Rajendra of Nepal

Rajendra of Nepal

Rajendra Bikram Shah, King of Nepal (1813-1881) was King of Nepal from 1816 to 1847. He became king at age 3 on the death of his father Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah Deva. As had been the case with his father, most of Rajendra's rule was under the regency of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari (d. 1832) and Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa. As regent, Bhimsen Thapa kept the king in isolation--he did not even have the freedom to leave the palace without permission.

Rajendra came of age in 1832, and in 1837 announced his intention to rule independently of the Prime Minister. He stripped Bhimsen Thapa and Thapa's nephew, Mathbar Singh, of their military authority. Shortly afterward the youngest son of Rajendra's elder queen died, and Bhimsen Thapa was arrested on a trumped-up charge of poisoning the prince. All the property of the Thapas was confiscated. Bhimsen Thapa was acquitted after an eight-month trial, but the Thapas were in disarray. When Rana Jang Pande became prime minister, he reimprisoned Bhimsen Thapa, who committed suicide in prison in 1839.

In January 1843, Rajendra declared that he would rule the country only with advice and agreement of his junior queen, Lakshmidevi, and commanded his subjects to obey her even over his own son, Surendra Bikram Shah. Continued infighting among noble factions led eventually to the Kot Massacre in 1846. In the aftermath of the Kot Massacre, Jung Bahadur became Prime Minister and quickly seized power, sending King Rajendra and Queen Lakshmidevi into exile in Varanasi. From exile, Rajendra sought to regain power, but Jung Bahadur learned of Rajendra's plans and forced him to abdicate in favor of his son Surendra. Jung Bahadur's forces captured Rajendra in 1847 and brought him to Bhaktapur, where he spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

External links/sources

* [http://www.nepalmonarchy.gov.np/monarcyinnepal/monarchyinnepal_TextOnly.php Royal Court of Nepal -- official site]
* [http://www.nepalhomepage.com/general/kings/rajendra.html Rajendra Bikram Shah biography - Nepal Home Page]
* [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+np0022) Library of Congress Country Studies: Nepal]

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