Jung Bahadur Rana

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Between 1846 to 1877, Maharaja Jung Bahadur Rana served as Prime Minister and virtual ruler of Nepal for nearly three decades. He was a brave guy who was able to successfully overthrow his opponents and consolidate his control over the country’s administrative, judicial, and civic affairs. During his time in office, he worked hard to establish friendly connections with other European countries, and he was known to travel to the United Kingdom and France. He also worked to bring about reforms by fostering modernization, changing judicial norms, and attempting to eliminate societal ills like as ‘Sati.’ He was named King of the districts Kaski and Lamjung almost a decade after his stint as Prime Minister of Nepal ended. During his time in service, he helped to build and sustain the ‘Rana Dynasty,’ which ruled Nepal until 1951.

Childhood and Adolescence

On June 18, 1816, Jung Bahadur Rana was born Bala Narsingh Kunwar. Bal Narsingh Kunwar, his father, was King Rana Bahadur Shah’s personal bodyguard and was given the title of ‘Kaji.’ Ganesh Kumari, his mother, was a close relative of the illustrious Thapa family. His parents’ powerful position allowed him to enter the royal court at an early age.
Jung Bahadur Rana joined the military at the age of sixteen, when Nepal was led by his maternal grandfather Bhimsen Thapa. However, when Bhimsen Thapa lost power, he lost both his job and his property.
Following this occurrence, he embarked on a year-long trek across northern India before returning to Nepal in 1840.

Later the Years

When he returned to Nepal in 1840, he was promoted to captain of artillery. The following year, he was awarded a job as the King’s personal bodyguard, and in 1842, he became Kaji in the palace.
By assassinating Jung Bahadur Rana, he took control of the government in 1946, after executing a usurper, Gagan Singh, who had plotted with the queen to elevate himself as Prime Minister and declare the queen’s son King. The scheme was discovered, and the King and Queen were exiled by Jung Bahadur Rana. He was then appointed to the position of Prime Minister for the rest of his life.
By 1850, he had gotten rid of his biggest foes and taken control of key administrative concerns. At the royal court, his family and close friends were assigned to key positions. He traveled to England and France between 1850 and 1851. Throughout his life, he was known to have enjoyed cordial connections with the British.
In order to update the outdated penal code, Jung Bahadur Rana encouraged his officials to reform the country’s legal system into a cohesive body of laws that comprised procedures and frameworks for comprehending and acting in various civil and criminal problems. The ‘Muluki Ain,’ which covered income, land, caste issues, marriage, and family law, was finished in 1854.
He was a skilled diplomat, which allowed Nepal to remain independent even when India was under British authority at the time. He aided the British army with a battalion of Gurkha soldiers during the Indian Mutiny of 1857-1858.
He worked for the country’s development and was heavily influenced by European architecture and fashion. Jung Bahadur Rana aimed to improve Nepal’s administration in order to bring about reform. He worked to end the practice of ‘Sati,’ or wife self-immolation on the husband’s pyre.
In 1856, a special edict gave him complete control over all judicial, administrative, civil, and international matters, as well as foreign relations. He was also made the King or ‘Maharaja’ of the districts of Kaski and Lamjung.
King Surendra bestowed the honorific title ‘Rana’ on him in 1858. Prime ministers descended from his family later adopted his surname, and his family became known as “the house of Ranas.”
When he was appointed Prime Minister for life, he felt it was his responsibility to ensure that the state was led by a capable adult, so he established a succession system that does not transfer from father to son, but rather between brothers within the family. In the second generation, it would be passed on to his brothers’ sons according to their age. He was Prime Minister until 1877, and he had complete control over the government. His brother Rana Utdip Singh succeeded him after his death.

Major Projects of Rana

Jung Bahadur Rana had made numerous contributions to the nation’s well-being. His most notable achievements include the construction of the ‘Muluki Ain’ and his efforts to modernize the country while also developing relations with international countries such as Britain.

Achievements & Awards

Napoleon III presented him with the Sword of Honour in 1851.
In 1854, he was awarded the India General Service Medal.
King George I awarded him the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in 1858. He received the Indian Mutiny Medal the same year.
In 1873, Queen Victoria bestowed the title of Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India on him.
He received the Prince of Wales’ Medal in 1876.

Personal History and Legacy

Jung Bahadur Rana married Bada Maharani Hiranya Garva in 1853, the daughter of Fateh Jung Shah, the chief minister. They had four daughters, all of whom were married to princes of the realm. She also raised Jung Bahadur Rana’s young son Padma Jung, whose mother died in 1857 after childbirth.
He had at least 13 wives and a slew of mistresses, according to reports. Ganga Maharani, a Coorg princess, Ramri Maharani, a Magar girl named Mina Rani, and Misri Maharani, the daughter of Rana Shere Shah, were among his brides. He went hunting with three elder wives and two junior wives in 1877. However, he became unwell and died on the banks of the Bagmati in Pattharghatta on February 25, 1877. His senior wives, Bada Maharani Hiranya Garva Kumari, Antaree Maharani, and Ramri Maharani, took Sati, while the young wives were persuaded to stay at home and look after their children.


Jung Bahadur’s life was based on a Nepali film called “Seto Bagh.” The film was based on Diamond Shumsher Rana’s novel of the same name.