February 27, 2014

TWO WIKIPEDIA NOTES ON KAJI BIRAJ THAPA MAGAR AND GENERAL ABHIMAN SINGH RANA MAGAR

[Below today are two Wikipedia notes on  two different persons in Nepalese history. Kaji Biraj Thapa Magar of Gorkha, according to Gorkhavanshavali, had taken King Narabhupal Shah and his mother Malikavati in custody. King Narabhupal Shah's son King Prithvi Narayan Shah is credited as the unifier of modern Nepal. General Abhiman Singh Rana Magar, one of the prime ministerial candidates, was killed in the Kot Massacre of 1846 that catapulted Jung Bahadur Rana to power, totally changed the course of Nepalese history.  - The Blogger]



Gorkha Durbar
Kaji Biraj Thapa Magar (Born  ? - Death 1721) played an important role in the Gorkha Kingdom. His leadership, prudence and courage all exhibit he was one of the important Gorkha Bhardars (गोरखाली भारदार) that helped Narbaupal Shah become King of Gorkha. He may also be seen as a 'King Maker' in the modern day term. According to different genealogies,[1] he had taken Narabhupal Shah and his mother Malikavati in custody for three months.[2] The Queen Mother and her son were secretly protected at his residence. After the death of his grandfather, Narabhupal Shah became the King of Gorkha in 1716 and died in 1743. His son, King Prithvi Narayan Shah, succeeding him began unification of small principalities to found modern Nepal.

Birth, Childhood and Education

No record so far is available as to when and where was Biraj Thapa Magar born but according to Prithvidhoj Thapa Magar's report, he died 4 years after Narbhupal Shah's accession to the throne of Gorkha Kingdom in 1716 which would mean he died in 1721 (Pant 2041: 245).[3] He seems to have been born to the famed Saint Lakhan Thapa Magar - I [4] family of Gorkha. Saint Lakhan Thapa Magar - I, was a spiritually famed associate and adviser to King Ram Shah (1606 - 1636) and priest of Manakamana Temple also. There is a long description on Lakhan Thapa Magar - I in the Gorkhavamshavali, the only authoritative Genealogy of Shah Kings of Nepal. Historian Bikramjit Hasrat has also written that Saint Lakhan Thapa Magar - I, ran Gorkha Kingdom's administraton while King Ram Shah was deep in meditation, tapas [5] for 4 months.[6]

King Prithvipati Shah's Long Rule

King Prithvipati Shah became King of Gorkha in 1669. He ruled Gorkha for 47 years until his death in 1716 . But Birbhadra Shah (बीरभद्र शाह), the crown prince died very young. The crown prince's wife Malikavati was pregnant and had gone to her father's home in Tanahu. The king's another son Uddhot Shah (उद्धोत शाह) claimed his stake on the throne. Therefore, there was some unrest in the Gorkha household as to who should succeed the king.

A Panchyat Convenes

To choose a new king, a Panchayat (Committee of Bhardars) convened and it decided to crown deceased King Prithvipati Shah's another son Randurlav Shah (रणदुर्लभ शाह). It was not a unanimous decision. In protest, Kaji Biraj Thapa Magar, along with Bhim Raj Panday, Bireshwor Panday, Gaureshwor Pant, Laxmipati Pant and Bali Kadariya did not attend the meeting. (Pant 2041:175) So, the plan by some other Bhadars to crown Randurlav Shah failed flat.

Bhardars Meet at Biraj Thapa's Residence

Narabhupal Shah and his mother were in Biraj Thapa's custody for three months. Since Narabhupal Shah was the deceased Crown Prince Birbhadra Shah's son, Biraj Thapa argued for lawful line of accession to the throne. Other Bhardars: Chandra Rup Shah, Madhukar Shah, Janaggir Shah, Bhim Raj Panday, Bireshwor Panday, Gaureshwor Pant, Laxmipati Pant and Bali Kadariya agreed and supported Biraj Thapa's stand. So, those all Bhardars went to Biraj Thapa's residence to crown Narabhupal Shah of Gorkha kingdom.[7] If Biraj Thapa Magar had not taken such a bold step and risk, some other prince would have become King of Gorkha and there would have been no Prithvi Narayan Shah to unify modern day Nepal.

References
                                    
ऐतिहासिक सामग्री - दोश्रो खण्डको ७ सङ्ख्या (Historical Documents, Section II, Number 7)
गोरखावंशावली बि. सं., २००९ : श्री म.क्षिप्रानाथ योगी को. देविनाथयोगी, शारदा प्रसाद शर्मा रेग्मीद्वारा संसोधिता । योगप्रचारिणी काशी गोरक्षटिल्लाद्वारा प्रकाशिता ।
Gorkhavanshavali: University of California, South/South East Asian Library
Hasrat, Bikram Jit, 1970: History of Nepal as Told by its own Contemporary Chroniclers - The V.V. Research Institute Press, 5 Krishan Nagar, Hosiarpur India.
पन्त, दिनेश राज, २०४१ : गोरखाको इतिहास - (पहिलो भाग) (History of Gorkha, Vol.I ) - Dinesh Raj Pant, Wotu sabal Bahal, Kathmandu Nepal.
Nepal Research: The Shah Kings of Gorkha and Nepal
Rana, B. K., 2003: A Concise Magar History (संक्षिप्त मगर इतिहास) - Raj Tribhandu, Kathmandu Nepal.



Notes:

[1]
 "गौरेश्वर पण्डित लाई वहाँ देषिन तेस्तै बषतमा यहाँ गोर्षा बाट काजी बिराज थापा प्रभृति मगर नाम मा सबै भीमराज पाण्डेगौरेश्वर पन्थविरेश्वर पांडेलक्ष्मीपति पन्थबलिपाध्या कडरिया एतिले चलाउन्या सल्लाह बांधी भित्री सन्च श्री  नायेक्यानी श्री साहेबज्यू नरभूपाल शाह लाई चलाई गोर्षा मा पाउलाग्नु भैं काजी बिराज थापाका घरमा राज गर्नु भया को रहेछ। पाउरषवालि आउन्या गौरेश्वर पण्डित अधिकारी धाई धारला जस्तो भइ आया को पाउलाग्नु भयाको महीना  भया पछि चन्द्ररुप शाह का मानिस मधुकर शाह का मानिस उपनि तनहुँ मा केही बुझ पायेनन  गोर्षा आया। " (गोर्खावंशावलीबिसं २००९ पृष्ठ ९५ )
 [2] "यसैले गौरीश्वर पण्डितलाई हात लिए काम बन्छ भनी विराज थापाभिमराज पांडेगौरेश्वर पन्तलक्ष्मीपति पन्तबली कडेरियाले सल्लाह गरी गौरीश्वर पण्डितको मद्दतले अघिबाटै नरभूपाल शाह  उनकी आमालाई तनहुँबाट सुटुक्क ल्याएर बिराज थापाको घरमा तीन महीनासम्म लुकाई राखिसकेका थिए गोरखाको इतिहास २०४१ - पृष्ठ १७६
[3] "पृथ्वीध्वज थापा (मगर)ले चढाएको जाहेरीमा नरभूपाल शाह राजा भएको  वर्षपछि बिराज थापा परलोक भए भनी लेखिएको   नरभूपाल शाह बि सं १७७३ मा राजा भएका हुन भनी माथि लेखिसकिएको   यस कारण बिराज थापा बिसं१७७७ मा परलोक भएका देखिन्छन गोरखाको इतिहास (पहिलो भागपृष्ठ २४५
[4] There were two different Lakhan Thapa Magars in the history of Gorkha or Nepal. The other Lakhan Thapa Magar II was hanged to death for political reason by Jung Bahadur Rana in 1877.
[5] राजा रामशाहको लखन थापा मगरप्रति ठूलो भर् विश्व रहेको थियो भन्ने कुरा विक्रमजीत हशरतको भनाई यहाँ प्रश्तुत गर्नु मुनासिब देखिन्छ :- "जब गोरखाका राजा (रामशाहतपस्या गर्न लागेलखन थापाले सार्वजनिक प्रशासन (राजकाज सम्बन्धीजस्ता कार्यहरु आफैले सम्पादन गरे  त्रेतायुगका लक्ष्मणको श्रीरामचन्द्रप्रति जस्तो निष्ठा  भक्ति थियोत्यस्तै उनी पनि राम शाहप्रति अत्यन्त निष्ठावान बुद्धिमान सेवकको रुपमा रहेका थिए भनिएको  संक्षिप्त मगर इतिहास - २०५९ पृष्ठ ४७
 [6] "While the raja of Gorkha was thus engaged in the tapas Lakhan Thapa made himself acquainted with the public affairs. He is said to have been as sincere and wise a servant of Ram Shah as Laxman was to Sri Ram Chandra in the Tretayug." (Hasrat 1970:109)
[7] "त्यसपछि चन्द्ररुप शाह, मधुकर शाह, जहाँगीर शाह, भिमराज पांडे, बीरेश्वर पांडे, गौरेश्वर पन्त, लक्ष्मीपति पन्त र बली कडेरिया बिराज थापाको घरमा जम्मा भई अरु मानिसलाई पनि जम्मा गरी राम्रो साईत हेराई बिराज थापाको घरबाट नरभूपाल शाहलाई गोरखा दरबारमा चलाई उनलाई सिंहासनमा राखे ।" गोरखाको इतिहास २०४१ - पृष्ठ १७७

*

General Abhiman Singh Rana Magra was Minister of Nepal until September 15, 1846 and the first victim of the infamous 'Kot Massacre' of 1846 that totally changed the course of Nepalese history. According to a government letter to then British Resident, Major Lawrence in Kathmandu, 32 Bhardars (Nobles) were killed in the massacre catapulting Jung Bahadur, who later became Rana, to power.

Historians have written about Abhiman Singh Rana Magar from different angles: some saying that he was not very interested in becoming Prime Minister of the country. However, few others contesting otherwise have written the queen had favoured him also.

Birth, childhood and education

No records so far are available as to who his parents were, birthplace, childhood and education also. But it can be fairly said that he was a 'literate person' because his signatures can be found in the government papers jointly signed together with then Prime Ministers Bhim Sen Thapa and Mathabar Singh Thapa also.

Prime Ministerial contender

The British Resident to Nepal Major Lawrence's letter, paragraph four, of August 26, 1845 to British Government clearly states that General Abhiman Singh Rana Magar was also a prime ministerial contender as the seat had fallen vacant since sometime already. But he seemed to be 'declining the dangerous office'. (Stiller 1981:285).

In another letter to his government on September 23, 1845, Resident Lawrence wrote, a council of minister was formed consisting of "Chautaria Fatteh Jung and Kazis Gagan Singh, Abhiman Rana and Dalbhanjan Pandey" . Minister Abhiman Singh Rana Magar, retaining his job in the army as general, had two regiments under him. He was Mulki Dewan, which would mean a minister responsible for home affairs: managing internal affairs east of Palpa.

The Kot Massacre, September 15, 1846

General Gagan Singh Khawas was mysteriously killed while he was worshipping some deity at his residence on September 14, 1846. The Queen Laxmi Devi ordered all Bhardars to report themselves to the Kot, at present day Hanuman Dhoka in Kathmandu. The furious Queen, as a wounded lioness, ordered out loud to bring in front of her and punish whoever might have killed General Gagan Singh. ("The queen was addressing her agitation to the assemblage including Prime Minister Fatteh Jung Shah, Chautariya Dalmardhan Shah and General Abhiman Singh Rana Magar" )Jung Bahadur's gesture toward Bir Kishore prompted the dangerously enraged Queen to order Abhiman Singh Rana to sever the former's head. The reason probably because, he was then interior minister - 'Mulki Dewan' of the country. But Abhiman Singh Rana Magar begged King's approval to execute the job. A heated debate followed and the situation turned so tense and dangerous, Abhiman Singh Rana Magar wanted to dash out. A sepoy at the gate blocked and bayoneted at his chest. The dying Abhiman Singh Rana Magar wrote a letter 'J' on the Kot wall with the blood gushing out of his chest suggestive of Jung Bahadur Rana being the culprit.[1] In the government letter to the British resident in Kathmandu 32 Bhardars are listed as killed [2] but the number should have been far more than stated.

References

Rana, B. K. 2003 : A Concise Magar History (संक्षिप्त मगर इतिहास - २०५९)  : Raj Tribandhu, Pingansthan Kathmandu, Nepal.
Stiller, Ludwig F. 1981 : The Kot Massacre (Letter from Kathmandu) : Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur.
1) Rana 2003:66
2) Stiller 1981: 304 - 306