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Title: Nepali politics and the rise of Jang Bahadur Rana, 1830-1857
Author: Whelpton, John
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1987
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The thesis examines the political history of Nepal from 1830, covering the decline and fall of Bhimsen Thapa, the factional struggles which ended with Jang Bahadur Kunwar (later Rana)'s emergence as premier in 1846, and Jang's final securing of his own position when he assumed the joint roles of prime minister and maharaja in 1857. The relationship between king, political elite (bharadari), army and peasantry is analysed, with special prominence given to the religious aspects of Hindu kingship, and also to the role of prominent Chetri families and of the Brahman Mishras, Pandes and Paudyals who provided the rajgurus (royal preceptors). Special attention is also paid to the role of the British Residency in internal politics and to rank-and-file protest in the army, which although largely manipulated by elite patrons showed signs of potential autonomy. Jang's assumption of power is discussed in detail, emphasising the importance of his alliance with guru Vijay Raj Pande. The main features of the new regime are outlined, including the relationship between maharaja and monarch (maharajadhiraj) , the composition of the new bharadari. and Jang's dependence on it and on the army, changes to the administrative system, the significance of the Muluki Ain (Law Code) of 1854, land revenue policy and relations with the British. Jang's policies were partly the natural continuation of lines already emerging, but he nevertheless made significant changes leading to a more centralised administration, the growth of a sense of national identity, and the shift towards de facto private ownership of land which continued under his successors. Nepal remained essentially in the tradition of Hindu kingship, but with the secular functions of the king transferred to the maharaja. Jang's regime was 'autocratic' but he acknowledged in principle an obligation to the governed, and had in practice to conciliate key sectors of the public, limitations which correspond to those recognised in classical Hindu political theory. Appendices give details of Jang's family history and translations of letters written by him from Paris in 1850.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral