Dev Shumsher

Introduction to Dev Shumsher

Dev Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana was a progressive Shumsher Prime Minister born in Nepal on 17th July 1862 (Baishakh 1919). He was the younger son of Dhir Shumsher, the Chief of the Army and the youngest Brother of Jung Bahadur Rana.

Dev Shumsher became the Prime Minister of Nepal for a brief period of 114 days in 1901. He was also known as the King of Lamjung and Kaski, a title conferred to Rana Prime Ministers.

Family and Early Life

Dev Shumsher was the fourth child of Dhir Shumsher and his third wife, Rani Nanda Kumari. His father and brothers had trouble supporting the big family, and the Shamshers were poorer than the Jungs and other cousins.

At a young age, Dev was adopted by his father’s childless older brother, General Krishna Bahadur Kunwar Ranaji. As an adopted child of Krishna, the governor of Palpa, Dev had a lavish upbringing compared to his siblings.

The only occasions he met his siblings were during festivities and family gatherings. He was closer to the sons of Jung and spent most of his time in their palace, Thapathali Durbar.

He inherited his uncle’s wealth and a share of his father’s. Since he was much richer than his brothers, they envied him. Despite the difference in their economic status, Dev Shumsher was a close friend of his brothers.

In 1885, the Shamsher family, along with Jung Bahadur’s nephews, murdered many of Jung’s sons, took over Nepal in a military coup, and established the Shamsher family’s rule.

Dev Shumsher felt guilty about the coup and was held at gunpoint by General Dhoj Narsingh Rana. He was forgiven and allowed to live. He asked for the exiled family members to return to Nepal. Dhoj adopted the son of Ranodip Singh, who had to flee to India with his family, along with many of Jung’s descendants.

Accession

Dev Shumsher became the Prime Minister of Nepal on 5th March 1901 (1957 Falgun 15). He claimed his heredity from his late brother Sri 3 Maharaja, Prime Minister Bir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana (JBR). He received the “Laal Mohur,” the official stamp of the King of Nepal from then-King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah.

Dev Shumsher was known for his progressive conduct as a reformist Prime Minister in 114 days.

Reforms of Dev Shumsher

Educational Reforms

Dev Shumsher established 30 primary schools in various parts Nepal to provide educational opportunities for common people’s sons and daughters.

However, one-third of these schools were reported to have closed within three months of their opening. Despite this setback, Dev Shumsher aimed to revitalize the governance system by educating the people.

Media Reforms

Dev Shumsher also started the weekly newspaper Gorkhapatra to keep people up to date on national and international news.

The first issue of Gorkhapatra was published on Jeshta Badi 3, 1958, by Tahiti Press. Narademotikrishna Sharma, the then-editor and administrator of Gorkhapatra, was given the freedom to criticize the news without fear. It was discovered that magazine subscribers had to pay 4 rupees per year.

The frequency of publication has increased over time, from twice a week during Juddhashamsher’s reign to daily as of February 7th, 2017. Gorkhapatra is Nepal’s oldest daily newspaper.

Water Reforms

With his own money, he built many streams and cisterns along the road from Raxaul to Hetauda, as well as drinking water fountains in memory of his late wife Karma Kumari.

He built five streams on the road between Seemara and Bhikskhori, as well as drinking water sources in Bhimphedi.

Other Reforms

Dev Shumsher hoped to bring constitutional experts from major countries to Nepal to draft a modern constitution and establish a representative government.

Dev Shumsher issued an order requiring all employees to work every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., whereas previously there was no set time for employees to work.

Complaint boxes were hung in various locations throughout the Kathmandu Valley to allow people to submit suggestions and opinions to the government about the governance system.

Dev Shumsher instituted the practice of giving Government employees 17 days of leave on Ekadashi and New Year’s Day.

Dev Shumsher convened a large meeting with representatives from all levels of society to discuss political and economic affairs

Conclusion

Dev Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana was a reformist Nepalese Prime Minister who ruled Nepal for 114 days in 1901. He was born in 1862 to Dhir Shumsher, Chief of the Army, and his third wife, Rani Nanda Kumari.

He eventually was forced to abdicate the Position after being threatened by Chandra Shumsher, Gehendra Shumsher and his Younger Brothers.

Dev Shumsher was adopted by his father’s childless older brother, General Krishna Bahadur Kunwar Ranaji. He inherited his uncle’s wealth and a share of his father’s.

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.

Citation

Pokhrel, A. (2023). Dev Shumsher – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/ranas/dev-shumsher/