Pratap Singh Shah

Introduction to Pratap Singh Shah

Pratap Singh Shah was the eldest son of Prithvi Narayan Shah and Narendra Rajya Laxmi Shah. He was born in 1751 A.D. in Gorkha. After the death of P.N. Shah in 1775 A.D., he became the Second King of the Shah Dynasty to rule Nepal at the age of 23 Years.

His Wife was Rajendra Laxmi, the second daughter of Palpali King Mukund Sen. The Child of Pratap Singh Shah and Rajendra Laxmi was named Rana Bahadur Shah.

Biography of Pratap Singh Shah

Pratap Singh Shah was born in 1751 A.D. and soon became the Crown Prince of Unified Nepal. He had quite a privileged childhood. He was reared with extreme care and love. Wise Brahmins were hired to serve him the knowledge of the Shastras and to teach him the arts of war and bravery and diplomacy.

However, Pratap Singh Shah didn’t turn out as well as expected. He was quite weak in archery, tactics of warfare, and diplomacy. He had a very weak character according to Historians.

Pratap Singh Shah had two Brothers: Bahadur Shah and Narayan Shah. Before the death of Prithvi Narayan Shah, he wanted to see Bahadur Shah sit on the throne rather than his eldest son, according to some Historians. Bahadur Shah was admired by everyone for his bravery, charisma, leadership, and other qualities similar to his Father.

Pratap Singh Shah became the King of Nepal at the young age of 23 Years Old. After he claimed the throne, two distinct groups of Courtiers started to manipulate and control him. Even the Citizens of Nepal disliked him and preferred Bahadur Shah instead. So, the Courtiers told him to get rid of Bahadur Shah

The rivalry between Pratap and Bahadur Shah

Bahadur Shah was acting as a Chautariya, similar to the present-day Prime Minister, and had amassed quite the following and popularity. He had control of Nepal’s administration and was planning to pitch more Conquests to his brother.

Bahadur Shah desired to conquer lands that remained incomplete during his father’s reign. But Bahadur Shah was imprisoned along with Uncle Dalmardan Shah by Pratap Singh Shah.

Pratap Singh Shah claimed that Bahadur Shah was being “anti-king” and was causing problems for the court. A courtier and an expert diplomat, Gajaraja Mishra requested the King to free Bahadur Shah and Dalmardan Shah.

Bahadur Shah was freed and started living in India. After exiling his Brother, he focused on improving the Trade and communications between Nepal with Tibet. He also added some lands to Nepal.

Death

Pratap Singh Shah suddenly died of smallpox in 1777 A.D. without completing three years of his rule as the King of Nepal. After the death of Pratap Singh Shah, his only son Rana Bahadur Shah became the King of Nepal at the age of two years.

Contributions of Pratap Singh Shah

Although Pratap Singh Shah reigned Nepal for a mere two years, he effectively utilized resources to conduct a treaty with Tibet and expand the Border of Nepal to Chitwan in the South.

Treaty with Tibet

On September 1st, 1775, a commercial treaty between Nepal and Tibet was conducted under Pratap Singh Shah which guaranteed the denomination of new coins for Trade and routes of Businessmen from Nepal to Tibet and vice versa through Khasa.

The Major Provisions of the Treaty are:

  1. Tibet must trade through the route of Kuti, Kerung, Sikkim, and Gangtok and leave the old route of Chumbhi Valley.
  2. Nepal will send gold and silver to make new coins in Tibet with a representative.
  3. The Nation which violates the treaty must pay 50 Dharni Gold in Punishment.

After conducting a treaty with Tibet, Pratap Singh Shah focused on increasing the Border of Nepal although the controversies between Two Groups of Nepali court prevented and slowed it.

Unification Campaign of Pratap Singh Shah

Pratap Singh Shah took the suggestion of his younger brother, Bahadur Shah, and decided to unify Chitwan into Nepal. Nepal had to conquer Chitwan because Chitwan was the gateway to Nepal and Britishers could easily attack Nepal if they captured Chitwan.

He sent an army under Abhiman Singh Basnet and Swarup Singh Karki. Within a few days of the attack, Nepal managed to conquer most of the parts of Chitwan. Finally, Nepal conquered Chitwan by killing Commander Bichitra Sen. Chitwan, which was under the Kingdom of Tanahu, was conquered by Nepal in 1776 A.D.

In Eastern Nepal, one of the ministers of the Eastern Kingdom of Vijayapur revolted. An army under Abhiman Singh Basnet was sent to fend them off. Buddhi Karna, the minister was tracked down after being missing for a year and a half in Vijayapur. Buddhi Karna was finally killed in the Temple of Dantakali.

Land Reforms

One of his other contributions in his short reign was dividing the lands based on productivity. This categorization of productivity was set by Jayastithi Malla in his land reform attempts. It made the process effective for the transaction of land and the division of land in Nepal.

Conclusion

Pratap Singh Shah is the shortest reigning Shah King of Nepal with the exception of Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah. He failed to unite Nepal and expand the Unification Campaign.

He was more focused on fulfilling the wish of his servants and praises. Pratap Singh Shah chose to live an extravagant life. He even had multiple mistresses to please him.

Miscellaneous

References

  • Subedi, Raja Ram, 2061, “Nepalko Tathya Itihas,” Sajha Prakashan
  • Acharya, Baburam. “Nepalko Sanchipta Britanta”, Pramodshumsher-Nirbikram Pyasi 2022 B.S.
  • Regmi, D.R. “Modern Nepal, Volume I and II. F.K.L.M., 1975
  • Pradhan, Kumar. “The Gorkha Conquest” Oxford University Press, Kalkutta 1991
  • Stiller, L.F. “The Rise of House of Gorkha” Ratna Pustak Bhandar, 1975
  • Gyawali, Surya Bikram. “Nepalka Shahbanshi Rajaharu”. Government of Nepal, 2031 B.S.
  • Kumar, Satish. “The Rana Polity in Nepal”. Asian Publishing House, 1967
  • Pande, Bhimbahadur. “Tyas Bakhatko Nepal” Part 1, 2, 3. CNAS, 2032 B.S.
  • Yadav, Pitambar Lal. “Nepalko Rajnaitik Itihas”, 2040 B.S.

Cite

Pokhrel, A. (2023). King Pratap Singh Shah – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/modern-kings/pratap-singh-shah/

FAQ’s

Who was Pratap Singh Shah?

Pratap Singh Shah was born in Gorkha in 1751 A.D. He ruled Modern Nepal as its Second King from 1775 A.D. to 1777 A.D.

Who is the Family of Pratap Singh Shah?

Pratap Singh Shah’s wife was Rajendra Laxmi, the second daughter of Palpali King Mukund Sen. Their child was Rana Bahadur Shah.

What were Pratap Singh Shah’s contributions?

During his two-year reign, Pratap Singh Shah conducted a commercial treaty with Tibet and expanded the border of Nepal by conquering Chitwan.

What is the Relation of Pratap Singh Shah and Bahadur Shah?

Pratap Singh Shah was the Elder Brother of Bahadur Shah. Pratap Singh Shah imprisoned Bahadur Shah for being “anti-king” and causing problems for the court.

How did Pratap Singh Shah die?

Pratap Singh Shah died of smallpox in 1777 A.D., without completing three years of his rule as the King of Nepal.