Prithvi Narayan Shah
|king Prithvi Narayan Shah
|unifier & King of Nepal|
|Reign||25 September 1743 – 11 January 1775|
|Coronation||25 September 1768|
|Predecessor||Nara Bhupal Shah|
|Successor||Pratap Singh Shah|
|Spouse||Indra Kumari Devi
Narendra Rajya Laxmi Devi
|Issue||Pratap Singh Shah
|Father||Nara Bhupal Shah|
|Born||11 January 1723
|Died||11 January 1775 (aged 52)
Prithvi Narayan Shah, King of Nepal (1723–1775; Nepali: वडामहाराजधिराज पृथ्वीनारायण शाह) was the first king of the unified Nepal. He is credited for starting the campaign for a unified Nepal, which had been divided and weakened under Malla confederacy. He was the ninth generation descendant of Dravya Shah (1559–1570), the founder of the ruling house of Gorkha. Prithvi Narayan Shah succeeded his father, King Nara Bhupal Shah to the throne of the Gorkha Kingdom in 1743.
Badamaharajdhiraj Prithvi Narayan Shah was of Khas race. His mother was Kaushwalyawati Shah but he was cared for by Chandra Pravawati, the 1st queen of King Nara Bhupal Shah. He started taking general interest in the affairs of the state because his father spent most of his time praying. He had a great dream to win over Nuwakot, partially because his father had lost a war with Nuwakot. After the death of his father in 1799 BS, Prithivi Narayan Shah ascended the throne of Gorkha at the age of twenty. Walking around Gorkha and talking to people about the general concerns of the palace was his passion and this helped him to understand the needs of the citizens of Gorkha.
Unification of Nepal
King Prithvi Narayan Shah's reign began with the defeat at Nuwakot in 1743 AD, which lies between Kathmandu and Gorkha District and was a vital trading route to Tibet. He won Nuwakot in the subsequent attempt in 1744 AD. After Nuwakot, he took possession of strategic points in the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. The valley's communications with the outside world were thus cut off. The occupation of the Kuti Pass in about 1756 stopped the valley's trade with Tibet. Also he had stopped the trade between the Newar people living in the Kathmandu Valley and the Muslim Mughal Empire in India.
After two humiliating defeats, King Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered Kirtipur on his third attempt. Finally, King Prithvi Narayan Shah entered the valley, after conquering Kirtipur. Consequently Jaya Prakash Malla of Kathmandu managed to escape with his wife and took asylum in Patan, Lalitpur. When the conquest was extended to Patan a few weeks later both Jaya Prakash Malla and the King of Patan, Tej Narsingh Malla, took refuge in Bhaktapur, which was also conquered after some time.
Death and Legacy
King Prithvi Narayaṇ Shah managed to unify small principalities into one nation, Nepal. The unification was crucial as the British colonial forces had already started colonizing small kingdoms that formed present India. King Prithivi Narayan Shah was convinced that the British forces would slowly come for Nepal and as the present day Nepal was divided into more than 50 small principalities it would be very easy for the British to colonize Nepal. His unification campaign was very ambitious, especially as he was the King of a small kingdom surrounded by strong and powerful neighbors. But King Prithivi Narayan Shah was able to unify Nepal and later the Nepali forces were able to fight against British colonial forces and prevent colonization of Nepal.
He died before he could effectively organize the administration of his new country. He died in January, 1775 at the age of 52. Upon his death, Prithvi Narayan Shah was succeeded by his son, Pratap Singh Shah and his unification campaign was continued by his younger son Bahadur Shah. Then after the campaign of unification laid sown the resulting present Nepal.
In addition to the unification of Nepal, King Prithivi Narayan Shah laid out the guiding principles of governance, nationalism, and foreign policy before dying in his deathbed at the then nine storied Nuwakot palace. In his Divya Upadesh he laid out nine principles such as: 1. Nepal is a small yam between two stones, indicating Nepals location between China and India. 2. Both the people who take and who give bribe are the enemies of nation. There will be no sin executing them. 3. Nepal is a garden of four caste and thirty-six subcaste. 4. Even if there is settlement in places with mines/quarries, relocate the settlement and operate mine.
Notes and references
- Royal Ark
- Acharya, Baburam. Shree Panch BadaMaharajdhiraj Prithivi Narayan Shah ko Sanxipta Jiwani, Part I (in Nepali). p. 42.
- Accordingly Royal Ark, he was born on 25 December 1722
- Manandhar, Triratna. Nepal ko Ekikaran (in Nepali). Kathmandu: Sajha Prakashan. p. 215.
- Gyawali, Suryavikram. PrithiviNarayan Shah (in Nepali). Darjeeling: Nepal SahiSammelan.
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Prithvi Narayan ShahBorn: 7 January 1723 Died: 11 January 1775
Nara Bhupal Shah
|King of Gorkha
Himself as King of Nepal
Himself as King of Gorkha
|King of Nepal
Pratap Singh Shah