Revolution of 1951
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The revolution of 1951 (Nepali: सात सालको क्रान्ति ) in Nepal, also referred to as Sat Salko Kranti , was a political movement against the direct rule by the Rana dynasty of Nepal. It marks the beginning of the political awakening and democratic movements in Nepal, and resulted in immediate abolition of the institutionalized hereditary Prime Minister system in Nepal.
- 1 Background of Rana regime
- 2 Organization for revolution
- 3 Uprisings and incidents
- 4 King Tribhuvan's exile
- 5 Nepali Congress's Liberation Army
- 6 Delhi Accord
- 7 Formation of coalition Government
- 8 Aftermath
- 9 See also
- 10 References
Background of Rana regime
The rise of the Ranas was heightened by Nepal's defeat in the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–16). Plotting the Kot Massacre Jang Bahadur Rana and his brothers gained power, thus reduced the power of monarch to a figurehead, and the position of Prime Minister was made powerful and hereditary. The Rana regime pursued a policy of isolating Nepal from external influences. The Ranas further established their power by turning pro-British, and assisted the British during the Sepoy Rebellion in 1857.
Organization for revolution
Popular dissatisfaction against of the Ranas started emerging from among educated people and from within the Ranas, many of whom were marginalised within the Rana hierarchy. Many of these Nepalese were in exile and had actively taken part in the Indian Independence struggle and wanted to liberate Nepal as well. The political parties like the Prajaparishad and the Nepali Rastriya Congress were formed in exile by people who wanted to stage both military and popular political revolutions in Nepal.
Uprisings and incidents
Nepal Praja Parishad
The founding of the Nepal Praja Parishad was proposed by Dashrath Chand and Tanka Prasad Acharya in a hotel in Bhimphedi, Makwanpur District of Nepal. It was, however, actually founded in 1939 when they received the support of additional people including Dharma Bhakta Mathema among others. The organization's head office was kept in Dharma Bhakta Mathema's house in OmBahal. Initially, Nepal Praja Parishad distributed hand-written pamphlets among the people and wrote articles against the Rana Dynasty in Nepal in an Indian socialist paper Janata and another paper published in Calcutta named Advance. Later Tanka Prasad Acharya brought a duplicating machine from India, and the organization started to distribute pamphlets against the Rana dynasty to enlighten the people against the Rana Dynasty in Nepal. On January 19, 1941, the court of the Ranas declared death penalty against Shukraraj Shastri (who was not involved in Praja Parishad), Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Ganga Lal Shrestha, and Dashrath Chand, who are now recognized as the martyrs of Nepal. Many others were sentenced to jail and many were exiled. Thus Nepal Praja Parishad was dissolved in January 1941.
On January 26, 1947, the Nepali National Congress was formed in India under the leadership of Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala. Since establishment Congress organized underground activities but on March 4, 1947 (Falgun, 2003 B.S.) Workers of Biratnagar Jute mill demonstrated and started striking against the management.:62 under the leadership of Girija Prasad Koirala and Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala. Nepali national congress participated in this Biratnagar jute mill strike supporting the labor:61 and demanded a Political labour union .To suppress the strike Rana regime sent the state troopes over long and difficult mountain trail to Biratnagar.The strike continued until the troops reached the biratnagar and arrested the leaders.National congress held deliegates' conference at Jogbani, India and resolved to initiate a nationwide 'satyagraha'(civil disobedience movement on Indian model) and thus countrywide anti-Rana demonstration Started.
In July 1947 students enrolled in the Tindhara School had launched Jayatu Sanskritam movement demanding democracy and inclusion of modern subjects in the curriculum. It was the first student uprising in Nepal's history.The main proponents of Jayatu Sanskritam movement were Purna Prasad Brahman, Sribhadra Sharma, Kamal Raj Regmi, Rajeshwor Devkota, Gokarna Shastri. The students involved in the movement were sent into exile by the Rana rulers.Exiles in India later joined the agitation launched for the establishment of democracy led by B.P. Koirala and other leaders.
King Tribhuvan's exile
King Tribhuvan's anti Rana attitude had been an open secret for long in Nepal. King Tribhuvan himself gave explicit support to Nepal Praja Parishad , to overthrow the Ranas. In each instance, however, the Ranas responded harshly, banning the liberal movements and executing their leadership.Even then King Tribhuvan worked closely with Praja Parishad in trying to abolish the Rana regime .Finally In November, 1950, King Tribhuvan took refuge at the Indian Embassy against the Ranas .He was accompanied by his son Mahendra and the eldest grandson Birendra, among others.Prime Minister Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana became furious and responded to Tribhuvan's move by calling an emergency meeting of the cabinet on 7 November 1950 at Singha Durbar. In that meeting he announced Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah, the three-year-old grandson of King Tribhuvan as the new King of Nepal. In the afternoon, on the same day, Prince Gyandendra Bir Bikram Shah was brought to Hanuman Dhoka Palace and crowned as the king of Nepal. On 10 November, two Indian planes landed at Gauchar Airport and flew back to New Delhi with the Royal family excluding the infant King, Gyanendra. King Tribhuvan was formally welcomed by the Indian prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and other high officials. Appointment of the new king led to huge demonstrations throughout the country. On November 22, 1950, Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, officially announced that India was not going to recognize Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah as the legitimate King of Nepal.
Nepali Congress's Liberation Army
After King Tribhuvan fled to the Indian embassy Nepali Congress Party Launched a military wing in called Congress Mukti Sena also known as Nepali Congress's Liberation Army and started an armed uprising against the Rana rule . the seen controlled significant places in planes of Terai. But still far from a politically important place, Kathmandu.
After a mutual agreement between Ranas,Nepali congress party and King Tribhuban a tripartite agreement was signed in Delhi. Finally, On 7th Falgun 2007 B.S. King Tribhuban returned to Nepal as a head of state.
- The major provisions of the Delhi Accord(Agreement) are as follows:
- An elected constituent assembly will frame a democratic constitution within 2 years.
- There will remain an interim cabinet (government) of 10 ministers under the Prime Ministership of Mohan Shumsher of which 5 will be taken from the Nepali congress.
- There will be no restriction to open political organizations. All the political prisoners will be set free and agitators have to hand over all the weapons to the government and stop the movement
- King Tribhuvan will remain the King of Nepal and ultimate power lies in the monarch.
Formation of coalition Government
On 15 February 1951, King Tribhuvan and the leading members of the Nepali Congress returned to Kathmandu.Huge flock of supporters gathered and welcome there monarch at the airport On 18 February 1951, King Tribhuvan announced Nepal’s first steps to democracy with a historical proclamation and a cabinet headed by Sir Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana Delhi accord among the Ranas, the king, and the Nepali Congress Party.
- The followings were the members of the Cabinet.
From the Rana :
- 1. Sir Mohan Shamsher - Prime minister and Foreign Affairs.
- 2. Sir Baber Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana- (younger brother of Mohan Shamsher; was in line for the next premiership) - Defence.
- 3. Chudraj Shamsher - ("B" class Rana representative) - Forests.
- 4. Nripa Janga Rana - ("C" class Rana representative) - Education.
- 5. Yagya Bahadur Basnyat - (Rana Bhardar) - Health and Local self-government.
From the Nepali Congress side:
- 1. B.P. Koirala - Home.
- 2. Subarna Shamsher Rana- (even though a Rana, he represented the Nepali Congress) - Finance.
- 3. Ganesh Man Singh - Commerce and Industry
- 4. Bharatmani Sharma - Food and Agriculture
- 5. Bhadrakali Mishra - Transport.
This cabinet was reshuffled on 10 June 1951 to replace Baber Shamsher by Shangha Shamsher and Bharatmani Sharma by Surya Prasad Upadhyaya
The coalition ministry was a mixture of conservative rana who believed that they were born to rule and radical reformers who had almost no administrative experience. It was able to enact a new constitution entitled Interim Government of Nepal Act 1951, drafted with the help of Indian experts and to a considerable extent based on the Constitution of India. This interim government was able to set up a separate judicial branch and importantly transfer all executive powers back to the king including supreme command of the armed forces and power to appoint government officials and manage finances.Later,the entire bloc of Nepali Congress Party ministers resigned in November, which allowed the king to appoint a new government for the first time since the nineteenth century. The king used the opportunity to exclude for good the conservative Rana power bloc. A royal proclamation on November 16, 1951, established a new government led by Matrika Prasad (M.P.) Koirala, the half-brother of B.P. Koirala, who had run the Nepali Congress Party during the revolutionary struggle.
- Asha, S.P. Hami Le Prajatantra Kasari Lyayau. Kathmandu: Sanhila Prakashan.
- Bhuwan Lal Joshi; Leo E. Rose (1966). Democratic Innovations in Nepal: A Case Study of Political Acculturation. University of California Press. GGKEY:5N30S3HU9BC.
- cheena. "Nepal". cheena-nepal.blogspot.com.
- T. Louise Brown (1 November 2002). The Challenge to Democracy in Nepal. Routledge. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-1-134-88533-6.