish (14%), Germans (9%), Dutch (6%) and Irish (4%). In addition, more than 500,000 colonial residents were black- the vast majority of them slaves- a number equal to 20 % of the total non Indian population of the 13 colonies.
Just as in Europe, most of the colonists were farmers, many of them occupying acreage larger than the average in Great Britain or on the European continent.
George III (1760-1820), the grandson of George II succeeded the throne of England. The new monarch was a good man but a bad king. He did not like the party system and the cabinet government which made the ministers independent of the control of the crown. King George's obstinacy and short sighted policy involved England in many disasters and impeded the progress and needed reforms. He, more than anybody else, was responsible for the loss of American colonies.
Samuel Johnson (1709-84), the great English Laureate, had advised his king by saying about the Americans, "are the race of convicts and ought to be thankful for anything we allow then short of hanging. You know I am willing to love all mankind, except an American." He told his king, "Do not make any difference between your American and your British subjects."
THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 1775-
America as a nation:-
1. America has compressed into one country historical process which in Europe have extended over more than a thousand years. She has had her conflict with alien races, her war of independence, her civil war, and her agrarian and industrial problems.
2. But any analogy with European history is misleading. America has had no Roman Empire, no Medieval church, no Feudal order, no Quattro cents.
3. There is no valid comparison possible between Europe and America. For America from the colonial days, it has had peculiar problems and peculiar needs, and she has developed for herself peculiar solutions. Her standards still are often those of frontier men.
4. She is the greatest political experiments in history and the greatest social and economic venture as well.
5. American independence came into being out of the traditions of England and the philosophy of France and whatever the American people may become, they were born citizens of the European world. They inherited its ideas and its struggles and they took from the Old World the ideals of freedom and political responsibility which they planted in the New World and nurtured with its vast resources and untrammeled energies and now have turned again in their might to champion and reestablish Europe.
6. "The American Revolution was not a social revolution like the French; it was a war of independence. Moreover, it was not a war of independence of native against the alien conquerors, but instead a war of settlers against the home country."
The Five Characteristics of the American Revolution:-
1) It began with a vision of plenty. It was a colonists of the 1770's and 1780's a rich continent with on a per capita, the richest capital in the world.
2) The American people at the time of revolution had had a long tradition of local-self-government.
3) The American revolutionaries envisioned the possibility of harmony or at least of a workable compatibility of interests within the country.
4) American trust in the spontaneity of individuals.
5) The Americans have a tradition of moderation. Extremist episodes always have been short-lived.
The grievances of the Americans against the British or the Causes of the American Revolution.
'The fundamental cause of the American Revolution was the rise of nationality, in making which geography and temperament were decisive factors', observes Riker.
1) The great distance of the American colonies from England and the vastness of the space they occupied fostered in them a feeling of detachment and self confidence that tended towards independence. The fact that the colonists were also Englishmen made them peculiarly sensitive to dictation and the habit of initiative and enterprise which characterized them as well as the degree of self- government that they enjoyed, accentuated this attitude. This spirit of nationalism was the most fundamental cause of the revolution and this lent a greater weight to other causes.
2) The old colonial policy based on mercantilism, followed by England led to belief that the colonies existed for the exploitation by the mother country. The American products including cotton, sugar, hides, tobacco and mast could be exported only to Great Britain and all imports to the colonies from foreign countries must go to them only through Great Britain. But with the accession of King George III, these rules and regulations were enforced more rigidly. And this gave rise to irritation.
3) The issue which really led to a breach between the colonies and another country was the policy of imperial taxation. The experiment of the stamp act by the British government to redeem the losses in the European wars and to protect the colonies from the French attack, they needed a standing army as well as a strong navy for the colonies. But this stamp Act led to the cry of "no taxation without representation" and the colonists refused to pay the stamp duty. The British government repeated the stamp act but by a Declaratory Act they maintained the right of the English parliament to tax the colonists. A light tax on tea and certain commodities was retained. The colonists resisted and destroyed the consignments of tea in the Boston harbor. The British government retaliated by certain penal measures and was determined to enforce obedience upon the colonists. Self-government at Massachusetts was annulled. Bloodshed at Lexington and Concord in 1775 brought the matter to a crisis. The war of the American revolution had thus begun. The appointment of George Washington to command the continental army at Boston to counter attack the British was taken up in the New World, with the speech of Patrick Henry, "…Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?...but for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"
The thirteen colonies and How the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776
Taxation levied by England on her American Colonies- 1764-1776
1. 1764- Sugar Act
2. 1765- Stamp Act: This act was Repeated in 1766
3. 1767- Townshend duties (revenue duties on various articles) : These duties were repeated on 1770, except duty on tea- it was on this duty that "Boston Massacre" took place, on 5th March 1770 and five men were killed.
4. 1773- Tea Act – giving East India Co. the monopoly to sell their tea. This act sparked off the "Boston Tea Party', the famous "dumping of Tea Chests" at Boston Harbour.
5. 1774- Intolerable acts :
i) closing port of Boston
ii) restricting self –government in Massachusetts
iii) Allowing royal troops to requisition private buildings for quarters
6. 1775 – Lexington- Concord – British troops skirmish with Massachusetts militiamen, the 43 year George Washington appointed to command the continental army at Boston.
7. 1776- Thomas (Tom) Paine (1737-1809), political theorist, writer. His "common sense" famous pro-independence pamphlet was published Jan 10, 1776, quickly sold some 100,000 copies.
ü The first continental congress met in September 1774 in Philadelphia. It included delegations from all the colonies except Georgia. Taking part in the congress were –
i) George Washington
ii) John Adams
iii) Samuel Adams
iv) John Jay
v) Thomas Jefferson etc.
who were to play an important role in the history of USA. On March 23, 1775 Patrick Henry addressed Virginia convention and said, "Give me liberty, or give me death."
ü The drafting of the "Declaration of Independence" was assigned to Thomas Jefferson, who on June 28, 1776 reported the result to the Congress and with number of changes was adopted on July 4, 1776.
ü Thus, on July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies of America proudly acclaimed their independence by the cry of "No Taxation without Representation," and that "these United colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…"
The worst defeat for Britain came at Saratoga on 17 October 1777, when General John Burgoyne was forced to surrender his entire army. This action turned the balance of the war, as France now recognized the independence of the colonies and sent support to defeat the British soldiers. French General Lafayette became the hero of France, who had fought along side with Washington for liberty. The last major battle was at Yorktown where George Washington, with the aid of the French, defeated Lord Cornwallis, who surrendered on 19 October 1781, and by the Peace of Versailles (1783). England recognized the independence of the American colonies.
The grievances of the Americans against the British
The grievances of the Americans against the British fall under three main heads:
Firstly, to secure for British Government the profit of the exploitation of new lands.
Secondly, the systematic restrictions upon trade designed to keep the foreign trade of the colonies entirely in British hands.
And thirdly, an attempt at taxation through the British Parliament as the supreme taxing authority of the empire.
This triple system of pressure forced the Americans to do a very hard political thinking. They began to deny both the divine origin of kingship and the supremacy of the British Parliament.
Causes of American Success:
The success of the American Revolution has to be traced to many causes. First, the war was hopelessly mismanaged by the British. Secondly, the colonists were aided by foreigners, especially France who loaned a huge amount of money and many officers like Lafayette volunteered for the American service. Thirdly, the able leadership of George Washington and his unfailing courage led the colonists to success. Lastly, the rise of the sense of nationalism in the colonists also made them undaunted fighters for the freedom of their country.
Effects of the Revolution upon European politics:
I) The war of American independence had demonstrated the dangers of the Mercantile System as applied to the colonies. Great Britain now adopted new colonial policy in her colony of India and elsewhere.
II) It exhausted the finances of France and brought her nearer to bankruptcy which again brought Europe nearer to the French Revolution.
III) The American Revolution started a chain reaction beginning with the French Revolution and leading to the Russian Revolution, which was "the American Revolution's child, though unwanted and unacknowledged one."
French revolution (1789-1794)
Liberty, Equality and Fraternity
Important chronological tables of the French Revolution
1789 MAY 5 : Opening session of the Estates General.
1789 JUNE 17 : The Third Estate declares itself the National Assembly
1789 JUNE 20 : The Tennis Court Oath
1789 JUNE23 : Special Royal Session, Third Estate defies the King.
1789 JUNE 27 : Union of the three orders- First Estate, Second Estate and Third Estate
1789 JULY 14 : Capture of Bastille
1789 AUGUST 4-13 : Privileges, serfdom, thiths and dues and Feudalism abolished
1789 OCTOBER 4-6 : March of women on Versailles Palace for bread
1790 JUNE 19 : Abolition of Nobility
1790 JULY 12 : The civil Constitution of the Clergy adopted
1791 APRIL 2 : Death of Mirabeau-prominent leader and a link between Louis XVI and the French people
1791 JUNE 21-25 : The flight of Louis XVI and Queen Mary Antoinette
1792 AUGUST 10 : Attack on Tulieries palace and suspension od King Louis XVI
1793 JANUARY 21 : Execution (guillotined) of Louis XVI
1793 MARCH 9-29 : Revolutionary Tribunal established
1793 JUNE 24 : The constitution of 1793 completed
1793 OCTOBER 16 : Execution (guillotined) of Queen Mary Antoinette
1794 APRIL : Execution of Revolutionary Leader Danton
1794 JULY 27-28 : Execution (guillotined)of the prominent leader of the revolution, Robespierre, End of the "Reign of Terror."
French Revolution 1789:
Introduction: Fundamentally revolution means change. The French revolution means not the popular picture of massacre and guillotine, war and terror, but a series of alterations- social, economic, political, intellectuals and philosophers- in the European scene. The blood and thunder are perhaps more interesting and easier to describe and to remember. But they are only the tools of revolution, changing it, shaping it, cutting out its course, they are not the revolution itself.
With the outbreak of the French revolution, "European history merges in the history of one nation, one event and one name; the nation in France, the event in the French revolution, and the man is Napoleon." The revolution shook whole Europe to its very foundation, and thereby paved the way for its reconstruction on a new basis. As the old regimes in Europe were based on authority, class privileges and absolute rule, and over these were to blow from France irresistible gusts of new ideas, sweeping away what was worn out and decayed and heralding the dawn of a new order of things. The French revolution was a conquest in the spheres of thought, society, and politics, effected by a people over the old system of authority, class privilege and absolute rule.
Causes of the French revolution:
1. Social cause:
The most important cause of the French revolution was the social cause. The French society was graded from top to bottom, and each grade differed from the other in the legal rights and in the enjoyment of powers and privileges. Broadly speaking, it may be said the France was divided into two classes, privileged and unprivileged. The privileged class included the nobility and the higher clergy. Both of them formed a small minority of the total population of country. A noble was addressed as "My Lord", "Your Grace" etc. The clergymen also enjoyed riches, land and luxuries of life. They had castles, cathedrals, palaces etc.
The church was a state within the state. There was so much favoritism and extravagance among the clergymen that the moral sense of the nation was shocked and people felt upset. The dissension between the lower rank clergy and the higher ranks was one of the most potent causes leading to the early victories of the revolution. There was a French maxim that "the nobles fight, the clergy pray, the people pay."
The plight of the peasants was very unhappy. A peasant had to work on the land of his landlord from sunrise to sunset and they represented the Third Estate.
Below the two privileged orders, there was the vast majority of population called the Third State. It was not a homogenous body. It comprised the bourgeoisie or the upper middle class, the artisans and the peasants. Even the supporters of the old social system could see wither the French nation was tending – "Aristocracy has three ages, first the age of force, from which it degenerates into the age of privilege, and is finally extinguished in the age of vanity."
Nearly all the costs of the wars, the magnificent palaces and the gorgeous ceremonial of Louis XIV were borne by the middle and lower classes of France.
The peasants owed a large number of dues to the lord, the church and the king. Ordinarily, he had to work three days a week on the land of the lord. During the harvest days he had to work five days a week. Double rent was to be paid on the death of the peasant. The peasant paid tithe or dime to the church, the taille or land tax to the state, the Vingtieme or income tax of about five percent of all incomes to the king. This Vingtiene tax was paid by the nobles very minimally and the clergyman were completely exempted. Another tax was the Gabelle or salt tax. This was the most regressive of all the taxes. Yet another tax was there, the Corvee or road tax. Road making was the duty of the peasants and they had to spend many weeks in a year on the construction and maintenance of roads in their neighborhood. Thus to quote and authority on this, Taine has reckoned that a peasant, out of every 100 francs of income, would have to pay 53 in taxes to the state, 14 for tithes, and out of remaining 19 to satisfy the excise man( tax on bread, wine etc.) and support life!
The French peasant after paying all the dues was left to starve and those who managed to stay alive were able to stay alive on herb and roots and thousands of them died of hunger. It is rightly pointed out that "in France, nine-tenths of the population died of hunger and the tenth died of indigestion."
2. Political Cause:
Another cause of the French revolution was the rottenness of the political system. The king was the head of the state and his words was the law. Louis XVI did not take any tours to the various part of France, and so lost the touch with the people. The king's world was the Versailles palace where nobles and his favorites gathered for dance and merry making.
The court of Versailles was composed of 18,000 persons out of whom 16,000 were attached to the personal service of the king and his family. The rest of 2,000 persons were courtiers who were busy in begging favors from the king and the queen.
At different times in her history the administration system of France was divided and possessed ill-defined and overlapping jurisdictions. Therefore, the legal system of France was full of confusion. There was no uniform law for the whole country. It is estimated that there were about 400 different systems of law in France, and furthermore the laws were written in Latin and common people did not understand it. The task of governing fell to a greedy horde of courtiers who sacrificed every interest of the state in order to advance their selfish ends. To the evils of corrupt administration were added the evils of oppression. Anybody might be imprisoned by the mere issue of warrants called letters de cachet one of the mist odious features of the old regime.
Ø Louis XVI (1774-93)
According to historian Fisher, the French revolution broke out because Louis XVI could not solve the problem of privileges. But Fisher's observation, at best is a negative statement. In fact, there were many points which the French monarchy contributed as positive causes of the revolution. They were as:
1) The French monarchy had become a spent force.
2) Coterie of selfish nobles surrounded the monarchy taking advantage of its weakness.
3) Justice became expensive and difficult to obtain
4) The Intendants or Generalites (old provinces wee incharge of an Intendant in 1789) were selfish and group of unprincipled officials, called by the people as "ravening wolves"
5) The French monarchy was standing on a acute financial crisis. The financial help to the Americans in their revolutions brought the French monarchy to a breaking point.
6) The glory loving French could not reconcile to the defeats of France in wars by the monarchs that had shattered the military prestige of France.
Louis XVI became king at the age of 20. he had once said, "It seems as if the universe is falling on me, God, what a burden is mine and they have taught me nothing." He enjoyed himself in his happy of lock making and not in the art of governing. When one of his ministers resigned he is supposed to have said "how fortunate you are. I wish I could resign too," how pathetic was Louis XVI?
Louis XVI again had said," How unhappy are we! We are too young to rule."
Ø Marie Antoinette (1775-Oct 16, 1793)
Marie Antoinette was the daughter of Maria Theresa, empress of Austria. She was beautiful, gracious and high spirited. She had a strong will, a power of rapid decision and a spirit of initiative. However, she was lacking in wisdom, in feeling, the pulse of the French people and the spirit of the time. She was extravagant, proud, willful, impatient of restraint and fond of pleasure. She committed a large number of mistakes by interfering in the realm of governance. People like the able controller of finance, Turgot, Necker were dismissed only because Mary Antoinette's pressure on Louis to dismiss them. The controller of finance whom the queen liked was Colonne, who was an agreeable person, whose only purpose was to please all. Colonne had a wonderful philosophy of burrowing. To quote him, "A man who wishes to borrow must appear to be rich, and to appear rich, he must dazzle by spending freely." This was how France was ruined in her financial matters.
3. The intellectual revolt:
Writers of all kinds prepared the French revolution. All the more however, did it make excellent gunpowder for destroying the state and never before was a revolution so armed with words and phrases. This was the work of the French philosophers of whom the most prominent were Montesquieu (1689-1755), Voltaire (1694-1778), and Rousseau (1712-1778). Their writings gave expression to the discontent and indignation which lay latent in the hearts of the hearts of the French people.
Ø Montesquieu, a member of nobility of the robe, a lawyer of imminence and a judge, published his great work, the product of 20 years of labor, was his "SPIRIT OF LAWS(1748)". It had an immediate and immense success in which he spoke highly of the English system of government and advocated for a constitutional monarchy. He exposed the fallacies of the theory of the divine rights and the evils of the absolute monarchy, such as existed in France.
Ø Voltaire, a master of biting satire, enjoyed almost autocratic authority by his reasons of his powerful writings. He denounced the abuses if the state but directed his attack especially against the bigotry and intolerance of the church. Much however he derided Christianity, he was no atheist; his inscription in a village church ran, "If god did not exist, it would be necessary to create him." we speak of the age of Voltaire as we speak as of the Luther. His significance to his times is shown in the title men gave him- King Voltaire. He had more than once thrown into prison by "Letter de Catchet" for his writings against the state and the church. He was 'a pillar of cloud by day and a fire by night'.
His ideal form of government was a benevolent despotism. He was not a democrat. He said he would rather be ruled by 'one lion than by hundred rats' was the way in which he expressed his preference.
Ø Jean Jacques Rousseau: Very different in tone and tendency was the work of Rousseau. His desire for a total reorganization of society is seen in his writings. The past had no power over him; he lacked completely the historical sense. The past, indeed, he despised. In his first work, he propounded his fundamental thesis that man, naturally good and just and happy, have been corrupted and degraded by the very thing he called civilization. His principle work was his "SOCIAL CONTRACT (1762)". One of the most famous and in it's results one of the most influential books ever written, opening with the starting statement "Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains", along with his fundamental theory of 'inherent virtue' of the "natural man", whom civilization and institutions had corrupted and deprived of his natural rights to liberty and happiness. His expression of the "general will" and 'back to nature' was the first to fire mankind with hopes of social justice easily to be attained and simple to be within the reach of all. The SOCIAL CONTRACT supplied the text and lit the fire of revolution. It became the gospel of the French revolution.
In addition to the three giants, there were writers of small status who influenced the thoughts of the French people, Diderot, was the editor of the encyclopedia to which many writers made their contributions. Quesnay, another writer, stood for liberty, free trade, free agriculture and free industry but did not care for freedom itself.
Condition of the finances:
The condition of the national finances was highly critical. France had entered the century heavily in debt because of the wars of Louis XIV. These debts had gone on increasing swing to the corrupt extravagance of the court of his successor, Louis XV. Not only were his court expenses pitched to a very high scale, but in addition he gave those who gained his favor. All this combined with the cost of wars, which were of frequent occurrence, steadily pushed France nearer and nearer to bankruptcy.
This was the state of affairs when the ill fated Louis XVI ascended the throne. A radical change in the fiscal system, involving the abolition of the exemptions enjoyed by the privileged class and the removal if customs' barriers, was urgently needed if the government was to pave its own way. Two successive ministers, Turgot and Necker, proposed many schemes of reforms but could not carry them out owing to their dismissal by the king. Thus, "fiscal causes lie at the root of the revolution."
"Sins, this is not child's play: the first time France sees the Estates-General, she will see also a terrible revolution."- A minister of the King
The Summoning of the Estates-General and fall of the Regime (5th May 1789)
On 5th May 1789, King Louis XVI in order to tackle the problem of French finances decided to summon the Estates-General, or the feudal Parliament of France which met at Versailles. It had not met since 1614 i.e for 175 years. For a hundred and seventy five years no memory, no sure tradition survived of the States General. In accordance with the old custom, elections were held and the electorates drafted reports on the condition of their localities and recommendation which were called Cahiers.
The Estates-General, was a three-chambered body composed of the elected representatives of the three orders. The first order (first state) represented the nobility; the second order (second estates) represented the clergyman and the third order represented the unprivileged classes. Formerly, the three estates met separately and each of them had an equal number of delegated. However, in 1789, the third estate was given as many members as those of nobles and the clergymen put together. Previously the first two chambers being composed of privileged classes had always been in the majority and the commons a permanent minority and so the action of the privileged class had always been decisive.
The mood of the third estate was expressed in a pamphlet written by Abb Sieyes which was circulated in large numbers on the eve of the French revolution.
"What is the third estate?" asked Sieyes.
"What has it been in politics up to now?"
"What does it desire?"
"To be something."
The Estate-General converted into national assembly
As soon as the Estates-General met (5th may), the members of the third estate held that it was not a feudal assembly but one representing the whole nation. Hence they demanded that the three estates were to meet as a single chamber in which each individual should have a vote. As the third estate has been permitted to send twice as many members as either the nobility or the clergy, the substitution of the individual votes for vote by order meant the transference of power from the privileged classes to the commonality. The nobility and the clergy offered a stubborn resistance but the third estate remained firm and so there was a dreadlock. At last after much contention the third estate took the momentous step of declaring itself the National Assembly on 17 June, 1789.
Attitude of the king: The king now, under pressure from the court, made a decision highly unwise in itself and foolishly executed. When, on June 20, the members of the third estate went to their usual meeting place they found the entrance blocked by the soldiers, and the hall closed. The members in anger rushed to a neighboring tennis court, and all lifting their leader, Bailly to a table took the famous Tennis Court Oath. All the deputies present, with one simple exception, voted, "never to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances shall require, until the contribution of the kingdom shall be established." Next on 23rd June in a special royal session the king declared the act of the Third Estate as illegal, tried to cow the third estate to submit to the old procedure, the Master of Ceremonies, and ordered the Third Estate to clear out of the hall. At this Mirabeau, one of the members of the Third Estate gave vent to a very strong expression hurling defiance by thundering thus: "Go tell your Master that we are here by the will of the people and we shall not leave except at the point of bayonet." On a motion of Mirabeau, it was voted that all persons who should lay violent hands on any member of the National Assembly would be "infamous traitors to the nation and guilty of capital crime." Thus the people had scores their first triumph over the king, the revolution power passed out of the hands of the king and the privileged orders into those of the people.
Mob of Paris: On 27th June 1789, Louis XVI ordered all the three Estates to sit as one body. Having recognized the National Assembly, it appears that the king had not taken his defeat happily. Therefore, he was bent upon to suppress the National Assembly and regain the ground lost by him. a large bodies of soldiers were brought to Versailles and Paris, and Necker, the popular minister, was dismissed. The measures alarmed the people, for they believed that the king was determined to use armed force in order to suppress the National Assembly. Under these circumstances, the mob (crowd) of Paris rose in fury against the king whom the popular orators denounced as a tyrant. The crowd stormed the state prison called the Bastille, which was to the mob an odious symbol of tyranny and abuses of the Old regime. It was captured on 14 July, 1789, and razed to the ground. In Paris and all over France a militia called the National Guard was organized and Lafayette was made the commander of this new political force. In a memorable session of the National Assembly a drama was unfolding from 4-13 August 1789, the nobles voluntarily surrenders their feudal rights and privileges. This was the last relics of feudalism which was swept out of France and the overthrow of the Ancient Regime was completed.
March of women to Versailles 4-6 October 1789
Meanwhile the renewed intrigues of the court excited the suspicions of the people. The terror of suspicion was intensified by the terror of famine due to the scarcity of bread in Paris. On 5th October a large number of 'women' marched from Paris to Versailles. For three days, from October 4-6, Versailles- the assembly and the palace- was given over to the mob of women, who had marched from Paris to clamor for bread. They swarmed through the Palace, seeking like ravenous beasts to tear the Queen to pieces, and would perhaps have done so on the night of the 5th but for the loyalty of her bodyguard. The king was frightened at this demonstration, agreed to leave Versailles and come back to Paris escorted by the fierce women. On the 6th the 'women' surged back to Paris accompanied by the royal family and singing, we are bringing back, "the baker, the baker's wife, and the baker's son." A joker put up a notice, "Versailles to let", and from that day the king was practically a prisoner in the hands of the mob. The monarchy was all but ruined.
Work of National Assembly also known as Constituent Assembly 1789-91
Having destroyed the feudal privileges of the nobles as well as the old constitution, the National Assembly set about framing the future constitution of france. Henceforth the body came to be known as the Constituent Assembly, as its chief work was he making of a constitution. The work of the National Assembly:
1) Declaration of the Rights of Man
2) Making of the Constitution. It provided for a single chambered Legislative Assembly elected for two years.
3) France was divided into 83 departments.
4) Financial Measures were tackled by issuing paper money called assignments upon the security of the church lands.
5) The civil constitution of the Clergy, declared that henceforth bishops and priests were to be elected by voters and were to receive salaries from the state.
The constitution as framed by the Constituent Assembly proved a failure and did not last long.
The Attempted Flight of the King June 21-25, 1791:
The attempted flight of the King produced very serious consequences. The fidelity of the people to the cause of monarchy was shaken. They no longer believed in the sincerity of his utterances, his oaths to support Constitution. A republican was formed in the Assembly and its members, like Robespierre and Danton, held that the king had forfeited his crown and demanded the establishment of a Republic.
The legislative Assembly (October 1791-1792)
The legislative Assembly met on the first October, 1791. The members of the Assembly began to group themselves into parties. There were three parties-
1) Constitutionalists 2) Girondists 3) Jacobins
The National Convention (September 21, 1792 to October 26, 1795)
The National Convention met September 21, 1792, on the dissolution of the legislative Assembly. It was summoned to draft a new constitution necessitated by the suspension of Louis XVI. Its first act was to abolish monarchy and to declare France a republic. The question now was what should be done with Louis XVI. Robespierre wanted to execute the king even without a trial, however a trial was held on 3rd December 1792 with his speech on the King's guilt. His speech ran as," It did not very much matter whether Louis was guilty of the specific charges against him or not, if it was for good of the country that he should die, he must die. His death was a political necessity, not an act of strict justice."
The three questions asked to the delegations on Louis guilt on 14 January 1793 were-
1) Was Louis XVI guilty of treason to France?
2) Should the French people have a say in the approvable of the National Conventions act on treason?
3) What punishment should be given to Louis XVI?
By a narrow margin the delegates approved the death penalty for King Louis XVI on 1793.
On Sunday 21st January 1793 Louis XVI was guillotine, his last words were:
"My people I die innocent." Long live the Nation." "I hope that my blood may secure the happiness of the French people."
Ø Was the execution of the king justified? It was the most remarked that the execution of Louis XVI was "both a crime and a blunder". He was the most unselfish and the best intentioned of French Kings. He was sincerely desirous of working for his country's good. Hence to execute him as a traitor without a fair trial was really a crime, and act of revolting cruelty and injustice. It was also a blunder.
Reign of Terror (September 1793- July 1794)
The Reign of Terror has been described as martial law gone mad. Popular fear, mingled with fury against the counter revolutionaries, took the form of a military organization.
Machinery of the Terror:
1) Committee of Public Safety was given police power in order to maintain law and order.
2) Law of Suspects enabled the government to arrest and hang any person
3) The Revolutionary Tribunal was empowered to condemn any person suspected of disloyalty to the republic
The most prominent of the victims were Queen Marie Antoinette (16 October 1793), "she was the daughter of an empress, the wife of a king, child of fortune and of misfortune beyond compare." Madame Roland, the guiding spirit of the Girondists, who said, "Oh! Liberty, what atrocities are being done on my name." The blood thirsty Marat was stabbed to death by a twenty-five year old girl Charlotte Corday. Next came the Jacobins leader Danton and his friends who were put to the guillotined. Danton said, "Robespierre you will follow me." "Show my head to the people, it will be the worth the trouble." On 27-28 July 1794 the Robespierre supreme leader of the Jacobins and master mind of the Terror was guillotined. With his execution the 'Reign of Terror' gradually came to an end.
Note: The heinous crime of the Reign of Terror in France had executed approximately 40,000 people. Less than half of them-about 16000- however, were dispatched by beheading. Others were shot, floated out in the Seine River on barges and sunk, or left to languish in prison until they died miserable deaths.
The 1789 revolution got out of control, as more and more radical leaders came to the fore, and a Reign of Terror ensued which might have been forestalled or averted had adequate measures been taken in good time. In the end, sated with blood, popular passions died down, Robespierre and his colleagues were overthrown, and the revolution had devoured its own children.
Conclusion: The End of the French Revolution and its controversy:
The question as to when did the French revolution came to an end is a controversial issue. Reading this historians differ in their opinions widely. Some historians believe that the fervor of the revolution had ebbed a way after the fall of Robespierre (27_ 28 July 1794), and so the revolution has come to an end. Others set the end at the dissolution of the National Convention (Oct 26, 1795) and take over by the Directory in October 27, 1795.
Marx (1818-83), Marxist and Marxism (Lenin 1870-1924; Mao Zedong 1893-1976)
1) Karl Marx was born in Tier Germany on 5th May 1818 in a Jewish family
2) Studied in Berlin University.
3) Marx was inspired by :
a) Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
b) Theories of economics from Adam Smith (1723-90) and David Ricardo 91772-1823) on labour theory of value which Marx drew his influences from these theories and developed the doctrine of surplus-value.
c) Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
d) American war of independence
e) French revolution -1789, 1830, 1848, 1870
f) Dialectic philosophy from Hegel (1770-1831)
g) Industrial revolution in Britain
h) Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) from him Marx learned that it is not god who creates man but man who creates god. To quote Marx, "Man makes religion; religion does not make man. Religion is thr opium of the people."
i) Proudhon (1809-65) In a book published in 1840, Proudhon wrote "what is property?' and he had a ready answer: "Property is theft." In answer to this theory of Proudhon (philosophy of Poverty) Marx wrote 'Poverty of Philosophy'(1847)
4) Books by Marx :- 1) Poverty of Philosophy (1847) 2) Critique of Political Economy (1859); his collaboration works with his life long friend, Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) were: 3) The Holy Family (1844) 4) Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) 5) Das Kapital or Capital, known famously as the "bible" of Marxian Socialism (1867) only first volume.
5) The Five Stages of Marx's Society:-
I) Primitive Communism
ii) Era of Slave Society or Feudal Society or Historical Society
iii) Era of Industrial Society or Capitalism
v) Communism or Proletarian Rule. The Proletarian rule would mark the transition to economic abundance, classlessness and the beginning of true history. This communist Revolution will make the 'State Wither Away.'
Marx says that the transition from the third stage to the fourth and also to the fifth will be gradual, but simmering for sometimes until with sudden sharp volcanic eruptions.
6) Marx's theories of communist thought:-
Ironically, even after spending much of his life studying the society, none of the theories of political economy and social revolution were created by him. But credit must be given to him for combining all theories into his own package of socialism. The theories are complicated and sometimes very difficult to understand.
7) Marx's Thoughts:-
1) The Materialistic view of history
2) Class Warfare – Bourgeoisie and Proletariat
3) Dialectic Change, "With Hegel the dialect is standing on its head. It must be turned into its legs."
4) Theory of Surplus Value. Marx in this shows that "the division into rich and poor is made not by either God or Luck, but by robbery."
5) Dictatorship of the Proletariat
6) 'The Withering Away of the State.' To quote Engels, "The government of persons is replaced by the administration things."
7) Disappearance of the Family, Religion etc. On this one critic, Maxey wrote "Marxist was a religion even more than a philosophy…Patriotism was an emotional snare to enslave the workers; religion was 'opium'; the family was a bourgeoisie institution for perpetuating property rights. The one supreme loyalty was loyalty to humanity as a whole symbolized by the red flag, and Marxism was like conversion to religion."
A Critique of Marxism;
I. Economic factor is not only factor in a man's life or in the interpretation of history.
II. the prediction of Marx that, poor is becoming poorer, have not come true.
III. Marxism assumption that 'the state will wither' has not come to be true, in fact Russia and China have increased their State power and authority. The state is not man's enemy.
IV. Marxism is wrong in giving undue prominence to class war, it is a fact that ' you cannot cast out Satan by Satan. Marx's theory of classless society in a kind of Utopian dream.
V. The theory of surplus value has proved to be wrong. And Lenin in his writings hardly refers to it.
VI. There is no historical foundations for marx's five stages ; nothing to substantiate the theory of 'Primitive Communism.'
VII. Marx's anticipation of the 'Revolution' in Industrial States of England and Germany never came out to be true.
VIII. Marxism itself has become a 'religion' on 'Opium of the People"
IX. "Like all dogmas, Marxism is a strong in what it asserts and weak in what in denies."
Appeal of Communism:
I. "we may reject the programme of Marxism but we cannot ignore its indictment which it makes of capitalism
II. It is the key for the unlocking of history
III. It marks a revolt against the past and gives thrill of new adventure
Estimate of Marx: His friend Engels on his funeral said, "Fighting was his element. He was the best hated and most calumniated man of his time."
"Alienated university graduates prepare revolutions; alienated technical or secondary school graduates plan coups; alienated primary school leavers engage in more frequent but less significant forms of political interest."
Marxist after Marx: - Lenin and Leninism (1870-1924)
I) Like a good follower, Lenin believed in the 'dialectical materialism', propounded by Karl Marx and Frederik Engles. Lenin, himself a believer in the political economy, regarded the academic economic professor as a "scientific salesman of the capitalist class," and the Professor of Philosophy as "scientific salesman theology."
II) Like Marx, Lenin adopted the materialistic interpretation of history and economic determinism. He believed in class war and the ultimate victory of the proletariat class.
III) Lenin contributed the idea of imperialism as being the last phase of capitalism.
IV) Lenin posted (as a basis of argument) two stages of communism-
a) Socialism b) Communism
V) Marxism is the creed that holds all Marxists together, and its party (organization) is the principle that makes it powerful
VI) Lenin revised Marx's dogma of 'international interpretation of Marxism' to 'national interpretation of Marxism.'
Communism Proletarian Rule
Socialist (1st step to communism)
Industrial society or Capitalism
Slave society or feudal society Conflict
Antithesis Conflict Tribalism
MARXIAN DIALECTIC (Thesis)
Mao Zedong or Mao Tse-tung (1893-1976):
i) The organization of communist Russia has been the model closely followed by Mao and Mao's China.
ii) Mao and Maoists followers consider themselves to be the true interpreters of Marx-Lenin.
iii) Mao keeps up the Hegelian-Marxist idea of inner contradiction in the realm of ideas as well as of institutions.
iv) As a true Marxist, Mao has followed a method against his opportunity "Brain-Washing" them to bring a uniformity of thought. Yet Mao's genius has been to absorb rivals and not to liquidate them, as was the case in Russia, during Stalin's rule.
v) As an outstanding military leader, Mao believed in the subordination of the military to the Civilian Government. Mao Marx and Lenin were Europeans; they wrote in European languages about European histories and problems, seldom discussing Asia or China. He has created a Chinese or Asiatic form of Marxism.Zedong's great accomplishment has been to change Marxism from a European to an Asiatic form.
"A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another"- Mao's Quotations P.II
Russian Revolution of 1917
Background of the Russian Revolution:
All great revolutions have had international effects. The French Revolution of 1789, 1830, 1848 and 1871 had its effects outside France and was immediate. But the Russian Revolution was the first in which the revolutionaries themselves were fully conscious that their actions were part of an international process by their effects inside their own country. However, in approaching the Russian Revolution, we must ask, why did such violent event take place in Russian in 1917? There is a familiar paradox that the revolution which the Bolsheviks describe as 'proletarian' took place in a country where eight percent of the inhabitants were peasants, and where the proletariat was smaller, both relatively, and absolutely, than in any other great European power.
The roots the Russian Revolution lie deep embedded in the history of Russia. The impact of western ideas to a country which was slowly emerging from its Asiatic shell produced in the early years of the nineteenth century a movement boor out of time, and for many decades it remained a movement which had leaders but no followers. It was as a direct consequence of the war of 1914-18 that the revolutionary impulse grew into a mass eruption which shook Russian society to its very foundations, and caused not only the structure of the state but the social order itself to collapse in ruins. There were two revolutions, though perhaps it would be more correct to say that there was a single revolution which developed two phases. The political phase or March Revolution occurred in March (February according to the Russian as they were still using the Julian calendar which was thirteen days behind the Gregorian calendar}, and it sealed the fate of the autocracy; the second phase or November (Bolshevik) Revolution followed in November 1917 (The Great October Revolution] and it brought into existence the first Worker's Republic.
The March Revolution was not the outcome of a carefully engineered plot. Its spontaneous character is shown by the fact that even revolutionary circles were unprepared as an eye-witness wrote "the revolution found them sleeping, like the foolish virgins". The immediate occasion was the public discontent over the shortage of food. But a very relevant question is as to what factored precipitated the Tsarist regime which had lasted for centuries to be overthrown in 1917?
First and foremost, 'the ruin and destruction of World War I, coupled with the follies of allies and enemies, delivered Russia to Communism.' The USA in 1917-18 explained this event as a "German plot". But to give due credit to the Russians, the Red Conquest of Russia was the work of Russians.
Historians agree that the Russian failure in the First World War made the revolution certain as the troops and the police at home mutinied against the Tsar, so that there was nobody left to defend the autocracy. Even the Tsars General Krimov had this to say, "A revolution is imminent and we at the front feel it to be so. If you decide on such an extreme step, we will support you."
The Romanovs discredited:
The royal family was discredited by a number of scandals. It was widely suspected that Tsar Nicholas II (1894-1917) himself was a party to the murder of Prime Minister Stolypin, who was shot by a member of the secret police in his presence.
The Tsarina Alexandra and the Romanov family were all associated with a "notorious" self-professed 'holy man', Rasputin, who had been indispensable to the Tsar's heir Alexi who was a hemophiliac patient. This Rasputin was able on occasion apparently through hypnosis to stop the bleeding when the prince suffered a hemorrhage. In this way the notorious holy man Rasputin had become the 'king maker' in Russian politics, with the full and blind support of the Tsarina. But some of the nobility and the common people of Russia hated this man Rasputin, who was a drunkard and had scandalous affairs with the court ladies in the palace.
An analysis of the foreign accounts show that Russia was simmering with discontent, and opposition to the Tsarist regime gradually developed among every section of the population. To summarize the causes of the Russian revolution in an aphorism -first there were the 'intellectuals' who advocated individual liberty and political reform of a radical character. Secondly, there was the growth of a new liberation which was championed by the capitalists and other middle class people. Thirdly, there were the peasants who clamored for more land. These were the people who formed the bulk of the Social Revolution Party. Fourthly, there were the urban working men who were inclining towards Marxian Socialism and had their own organization in the Workmen's Social Democratic Party. Lastly, there were the Jews and subject nationalities who were embittered by the policy of "Russification" systematically pursued by the Tsar. All these elements of discontent in Russia eventually swept off the Tsarist Regime in 1917.
The coming of the Revolution:
The Russo-Japanese war had shaken the foundation of the Romonov dynasty. Germany had badly beaten her and the autocracy proved itself quite unequal to cope with the situation. The people had become sick of the existing system and in a popular rage the monk Rasputin was assassinated.
The crisis appeared in Petrograd in March 1917, when working men struck work and rioted for bread. The soldiers refused to do their duty and soon the Duma set up a provisional Government and forced the Tsar to abdicate. The revolution had come
The provisional Government was in outlook and composition a bourgeois class government. But in a situation as bad as this and a politically backward country like Russia, the messes cared very little for political reforms. Their more urgent demands were peace, land and bread. Thus the revolution which began as a liberal movement drifted towards socialism. Local soviets of working men and soldiers were set up all over Russia and these became centers of popular agitation and propaganda. The peasants seized the large estates of the nobility. The subject nationalities like Finns and Poles began to assert their freedom and to break away from their union with Russia. Russia was in a process of rapid disintegration. As the provisional government was becoming thoroughly unpopular it was replaced by moderate socialists, known as Mensheviks. Their leader was Alexander Kerensky. As a leader, Kernsky, found no favor with the extreme wing of the socialists known as the Bolsheviks.
These extremists wanted to end the war and bring about peace so that they could establish the dictatorship of the proletariat at once by the violent overthrow of the Kerensky government. They were led by two returned exiles, Lenin and Trosky. Meanwhile the Bolsheviks improved their organization and swelled their rank, they soon came to control the Petrograd Soviet and in November (October) 1917 by a coup d'etat overthrew the provisional government. Kerensky fled the country. This was carried through the second revolution, and power passed into the hands of the Bolsheviks.
The Bolshevik government:
After the overthrow of Kernsky, the Bolsheviks led by Lenin and Trotsky proceeded to consolidate their revolution. Hence immediately after seizing the supreme power in the state Lenin opened negotiations with Germany and her allies' had signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918). By it Russia with drew from the war and surrendered to Germany all her western provinces, including Poland and the Baltic Provinces. It was a humiliating treaty, involving, as it did, the loss of almost all the territories acquired by Russia since the time of triumph if the social revolution which they were bent upon accomplishing.
Lenin began his work by giving to the principles of Marxian Socialism. The Bolshevist regime brought about a vast holocaust of existing political, social economic institutions of Russia and began to prepare for a world-revolution on the same lines.
Concise history of China
The common statement that China has four thousand years of history is not in fact correct. On the other hand, the prehistory of China, as revealed by archaeology, indicates clearly that the human race has occupied China for 600,000 years.
The modern history of China begins from the day when she came into the contact of the West after breaking her centuries old isolation. Wit the end of the 18th century there commenced the decline and finally overthrow of the last Manchu sot Ching Dynasty (1644-1911) and was replaced by the Republic of China in 1911.
Advent of Europeans:
Although China's nominal contact with the West began in the 16th and early 17th century, she kept her doors closed for the foreign trade. The Portuguese were the first to reach China (1514), followed by the Spanish, the Dutch, the English and the French. The Portuguese were the most unpopular and the English were only a little better.
First Anglo-Chinese War or Opium War:
The Manchu government wanted to keep the "Western Barbarians" as far as possible from Peking. The Chinese actual experiences of the behavior of the European traders and the missionaries, which made them unwelcome to the local and the central authorities. But such was the profit warned by the foreign merchants on opium trade in spite of drastic restrictions, they stuck to this opium trade and left no stone unturned to widen its scope. At first the balance of trade was in favor of China, but the British East India Company's trade in 'opium' brought from India, turned the trade balance against China.
In 1839 the Emperor sent a special commissioner Lin to canton for prohibiting Opium imports to China, on the refusal to comply, the British settlement in canton was blockaded.
Thus began the Opium War. The modern British gunboats and arms crushed the Chinese boats and army resulting a treaty of Nanking (1842) which brought the Opium war to an end.
English historians protest vigorously against the use of the term 'opium war'. They assert that the war was fought not to force opium on the Chinese. "It was fought to obtain national recognition on terms of reasonable equality". However the Chinese historians insist on the use of the term 'opium war'. They assert that, "the opium war was willfully provoked by the British invaders" P.2 "The Opium War" Peking.
The treaty of Nanking marked the beginning of a new era in China. It shook the Pagoda tree, challenged cultural, economic and political bases of an ancient civilization.
Taiping Rebellion (Perfect Peace)
This rebellion broke out eight years after the opium war in 1850. It was the largest internal upheaval of the 19th century and the fore runner of the subsequent revolutions. It was one of the first attempts made by the Chinese to overthrow the foreign Manchu dynasty. The leader of the rebellion was Hung-Hsiu-Chuan who declared himself as 'Heavenly King' and his semi-communist programme as regards land-ownership appealed to the masses in the rural areas. He declared his intention of founding a new order in China, to be known by a new dynasty of Tai-Ping (Perfect Peace). The Tai-Ping rebellion lasted for fourteen years (1850-64) and only after the "Heavenly King" committed suicide and his fellow rebellions crushed out and China had its peace.
The result and the impact of the rebellion was that that their principle of 'wealth must be shared'- a phrase by which Chinese communists later on moved their party (Kungchantang) meaning 'Sharing Wealth Party' drew their strength from the same source.
Second Anglo-Chinese War (1856-60)
The immediate two causes of war were: a)Lorcha Arrow incident and b) Murder of Abbe-Chapdelaine. The joint Anglo-French forces advanced to Teintsin which serves as a sea port to Peking. The Chinese government sued for peace. The treaty pf Teintsin was signed (1858) by Britain, France, the USA and Russia, and it was only in 1860 that the treaty was ratified.
Empress Tzu-Hsi and the decline of the Manchus: After installing a minor child as emperor, empress Tzu-Hsi also known as Empress Dowager continued to govern China as regent for more than 30 years. She was a concubine of the emperor but well versed in literature and solely relied upon Confucian Ethics.
The Sino-Japanese war (1894-95) occurred in this period. It was fought over Korea which for centuries had been a vassal state of China. In this war the Japanese won victory after victory both on sea and on land. This victory of Japan led China to sue for peace. The treaty of Shimonoseki(1895) established the "full and complete" independence of Korea and provided for the transfer of Formosa and Port Arthur to Japan.
The Western imperialism from 1895 till the monarchy's over throw (1911)
The unequal treaties signed by China with Western powers Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Italy and new Asian power Japan was about "spheres of influence" and the helpless Chinese government felt that their country was about to be 'carved like a melon'. When the powers were engaged in the 'cutting of the Chinese melon' the USA's response was the doctrine of the 'open door' diplomacy towards China. All these events led China to realize that it needed reforms in Western methods, and so took an important step towards the 'hundred days' reform on the responses to western encroachments in China.
The 'hundred days' reform was a synthesis of the best in Eastern and Western knowledge and to build a new China on the foundation of that synthesis. All these anti foreigners feelings in China grew so much that a new rebellion known as "Boxer" or "Kung-fu" broke out in China, supported by Empress Dowager. Tzu-Hsi supported the movement from behind the scenes. The even power hastily raised an international army to suppress the 'Boxer' rebellion of China and it was suppresses the rising in a very short period.
Sun-Yat-Sen and the Monarchy overthrown-1911
Dr. Sun-Yat-Sen is regarded as the father of Chinese revolution. He was born in 1866 and in 1883, he joined a medical college at Hong-Kong and it was here that his revolutionary thoughts began to grow. It was in 1907 that Sun-Yat-Sen proclaimed his "Three People's Principles'
i) Principle of Nationalism ii) Principle of Democracy iii) Principle of People's Livelihood
Dr. Sun's revolutionary efforts met with success in 1911. He established the parallel republican Government headed by him as President. But China torn by factionalism, duplicity, adversaries till his death in 1925. In his death, he become its Lenin, its George Washington, its Napoleon, a legendary hero and the Patron Saint. His "will" to became the sacred canon of the party and his "Three People's Principles" the nationalist Bible.
The "May 4" Movement of 1919:
The "May 4" Movement of 1919 was a climatic point of the Chinese revolution. On this day the ministers of Peking marched on the government buildings where, at that very moment, they found the ministers hobnobbing with Japanese diplomats. After the marchers were fired by police, and a number of them arrested, a great wave of protest spread throughout the country. Indeed Communist ideology today gives a special importance to the movement and since May 4, 1919, the Chinese students have been in the forefront of the wave of nationalism which has swept the country from end to end.
Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Tse tung:
New leadership for the Chinese revolution now began to take shape. The two parties contesting for power –
I) Kuomintang or National People's Party ii) Kungchantang or Chinese Communist Party. The rivalries between these two Chinese leaders for the control of China resulted in a Civil War. It was this Civil war and rupture between the two parties that resulted in Mao taking his 'Long March'
The Long March 1934 :-
The communist forces under the command of Mao Tse-tung made a breakthrough in 1934, and set out on the "Long March(1934-35). The Long March took the communist armies over a distance of more than six thousand miles in one year's time. Over 90,000 men took part and only 20,000 reached the final destination. However, the Long March the rise of Mao as the leader of the Chinese Communist Party.
Mao Tse-tung and The War of Liberation and its Victory 1949:-
Mao formulated his ideas 'On New Democracy' in 1940 from his war-time base and placed this as the blue print for China. By 1949, all the main cities if China were liberated, and the US missions were forced to withdraw, taking Chiang Kai-Shek and the small, organized remnant of his army by American Transport to Taiwan (Formosa). With the whole of China in his palm, Mao Tse-tung's proclamation of the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949 was accomplished.
The Modernization of Japan: A Brief History
A complete scientific determination of the origins of the Japanese people has yet to be made, but it is evident that the early inhabitants of Japan were a mixture of races. Japan, called by its inhabitants Nippon ("origin of the sun"), is a chain of four large islands and innumerable small ones. The Japanese prefer to act as part of a group rather than as individual. It has a high sense of loyalty to the group and tends to conform very closely to its standards. The family is important in Japan and one of the most serious sanctioned in the society is fear of bringing shame in the family. Suicide is accepted form of protest or atonement, yet the suicide rate is much the same as that of western countries.
The isolation of Japan in the period 1637-1854 during the regime of the Tokugawa Shoguns was an abnormal feature in the history of the land. The Japanese throughout their history have shown the greatest eagerness to learn from the outside world whatever thy considered to be good for themselves and their country. The three faiths-Shintoism, through which the Japanese took pride in their past history, Buddhism, through which they thought of their spiritual and future life and Confucianism, through which the Japanese guided their present (Social life) - these three faiths followed their courses side by side enriching the national character and testifying to the wonderful capacity of the people for assimilating different elements and welding them into a harmonious whole.
The attempt to establish a centralized empire like that of China failed towards the end of the eight century and from the latter part of the 12th century down to the Meiji period the Shoguns, the heads of powerful military clans, dominated Japanese history and the Emperors receded into the background. But there was never an attempt to tamper with the imperial dynasty. Japan looked upon her dynasty as sacred as the very soul of the nation. Yedo, now known as Tokyo, became in the 17th century the political headquarter of Japan and the seat of the Bakufu- the court of the Shogun. A comparison with the Rana's of Nepal with its semi-divine, but powerless kings and all powerful prime ministers presented a close parallel till 1950-51.
But on the other hand during this period the Tokugawa Shoguns gave the Japanese people a sense of discipline and of unity which would prove to be a very valuable asset during the period of transition on Meiji times (1868-1912).
Coming of Commodore Perry 1853-54
The Americans, British and Russians had been trying during the first half of the 19th century to persuade the Japanese government to give up their policy if isolation and to open their party to foreign trade. But all these efforts had been in vain. The Americans were especially interested in Japan for its location being an ideal place for USA's coaling stations in the islands of Japan.
In 1853 a squadron of four large ships under the command of Commodore Perry steamed into Tokyo Bay to the great alarm of the Japanese government. The American officer of the ship insisted on the Japanese officials that a letter from the president of USA to be given to the Emperor without any delay. Commodore Perry handed over the letter to the Shogun as emperor in mistake and left Japan announcing that he would return next year to get the reply to the message of the President. Faced with Perry's threatening request, it took the unprecedented step of taking advice not only from the leading officials, but also from the emperor. The 250 years old policy of isolation had now become national policy and a reversal of it called for a national consensus. Amidst the conflicting views and advices, the Shogun took the momentous step of negotiations with Perry on March 31, 1854. Within four years the Shogun signed treaty with Russia, England, Holland and France providing suitable concessions for trade and residence.
The provisions in the treaties with the West caused heart burning in Japan, resulting in national watchword as "Expel the Barbarians" and this was followed by the slogan 'Revise the Treaties'. Meanwhile the anti-foreign sentiment reached a feverish intensity. The emperor, the nobles and most of the war lords were showing a bitter hostility to what they considered to be a cowardly policy of submission on the part of the Shogun to foreign pressure. They took care to point out that the Shogun's full title was "Barbarian-quelling Generalissimo" and hence his duty was to quell barbarians and not weakly yield to them. The watchword for the moment was "Restore the Emperor and expel the Barbarians'. The pressures by the Emperor, nobles and the war lords along with the Japanese people made the Shogun resign on November 1867 and retired from the political arena.
The Meiji period (1868-1912) (Enlightened Rule)
Meiji Emperor's address to his subjects after the restoration reflected the new mood of the leaders of the restoration. It indicated the trends that would transform Japan radically within the next few decades. This new course was embodied in the proclamation of a "charter oath". The proclamation by the Emperor Mutsuhito contained five articles with a promise of a deliberative assembly. Public opinion was to be consulted. The last article announced: "Wisdom and ability should be sought after in all quarters of the world for the purpose of firmly establishing the foundations of the Empire". Restrictions on the Japanese going abroad were removed. The Meiji restoration saw Japan facing the situation with confidence. Envoys were sent abroad to learn about international relations and world politics and students were encouraged to go to Europe and America for learning Western techniques and science. Thus it was no inferiority complex which drove Japan to pattern institutions on Europe and American models. It was not a case of 'aping' the foreigner. Mere imitation would have led to nothing. The Japanese had faith in their past traditions and there was the will to rise to the occasion- a will which nothing could bend.
The New Constitution 1889:
In 1889, the constitution which was framed after years of patient work was promulgated. It was a watershed in the history of Japan and was enforced in 1890. These changes brought about a spectacular economic advances and by her disciplined and diligent man power, their simple standard of living and the attention paid by the government. The armed force was modernized to meet external threats. In a war with China in 1894 the Great Powers believed that China would win. Contrary to their expectations, pigmy Japan came out victorious over giant China. All these events made Britain, who was looking for a friend in the East to abandon her policy of 'splendid isolation' for a Anglo-Japanese Alliance which was concluded in 1902. By 1904 Japan had to fight Russia on the question of Korea and she came out victorious in the war. The Russo-Japanese War (1894-95) had remarkable repercussions. 'Here was the greatest military power in Europe, which had been ceaselessly engaged for centuries in subduing one Asiatic state after another, vanquished by a small Asiatic nation. This fact revolutionized the political thinking of Asia', Hans Kohn.
The prestige gained and victory won by Japan made her go for 'Militarism' at home and imperialism abroad. In 1923 passed away the Meiji Emperor. He had lived and reigned during a great revolutionary period. Most revolutionary periods are anti-monarchal, but the Japanese revolution had for its rallying centre the person of the emperor.
The First World War and Japan:
The new Emperor was a chronic invalid; it was during this time that Japan entered the First World War on the side of Britain, Russia and France. After the end of the war, Japan as a victorious power, made her 'Twenty-One demands on China'. At the Versailles-Conference (1919) Japan took her place as one of the Big Five. She had at last attained the position in international politics for which she had been striving for half a century.
Japan between Two World Wars:
Japan after the war was able to channel her trade and commerce and export her manufactured goods to the Asian markets as Europe was unable to export. Soon Militarism was the cry and the militarists controlled the government. Just before the Second World War broke out, top men in the Japanese army tried every means to drag Japan into a full military alliance with Germany against England, France, and Russia.
On 7th December 1941 Japan war planes in a devastating raid attacked America's base at Pearl Harbor and so Japan entered the world war. Under the guidance of the Emperor Japan accepted her defeat in such a way that she earned the title of the "World's Worst Winner; Best Loser". The new constitution of Japan article 9 declared "The Japanese people renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation. Land, sea and air forces will never be maintained'. Japan could become 'the Switzerland of the Pacific'. Gen. Mac Arthur (1946).
Japanese name translated:-
1) Daimyo = 'Great name' or feudal lord. 2)Genro= The 'elder statesmen' of the Central government
3) Samurai=military class warrior 4)Shogun= the highest military-political leader in feudal Japan
India's Struggle for Freedom
"Slowly India recovered from the after effects of the revolt of 1857-58. Despite British policy, powerful forces were at work changing India, and a new social consciousness was arising. The political unity if India, contact with the west, technological advances, and even the misfortune of a common subjection, led to new currents of thought, the slow development of industry, and the rise of a new movement for national freedom. The awakening of India was two-fold: she looked to the West and, at the same time looked at herself and her own past". (Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India. P.330-31)
The Mutiny of 1857 may be rightly described as the first war of Indian Independence. It marks the beginning of the political consciousness of among the Indians. Though there is a controversy as to whether the Mutiny may be called as a National Movement or not, the majority Indian authors are of the view that it was a National Movement because a large number of people had participated in the movement. But the fact that people also participated and took active part in the movement, gave it a national character. This movement not only led to the political consciousness among the Indians but also led to the establishment of Indian Independence.
The Congress Party is generally called the soul of the National Movement because it gave a political shape to the movement. However, it would be wrong to say that other parties did not influence the movement. But the fact remains that the greatest contribution to this field was made by the Indian National Congress.
The following were the main causes of National consciousness:-
1. Political Unity: After the establishment of the British rule and expansion of its empire, the British aimed to bring all the territories under its sway, helped to awaken the feeling of political unity among the Indians.
2. The influence of the Western Education: Under the British rule, India came in contact with the Western countries. The Indians learnt a lot from the Western countries, particularly form Germany, Italy, Greece. The Indian students studying in European universities were influenced by Germany and Italy's unification. Beside this, the writings of the Western thinkers also encouraged the feeling of Independence, nationalism and liberalism among the minds of the Indians.
3. Spread of English Language: The British had introduced English language in India with their own selfish interest. The education of English language proved to be beneficial to the Indians. The educated persons of different provinces got an opportunity to come into contact with each other. This also helped to develop national feeling and political consciousness.
4. Contributing the social and religious reformers: Religion has always played a significant part in India from time immemorial. After the establishment of the British rule when the Christian missionaries started converting Hindus to Christianity, many religious and social reformers came on the field and started reminding the people about their glorious past. Raj Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Ram Krishna Paramhansa, Vivekanand etc did a lot in this connection.
5. Development of the Indian Press and Literature: The prominent paper which influenced the thoughts of the people were, "Indian Mirror", "The Amrit Bazar Patrika", "The Hindu", "The Bengali" etc. Besides the Press, Indian Literature also played an important role in the developing the political consciousness and the feeling of nationalism among the people. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, R.C Dutt and Rabindra Nath Tagore were some of the prominent authors whose writings made a great effect on the minds of the people.
6. Economic exploitation- From the very beginning, the British aimed at the economic exploitation of India. They took away raw materials from India and brought there their finished goods. The policy of economic exploitation of the Indian ruined the Indian industries and the Indian money was being taken by the British to their country.
7. Discrimination against the Indians in regard to their appointment in government services: In the beginning, no Indians were appointed on high posts. In 1869, Surendra Nath Banarjee passed the I.C.S Examination, yet he was not given any high position. The arbitrary and unjust policy of the British created a great discontent and unrest among the educated people of India.
8. Racial jealousies: The British looked down upon Indians as worthless beings and made cruel and inhuman treatment with them. The British were able to suppress revolts and Mutiny but were not able to suppress the feelings of nationalism of the Indians.
9. Indian Leadership: "The true leader is always led"- C.G Jung
"Leadership has extraordinary power. It can make the difference between success and failure…one individual and his or her leadership makes all the difference between success and failure." W.A Cohen.
The Indian leaders played a great role in the contribution of the development of nationalism in India. It was they who led the people of India to its freedom in 1947. some of the greatest Indian leaders were:-
i) Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1915), affectionaltely known as the Grand Old Man of India.
ii) Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1856-1915) was professor and principal of the Fergusson College.
iii) Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) was born in Brahmin family in Maharashtra and was staunch Hindu. He organized the Ganapati Festivel which has become a very popular event even till today.
iv) Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) at the age of 19, left for Great Britain to qualify far the Bar. He made a promise to his mother that he would avoid three things, viz, meat, wine and women.
v) Pt. Jawhar Lal Nehru
vi) Subash Chandra Bose
10. Imperialist policy of Lord Lytton: The acts of omission and commission of Lord Lytton accelerated the national movement.
11. The Illbert Bill controversy- The Bill was presented by P.C Illbert which authorized the Indian Judges to hear the cases against the British subjects and officers living in India. The bill was opposed by the Europeans living in India and it was forced to be withdrawn.
12. Foundation of the Congress: Alan Octavian Hume founded Indian National Union at the end of the ear 1884. This institution decided to organize an all-India Conference at Poone in March, 1885. This conference was attended by almost all prominent persons of the different provinces of India. This conference was subsequently renamed the Indian National Congress and Hume is regarded as the founder of Congress.
History of the Congress may be divided into following periods:
i) Reformation stage (1885-1905)
ii) Extremist or Militant Nationalism (1905-1918)
iii) Gandhi Era (1919-1947)
i) Reformative stage: - Since most of the members of the congress were from the cities and started to come in touch with the common people and the congress had its goal spelt out, that of independence.
ii) Extremism or Militant Nationalism: The congress was drifting away from the loyalty towards the British government and had started criticizing the policies of the government. Thus, slowly and gradually extreme and revolutionary nationalism was developing.
iii) Gandhi and Non-co-operation Movement: Gandhi entered the scene of Indian politics in the year 1915. By 1920 his power in the congress and popularity influence increased in Indian politics. In 1920 Gandhi started Non-co-operative movement. But his faith was shaken on account of Jallianwala Bag tragedy (1919). With a view to strengthen the unity of Hindu-Muslim, Gandhi extended his support and co-operation to the Khilafat Movement. Gandhi on March 12, 1930 took his famous Dandi March in regard to breaking the law on salt.
Some of the most Important Events:-
1) Gandhi- Irwin Pact signed on 31st March 1931
2) The British government passes the Government of India Act, 1935 which proposed for a Federation of India and provincial autonomy.
3) Cripps Mission 1942 brought a proposal that the Indians were to be given the right of drafting their Constitution after the end of Second World War.
4) Quit India Movement in which Gandhi on 8the August 1942 gave a speech of 'do or die'.
The British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act, 1947 according to which the Dominions of India and Pakistan became independent with affect from the mid night of 15th August, 1947. The constituent assembly completed the work of drafting the constitution of India on 26 January, 1949. The new constitution of India came into force from 26 January 1950/ India became a sovereign democratic republic standing for the justice, equality, liberty and fraternity.
Prime Minister of Great Britain who had has asserted that the British Empire would not bow to the 'half naked Fakir and that he had not become the King's First Minister to preside over the liquidation of the Empire" had been defeated by the 'Fakir' and his non-cooperation movement.
History of Nepal: Ancient Period in Brief
The ancient history of Nepal is shrouded in myths, mystery, mystique and legends. And yet this period of Nepalese history has galvanized and also fascinated the scholars, researchers and historians from all over the world alike. This period in the history of Nepal is famously or infamously named as the "historian's paradise", because of its many controversies over the interpretation of historical events, origin of dates, the name of dynasties and also the actual origins of kings' reign.
Firstly let us take up the case of the "Ancient Settlement of the Kathmandu Valley" which was in controversy among historians. However, in recent years, this controversy has been a non-issue as a repeat published recently from the Geological Society of Nepal along with a research book on this issue of the 'Ancient Settlement of the Kathmandu Valley" has revealed and also has confirmed that the "valley of Kathmandu had been in inhabitation since ancient times", when the water in the lake started to flow out from the "Chovar gouge" –S.R Tiwari p.11-12
Legends and chronicles of Nepal uniformly suggest of an organized rule by different dynasties in the ancient period. This was because geography played a great role in shaping the course of history and it also has diversity in physical features of the country and several ethnic communities of Aryan, Mongoloid and Astroloid stock are found living here. The Kiratas, Newars, Khasas, Tharu, Magar, Gurungs, Chepang, Satars, Danuwars and Sherpas etc are the most important ethnic group of Nepal besides the Hindus following Varnasam dharma. Despite variegated conglomeration of races, casts and creeds, their existed a deep unity among the Nepalese people.
The exploration and excavation in the neighborhood of Butwal found the fossil of Ramapithecus, the nearest ancestor of man, who could walk erect and also could move hands freely and had even the power of communicating their ideas with words.
Early history of Nepal:
The myth and legend stories of Manjushri and Banasura were both fabrication of Buddhist and the Hindu chronicles of the Kathmandu valley. In fact, the water of the valley, scientifically proved, got drained out on account of a gorge created at Chovar by tectonic movements. The only fact is that the Gopalas and Abhiras in the second half of the second millennium B.C (Pandey p.55) ruled the valley. They were supported to have migrated to the valley from the west with herds of their cows and buffaloes.
After the Gopalas, the Kirata appeared on the political scene of Kathmandu Valley. The chronicles reveal that this dynasty ruled Kathmandu for 32 generations, and for more than one thousand years rule. Yalamber has been designated the first king of the Kirata period. After the visit of Nepal by emperor Asoka the powers of Kiratas seems to have dwindled and by first century B.C. the Kirata rule came to an end. (p.57)
Licchavi Period(1st century A.D-879 A.D)
The Licchavi's are said by historians to have migrated from Vaisali (India) to Kathmandu Valley when they were defeated by King Ajata satru of Magadhay Empire. The Gopalas, Mahisapalas and Kiratas were living in the Kathmandu valley since ancient times. Many names of the localities and individuals or institutions occurring in the early inscriptions of Nepal are definitely of non-Aryan origin and belong to Mongoloid or pre Mongoloid language groups. D.R Regmi is of the opinion that when the deposed Licchavis of Vaisali came to Nepal and became its master, the old inhabitants of different communities or ethnic groups lost their identity in them. The social impact of the Licchavi's culture parented the social customs of the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu valley.
A large number of the Indian kings' coins have been found in the exploration at Kathmandu valley and other parts of Nepal. These findings of Indian coins have made some of the historians to come to the conclusion that Kathmandu Valley was under their subjugation which is totally mistaken.
Mandeva I (464 A.D-505)
The inscription of Mandeva I found in Changunarayan gives is the information of his mother Rajyawati being requested by him to act as a regent till her son Mandev I becomes mature after her husband's death. The inscription gives us information that on the death of King Dharmadeva his enemies started to revolt in the east and west. All these revolts and insurrections however were suppressed by King Mandeva I.
From the inscriptions of the time inferences can be drawn that Mandeva I was a great statesman and a builder. He us alone regarded as the first historical king of Nepal. The king built a palace called Managrh from where he ruled over his vast kingdom. He struck coins and gave patronage to God Vishnu. Although he was a Hindu, he provided equal patronage to the Buddhist faith. Mandeva is known by the name of "Samudragupta of Nepal." Mandeva's reign lasted for 41 years and died in 505 A.D. During his rule "the superstructure of the edifice of Licchavi Empire of Nepal, became complete." P.64
After the death of Mandev I his son died soon and others that followed were incompetent until Sivadeva I emerged as the ruler of Nepal. It was during Sivadeva I rule that Amsuvarman entered the service of the kings as a feudatory in 571 A.D. After his marriage with the daughter of Sivadeva I, who in 604 A.D abdicated his throne Amsuvarman lived in the Kailasakut bhavana and ruled Nepal from there till 622 A.D. During his rule of 14 years he circulated coins and he was the first ruler who gave peace and prosperity to the country. Even the Chinese traveler Hujen Tsiang (634 A.D) has highly praised him and his palace and his profound erudition and his statesmanship. In 592 A.D he married Princess Bhrikuti to Tibetan king Srog-chen-gampo and thus laid the foundation of deeper cultural ties between Tibet and Nepal.
The post Amsuvarma period (622-640 A.D) saw quarrels, conspiracy and betrayal among the rulers until Narendradeva (641-679 A.D) with the help of Tibet came to power.
Narendradeva was not only a great conqueror and statesman but also an able administrator. He entrusted the village Panchayats (also called pancali in his inscriptions) to look after problems of the village level and to forward only those cases to him which the village committees were unable to come to any conclusion of . The king issued coins of various denominations and his seat of administration was carried out from Kailasakutbhawan but soon he constructed a palace named Bhadradhivasa and the centre of administration shifted from Kailasakutbhawan to Bhadradhivasa.
During the rule of this king the dharma, artha and kama of the individuals of the state got fulfilled and they designated the king as "the full moon of the Licchavi sky". The king retired to a monastery as a monk in his old days for penances.
After king Narendra's death his third son Sivadeva II became the ruler and it was during his reign that in 705 A.D a war broke out between Tibet and Nepal in which Tibet got defeated.
The Last Licchavi Rulers (733-879 A.D)
History of the Licchavis becomes faint after Jayadeva II (713-733 A.D). The historians of Nepal take the day of the beginning of the Nepal Era (Oct. 20, 879 A.D D.R Regmi 1965:75-79) as the last day of the ancient period and the beginning point if the early medieval period. Hence, the history of the ancient period ends at this point.
Contributions of Ancient Nepal:
The most important contribution of ancient Nepal was in the field of art, architecture and Sanskrit education. Since the very beginning of the Licchavi period we find beautiful sculptures and bronzes of the Hindu and Buddhist deities made by the master artists of the country. The multi-roofed pagoda temples are indigenous to Nepal and they are supposed to have originated during the Licchavi times.
Ancient Nepal set a kind of standard in all spheres of life if the Nepalese, be it the political culture or even the social, religious, economic or artistic standards. The pattern of life commenced at that time is even alive in Nepal with slight changes owing to the modernization of Nepal.
1) The word "Nepal" is mentioned in the Licchavi inscriptions. The word "Nepal" is also mentioned in ancient literatures before the Licchavi period around 600 B.C. Even Kautilya mentions the word "Nepal" in his "Arthasastra". Mandeva I's inscription of Changunarayan also has the word "Nepal" written.
2) Different names of Nepal: - the Buddha literature mentions Nepal as "Himvanta Pradesh". Tibetans called Nepal as "Balyul" or the land of 'wool'. The Chinese traveler Huein Tsiang has given the name as "Ni-Po-Lo". The Europeans write as Nipaul (1972 Kirk Patrick), Nepaul, Nipal and Nepal (1818). So we have different names mentioned for "Nepal" from 1782-1866.
3) The origin of the word Nepal:- there is no consensus among scholars on the origin of the word Nepal. From the legend of "Ne muni" Nepal got its name. But historian Baburam Acharya puts his theory that the origin name of "Nepal" is "Nepar". Even Kautilya wrote in his Arhtasastra not later than 150 A.D that it was "Nepal". So Baburam Acharya's theory of "Nepar" is not substantiated by any concrete proof.
"You may agree to disagree with me"
Medieval Nepal (879 A.D-1769 A.D)
History is a continuous chain, linking every events of civilization with the other. The political unity that existed during the Licchavi period could not be sustained during the medieval period. The early part of medieval Nepal witnessed the emergence of three powers. In the latter part of the period, however, Nepal was divided into small petty kingdoms. The political history of Nepal was influenced by various forces. Therefore, while making an effort to give a clear picture of the political situation obtaining in the country during the medieval period; it is not possible to cover all the activities of those kingdoms in this paper.
The medieval history of Nepal begins in 879 A.D with the stray inscriptions found in temples, inns and water spouts, manuscripts colophons (inscription used by publisher and printers on the title pages of books etc.) and the chronicles such as the Gopala rajavamsavali which are guides to the study of medieval history.
Raghavadeva who is given the credit of initiating the Nepal Samvat (879 A.D) was the first king of medieval period. After his death and emergence of his son, the two illustrious kings after him, could not stop a political and administrative change of a dual rule in the kingdom. In this system, the joint rule between the father and son or between the brothers and nephews is likely. But the important aspect of such a rule was that, that the kingdom was divided but not independent sovereign kingdoms. Under this system of government two or more persons are declared rulers. A clear study of the manuscript colophons and inscriptions shows that the whole medieval period witnesses the dual rule administration in the Kathmandu Valley. One of the causes resulting in the dual system is the strong sense of collective feeling, collective work and sharing of burden. The tradition of undertaking social and administrative activities through Pancali (Panchayat) seems to have resulted in the sharing of the crown. Though this tradition had positive impact, yet it also sowed the seeds of dissension among the members of the royal families thereby weakening the political unity during the medieval period.
Despite the fact that the political fabric during the early part if medieval period was fragile, the kingdom of Nepal was not divided. At the time, however, Nepala-Mandala was divided into various Visaya(districts).
Economically and culturally during the medieval period Nepal developed trade contacts with both Tibet and India. The trade contacts by three main cities of the Kathmandu Valley and adjoining cities witnessed economic progress in Nepal.
The Nepalese history witnessed the advent of Tantricism among the people of Saivite and Buddhist cults which indicates the creativity and dynamism of the medieval society. In the field of arts, Nepali craftsmanship was appreciated and sought after by the neighboring countries. This age also saw the development of commercial settlements in the Gandaki and Karnali basin.Despite these positive developments, a situation had developed in Nepal endangering the very political unity of the country. First of all, the dual administration had weakened the centre and this was further aggravated by the absence of military power. "The rulers after the Licchavi period," observes Dhanvajra Vajracharya (an authority on the Licchavi and Medeival period p.79)" had granted the local organization the powers of self rule…and as there was no greater need of military strength, the later declined." During the Licchavi times, the local Pancayat organizations were made an integral part of administrative process by granting various kinds of rights to the people for their active participation in the affairs of the state. They also maintained an "intact army strength". The comparative study of Chinese accounts and Licchavi inscriptions makes the above observation very much clear. But this arrangement was not found in the medieval period. It appears that the military budget was curtailed due to the peaceful atmosphere prevailing then.
In the eastern and western districts of Nepal, the feudal lords seeing their opportunity of the weak centre at Kathmandu valley started establishing their own independent states.
The rise of Triangular Power
In the 12th century, Nepalese politics took a new direction as the rulers of the centre could not control the rise of power in the west and south. The Khas king Nagaraja established an independent kingdom in the west with Sinja as its capital. In the same way by 1097 A.D. the (Trihut) Doya king Nanyadeva of the Southern Tarai (Tiruth) established an independent kingdom with Simrangadha as its capital. Thus by the 12th century there was the rise of three kingdoms. They clashed and attacked one another frequently and began to seek military help from the third kingdom.
Though the Kathmandu valley prospered economically and culturally, it was militarily weak. On the contrary, the Khas kingdom of the west and the Tirhut kingdom in the Terai became militarily stronger. While the Khas kingdom was advancing and expanding its sway in the west and south by its military power under the able leadership of its king Jitarimalla, in Kathmandu valley, the kings were quarreling and fighting among themselves.
The establishment of the Khas kingdom in the west and the Doya's of Tirhute in the Terai, shook the valley kings in the centre. It realized that economic and cultural prosperit without military backing was futile in safe guarding its sovereignty and domain. As a result of this realization, the centre once again became stronger in the latter half of the 12th century.
With the coming of the Mallas in the center politics of the valley, two dynasties came to exist, one dynasty of the kings with Deva as their surname and another dynasty with Mallas as their surname. As these dynasties shared various similarities, a novel method of succession was introduced. According to this practice a simple formula was devised but too complicated to sustain. The method adopted was when king of the surname "Deva" occupied the throne; the rightful heir to the throne would be 'Malla' and vice-versa. This rule made the centre weak and also the palace became the centre of intrigues, internal conflict and power struggle. In this game if politics one side sought the support of the Khas kingdom and the other the support of the Doyas (Tirhute), and thereby paved the way for the interference and the incursion in the valley.
In this political turmoil in the valley, Rudramalla appeared on the scene, he did not belong to the royal family and was also not entitled to direct succession. But by his virtues he was made a joint ruler wit the king Anandadeva. Soon after his elevation he took care of the defense matters and soon an atmosphere of peace and security prevailed in the kingdom.
Meanwhile, a crisis developed in the Doya (Tirhute) kingdom. Emperor Gayasuddin Tughlaq of Delhi in 1324-25 was returning home after quelling a rebellion in Bengal. The king of Doya, Harisimhadeva saw the army of Tughlaq passing through his territory and feaing an attack took shelter at "Banudurga", while his capital city Simrangadh was completely destroyed by the Muslim army. Harisimhadeva never returned to his capital.
This Muslim invasion brought about a dynamic shift in the political balance of power of the triangular forces which existed in the past. Now only two contestant powers remained in opposition camps- one was the Khas kingdom and the other was the Malla kingdom of the valley. As they say, misfortune never comes alone, the able ruler Rudramalla died ar the age of 30 in 1326 A.D leaving a power vacuum in the valley. Seeing the situation in the valley conducive, the Khas attacked Nuwakot in 1327 A.D and entered Kathmandu valley. They ransacked and set fire and stayed for 22 days at Patan (Lalitpur) until the people agreed to pay a ransom. Since the capture of Nuwakot, the hold of Khas Kingdom extended in the west up to Gorkha.
Rudramalla had only a daughter named Nayakadevi, who was groomed by Devaladevi, the clever wife of Harisimhadevi of Tirhute. As Nayakadevi was the heir and only eight years old, she was married off to a prince of Banaras. The prince was however poisoned to death by conspiracy by the courtiers on the charge of calling in the Khas army to the valley. The next court drama unfolded when Nayakdevi was re-mariied to the son of Devaledevi with the full support of the courtiers. Meanwhile in 1346 A.D a daughter named Rajalladevi was born to Nayajedevi by her second marriage. Ten days later Nayakadevi died. On her death a new history was infolded on the valley. As Rajalladevi reached the age of eight, Sithitimalla was brought in as a bridegroom and married off with Rajalladevi in 1354 A.D. With this matrimony, the political situation of the valley went into the able hands of an able ruler-Sithitimalla.
However, no sooner had Sthitimalla come to power, Kathmandu Valley was attacked by Sultan Shamsud-din lliyas of Bengal in 1349 A.D. As the attack was from the east the first on slaught was on Bhaktapur then the capital of the calley. The king along with his people took shelter in the fort, then known as 'Banadurga' to save their lives. Meanwhile the Muslim Sultan ransacked and looted the temple of Pahupatinath and Swayambhu and then set fire to the Hindu and Buddhist holy places. Having caused such plunder and devastation he returned to Bengal. It took… and 25 years to reconstruct the damaged Pashupatinath and Swayambhu. This event is inscribed at Swayambhu Stupa dating 20 Nov. 1349 A.D.
From 1361 A.D til the death of the influential queen Devaladevi(wife of Harisimhadevi of Tirhute) in 1366 A.D. the palace politics in the valley was mired in conspiracy and intrigues, until Sthitimalla was able to crush his enemies in the battle fought at Thimi. This battle made Sthitimalla strong and he began to rule as 'Uparaja' (deputy king). Sithimalla at once set to organize and strengthen the central administration. Army was organized and strong forts were built at the several strategic locations. For the first time in many years Kathmandu Valley saw and enjoyed peace and security. Peeople's fear subsided and praised him for his able leadership and statesmanship. Seeing his popularity and people's support, Sithitimalla once availed the courtiers and the chief minister Jayasimharam support to overthrow the incumbent King Arjundeva in 1380 A.D. who died a year later.
Obscure by birth, Malla by adoption, prince by marriage (to princess Rajalladevi) and king by his dint of statesmanship. He saw the crown of the valley tossed up in the air, grabbed it and put it on his head and the people recognized him as the "Maharajadhiraj" (His majesty the king). This king, Sthitimalla who took pride in becoming the "husband of Rajalladevi all his life" was a skilled diplomat, a strategic tactician in quelling revolts and rebellion, against himself and the state and thus bringing peace and stability in the strife ridden Kathmandu valley.
Officially, the reign of Sthitimalla starts with the homage and offerings given by the nobles of Bhadgaun (it was the capital of the valley at this time) on 15th September 1382 (shah p.56). Therefore, with his ride the medieval history of Nepal takes a new turn. As the centre for a long time had been weakened and the feudal lords courtiers and the local chiefs (Kwathnayaka) frequently, conspired to usurp power at the centre. Internal conspiracy was the order of the day and foreign aggression on the capital took place due to weak administration. It was these circumstances that Sthitimalla showed his skill in his statesmanship by bringing the feudal heads, chieftains and the courtiers under his control. The administration machinery in the centre strengthened and foreign contacts resumed. For the first time Chinese delegation came to Nepal during the time of Sthitimalla, and a Nepalese delegation also visited China.
With the political stability established he started his famous social and economic reforms. He is renowned far and wide for his social and economic reforms which are still in practice today in the Kathmandu valley amongst the Newar community. Therefore he is known as one of the great social reformers, people enjoyed peace and happiness and learned men were honored and hence his great contribution to the advancement of learning.
King Joytirmalla was succeeded by his two sons the elder being Yaksa Malla and the younger one was Jivamalla who ruled jointly. Soon after Yaksa malla ruled alone and his reign lasted for 52 years. During this long rule once again the Kathmandu valley became prosperous.
In this period of history, the Khas kingdom of Karnali region had become weaker due to their internal conflicts. Seeing this golden opportunity, Yaksa Malla expanded his kingdom conquering Gorkha and Palpa in the west. He made the valley safe for any attack by securing the military strategic passage leading to Sakhu in the northern area under his control.
As soon as Yaksa Malla was able to secure the entry passes to the Kathmandu valley, he turned his attention towards his capital Bhaktapur which was fortified by high walls and strong fort doors. Outside the wall, deep pits were dug and securing his capital and formulating rules and regulations to the people on how to protect the fort.
After preparing his defenses, Yaksamalla launched his attack on Mithila and captured it but as no authority was imposed on it, it resulted in no command of the area and after his death, the expansion of the territories did not have enduring impact.
There is no doubt that Yaksamalla was a competent ruler, he made his impact felt in economic prosperity, literature, music, arts and religion and also erected various artistic temples in Bhaktapur and got various books written during his time.
After him his six sons ruled jointly but soon Ratnamalla was able to outshine his brothers by establishing his hold in Kantipur in 1448 A.D as an independent kingdom. This upsurge of Ratnamalla displeased his brothers and soon developed into a conflict resulting in the creation of three independent kingdoms in the kathmandu valley, Kantipur, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.
Kantipur: Kantipur had settlements since ancient times and when King Ratnamalla turned it into his capital it became the bone of contention and competition between Bhaktapur and Laitpur in all walks of life. Soon Ratnamalla died in 1520 A.D and was succeeded by his sons and then by his great grandson, the famous Mahendramalla. He was efficient leader and believed that political success must be balanced with economic prosperity and social reforms. He revived the old panchayat system. Among the Malla kings it was he who minted the silver coins. He made an arrangement for the silver coins of Nepal called "Mahendramalli". This "Mahendramalli", silver coin was approved abd accepted and also given the permission by the great Moghul Emperor Akbar (1542-1605) to open a mint in Kantipur and was to be circulated as legal tender through Nepal and in Tibet also (Regmi p.43. vol. II). He also made it a legal arrangement for the exchange of silver coin with the Indian coin. He also constructed the famous temples of Teleju and other temples. He died in 1575 A.D.
With the death of Mahendramalla, for 66 years the three kingdoms quarreled, conspired, and intrigue within the palace made the kings weak until and able and daring prince Pratap Malla, son of Lakshminarsimhamalla, at the age of 18 years upsurged the throne of Kantipur by jailing his father in 1641 A.D. A similar act was staged in India, when Aurangzeb (1658-1707) imprisoned his father Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658) in gilded marble palace from where he could have a view of the Taj Mahal which was then receiving final touches. The great Mughul Emperor died in prison in 1666 A.D.
Pratapmalla made Kantipur prosperous and trade with Tibet flourished. In his 33 years long rule, he employed his diplomatic skills in suppressing Laitpur and Bhaktapur by playing one against the other like a puppet on a string. He also cultivates friendship with Gorkha and Makawanpur by dint of his political diplomacy. His contribution to promoting arts and culture in Nepal can be seen at Hanuman Dhoka, the image of 'Hanuman' erected in 1672 A.D. His love for art, culture, literature and music is proved b his taking the title "Kavindra", a great poet before his name. He wrote poems in Sanskrit. He was also interested in stage craft and acted and performed on the stage. The only weakness with him was that he was given to wantonness.
In hid long reign of 33 years, he was not able to make a composite and institutional legal growth on his sons' progeny. In his death in 1674 A.D. Kantipur was shaken by insecurity and squabble among the sons, and the throne lay vacant for three months. As Pratapmalla's sons were minors, the reign of government was entrusted in the hands of Cautara Cikuti who was in 1687 A.D. implicated on the murder of Parthivendramalla, the second son of Pratapmalla. So with this death, once again the palace intrigues and conspiracy became the order of the day and prominent courtiers like Cikutu, Laksminarayan Josi, Bamsidhar, and Bhagiram (he was from Bhaktapur) were implicated in plots and counter plots. Out of this melee the cunning and scrupulous Cautara Laksminarayan Jodi with his nefarious design was able to secure his position unchallenged. As the saying 'as you sow so you reap' befell on Cautara Laksminarayan his opponent in 1609 A.D murdered him in cold blood.
The crisis in Kantipur was averted by the Cautara's murder, when the mother of King Bhupalendra, Rhidjilaksmi was able to get support of other kingdoms and also stablished the government. But soon Kantipur had to face a new problem when king Bhupalendra died and was succeeded by his infant son Bhaskermalla. The infant king was fortunate to have as Prime-Minister Jhagal thakur an able and popular minister.
By this time the Malla king of Kantipur was facing problem as King Bhaskarmalla was issueless. But soon Jagajayamalla was chosen as heir to the throne. After him the last Malla king of Kantipur Jayaprakasamalla ruled till Prithvinarayan shah conquest of the valley in 1768-69.
Jayaprakasamalla was a man of short temper, suspicious of his courtiers and a intriguer. Because of his temper, some of the courtiers wanted to remove him from the throne and replace him by his brother. Therefore, from the start of his rule, he was compelled to face the opposition of his brother. The strife at the court of the Mallas had led the Gorkhali leader Prithivinarayan Shah to capture Nuwakot and came up to Sakhu. The opposition group led by the noted courtier Taudhik Pradhan dethroned him and began to rule by themselves in the name of his son Jyoti Prakasa. Jaya prakasa staged a comeback and seized power and also prepared for the confrontation with Prithivinarayan Shah. While Jayaprakasa was going defensive and had not thought of a vision or a plan on how to throttle the Gorkhali attack, Prithivinarayan Shah had a clear-cut vision. In military strategy defense without offence and offence without defense is a death kneel, and so Prithivinarayan Shah in 1768 was able to take Kantipur. Jayaprakasa first went to Lalitpur and then to Bhaktapur wounded by a bullet in the battle at Bhaktapur. He died in 1769.
Lalitpur: From the political viewpoint, Lalitpur occupied an important place next to Bhaktapur. Among the Saptakutumbaja (seven families), three Mahapatars used to govern Lalitpur at that time. Lalitpur was then administratively divided into three Viharas- i) Daksina(South), uttar (North) and Jeystha. These seven families (Mahapatars) had established dynastic rule as feudal administrators. After the establishment of independent rule in Bhaktapur and Kantipur followed by conflict between the sons of Yaksamalla , Mahapatra Visnusimha had set up his government unchallenged by others. Therefore, credit must be given for the political sagacity of Visnusimha who made Lalitpur as independent kingdom.
After the death of Vishnusimha his sons ruled jointly. Now they tool the title of king instead of Mahapatras. As unity among the brothers did not last long, interference by Kantipur was imminent. After some squabbles matter was settled by an explicit agreement in 1620 between the brothers stipulating that one's enemy was the wnemy of the other's too. This agreement was at once given recognition by Kantipur. Thus Kantipur and Lalitpur were formally separated.
Lalitpur got a stable and prosperous kingdom under the able stewardship of Siddhinarsimha. It was during this able ruler that the defenses of the kingdom were strengthened and contact was made with Gorkha.
Siddhinarsimha was a religious man and a devotee of Lord Krishna. It was his love and submission to Lord Krishna that the constructed the famous temple of Krishna Mandir in 1636. he also constructed other temples at Lalitpur, which we can see even today. But because of his devotion to religious affairs, his son Sriniwasamalla rebelled against his father and created a parallel government. This discord between the father and son gave Kantipur's King Pratapmalla to intervene in the family feud. Pratapmalla did not miss this golden opportunity by siding with Sriniwasamalla and signed a treaty in 1638 with him. this was a diplomatic victory for Pratapmalla against his rival kingdoms of Bhaktapur, Gorkha and Makawanpur. In Lalitpur the father and son took to arms but the religious devotee king handed over the reign of power to his son in 1660 and left for India where he died.
Sriniwasamalla was an able ruler and took the title by calling himself Nepaleswara (the lord of Nepal) and had cultivated friendly relations with his formidable neighbors- Sen kingdom, Gorkha, Lamjung. In all his endeavors King Sriniwasamalla was advised and helped by Cautara Bhagirath Bhaiya. Showering his adviser with praises, Srinniwasamalla proclaimed, "There is no difference between me and Bhagirath Bhaiya. The people should pay respect to him equal to mine." This short of praises annoyed the crown prince Yogendramalla. The history repeated itself when the crown prince Yogendramalla revolted against his father who was forced to abdicate in favor of him. But in 1705 Yogendramalla died of food poisoning and Lalitpur once agin faced chaos and instable because the king was issueless. As every installed monarchs in Lalitpur were weak, the powers were gradually taken up by the six Pradhans of Lalitpur, who now became the king makers. Soon the six pradhans along with the people of Lalitpur chose Jayaprakash of kantipur as their king. The conspiracy of the six pradhans was such they installed and dethroned kings as they liked and even made the Gorkaha King Prithivinarayan Shah's brother Dalmardan Shah the king of Lalitpur. Again he was replaced by Tejnarsimha Malla. He was the last king of Lalitpur. In 1768 Prithivinarayan Shah conquered Kantipur and soon he also captured Lalitpur.
The whole political history of Lalitpur is of conspiracy, betrayal and intrigues with mistrust among the six pradhans for self interest and quarrel among themselves.
Bhaktapur: The history of Bhaktapur in contrast to Kantipur's palace intrigues and Lalitpur's instability and conspiracy was politically stable but lost her pride of the palace as the central capital of the valley. The division of the Kathmandu valley by Yaksamalla to his sons, Bhaktapur ws given to Rayamalla as his domain. After Rayamalla his sons and grandson ruled till we come to Jagajyotimalla. This ruler was a lover of the arts and learning and constructed the famous tank called Tawapokhari and introduced the famous Bisket jatra festival. Nest famous ruler to ascend the throne was Jagatprakasa Malla who had expertise in the field of music and wrote poems in Sanskrit and Maithali. Jagatprakasa had on his side one of the best advisors in the name of Candrasekhar, and he praised him in these words, " Candrasekhar is dearest to me than life" and also had a joint name inscribed 'Jagcandra'.
After the death of Jagatprakasa in 1672, his son Jitamitramalla ascended the throne. He was a peaceful man and a wise one, when he handed the throne to his son Bhupatindra Malla. Bhupatindra Malla signed a treaty with Gorkha, Makawanpur and Tanahi in 1701. He also was an adventurer. This can be seen by his capturing many elephants and renovated many damaged forts. His love for art and architecture is seen even today in the famous temple of 'Nyatapola', 'Bhairav Mandir' and the palace of 55 windows.
The last Malla king was Ranjitmalla, who was simple in nature but not naïve to palace politics and conspiracies. Ranjitmalla also cultivated friendship with the Gorkha King Prithivinarayan Shah. His intention behind establishing friendship with Prithivinarayan Shah was to capture the strategic areas like Sakhu, Cangu and Mahadeva Pokhari. But his diplomacy failed when Prithivinarayan Shah captured Bhaktapur and Ranjitmalla desired to spend his life in Banaras where he died.
Baisi Principalities: By the end of the 16th century, the Karnali region was divided into tiny principalities which numbered twenty-two or Baisi Rajya. These also included Jajarkot, Salyan, Rukum, Acham etc.
Chaubisi Principalites: King Yaksa Malla of the Kathmandu valley ahd once extended his sphere of influence upto Gorkha and Palpa. But due to the mutual bickering, conflict and scramble for power that followed the death of Yaksa Malla, the influence could not spread beyond Nuwakot. Therefore in the Gandaki areas too, the small kingdom of Sen, Shah, Chand, Samal etc. came to exist. Parbat, Chiring and Galkot were captured by Samals, Pyuthan by Chand, Dhor, Bhirkot, Nuwakot, Kaski, Lamjung by the Shah kings. As the nuber of these small kingdom reached 24 they were called the Chaubisi principalities.
Gorkha: Although Gorkha belong to the Chaubisi principalities, yet it was not counted as a part of the Chaubisi's. it was Drabya Shah who established a kingdom in Gorkha. Gorkha was financially weak, but the kings of this kingdom believed more in their ability to rule rather than through conspiracy. Ram Shah followed a liberal policy with justice. It was Drabya Shah who founded the Gorkha and it was strengthened by his grandson Ram Shah. The Gorkha state had an eye on Kathmandu valley for its wealth and expansion of the Gorkhali kingdom. It was in this light that Gorkha King Narbhupal Shah had attacked Nuwakot in 1737.
a) Raikar denotes land in which the state has traditionally exercised its rights to ownership and taxation.
b) Birta tenure emerged when the state divested itself of its ownership rights in favor of individuals in appreciation o military or other services or for purely personal considerations.
c) Guthi tenure was made in favor of individuals or institutions with religious and philanthropic motives. Religious considerations have invested the Guthi system with considerable sacrosancity with the result that lands once bestowed as Guthi have seldom been resumed by the state. Individuals too, endowed their Birta lands as Guthi, usually with religious motives but occasionally also to retain the lands in the family, since Guthi lands are non-alienable or to safeguard them from governmental confiscation or encroachment.
d) Jagir tenure were Raikar lands often assigned as emoluments to government employees and functionaries of different categories under Jagir tenure, while lands not assigned were known as Jagera.
e) Rakam tenure emerged when the traditional obligation of the people to render labor services on a compulsory basis was compensated in the form of allotments of Raikar or government-endowed Guthi lands.
f) Kipat means communal tenureship, under which lands in certain geographical areas are held only be members of particular communal grou[s, subject to the reversionary rights of the community. Several communities of Mongoloid origin owned lands under the Kipat system in both the eastern and western hill regions. At present, however, this form of land tenure is limited to the Limbu community in the far eastern hill region.
Note: Raikar and Kipat are thus the basic forms of land tenure, from the legal and administrative viewpoints. The Raikar system is based on the theory of state landlordship, while Kipat represents a customary form of land tenure which has gradually been adopted into the state tenure system.
"This throne of Nepal is a fort…A fort built by god himself."(Prithivi Narayan Shah's Divyaupadesh)
The Conquests of Prithivinarayan Shah and Unification of Nepal
The Chamber's Dictionary has defined unification as 'to make into one: to consolidate'. However the term unification itself means different things to different people. Here five degrees of union in terms of unification will be seen. This includes: military, political, legal, administrative, cultural and religious.
1) Military Unification merely the expansion of one state at the expense of another. This is a very feeble kind of unification, it will persist only so long as the state has military superiority.
2) Political Unification involves more when the administration of the conquered state is brought directly under the victorious state's control. In this grade of unification, the opponents are almost all citizens of the conquered state, and they exercise the role of masters in the state territories. This type of unification is also weak and usually generates areas of reaction and opposition, which will disrupt the unity, if opportunity arises.
3) Legal and Judicial unification is a third degree unification, and this produces a much strong form of unity. In this the law and the judicial customs are applied under the same legal structure and the citizens of both states are equal before the law.
4) Administrative unification is an essential step for the formation of a strong unified state.
5) Cultural and Religious unification means that there be a religious and cultural assimilation such that the citizens of the conquered states feel at ease with one another and that there be a gradual assimilation such that the citizens of both states enjoy some common practices, even when there may be considerable difference of belief. Language, as a part of culture, is also involved here and a common language is a strong bond in the final unification.
Obstacles to unification faced by Gorkha State:
The first obstacle was the geographical barrier of the mountains which hampered communication links. Secondly, there was the economic factor with a small agricultural society of the time. Thirdly was the small financial revenues to finance a war of any proportion. Fourthly, the shortage of soldiers, in terms of military conquest. Fifthly, the size of the BaisiRajyas and Chaubisi Rajyas in population (in Roofs) of some of them were greater in numbers.
Shah's of Gorkha:
It is interesting that the Gorkha royal house was closely related to several Chaubisi royal houses by marriages, the state of Khanchi, Palpa, Parbat and Tanahun. All this notwithstanding, the principalities were hostile to Gorkha and often invaded it jointly during Prithivinarayan Shah's time.
Evidences about the origin of the Gorkha dynasty very greatly, but the fact that the sources agree wholly as to the Rajput ancestry of the family from Chittor and one Bhupal Ranaji exerted the central Himalayan region and reached Lasargha near Ridi in 1417 A.D (Regmi p.19. vol.I). Bhupal Ranaji handed his principality to two of his sons, Khancha and Micha, the latter more commonly known as Michakhan (According to some their names were Harihar Sinha anf Ajaya Sinha). Michakhan became the ruler of Kaski(Pokhata), Nuwakot which was destined to play an important role in future. The successor of Michakhan was a able ruler by the name of Kulamandan Shah who succeded in overthrowing the powerful Magar chieftains of the north thus enlarging the domain of the emigrant Rajputs in that part of the Himalayas.
Note: see the photocopy of the Shah Kings from Dravya Shah. Source: Facts about Nepal. Publication: His Majesty's Government Press, 1975 p.4-5
The Dream of Unification by Conquest: First Stage of Prithivinarayan Shah
The ruler of Gorkha Narabhupal Shah had four queens. His first wife, the princess of Khanchi named Chandraprabhawati, the second, the princess of Palpa named Kausalyadevi. Later he married the grand-niece of Buddhimati of Parbat king and the last queen was the daughter of Tanahun King by the name of Subhadrawati.
Prthivinarayan Shah's mother had given him a premature delivery on the seventh month of conception in Jan. 7, 1723. Prthivinarayan Shah being the eldest by birth was nominated heir apparent to the Gorkha throne. The nomination created a dispute over succession, but his brother three months younger had died in his very infancy and so the question of succession became undisputed. His father Narabhupal Shah had married four wives and from each except the first he got couple of boys out of which five survived.
Queen Queen Queen Queen
Chandraprabhawati Kausalyadevi Buddhimati Shubadrawati
(Sons) (Sons) (Sons)
No issue 1)Prithivinarayan Shah 1)Sura Pratap Shah 1) Mahoddam-
2) Dalamardan Shah -Kirti Shah
3) Prthivipal (died young) 2) Dalajit
King Narabhupal Shah had five sons- Prthivinarayan Shah, Mahoddan Kirti Shah, Dalamardan Shah, Dalajit Shah and Surapratap Shah. He also had five illegitimate sons, of which Rana Rudra Shah had played a significant and crucial role during Prithivinarayan Shah's campaigns.
Prthivinarayan Shah was trained and groomed in the art of government not by his mother but his able and scrupulous step-mother Chandraprabhawati. In 1793 he was appointed a co-regent along with his step-mother and got practical experience of the government and was brought in close contact with some of the military stalwarts of his time. He was a master of military strategy though an intriguer, an experienced diplomat, and all in war and diplomacy he wonderfully achieved without the very rudiments of education and training. His education consisted of a few elementary books like Chanakyaniti wtc. His teacher was Arjyal family but during his Diksa Mantram and Gayatrimantram, Shri Harsha Misra ministered both mantram by converting "Shah's Bharadwaj" gotra to that of 'Kashyap' gotra.
Prithvinarayan Shah in 1737 had witnessed his father Narabhupal Shah heavily defeated while fighting in Nuwakot. Headed by the Panthas, Khasa and Magar army, which was to become his most trusted and cherished soldiers in his conquest campaigns. An element of ambition was always there in his scheme of conquest and nobody could deny that he was primarily a conqueror and all his intentions were woven round his desire to conquest (Regmi p.89)
Prithivinarayan Shah began his career as a master of the House of Gorkha at the age of twenty, conqueror at forty-seven and father of his country by the time of his death at the age of fifty-three. The pertinent question is "Why Gorkha?" and not other powerful states, the answer is 'because Prithivinarayan Shah of the House of Gorkha provided the vision and the leadership that galvanized this state to concerted action and sustained it to the moment of victory(Stiller p.97)'
As Narabhupal Shah had his eyed on the conquest of Kathmandu Valley, he therefore wanted an ally on the South gate that was Makawanpur. He played the marriage alliance diplomacy by marrying Prithivinarayan Shah with Indrakumari, the daughter of Hemakarna Sen, the king of Makawanpur. There arose, however, a flimsy quarrel between the groom Prithivinarayan Shah and bride's party at the time of departure and Prithivinarayan Shah was sent back without his bride. Next year when he went back for his bride he had verbal quarrel with his brother-in-law Digabandhan Sen and this time also he returned to Gorkha empty handed. This humiliation at Makawanpur, Prithivinarayn never forgot.
But his visit to Makawanpur was of great significance in the history of Nepal. While returning from Makawanpur he had a view of Kathmandu Valley from Chandragiri mountains and desired to conquer the Valley. He sought the advice of his uncle crown prince Udyat Sen of Palpa, who advoced him that "Lamjung is called a Garud. Gorkha is called a Snake. Nepal, a Frog. The snake must deceive the eyes of the Garud and then it can eat the frog." Dibya Upadesh L.75.p.40
The advice was materialized in 1739 when an alliance was signed between Gorkha and lamjung which stipulated in a treaty which had:- 1) Gorkha-Lamjung will live peacefully as neighbors. 2) In case of Kaski and Lamjung in war, Gorkha promised to help Lamjung. 3) Lamjung supported Gorkha's east conquest and promised not to interfere in Eastern expansion. (T.R. Mandlar p.179)
According to historian BabuRam Acharya, Prithivinarayan Shah had visited Bhaktapur and made his inspection of Bhaktapur defenses as he was the guest of his "mitbaba"(p.272, Gorkhako Ithihas vol.I) King Ranajit Malla and also visited his mitjyu p.266 Ibid) King Jayprakash Malla of Kantipur.
Prthivinarayan Shah was not only a man of decision, he was also realist enough to recognize the complexity of the task he was undertaking. Besides the strength of the valley, Prithivinarayan Shah was aware of its weakness. Striking out of the valley to the north-east and south-west were the two main arteries of the Tibet trade. Thery crossed the Himalayas through the passes located at Rasuwa and Kodari, passed trhough Kyrung and Kuti, and then led onwards to Lhasa. Along these mountain routes from time immemorial had moved the stuff of the Tibet trade. It is an interesting fact that the Tibetans possessed no coinage of their own. But given the fact of a coinless society, the normal media of exchange between Kathmandu and Tibet were the silver ingot or the pouch of gold dust. Both of these were difficult to compare and handle. The profit from these exchanges was considerable, and this was a constant source of friction and a cause of strife between the Malla kings. The north-western route, through Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Kyrung was controlled entirely by Kathmandu. But the north-eastern route, the more practicable of the two, passed between the towns of Sankhu and Changu in the valley, leaving the valley inder the shadow of the forts at Naldum and Maladev Pokhari. It was consequently in a very vulnerable position.
The valley was a formidable fortress built by 'god himself'. The Kathmandu valley itself, measuring roughly twenty by sixteen miles, is surrounded by high and low mountains, whose social spurs average about 6,000 feet. To the north lies Shivapuri. To the west lie Lamidanda and Chandragiri. While along the southern side of the valley lies Phulchowki, whose ridges reach around to the east, completing the valley rim.
The valley is famously known as the Char Bhanjyang, the four passes. Although the ridges can be crossed at many saddles, there are only four practicable passes into the valley, and these are easily controlled. Nuwakot, to the north-west gate of the Valley, is the most important defensive point in that quarter. The north-eastern gate us guarded by Naladum and Mahadev Pokhari. The western gate, between Lamidanda and Chandragiri is guarded by Dahachowk.
Prithivinarayan's tactics leaned heavily on diplomacy, strategy and military for victory from within and a surprise attack. In terms of military objectives, Nuwakot was the most critical one. it guarded the approach to the valley, and control of it would secure Gorkhali lines of communication. It lay practically on the border of the territories of Kathmandu and Gorkha, and the position itself was very formidable. In addition to that tactical problem, there was the problem of securing and understanding with the kingdom of Lamjung which was situated on the Western border of Gorkha for its neutrality.
Prithivinarayan Shah for this scheme (an outline of a plan or theory) deputed Kalu Pande to arrange a diplomatic treaty with Lamjung and in this Kalu Pande was successful in fulfilling Prithivinarayan Shah's scheme of things. (Dibya Upadesh p.6 on Kalu pandey appointed as Kazi story).
After Prithivinarayan Shah's second defeat in Nuwakot, he realized that without sufficient arms he would not be able to conquer the valley kingdoms. Within one month his defeat, he along with his Bhardars went on a visit to Banaras. His pilgrimage to Banaras had two aims- firstly to procure arms and secondly to study the situation in British India.
It was during Banaras visit that he married Abhiman Singh's daughter, Narendra Laxmi, this was his second marriage, and also procured guns for his next attempt on Nuwakot.
After diplomatic solution, Prithivinarayan Shah was free for his military objectives. The first of the objectives was Nuwakot.
The Malla forces at Nuwakot were under the command of Jayant Rana, formerly Gorkha. Prithivinarayan Shah tried to win Jayant Rana over to his side as he was originally from Gorkha. But Jayant Rana refused to align himself with Prithivinarayan Shah because he had accepted the 'salt' of the Malla King JayaPrakash.
And so the die was cast: Prithivinarayan divided his forces into three groups. The first, under the command of Kalu Pande, the second was to be under Mahoddam Kirti Shah. While the third was to follow, Prithivinarayan Shah himself. In 1744 the attack was launched and the success was total. The Gorkha's had won their first major victory of the long campaign to conquer the valley. Jayant Rana was captured and was flayed alive. This act of Prithivinarayan Shah has been justified by historian Baburam Acharya by saying that, 'this was a lesson for anti-patriotic' person. However, this act cannot be justified in anyway, it was a cruel act.
The victory over Nuwakot alarmed Lamjung and Kaski who were then pacified by a secret alliance with both the principalities.
The capture of the strategic trade route to Tibet was a surprise to Jayapraksh Malla, who was helpless in front of Prithivinarayn Shah's war plans. However, on 24 February 1746, Kathmandu mounted a massive counter attack against the Gorkhali at Naldum and in this battle the commander of Gorkha troops, Shivaram Singh Basnyat was killed. Jayaprakash Malla quite naturally tried to follow up his success at Naldum by a determined effort to dislodge the Gorkhali's from Nuwakot. For this effort he appointed Kasi Ram Thapa as commander, who, brimming with confidence on his first victory over the Gorkhlais, rashly promised to drive Prithivinarayan Shah back across the Trisuli river.
The victory over Nuwakot had given Prithivinarayan Shah the confidence to shift some of the prominent offices from Gorkha to Nuwakot. As this place was strategically located, every efforts was made to build forts around the place. It was from this place that Prithivinarayn Shah started issuing coins.
The gain of Nuwakot to one was a severe blow to Jayaprakash Malla, as now he was cut off from the lucrative trade route to Tibet.
In Kathmandu, however, the reaction was one of stunned disbelief. The palace conspiracy reached its boiling point. Kasi Ram Thapa who lost to the Gorkhalis went to Palanchowk instead of coming back to Kantipur. He was suspected of betrayal to Jayaprakash Malla who reacted by sending men to murder him. this cowardly act of Jayaprakash Malla alienated the Bhadras (nobility) of Kantipur palace. In this murder of Kasi Ram Thapa, he had also so alienated the Khas, Magars and the leading Bhardars of the valley that there was no one to whom he could turn to give him the military leadership and the financial support that the new state of affairs required. In the words of Stiller, " He was, hamstrung by the results of his own impulsive act, and in the existing circumstances he was useless to the people of the valley as a leader." P.115. without difficulty his enemies along with the queen succeeding in stirring up the people to depose him and place on the throne of Kathmandu to his eight-year-old son, Jyoti Praksh. Taudik Kazi became the minister accepting a compromise with the Gorkhalis.
With Nuwakot, Naldum and Mahadev Pokhari in their hands, the Gorkhalies turned their attention to Lamidanda. As by this time Lamidanda was in the hands of Tanahun, Kalu Pande was able to convince the raja of Tanahun that he should not give any rights on the ridge of Patan, but rather to Gorkha. The Patan delegation was forced to return empty handed and Gorkha established its first hold on Lamidanda in August 1747.
After completely controlling Nuwakot, Prithivinarayan Shah's war campaign took a rest (reprieve) for almost twelve years which can be called 'Rest Years'. During this period Prithivhinarayan Shah started in fulfilling his three objectives.
1) To conquer on the East of Kathmandu Valley:
The periphery areas of Kathmandu valley, already restive under Jaya Prakash's rule were in a mood to welcome Prithivinarayan Shah's overture. Seeing the mood of the hill men, Prithivinarayn sent a letter to Parsuram Thapa, brother of the murdered Kasi Ram Thapa, promising him protection, guaranteeing his fields and income and to revenge on his brothers murder, if he should see fit to cast his lot with Gorkha.
Parsuram Thapa responded to an agreement with Prithivinarayn Shah and convinced the king of Bhaktapur, Ranjit Malla that he would get the villages of Sankhu and Changu, while Gorkha would get the forts of Naldum and Mahadev Pokhari. The joint forces of Gorkha and Bhaktapur attacked Jaya Prakash forces who was defeated. According to the arrangement, Changu and Sankhu were turned over to Ranjit Malla in 1746. This was a devastating set back to Jaya Prakash, who realized that he had not only lost the command of eastern approaches to the valley, but also his position in Kathmandu. His courtiers awakening to the Gorkhali threat began to demand action which Jaya Prakash could not undertake. He was deposed by his courtiers and his eight year son Jyoti Prakash was placed on the throne. Taudik Kazi became the minister with full powers in his hand.
2) The trade with Tibet
After Prithivinarayan Sha's victory over Nuwakot, he still felt that he was financially weak and in difficulty. Since the army had to be developed and its fire-power increased by the purchase of more muskets and ammunition, some other source of revenue had to be found. At this juncture Prithivinarayan turned to the money market of Tibet. From his letters we find that he was in serious need of cash and that he expected to improve his position by carrying on a significant trade in gold and silver bullion. The gold was then sent to him at Nuwakot, where he sold it to Indian merchants who had come there in search of it. since gold sold even in the Nepal market for as much as fourteen rupees a tola1, it is clear that Prithivinarayn Shah had hopes of gaining substantial profits for his military needs. Now with this trade with Tibet Prithivinarayan Sha's financial condition became strong.
3) Distancing the Chaubisi Rajas from Kathmandu Policies
After Prithivinarayan Shah captured Nuwakot by the sword in 1744 and also the areas adjoining the Kathmandu Valley, the Chaubisi Rajas, specially Lamjung and Parbat principalities became very suspicious of Prithivinarayn Shah's designs. Since Lamidanda was now under the Gorkhali control, Tanahun also grew suspicious because its border was adjoined to the ridges. Therefore, Lamjung, Tanahun and Parbat became allies by necessity against Gorkha. Meanwhile, the Gorkha had upset the balance of power among the hill rajas, and not even their diplomacy, bribe or any other coaxing could prevent them from banding together to force Prithivinarayan to moderate his ambitions. In May of 1755 they crossed the Chepe River (Lamjung, Parbat, Tanahun and Kaski) to compel the Gorkha troops to withdraw from Sirhan Chowk Gardhi, which the four allied powers of Chaubisi rajyas immediately seized. This was apparent a precarious situation for Prithivinarayan Shah, who did not take this serious challenge lightly.
However, Prithivinarayn tactic was to do the expected in the most unexpected way. The attack which the Chaubisi's were expecting never came. The prolonged stay of the Chaubisi forces, made the peasants of the area, who were doing jhara services to carry supplies very anxious and nervous. Nearing the end of the rainy season of July, the Gorkhali force counterattacked with savage fierceness that drove the invaders from their posts and sent them scurrying back the Chefe River and Sirhan Chowk taken back. It would be nine years before the Chaubisi would again venture a suicide mission to curb the Gorkhali advances. While Prithivinaryan Shah was confronted with the Chaubisi rajas, Jaya prakash Malla was able to take possession of the fact on Shivapuri and weaken the supply line of the Gorkha force to Naldum and Mahadev Pokhari.
During this time a row and enmity between the powerful minister of Patan, KaliDas and King Jaya prakash malla of Kathmandu had arose. Seizing on this opportunity, Prithivinarayn Shah at once attacked and seized some parts of Patan's territories led by his able general Kalu Pande. The general without much hindrances and war was able to come right up to Pharping by Chitlang. Now Prithivinarayn Shah concentrated his efforts on the western side of the valley, Kirtipur was his target.
May 1757: First battle of Kirtipur:
After defeating the Chaubisi Rajas Prithivinarayn concentrated his efforts on the western side of the valley, strengthening his position there and extending his hold over the villages of the area. It was only in May 1757 that Kirtipur was his target. It was an important town inside the valley, but very strategically placed on a hill. Several aspects of this first battle for Kirtipur stand out as important. Firstly, Kalu Pande, had the opinion that Prithivinarayn's ambition on attacking Kirtipur at this time was premature. The second was the spirit of unity among the three kingdoms of the valley. Jayaprakash Malla was able to unite the kings of Patan RajyaPrakash Malla, even the friend of Gorkha king, Ranjit Malla of Bhaktapur sided with Jayaprakash Malla. This unity against the Gorkha proved to be more than what Gorkha army had expected. The twelve hour attack ended disastrously for the Gorkhalis with Kalu Pande falling in the battle and Prithivinarayan Shah himself escaping a sure death and withdrawing back to Nuwakot.
The Gorkhali weakness, of course, can be explained in these terms:
1) the unity between the three valley kings was initiated and planned by Jayaprakash Malla of Kantipur (Kathmandu).
2) Prithivinarayan Shah's financial policy in Tibet was not a success. So he wanted to have an 'economics of war' policy by which his war which was having 'financial burden' on the Gorkhalis state would sustain.
3) The leadership of Kantipur's King Jayaprakash Malla in forging an alliance against a common enemy- the Gorkhalis.
After the humiliating defeat of Prithivinarayn Shah at Kirtipur, he started to placate Jaya praksh Malla to his side. His perseverance and assurances at last resulted in a commercial treaty with Kantipur in 1757. The treaty stipulated
1) the currency of both the countires- Gorkha and Kantipur, were to be legal tenders
2) both the kingdoms agreed to send pure Silver coins to Tibet and to have an equal share in the gold for barter.
3) Gorkha and Kantipur would have their Vakill (representatives) at Lasha.
4) Gorkha would take Patan, while Kirtipur would get back Naldum.
5) Both kingdoms agreed to keep representatives at each others court.
6) Gorkha promised Kantipur that its trade with Tibet via Nuwakot would not be hampered.
However this treaty was limited to paper only, it really did not come into force. After conquering most of the towns outside the Kathmandu Valley, Prithivinarayan Shah started his 'economic blockade' of the valley, specially 'Salt' and 'Cotton' strictly forbidden to enter the valley.
- Kirkpatrick p.212
Prithivinarayan Shah's failure at Kirtipur was a severe blow to the Gorkhalis. But soon the Gorkhalis rallied under Prithivinarayan Shah for new campaigns. From 1759 to 1760 the Gorkhalis were able to take back Palanchowk and the fort at Kabre. After this burst of military activities there was a lull in the campaign for two years. When hostilities resumed, Prithivinarayn Shah focused his strategy to the south of the valley, apparently to isolate the Kathmandu valley to the South.
Gorkha's Victory over Makawanpur: The father-in-law of Prithivinarayan Shah and King of Makawanpur, Hamkarna Sen had died and was succeeded by his son Digbandhan Sen. As their enemity between the two, plus Digbandhan Sen had allined himself with the Mallas against Prithivinarayn Shah, this had further aggravated their relationship.
In August 1762 the Gorkhalis over rn Digbandhan Sen's capital at Makawanpur, following this by the capture of Sindhuli and Hariharpur. Thus the Gorkhalis had cut off completely the southern approaches to the valley, and the stringent economic blockade of the valley became a reality. The victory over Makawanpur was necessary for Prithivinarayan Shah on two main accounts- 1) Without Makawanpur, his economic strangulation would not have materialized. 2) Till this time Prithivinarayb had only won the hilly regions and not the fertile lands of the Terai areas.
However, the conquest of Makawanpur an independent kingdom had some of its Terai lands as a Zamindari of Nawab Mir Kasim of Bengal. When Digbandhan Sen along with his minister Kanaksingh sought help from Bengal's Nawab Mir Kasim against Prithivinarayn Shah, he readily accepted the offer because he had heard 1) that Nepal was the land of gold, and if gold could be brought to Bengal, his economic conditions would improve. 2) The force which he had organized against the British could be tested on the battle fields of Nepal.
Gurgin Khan led the Nawab's troops into the hills, and he enjoyed initial success. Prithivinarayn in a letter to Ram Krishna Kunwar (was great grandfather of Jangabahadur) dated 1763 ordered him to strike the Nawab troops who were camped in Harnamadhi by using Jhara forces. The Gorkhalis attacking from the heights and under the cover of darkness confused the Nawab's forces that they fled by any means they could, leaving behind several small canons and five to six hundred muskets, plus other supplies that were invaluable to the Gorkhalis.
As King Digbandhan Sen was able to escape and run away from the advancing Gorkha force, his wife and daughter were captured by the Gorkhalis and at last he surrendered to Prithivinarayan Shah, who put him in prison in Nuwakot.
The victory of Makawanpur gave Prithivinarayn Shah the control of Bara, Parsa, Sarlahi and Mahotari and many of the Terai areas.
The Gorkhali success against the muslim invasion from the South was followed in October 1762 the conquest of the main obstacle, Dhulikhel.
The economic strangulation of the valley becomes clear from the two letters sent by Prithivinarayan Shah to Ram Krishna Kunwar that no salt, cotton, grain or other goods were to be permitted to enter the valley. Brahamans who attempted to violate this blockade were to be imprisoned. All others were to be killed and left along the way as a grim warning to other would-be blockade-runners.
When Prithivinarayn Shah came to know of the plan of invasion by the Chaubisi Rajas against his blockade, he at once dispatched his brother Surpratap Shah and his 'special' army against the Chaubisi, who was able to rout them. This defeat made the Chaubisi Raja's not to interrupt the economic blockade of the valley.
1764 Second defeat at Kirtipur:
With the surrounding areas of the valley completely under Gorkhali control and the Chaubisi on the defensive, Prithivinarayn Shah turned his attention once again to Kirtipur. He had not forgotten the humiliation and disastrous defeat by the combined attacks of the three kingdoms of the valley and a strong resolve of the people of Kirtipur.
Kirtpur was well fortified. The Gorkhali troops began occupying the villages in the immediate vicinity of Kirtipur, Panga to the south and Chowbar to the south-east. The tactics was to scale the wall with ladders and thus carry the flight inside the city. The leader of the Gorkhali was Surapratp Shah who on 16 September 1764 started the attack, which was extremely dangerous. Surapratap scaled the fort wall, but was struck by a stray arrow, which pierced his left eye. The Gorkhalis without its leader were confused at the first and then withdrew from the scene. Once again Kirtipur had proved to be a greater military problem than the Gorkhalis could master.
When Prithivinarayn Shah got the news that for the second time the Gorkhali troops had suffered a setback at Kirtipur, he was more than determined to attack it by any other tactics at his means.
In the meantime, seeing the Gorkhali setback at Kirtipur JayaPrakash Malla started a fresh attempt to break out of the Gorkhali stranglehold. Jayapraksh decided to take Naldum with Nagarkot's Khas, and Magars had his soldiers to fight the Gorkhalis. But by accident of fate, when Jayaprakash Malla was almost within his victory, the reinforcement of Gorkhali troops played havoc on the enemy camp, and drove them off the hill. Thus Jayaprakash Malla's attempt to break the blockade was defeat, and the blockade remained in force.
Third Attack on Kirtipur October 1765 and its defeat:
In October 1765 the Gorkhalis returned to the attack of Kirtipur. The commander for this attack was given to Kazi Bamsaraj Pande who systematically set up their outposts and put the city under siege. The people of Kirtipur had already cut their grains, but were still drying in the fields when the Gorkhali's moved into the area. Water also was a problem and this under the control of the Gorkhali troops. For six months Kirtipur resisted but finally in the Mid-March of 1766, the gates of the city were thrown open at night and the Gorkhalis possessed themselves of the town and its fort. After their victory the Gorkhalis followed their usual practice of rewarding and punishing their supporters and adversary. In this case the punishment was cutting off the tips of the noses of many and lips were split of some.
The question of the cutting off the tips of the nose and lips of Kirtipur has been mooted by some of the writers. But Baburam Acharya, D.R. Regmi however do admit this kind of punishment although with doubt1.
There was an immediate reaction to the Gorkhali conquest of Kirtipur both inside and outside the Valley. Lamjung of the Chaubisi made a move to invade Gorkha from the west, but this was suppressed without difficulty in September 1766. Jayapraksh Malla's reaction was more serious. He solicited military aid from the East India Company.
The British decision to intervene on behalf of Jayaprakash Malla against Prithivinarayan Shah's Gorkha forces was a new development in the history of Nepal. For this expedition Captain Kinloch was chosen by the East India Company. From the very first moment of Capt. Kinlok's ill-fated expedition of his omission of glaring proof of his ignorance of the geographical terrain of the Terai during the monsoon and aulo season, without proper arrangement for provisions resulting in total disgrace.
Prithivinarayn Shah's war strategy was a classic Sun Tzu's (500 BC) case on the use of the terrain in mountain warfare. He adopted the strategy of 'withdrawing his garrison' and making the British dictum of the classic, " Draw them in with the prospect of gain, take them by confusion" ( Shambhclaed. P.50)(not much needed to the students)
He then sent out an army under Bir Bahadur Thapa to the area in the hill top of the fort of Sindhuli. As Capt. Kinloch's troops moved up the hill, the Gorkhalis began to rain stones and rocks down on them. Then, when the encounter actually began, the Gorkhalis struck the English both from the front and the rear, causing tremendous damage to the British ranks. Of the twenty-four hundred men Capt. Kinloch had led into the hills, eight hundred returned with him to the plains. Fully two thirds of his force he lost either to death or desertion. In this war the Gorkhalis adopted the 'Guerilla' tactics.
1768-1769 The Capture of Kathmandu Valley :
Once the East India Company's threat had been safely countered, Prithivinarayn Shah turned his attention on the conquest of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhadgaon. The climax of the unification drama was staged on September 1768, during the festivities of the Indrajatra. Jayaprakash with his subjects were celebrating the Indra Jatra festival as usual. The festival was going on, while the Gorkhalis were outside the wall's preparing for their final blitz (attack) on the city. The mercenaries hired from India to guard the entry gates to the city fled, leaving the city unguarded. Yet in these circumstances the Gorkhalis enterd the city at night in three columns, one each from BhimSenThan, and Tundikhel commanded and led by Prithivinrayn Shah's brothers and Prithivinarayan Shah himself led his troops from Naradevi. After a brief fight, Jayapraksh
1. see K.K Adhikari p.51 A Brief Survey…
escaped to Patan, and Prithivinarayan Shah seated himself on the throne set up for the Indra Jatra, while the Gorkhali troops gave the Guard of Honor to Prithivinrayan Shah. Jayaprakash along with his two hundred soldiers ran to Patan, which also capitulated on October 1768 and Jayapraksh along with his soldiers ran to Bhaktapur.
Although the cities of Kantipur and Patan fell with hardly a flight, the battle of Bhaktapur proved a more fitting finale to the long and important campaign. On the night of November 1769 the Gorkhalis entered from the eastern gate of Bhaktapur and another group of troops entered from the north gate of the city and by the first light of the day they were able to surround the palace. Jayapraksh had taken virtual command of the defenses and it was only after he had been wounded by a musket ball in the leg that the defense collapsed. The conquest of the valley was complete with the surrender of Ranjit Malla, Jayaprakash Malla in Bhaktapur.
Jayaprakash Malla was taken to Pashupatinath's Arya Ghat according to his wishes where he died the next day November 1769. On 23rd March 1770, capital was shifted from Gokha to Kathmandu. Ranjit Malla was sent to Kasi according to his own wishes where he died one and a half year later. The King of Patan Tejnasingha Malla was put in prison for his conspiracy against Prithivinarayan Shah.
The Expeditions to the West and East, 1771:
Once the valley was secure, Prithivinarayn turned his attention to Chaubisi Rajyas to the west in the spring of 1771 in an effort to subdue the Rajas. The west expedition was led by Bamsharaj Pande, Kehar Singh Basnyat which enjoyed considerable success but soon they found that the Chaubisi's were using the 'withdrawal tactics' which are so effective in the hills. From the military point of strategy, "The Gorkhalis found themselves occupying towns, which had to be garrisoned, but not defeating armies. Their forces, never large, became more and more fragmented, so that when Kehar Singh Joined Bamsharaj he had with him less than half his army." (Stiller p.134)
The omission and commission by the Gorkha commander in the west on the local population by alienating them resulted in Gorkhalis complete disaster. Kehar Singh Basnyat and five hundred Gorkhalis fell in the battle. Bamsharaj Pande was captured and taken prisoner to Parbat. The survivors escaped to Dhor but the Chaubisi surrounded them there and ultimately the Gorkhalis had to leave the country in utter defeat.
Prithivinarayn Shah now had a very difficult decision to make, should he move to take the Bijayapur- Chaudandi area in the Eastern Terai. But the problem was would not the Chaubisis puffed up with recent victory against the Gorkhalism try to interfere in the operation to the east.
Prithivinarayn Shah was in contact with Harinanda Upadhaya, Brahman in Majh Kirat.
Harinanda promised to assist Prithivinarayan Shah in any way he could in the conquest of eastern Tarai. He gave substantial aid and also the Brahmans and Chettris of the area supported the Gorkhalis. Because of this support the Gorkhali troops launched their attack on August 1772. Harinanda supplied them with boats to help them cross the Sun Kosi River and the Gorkhalis were able to sweep through the hills. By January 1773 the Gorkhalis controlled the upper half of the Majh Kirat.
As we have seen, the final obstacle to the conquest of the was the attempt invasion of Nepal by Captain Kinloch forces of the East India Company to break Prithivinarayan Shah's blockade of the Valley.
Kinloch's mission was doomed because of its lack of adequate preparations and provisons and the weather. For the Captain, it was a stunning and a humiliating setback. He tried to improve upon his intervention and invasion of Nepal by taking the Gorkhali territories of Bara, Parsa and Hilwall (Rautahat) in the Nepal Tarai (from Parsa to Mohattari). Prithivinarayn Shah was fully cognizant of the intricate relationship that had existed between the former King of Makawanpur and the Mughal Nawabs whose position the Company had now taken as diwan(subordinate). In view of this, Prithivinarayn Shah wanted no war with the Company and wanted to negotiate with the British on the basis of the Gurkha replacement of the raja of Makawanpur and the willingness of the Gorkhali ruler to honor the former raja's obligations to the Bihar Subba. (Mughul word for Province. In order to settle the obligation as promised, Prithivinarayan Shah honored his promise by sending 'five small elephants along with a year's tribute, amounting to the existing valuation to about rupees 15,000. in this settlement it can be seen that both the parties were inclined towards a settlement rather than a conflict.
In this instance the negotiations ended extremely favorably for Nepal. Nepal received the positive right to the jagirs in Parsa to Mohattari and had to pay for these fertile lands only nominal rent. In the Tarai the Gorkhalis controlled the entire territory as far east as the Teesta River.
Actually, Prithivinarayan Shah had put in his Dibya Upadesh the foreign policy dictum that "This country is like a gourd between two rocks."
After successful negotiation with the East India Company on the Tarai, Prithivinarayan Shah carried out his final phase of his plan to conquer the two kingdoms of Chaudandi and Bijayapur in the East. Prithivinarayn Shah, for his plan to success wrote to the governor general that he was merely engaged in expedition against the Kirat chieftain Buddhi Karna Rai. He asked the governor general to refrain from assisting Buddhi Karna Rai, should such help be sought. He then ordered the attack on Chaydandi in July 1773. The raja fled, deserting his troops and his men surrendered in 16 July.
The Gorkhalis spent a year in consolidating the hold on Chaudandi and after a short fight with Bijayapur also fell to the Gorkhalis on 17 July 1774. in order to secure their possession of these Tarai areas the Gorkhalism within a few months were able to secure almost the entire eastern hill region. Large population of hill People submitted willingly to their rule, and each case a generous treaty was worked out for them.
With its military and diplomatic success in the East the Gorkhlais had now brought themselves into direct contact with the territories of the Sikkim raja, who was a disciple of Dalai Lama. But good senses prevailed on Sikkim raja who signed a treaty with the Gorkhali commanders which marked out boundaries between the two states to the mutual satisfaction of both parties.
Despite his many achievements in forging the unification of Nepal, Prithivinarayn Shah though not yet fifty-three years of age had come to the end of his career in 11 January 1775 (1 Magh 1831 B.S) where he died at Devi Ghat near Nuwakot.
Prithivinarayn Shah's achievements stand for themselves. His activities attributes in Nepalese history in secure. In united Nepal he created a state of 'enlightened despotism', in itself a contradiction, for anomalous with his country's expansionist drive was his tendency humanitarian administration. His own personality represented an unresolved tension between his artistic philosophies and a ruthless brilliance on the field of battle. Whenever the inner motivations of this extraordinary, contradictory personality, Prithivinarayan is rightly honored as one of the ' great captains' and leaders of Nepalese history- a worthy rival to such names as Frederick, the Great and Napolean Bonaparte. His life of fifty three years was "not just anything pinnacle of an illustrious carrer but just the turning of the page". His last gift to the people of Nepal was his Dibya Upadesh.
The second Stage of Unification: The Regency period; Rajendra Laxmi-Bahadur Shah
Under the leadership of Prithivinarayn Shah the ruler of the insignificant state of Gorkha which had risen from a tiny state to a Greater Nepal. Under his "Spartan Discipline", the poorly clothed, hungry, diseased, ill-supplied, and pessimistic soliders had turned into formidable force in the sub-continent. His leadership was the key to the success of the Gorkha and in his death was thrust this burden of leadership on his eldest son, Pratap Shah.
Pratap Singh Shah was just twenty-three years of age when he came to the throne on 11 January 1775. He was unlike his younger brother Bahadur Shah who had seen some of the military campaigns of Prithivinarayn Shah and his generals. Bahadur Shah was familiar with military life and the hustle and bustle of a military camp. Pratap Singh Shah's Brahaman tutors had trained him more on my mysteries of Tantricism and gentle study of poetry and music. This teaching led him to the sensuality path and ill prepared him for the task of a newly acquired kingdom by conquest.
The transfer of power from Prithivinarayan Shah to Pratap Singh Shah left much to be desired. The dissatisfaction and disaffection that had arisen between Prithivinarayn Shah and his brothers Mahoddam Kirti Shah and Dal Mardan Shah was a threat to the throne and the integrity of the country. Prithivinarayan Shah warned his brother, Mahoddam Kirti Shah that if he used any of his power against his trusted general Kehar Singh Basnyat, he would pluck his eyes out.
This was the situation when Pratap Singh Shah inherited his throne. He saw enemies everywhere and paranoid by the situation, he imprisoned his brother Bahadur Shah within two weeks of the day Prithivinarayn Shah had died. Imprisoned along with Bahadur Shah was Dal Mardan Shah, a brother of Prithivinarayn Shah. At the instance of Raj guru Gajraj Misra, the sentence of imprisonment was commuted to exile and the Prince Bahadur Shah went on to exile in Bettiah.
In a short rule of two years and ten months, Pratap Singh Shah was able to subdue the raja of Sikkim with the use of Limbus in the Gorkhali armies. In addition Pratap Singh Shah was able to capture King Karan Sen and his minister Buddhi Karna Rai who were an obstacle to the assimilation of the eastern Tarai and he was summarily executed.
Pratap Singh Shah's untimely death on 17 November 1777 brought a real crisis to the kingdom of Nepal. His death gave the throne to and infant, Rana Bahadur Shah, born on 25 May 1775 then not yet two and half years old. In these circumstances the ministers became decision-makers and formulators of policy rather than advisors and executors of policy. Obviously and equally serious were the schemes evolved by the courtiers to influence either prince Bahadur Shah or widowed Queen Rajendra Laxmi, and it was at this time that the seeds of intrigue in the palace politics took its roots.
Rajendra Laxmi : After the death of her husband, King Pratap Singh Shah the widow Rajendra Laxmi became the regent of her son Rana Bahadur Shah. The young widow had a very strong will of her own and was unwilling to relinquish the advantages that her position as a queen mother offered her. In a letter to her brother-in-law Bahadur Shah, she ordered him to come to Kathmandu. Shortly after Bahadur Shah returned to the capital, he wrote to Dal Mardan Shah and Bal Bharda in a manner that indicates that he had already taken control of the affairs of state. He also mentioned that the hostile clique in the palace were either seized, branded, outcasted and exiled from Kathmandu.
Bahadur Shah's return to the capital, however, did not ensure him absolute control of the government during the infant king's minority. The first real clash between Bahadur Shah and Rajendra Laxmi developed over the question of further expansion as envisioned by Prithivinarayn Shah. Bahadur Shah wanted to recruit new companies while the queen mother and her advisories were opposed to this new recruitment. When neither side could prevail by reason, Rajendra Laxmi resorted to force. With the help of Sarvajit Rana she had Bahadur Shah jailed, but with timely intervention of Raj Guru, Gajaraj Mishra, Bahadur Shah was released.
After securing his freedom, Bahadur Shah turned the table against Rajendra laxmi and confined her to the palace while her confidential right hand man Sarvajit Rana was killed. It was of course, an impetuous and foolish act, but Bahadur Shah felt that westward expansion towards the Chaubisi was a small price to pay for his act.
In pursuit of his plan Bahadur Shah proposed to attack Tanahun and ordered Sardar Bali Baniyan to attack Tanahun. He was able to capture the capital of Tanahun, Sur. But soon in March 1779, the Gorkhalis were defeated by Tanahun supported by Palpa.
Now Parbat, Tanahun and Palpa joined in an alliance to counterattack Gorkhalis and drove them out of their territories in the territory of Gorkhalis, Chitawan area.
As the situation deteriorated, Bahadur Shah was caught on the horns of a dilemma. In order to bolster the Gorkhali troops he went to Gorkha at the cast of his interest in the Capital.
While Bahadur Shah was away in Gorkha, the queen mother took advantage of his absence by summoning Mahoddam Kirti Shah from Banaras, who soon released her from the palace confinement. Once free, Rajendra Laxmi ensured her position and exiled Bahadur Shah and put to death his trusted followers. Now Rajendra Laxmi settled to enjoy her position as a queen mother and regent.
Had Rajendra Laxmi been more experienced in the world of political and military affairs, she would have realized that eastern Nepal had been conquered but not subdued. Buddhi Karna Rai was dead, but widow of King Karna Sen was now stirring up unrest in the area. Besides trying to get her support from the East India Company, she also prevailed on her husband's friend Mukunda Sen II of Palpa to send his son to become the heir of Bijayapur and Chaudandi. Mukunda Sen saw his opening to drive the Gorkhalis out of the West, while it was engaged in the east against the widow of King karma Sen. Mukunda sen complied with the queen's request of sending his son Dhoj Bir Sen under the fugitive from Kathmandu, Swarup Singh Karki.
These development against Gorkha were sufficient of a warning bell to Rajendra laxmi who was forced to act by increasing the number of Magars in the army. Along with this she ordered that the military supplies needed for war be built up.
By the winter of 1784-1785 the Gorkhalis had shown their superiority in the campaign against Lamjung, Parbat, Palpa and Tanahun and other Chaubisi Rajas. Finally, to complete the occupation of the Chaubisi territory to the east of the Kali River, the Gorkhalis occupied Satahun on 17 June 1785, then avenging the defeat suffered there in 1772.
With this conquest Rajendra Laxmi's military achievements ended. From military point of view Rajendra Laxmi's regency, despite a very shaky beginning according to Stiller, "proved to be quite successful." Her action of course, had been but a response to the threat posed to Nepal by the states to the west of Kathmandu_ time and circumstances had proved that Bahadur Shah had been right when he urged continued military action among the Chaubisi."
The clash between Rajendra Laxmi and Bahadur Shah during her regency was the most unfortunate results which inevitably weakened the state and introduced a partisan spirit into the court of politics. With her short comings, still she cannot be denied the honor of a spirited position as regent of Nepal and a 'Great Lady'. Even colonel KrickPatrick in 1793 had this to say," she was a woman of extraordinary character and talents…"(p.274).
Regent Bahadur Shah: Regent 1785-1797 death:-
When regent queen mother Rajendra Laxmi died of tuberculosis in 1785, Rana Bahadur Shah was only ten years old and Bahadur Shah was in close confinement at Pharping. Only after the her death Bahadur Shah was released from prison and recalled by his supporters at court to return to Kathmandu.
Bahadur Shah, was a man born to command. He inherited from his father qualities of leadership and aggressiveness that had been honed to a fine edge by his early years in and about the military camps of the armies of Gorkha. When called by the court council of Kathmandu to the post of Mukhtiyar in 1785, he was twenty-seven years of age. In many ways the none years of Bahadur Shah's mukhtiyari formed, what Stiller calls the 'golden age' of Nepal's unification. It was during this time that Nepal passed from the status of an insignificant state to that of a power in the Indian subcontinent.
Bahadur shah's conquest of the strong Chaubisi Rajas of Parbat, Palpa, Piuthan and Lamjung in space of six months to one year with the exception of Palpa, of whom he managed to make an ally by marrying Bidya Laxmi, the daughter if the raja of Palpa. Bahadur Shah with his 'marriage diplomacy' was able to neutralize at one stroke Palpa's intimate connection with the nawab vazir of Oudh(U.P.).
After the marriage ceremonies were over, Bahadur Shah retired to Gorkha, where he conducted the Pajani of the army. The pajani began with the highest officers and was carried down through the lowest solider in the ranks. The pajani brought a new tone to the military command, and prepared it for the task that lay immediately ahead, that was the final campaign against the Chaubisi Rajas.
Before launching his campaign, Bahadur Shah gave expletive orders to his commanders which were-
1) " Win over the enemy or factions of the enemy. Be generous to those who cooperate with you; harsh with those who oppose you" ( Prithivinarayan's words was followed by Bahadur Shah).
2) To the conquered states, the people were not to be harassed, ill treated but given all security.
Bahadur Shah's victory after victory made him foremost among the court members and who had total confidence in the army's ability to attain whatever objective the mukhtiyar chose to set for them.
In the three years that is from 1786 to early 1790,he was also able to extend the rule of Kathmandu over the whole territory that is now known as Nepal, adding almost twenty thousand square miles to the territories controlled by the House of Gorkha.
With the Gorkhali army moving rapidly towards the west, the political situation in most of the kingdom was thrown into turmoil and Jumla was the key to the west. Although it had lost its status as a great state it still commanded a position in the hills. The Gorkhalis chose to attack Jumla by surprise, although of the disadvantages of Jumla's terrain. After the conquest of Jumla, the Gorkhalis moved farther west to Acham, Bajhang and Doti. With victory over Doti the Gorkhali armies had reached the Mahakali river. At this time the Gorkhali army called for a moratorium on the westward expansion. The Gorkhali army had gathered such momentum that each victory made the next campaign easier. To the west lay Kumaon and Garhwal states beyond.
The conquest of Kumaon and Garhwal: 1790-1792
The Gorkhalis geographic expansion with its conquest of Kumaon and Gharwal followed a precise systematic pattern, even though it often appears to many historians as non-linear, convoluted and overly complex. The feud, conspiracy and intrigues within Kumaon gave the Gorkhalis an opportunity to enter Kumaon early in 1790. the regent, Bahadur Shah accepted to help, Harsha Dev Joshi who was struggling to twenty-six years against his usurper on the throne of Kumaon Mohan Chand. Since, Harsha Dev Joshi was unable to find support from either Garhwal or the nawab of Oudh (Uttar Pradesh), he turned to the Gorkhalis who were readily agreed to support him. The Gorkhali troops entered Kumaon (Sor) to the north, while a second crossed into Kali Kumaon proper. Commander of the Gorkhalis to the north, Amar Singh Thapa was confronted by usurper King Mahendra Singh. The Gorkhalis under Amar Singh Thapa, was able to rout the force of Kumaon and continued its march on the Capital of Kumaon, Almora. After conquest of Kumaon the Gorkhlais now turned their campaigns against Garhwalis. The Gorkhalis spent one year in preparing for the conquest of Garhwal. But Pradyumna Shah, the raja of Garhwal, agreed to a treaty with Kathmandu that would establish formal relations between the two states and called for an annual tribute to Kathmandu of nine thousand rupees. This treaty was considered by the Gorkhalis to be a treaty of subsidiary and looked upon Garhwal as a part of their dominions. However, Garhwal, though boud by the terms of the treaty, still enjoyed considerable independence and autonomy. However, raja Pradyumna Shah himself provided the pretext for the Gorkhali attack on Garhwal in 1804. During the internal trouble in Kathmandu in 1797-1804, Pradyumna Shah did not pay the annual tribute to Kathmandu and nothing could be done about it by the court in Kathmandu. But when order was restored to the politics of the valley, it was determined to settle this problem with Garhwal.
Accordingly, in October 1804 under over-all command of Kazi Amar Singh Thapa the Gorkhali army gathered for the campaign. Opposed to these Gorkhalis force some fifteen to twenty thousand mercenaries serving the Garhwali raja under the command of Dal Bir Rana.
In the engagement of these two forces the Grokhalis were victorious, the raja Pradyumna Shah then retreated with most of his nobles towards the plains. A part of the Gorkhali force occupied Srinagar, Capital of Garhwal and other force traveled to the south-west to occupy DehraDoon in October 1804. Since DehraDoon was not really defensible, the Gorkhalis moved their camp to a low hill some five miles to the north-east, called Nalapani, the famous scene of battle by Balbhadra Kunwar.
The westward progress of the Gorkhali armies was halted by the Nepal-China war of 1792. the Chinese invasion of Nepal was the first major challenge to the Gorkhali rule in Kathmandu.
Nepal-China War of 1792: The Tibet problem
The Gorkhalis westward expansion was halted by the Tibetan problems resulting in a war with China in 1792. the Chinese war was the first major challenge to the Gorkhali government in Kathmandu after unification. This was the direct result of the deterioration in Nepal-Tibet relations, and this deterioration was in turn closely linked with the problem of Tibetan coinage. The problem of coinage was an inherited legacy of the Malla kings of the valley who had long enjoyed a handsome profit by minting coins for use in Tibet. For a long time, Nepalese silver coins were the only currency in Tibet for internal and external exchange. The Malla Kings of Kathmandu for the last hundred years were issuing debased coins, which the Tibetan authorities had stopped importing.
The Gorkhalis reformed the currency and wanted to send the new coins to Tibet when Prithivinarayan Shah came to power he introduced his own coins into Tibet. In his Dibya Upadesh Prithivinarayn Shah laid down the idea of purge coinage. This policy was basically wise, but created problems. The Tibetans saw no real need for the pure coins of Prithivinarayan Shah. To address this problem an envoy was sent to Tibet, but the difficulty of withdrawing the debased coins from circulation and establishing separate exchange rates between pure and debased coins was not accepted by the Tibetan authority.
Bahadur Shah inherited this problem on his appointment as Mukhtiyar. Rajendra Laxmi had been content to allow the matter to rest. To solve the Tibetan coinage problem, Bahadur Shah suggested an exchange rate of two debased coins for one pure Nepalese silver coin. This was the exchange rate he applied in Nepal. The Tibetans rejected this term of exchange proposal and settlement with Tibet proved fruitless.
In 1788 Bahadur Shah gave up his diplomatic negotiations with Tibet and took direct action. His army invaded Tibet, and he secured, through the intervention of Chine amba posted there the exchange rate he wanted. By a treaty terms the Nepalese got each year from the Lama of Lhasa who will send Rs. 50,001 to the Maharaja of Gorkha." (Sandhi-patra sangraha p.20). The Tibetans agreed, paid the tribute the first year, and then asked for a reduction. Bahadur Shah rejected their request. The Dalai Lama then refused to pay anything. In retaliation, the Nepalese, sure of their military superiority and totally unimpressed with the Tibetan troops they had met, invaded Tibet again. They plundered Shigaste and the monastery at Tashilunpo, but they were stopped by the Chinese intervention.
The Chinese Emperor was outraged by this Nepalese invasion in Tibet. A strong Tibetan and Chinese army was assembled under excellent Chinese leadership. During the monsoon of 1792, this army drove though Kyrong and down the Trisuli valley towards Nuwakot and Kathmandu. Nepalese troops fought bravely, but the Chinese force were almost near to Nuwakot. There the Nepalese resisted the Chinese advance and nature saved the day. But soon, the Chinese attacked the Nepalese troops and even crossed the Betravati River (The Betravati river is a tributary of the Trisuli River). In a tactical move by guerilla war-fare, the Nepalese were able to send the Chinese army careening down the northern slopes of Nuwakot hill. This strategy of warfare broke the Chinese line and the ambush by the Nepalese troops slashed into their flanks and routed them. Nepales Khukuris took revenge for all the humiliations of a disheartening war. Nepalese troops drove the Chinese onto the bridge across the Betrawati, many fell into the monsoon-swollen river. The Chinese generals now found their position precarious. So a peace was called for and talks between the Chinese and the Gorkhalis were discussed. The Chinese set down four conditions of peace, which was accepted by the Nepal Darbar. There was to be a tribute mission to the Emperor of China every five years; the plunder and loot from Tashilunpo was to be returned; the dharmapatra signed by Samarpa Lama was to be turned over to the Chinese and the goods, servants and companions of the now dead Samarpa Lama were to be surrendered to the Chinese, so that they might be returned to Tashilunpo.
The Nepal-China war according to Stiller,'can be described as a stalemate.' 'There was no real winner' (p 212)
For Bahadur Shah, the Nepal-China war (1792) bore personal consequences. King Rana Bahadur Shah had reached his maturity and shortly, he began to rule directly. Rana Bahadur had long resented the personal control of his uncle's regency over him. The court conspiracy against Bahadur Shah was gaining to outstrip him all powers he was exercising as a Regent. Bahadur Shah was blamed for the war with China and was also accused of inviting Captain KirkPatrick to 'mediate' between China-Nepal. In 1794 Bahadur Shah was removed from power. In 1797, he was imprisoned. He died in the prison six months later, his death unexplained. In his death, the palace factionalism became rampant in Kathmandu politics.
King Rana Bahadur Shah and Bhimsen Thapa
When king Rana Bahadur Shah dismissed Bahadur Shah, he was nineteen years old. The court, was deeply divided by factions. The situation demanded an experienced leader, but King Rana Bahadur Shah was still untried.
Rana Bahadur Shah found treasury nearly empty. Revenue returns had been low for years and the war with China had been expensive. In order to stabilize his rule, Rana Bahadur Shah had two options: 1) to increase the rate of taxation 2) or he could re-possess land previously assigned to private individuals. Increasing taxes was not practical. The land from which revenues were collected were located in Tarai. Rana Bahadur chose instead to re-possess land already assigned. But here again, there was a serious problem, the large tracts of land in the hills had been assigned to Jagirs. And the large tracts in Tarai had been assigned as Birtas. The only farm land called Bandha was mortgaged by the government to raise funds.
King Rana Bahadur ordered the retaking back of all Bandha land as its value tripled and his action of taking of taking back of the land was justified. By this action of his the leading citizens were alienated with him. the policy taken by Rana Bahadur Shah also encouraged intrigues in the palace and plus there developed a dual power structure. Soon Rana Bahadur lost interest in Nepal's economic growth as his financial needs were satisfied from the Terai, and his attention was drawn more to personal sensual life. shortly after his Bandha reform, he fell in love with a Brahman beauty of Tarai, a widow named Kantavati. She refused to marry King Rana Bahadur, unless he promised to make their son the king (born after marriage, Girban Yuddha 1799-1816). Rana Bahadur accepted this condition and married Kantavati.
Kantavati gave birth to a son Girban Yuddha on October 1, 1797. Shortly afterwards she fell desperately ill. Though Rana Bahadur had no son by his first wife, Rajarajeshvari, he had two sons by his second wife, Suvarnaprabha. The elder of the two, Ranodyot Shah, had to be superseded to clear the way for the succession of Girban Yuddha, the son of Kantavati. Rana Bahadur declared Ranodyot 'illegitimate' (Shah. P. 84) and deprived him of his claims to the throne. To reassure Kantavati, on March 8, 1799, Rana Bahadur abdicated in favor of Girban Yuddha. He oliged every member of court to sign an oath of allegiance to King Girban Yuddha and sent formal notice to the Governer General of East India Company. The bewitching beauty, Kantavati died and the ex-king Rana Bahadur was completely shattered. Had affairs remained this way, all might have been well. But they did not. Acting like a mad man, Rana Bahadur blamed the death of his queen to gods and Brahmans and the atrocities of his frightened the peaceful people of Kathmandu. As the ex-king tried to rally support to himself, the cabinet took the infant king to Nuwakot for their own safety and for his. Three separate centers of power emerged in Nepal: 1) the infant king and his cabinet at Nuwakot 2) Regent Queen Rajrajeshwari in Kathmandu and 3) ex-king Rana Bahadur in Patan. The regent eventually joined Rana Bahadur, but the military remained loyal to King Girban Yuddha, whom they had sworn to obey. Seeing that his support was dwindling Rana Bahadur fled to Banaras along with the Regent Queen Rajrajeshwari. Now the regency was left to Rana Bahadur's second queen, Subarna Prabha.
Rana Bahadur's flight from Kathmandu to Banaras along with Bhimsen Thapa, Dalbhanjan Pandey etc. was voluntary and of course, he could leave the British territory but lacked funds. The fund was provided by the British to Rana Bahadur and so the British were in position to bargain with either Rana Bahadur or the party in power in Kathmandu to gain their ends. The governor general Wellesly had directed Knox to go to the borders of Nepal and have direct talks with the members of the ruling government in Kathmandu. Knox went to the border, where with the assistance of Gajaraj Mishra, and on 26 October 1801, a treaty was signed. By this treaty the British acquired in Nepal, the commercial rights to trade in Nepal and through Nepal with Tibet. Knox was appointed the first British Resident to Nepal and left Nepal at the end of March 1803.
After Knox's return to Calcutta the governor general's agent attending on Rana Bahadur in Banaras, was informed of the decision of the governor general in council the treaty of October 1801 was to be considered null and void.
Rana Bahadur Shah returned to Kathmandu in March 1804. accompanying him was Bhinsen Thapa who was to play a great roll in the politics of Nepal. After his return to Kathmandu, Rana Bahadur saw that his enemies like Damodar Pandey and four others were put to death. Apart from these executions, there was business like tone in the military offensive in the west was rapidly organized and put into execution.
One of the serious problems that Rana Bahadur faced was the situation of Palpa, which had been left more or less independent by a treaty signed between Bahadur Shah and King of Palpa. Rana Bahadur removed this by capturing and prisoning PrithiviPal Sen of Palpa on his way to Kathmandu to attend his sister's wedding. In 1806 mukhtiyar Rana Bahadur Shah was struck down in cold blood by his step-brother, Shere Bahadur Shah who was also slain by Jang Bahadur's father Balmarsingh Kunwar. After the death of the raja of Palpa, Bhim Sen Thapa appointed his father General Amar Singh Thapa to the governor of Palpa and the Nepalis tightened their control over this land.
(Important note:- There were two Amar Singh Thapas who were well known military commanders. One Amar Singh Thapa was the father of Bhim Sen Thapa who was given the title of 'Sardar' by a Lal Mohar of Girban Yuddha Bikram Shah and the second Amar Singh Thapa was the commander of the west from 1804 onwards was the general who opposed Gen. Octerlony in Anglo-Nepal war. This Amar Singh Thapa was given the title of Kazi and so he become Kazi Amar Singh Thapa).
Bhim Sen Thapa (1775-1893),(came in power in 1806)- The Anglo-Nepal war 1814-1816
"…Nothing is nearer and dearer to his heart than the independence of his country"-H. Oldfield p. 299.
" euta Bhim Sen Thapa najanmeko bhaye, Nepal uhilai hinisakthyo"- Chandra Shamser J.B.R
Bhimsen Thapa a middle-rank Nepali army officer who had accompanied Rana Bahadur to Banaras as commander of his body guard returned to Kathmandu in 1804 with Rana Bahadur Shah. After this return, Damodat Pandey was one of the first to be put to death for plotting to keep Rana Bahadur in Banaras. The Pandey family then became the most embittered faction in Nepal. Rajrajeshwari Devi was packed off in a disgrace to Helambu. Rana Bahadur himself, ex-king though he was, served as mentor to his seven year old son, King Girban Yuddha.
With the assassination of Rana Bahadur, Bhim Sen Thapa seized the control of the government and by 1806 he put to death all his major opponents on the charge of conspiracy against the crown. The charge was never substantiated, nor is there any record of a trial or the confessions required by law.
Bhim Sen Thapa installed as Regent his master Rana Bahadur Shah's fifth wife, Lalita Tripura Sundari a close relative of his to the infant king. Bhim Sen Thapa era began ominously in a 'massacre', foretelling, perhaps, the tragic ending thirty-one years later in his suicide.
Prithivinarayn Shah's defeat of Captain Kinloch's attempted invasion of Nepal had made the British angry against the Nepalese. Further, the conquest and expansion of the Gorkhalis towards the Gharwal and Kumaon and the surrounding areas, made the British very suspicious of the Gorkhali motives. In order to control the Gorkhali's expansion, the British tried to instigate the kings of Gharwal and Kumaon against the Nepalese, but were not successful.
Within weeks of Bhim Sen Thapa's take-over, the Nepal army under the command of Kazi Amar Singh Thapa overran the Barha Thakurai west of Garhwal and clashed with king Sansar Chand, of the Fort Kangra.
*Meanwhile in India, the Governor General was watching Nepal's rapid expansion in the seven years since 1804, and Nepal's tight control of the trade routes between India and Tibet. The Governor General's advisors convinced him that the easiest way to curtail Nepal's power was to deny Nepal access to revenues from the rich farm land of the Tarai. The Governor General got this opportunity and pretext to warn Nepal that it had violated the Principle of Limitation.
No one had heard of the Principle of Limitation until the Governor General;s protest. It represented an arbitrary line the Governor General had drawn to delimit Nepal's possessions. According to this principle, the Hills belonged to Nepal; the plains were British. Such a line of demarcation had no foundation. Nepal had greater claim to most of the Tarai than the British, a claim the Governor General had sanctioned only ten years earlier. To extend the Principle of Limitation to the Tarai area according to their conception was simply vintage British imperialism.
(*The highlighted region is marked to be very important)
Bhim Sen Thapa understood the Principle of Limitation as a warning by the Governor General as a pretext for later military action. The threat of war became real in 1812, when the Governor General tried to apply his Principle of Limitation to three dozen Tarai villages in Butwal and Rautahat. Bhim Sen countered by proposing a joint border commission to decide the ownership of these villages on the spot. He could not compromise the Tarai lands as it was the glue that held the Nepalese state together, and to yield the Tarai was to surrender national unity. It was in these circumstances Bhim Sen Thapa had rejected the Principle of Limitaion and agreed to settle the 'dispute on the spot'. The Governor General accepted, and a commission was appointed. The commissioners had full powers to determine ownership of the villages, but they found no basis for settlement. Both sides produced documents to prove their ownership of the disputed villages. When the commissioners examined the documents, however, they found them so confusing and contradictory that even local tradition could not clarify them. When no compromise was reached, the Governor General ordered the Indian army to take possession of twenty-two villages and the disputed territories of Butwal and Sheoraj in the spring of 1814. Police posts were established and the way lay open to the complete British assimilation of the territory. Bhim Sen Thapa acted by taking back the post vacated by the British troops withdrawing on the coming of the monsoon. War was then inevitable between British and Nepal. (Anglo- Nepal War)
The Governor General, Hastings Battle Plan was to apply massive force at selected points in the hope of divinding the Gorkhali forces along the seven-hundred-mile front. He selected five areas for attack – the western hills, the Sutlej area in the far west, the doon area below Gharwal, the Butwal area and the Bagmati area.
The five Generals who were to lead the British forces were-
1) Major Latter 2) Major-General Ochterlony 3) Major-General Gillespie
4) Major-General Wood 5) Major-General Marley
Of these five commanders, only Ochterlony and latter were able to adopt to mountain warfare. Of the remaining three commanders, Gillespie was killed, Wood was completely discredited and Marley deserted.
1) Nalapani: Bal Bahadur Kunwar who was in command of Dehra Doon valley shifted his troops to a hill northern of the city in the small fort of Kalanga, Nala pani. The first British attack on the Nala Pani took place on 31 October 1814, the day before the official declaration of war. The commander Gillespie fell in his attack on Nala Pani.
2) Jythak : The first day of battle at Jythak cost the British over three hundred men in death. For over a month the British troops and commander refused to take any initiative against the Gorkhalis.
3) Jitpur: The Gorkhali attack on commander Woods troops made Wood doubtful of his ability to take the place, after seeing the Gorkhali determination and bravery he made no further move against the Gorkhlais, and left free to move their patrols through the area at will.
4) General Marley who was in command in the Bagamati Sector, at once attacked Hataura, Hariharpur and Suktiduri Pass and the counter attack by the Gorkhlais made him completely disheartened and he deserted his troops and neve came back on the battle field.
The war came to an end in 1816 and with it came to an end the Gorkhali expansion and military activites. With the exception of several additional of land in the Tarai made later in 1816 and again during Jang Bahadur's Primership in 1860, the boundaries of Nepal have remained unchanged today. Lost were the territories of Kumaon, Gharwal and Bara and Athara Thakuari (in Garwal). Lost too, was the area now known as Darjeeling district.
Conclusion: Prithivinarayn who had toiled for twenty-five years to unify Nepal and made the House of Gorkha rest on firm bed-rock of solider and peasant, had built it to last.