Commander In Chief

Introduction of Commander in Chief

Commander in Chief was the Second Most Powerful Administrative Position during the Rana Regime and Second in the Hierarchy after the Prime Minister.

Generally, those who were Second in Line to become the Prime Minister were given this post. Most of the Rana Prime Ministers had to serve as the Commander in Chief before they became Prime Ministers.

Before the Rise of the Rana Regime, The Commander in Chief was often the same person as the Mukhtiyar, a role similar to that of the Prime Minister. However, the extent of their power depended on the personality and trust of the Prime Minister.

During the reign of Jung Bahadur, the Mukhtiyar was assigned to a person of lower rank. Still, later, the Mukhtiyar and Commander in Chief roles merged, and during times of war, the Chief had to lead the army and deploy themselves on the battlefield.

After the reign of Jung Bahadur, the Prime Minister and Commander in Chief became synonymous. Later, this post was provided to the individual in the Second Role of Succession.

In addition, the Commander in Chief behaved with the Prime Minister in a manner like to that of Mahapratihar and Sarva Dandanayak.

Despite sounding Military, this post had all legislative, Executive, and Judicial Authority. Interestingly, this Post could exercise as much power as their Personality would grant them. In other words, the Limitation of their Power was because of the limitations of their Personality.

Duties of Commander In Chief (Rana)

Temporary Prime Minister

The role of the Commander in Chief in Nepalese governance included serving as a temporary Prime Minister in case of the death or prolonged absence of the incumbent Prime Minister. It was common during the Rana Regime when the prime ministers would travel and visit often.

They could assume the role of the Prime Minister and oversee the day-to-day functioning of the government until the De-Facto ruler returned from their visit.

The Commander in Chief had to be familiar with the workings of the government. Also, they were next in line to get Prime Minister. This opportunity acted as the training for their ability.

Military Commander

In times of war, the Commander in Chief had to assume the command of the role of the Armed Forces. They had to be actively inspecting and leading the army, making crucial decisions regarding military strategy, and deploying themselves on the battlefield if necessary.

The CINC was also an accomplished Military Strategist and guarantee the Security and Welfare of their Soldiers.

Historically, the Nepal-Tibet War saw the members of the Rana Family acting in this Post. Mostly, it was Dhir Shumsher who was the Commander under King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah and Ranoddip Singh Kunwar.  

Delegate Punishment

The Commander in Chief could act as the Enforcer of Law and delegate Punishment of offenders, such as the power to imprison, remove from their jobs, and even execute those who did not comply with their orders.


The Commander in Chief was one of the greatest Positions acting as a Temporary Prime Minister. They were First In Line for the Rana Hierarchy. The Most Famous Commander-In-Chief in the History of Nepal are Bombahadur, Dhir Shamsher, and Mohan Shamsher.


Pokhrel, A. (2023). Commander In Chief (Rana) – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History.