Bir Shumsher

Introduction to Bir Shumsher

Bir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana was Nepal’s 3rd Rana Prime Minister and the First Shumsher P.M. from 1885 A.D. to 1901 A.D.

He was born on December 10, 1852, A.D., as the Eldest son of Dhir Shumsher. He established the Shumsher Family as the Prime Minister of Nepal and brought some reforms along the way.

Early Life and Education

Bir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana was born to Dhir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, the Army Chief, and Jung Bahadur Rana’s younger brother. His mother was Pahalman Singh Basnyat’s daughter and Lalitman Singh Basnyat’s sister.

Unfortunately, his mother passed away during his birth, and he was taken care of by Putali Maharani, the wife of Jung Bahadur. He spent his childhood at Thapathali Durbar, where he was given the name “Kailay” by Jung Bahadur.

Bir Shumsher’s mother was predicted to die at a young age, so Dhir Shumsher sent him to Thapathali palace. Bir Shumsher was known for his gentle nature, despite his father’s strict discipline. Jung Bahadur sent him to Calcutta as Nepal’s representative when he was 18 years old. He ruled Palpa for five years before becoming his father’s secretary following Jung Bahadur’s death.

Rise of Bir Shumsher

42 Saal Parva

42 Saal Parva, one of the Five Parvas of the Rana Regime, ended J.B.R. descendants’ rights to the position of Prime Minister and established the Sons of Dhir Shumsher as Shree Teen Maharajas.

After the death of Crown Prince Trailokya Bikram Shah (Son of King Surendra), the Jung and Royal families joined against the Shumsher family. The Shumsher Family eventually killed Prime Minister Ranoddip Singh in 1942 B.S., taking over the post for themselves.

According to Historians, personal conflicts, such as a skewed role of succession and the Shumshers’ desire for a luxurious lifestyle, drove the murder.

Bir Shumsher was appointed Shree 3 Maharaja and Prime Minister on November 23, 1885, following the assassination of his uncle Ranoddip Singh. In that capacity, he oversaw Nepal’s administration until he died in 1901.

He acted as the facto ruler of King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah. After him, Dev Shumsher and Chandra Shumsher became Prime Ministers.

Conspiracy of Khadga Shumsher

Khadga Shumsher’s story is fraught with mystery and intrigue. He rose to become the army’s Commander in Chief after being born as Bir Shumsher’s brother. However, as his power grew, he clashed with the Prime Minister, resulting in a bitter feud.

Khadga Shumsher was a highly ambitious man who wanted to be Shree Teen, which led him to form factions and gain the support of the Queens of the Court.

In 1887 AD, Khadga Shumsher and his supporters conspired to kill Bir Shumsher by inviting him to a feast at Saraswati place. However, the Spies of the Prime Minister decoded the plan.

Bir Shumsher did not attend the feast himself but instead sent his armed forces in response to Bhoja’s invitation. As a result, on March 13, 1887, the army apprehended all of the conspirators.

The fallout from the conspiracy was severe. Khadga Shumsher was deposed and taken as a prisoner to Palpa. After some time, however, he was pardoned and appointed governor of Palpa. Kesharsingh Thapa was expelled from the valley and sent to Dailekh after joining Khadga Shumsher’s faction.

Individuals present at the palace for the Conspiracy were exiled to the eastern hills of Yakulyang. Other conspirators, including Pandit Vachspati Pant and Captain Tek Bahadur Malla, were expelled from Nepal.

Khadga Shumsher was fascinated by history, and he even commissioned the renowned scholar Dr. Furrer to investigate archaeological sites in and around Lumbini. During Chandra Shumsher’s prime ministership, he amassed considerable wealth, and he is said to have died on December 22, 1921, in Kashi.

Reforms and Contributions of Bir Shumsher

Infrastructure Reforms

Bir Shumsher established basic road systems in Kathmandu, built bridges, and erected public buildings and monuments. He was in charge of constructing The Singha Durbar. In addition, he constructed the Bhimphedi Fort to protect Kathmandu from the British Raj. the British Raj.

. In 1888, he began construction on the Kaldhara in Kathmandu, which was completed in 1891 AD, and a few years later, Kaldharas were built in Bhaktapur as well.

Administrative Reforms

He established Nepal’s first police force and judicial system. According to a Group of favourable historians, he abolished the feudal system and established a centralized government. He also established Nepal’s first modern schools and educated both boys and girls of the privileged Class.

Judicial Reforms

He simplified the old, complicated laws so ordinary people could understand them. In 1901, he reorganized the administration of justice in Kathmandu and established the Court of Final Appeal. He also established appellate courts in some districts and primary courts in others outside the valley.

Health Reforms

In 1890, he established the Bir Hospital in Kathmandu and brought experienced doctors from abroad. He also built a separate hospital for leprosy patients in Tripureshwar.  

Furthermore, he ordered the establishment of Baidyakhana in Singh’s palace and announced that free healthcare would be provided to the poor.

Educational Reforms

He built the Bir Library and prioritized the advancement of Sanskrit education. He sent ten Nepalese students to India to further their studies in Sanskrit. Furthermore, he sent a Nepali delegation to Japan, led by his son, Gehendra Shumsher, to study the Japanese educational system.

Five Nepali students were sent to Japan to study engineering, and after finishing their studies, they returned to Nepal during Chandra Shumsher.

Social Reforms

Bir Shumsher attempted to abolish slavery and arranged for the release of slaves brought under government control. He also tried to prevent bribery by instructing warehouse chiefs in various areas not to accept any money or goods other than what the government requested.

Other Reforms

Bir Shumsher also established Khadga Nishna Chapa’s (Prime Minister’s Seal) practice and improved the postal system. He established Birgunj, named after him, and built a clock house to keep the people of Kathmandu informed of the time.

Bir Shumsher also built several palaces and invited Indian artists to construct buildings in Nepal based on new architecture.


Bir Shumsher was a pioneering statesman of Nepal as he established the Shumsher Regime in Nepal. He is portrayed in either Positive or Negative Light for the consequent History of the Rana Regime, considered to be an attack against Democracy.



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  • Pradhan, Kumar. “The Gorkha Conquest” Oxford University Press, Kalkutta 1991
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  • Gyawali, Surya Bikram. “Nepalka Shahbanshi Rajaharu”. Government of Nepal, 2031 B.S.
  • Kumar, Satish. “The Rana Polity in Nepal”. Asian Publishing House, 1967
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Pokhrel, A. (2023). Bir Shumsher – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.


What were Bir Shumsher’s contributions to Nepal?

Bir Shumsher introduced a system of motorable roads, constructed bridges, and built public buildings and monuments. He constructed the Singha Durbar, the seat of the Nepalese government, and the Bhimphedi Fort to protect Kathmandu from the British Raj. He also focused on the development of drinking water systems, such as the Kaldhara in Kathmandu.

Who was Bir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana?

Bir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana was the Prime Minister of Nepal from 1885 AD to 1901 AD and a statesman who brought about significant reforms and infrastructure improvements that transformed the country.

How did Bir Shumsher spend his childhood?

Bir Shumsher spent his childhood at Thapathali Durbar, where he was given the name Kailay by Jung Bahadur. He was taken care of by Putali Maharani, the wife of Jung Bahadur, as his mother had passed away during his birth.

What did Bir Shumsher do in 42 Saal Parva?

42 Saal Parva event in Nepal in 1885 AD ended the rights of J.B.R. descendants on the post of Prime Minister and established the Sons of Dhir Shumsher as Shree Teen Maharajas. After the assassination of his uncle Ranoddip Singh, Bir Shumsher was appointed as the Shree 3 Maharaja and Prime Minister on 23 November 1885.

What was the conspiracy of Khadga Shumsher?

Khadga Shumsher, the brother of Bir Shumsher, conspired to kill him by inviting him to a feast at Saraswati place. However, Bir Shumsher’s spies uncovered the plot, and instead of attending the feast, he sent his armed forces, resulting in the arrest of all the conspirators on March 13, 1887.