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|1951 Nepalese Revolution|
Leading figures of the Nepali Congress and King Tribhuvan
|Rana dynasty||Nepali Congress|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Mohan Shumsher||Nepali Congress leader|
|Casualties and losses|
The revolution of 1951 (Nepali: सात सालको क्रा���्ति ) in Nepal, also referred to as Sat Salko Kranti, was a political movement against the direct rule by the Rana dynasty of Nepal which lasted for 104 years. 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.
Background of Rana regime
The rise of the Ranas was heightened by plotting the Kot Massacre by 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 Praja Parishad 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 founded in 1936 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 printing machine from India, and the organization started to distribute pamphlets against the Rana dynasty to enlighten the people against the rule of the Ranas in Nepal. On January 19, 1941, the court of the Ranas gave the death penalty to 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 strikers:61 and demanded a Political labour union. To suppress the strike the Rana regime sent the state troops over the long and difficult mountain trail to Biratnagar. The strike continued until the troops reached Biratnagar and arrested the leaders. Nepali National congress held a delegates' conference at Jogbani, India and resolved to initiate a nationwide 'satyagraha'(civil disobedience movement on the Indian model) and thus countrywide anti-Rana demonstration started.
In June 1947, students enrolled in the Tin Dhara school launched the Jayatu Sanskritam movement, demanding democracy and inclusion of modern subjects in the curriculum. It was the first student uprising in Nepal's history, and was led by Parashuram Pokhrel, Purna Prasad Brahman, Sribhadra Sharma Khanal, Ram Prasad Neupane, Kamal Raj Regmi, Rajeshwar Devkota and Gokarna Shastri. Forty-two of the participants were exiled by the Rana rulers, and others were imprisoned. Exiles in India later joined the agitation launched for the establishment of democracy under by B.P. Koirala and other leaders.
King Tribhuvan's exile
King Tribhuvan's anti Rana attitude had been an open secret for a long time in Nepal. King Tribhuvan himself gave explicit support to Nepal Praja Parishad, to try 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 end 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, would be 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, the Nepali Congress Party launched a military wing called Congress Mukti Sena, also known as Nepali Congress's Liberation Army, and started an armed uprising against the Rana rule . The Congress Mukti Sena controlled significant places in the planes of Terai, but held little power in the political capital, Kathmandu.
After a mutual agreement between Ranas, Nepali Congress and King Tribhuvan, a tripartite agreement was signed in Delhi. Finally, On 7th Falgun 2007 B.S. King Tribhuvan returned to Nepal as head of state. The major provisions of the Delhi Accord(Agreement) are as follows:
- An elected constituent assembly will create 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 ministerial positions will be taken by the Nepali Congress.
- There will be no restriction to political organizations. All the political prisoners will be set free and agitators have to hand over all their weapons to the government.
- King Tribhuvan will remain the King of Nepal and ultimate power lies in the monarch.
Formation of the Coalition Government
On 15 February 1951, King Tribhuvan and the leading members of the Nepali Congress returned to Kathmandu. A huge flock of supporters gathered and welcome the 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 Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana, and split among the Ranas and the Nepali Congress Party. The followings were the members of the Cabinet.
From the Ranas:
- 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 was a key member of 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 was a mixture of conservative Ranas, who were trying to hold on to as much political power as possible, and radical reformers, who had almost no administrative experience. It was able to enact a new constitution entitled the Interim Government of Nepal Act 1951, drafted with the help of Indian experts and was in many ways inspired by 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.
- Nepali Congress
- Biratnagar jute mill strike
- Ram Prasad Rai
- List of Nepali democratic movement (1951) activists
- Brown, T.L. (1996), The Challenge to Democracy in Nepal, New York: Routledge, p. 16, ISBN 9780415085762
- 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.
- Samiti, Rastriya Samachar (15 June 2017). "Jayatu Sanskritam marked". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- Samiti, Rastriya Samachar (15 June 2017). "Jayatu Sanskritam marked". myRepublica. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
- Snellinger, Amanda Therese (2018). Making New Nepal: From Student Activism to Mainstream Politics. University of Washington Press. pp. 35–6. ISBN 9780295743097. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- Adhikari, Radheshyam (30 June 2017). "Shuttered schools | From the Nepali Press | Nepali Times". archive.nepalitimes.com. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- 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.