Rana Prime Ministers of Nepal

Introduction to Rana Prime Ministers

The Kunwar Family, later Ranas ruled Nepal from 1846 A.D. to 1950 A.D. through a century of continuous Family Autocracy. Rana Prime Ministers were the De-Facto rulers of Nepal. The Autocracy was established by Jung Bahadur Rana and the Lalmohar of 1850 A.D. further cemented his Reign. In 1885 A.D., 42 Saal Parva happened wiping out the Jung Family from Power. The Shumsher Family (The Family of Dhir Shumsher, Brother of J.B.R.) led by Bir Shumsher ruled Nepal for 60 years.

Nine Rana Prime Ministers ruled Nepal for 104 Years. They attempted to Modernize Nepal by introducing a form of Industrial and Technological Revolution. However, the Social and Economic Lives of Nepal suffered much under their reign.

List of Rana Prime Ministers of Nepal

Jung Bahadur Rana

Jung Bahadur Kunwar was one of the most Influential Figures in Nepali History. He was born on June 18, 1817, and had a comfortable childhood where he learned about administration. At the age of 14, he became a Subedar. However, his family faced a downfall, and he fled to Benaras after borrowing money and wasting it on gambling. After returning and remarrying, he used his dowry to pay off his debts. Jung Bahadur ventured to Terai with the Royal Family to catch elephants for money and caught the attention of the Royal family.

He gained recognition and became the Kaji of Kumarichowk. Jung Bahadur played a deceitful part in Nepalese politics and contributed to the assassination of his maternal uncle. The rise of Jung Bahadur was facilitated by the Bhardari factionalism in Nepal’s court and the unstable politics of the time. He became a trusted person of the Royal Palace and organized the Kot Parva, a bloody event resulting in the consolidation of power under him. He also faced assassination attempts and quashed a rebellion in the Alau Parva. Jung Bahadur received three Lal Mohars from King Surendra, which helped him centralize power in his hands. He also visited Britain in 1850 to establish relations and learn from their activities.

He also visited Great Britain, introduced Muluki Ain, 1910 A.D., started Ainkhana and Muluki Bana, stopped the Practice of Sati, Reduce Gambling, Abolition of Slavery, regulated Labor, and induced Health Reforms as well. He ultimately died in 1877 A.D.

Ranoddip Singh

Ranoddip Singh, born on April 3, 1825, was a devoted man with strong religious beliefs. He served as an administrator during Jung Bahadur’s visit to Britain, where he honed his administrative skills. He played a leading role in the Third Nepal-Tibet War from 1845 to 1856 and led the Nepali army against British rule in India in 1857. In 1876, he was honored with the title of KCSI by the Prince of Bells for his service to the nation. Ranoddip Singh became the third Maharaj and Prime Minister of Nepal on February 26, 1877, following the death of Janga Bahadur. He served in this position until his own death on February 22, 1885.

The 38 Saal Parva and 42 Saal Parva were significant events in Nepal’s history. The 38 Saal Parva marked the end of the Jung Family’s opportunity to hold the Prime Minister’s post and established the Shumsher Family’s rule. The 42 Saal Parva resulted in the end of the J.B.R descendants’ rights and the establishment of the Sons of Dhir Shumsher as Shree Teen Maharajas. Ranoddip Singh’s death occurred in 1942, B.S. when he was assassinated by Bir Shumsher and his accomplices.

During his time as Prime Minister, Ranoddip Singh introduced various reforms. These included improving education by building schools and providing scholarships, enhancing military infrastructure, developing road connectivity, settling land issues, establishing new courts, fighting corruption, simplifying the administrative system, and introducing modern technologies.

Bir Shumsher

Bir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, born on December 10, 1852, was the 11th Prime Minister of Nepal. He implemented reforms and infrastructure improvements that changed the country. Bir Shumsher grew up in Thapathali Durbar, under the care of Putali Maharani. At 18, he represented Nepal in Calcutta. After his uncle’s death, he became Prime Minister in 1885. He focused on infrastructure, constructing roads, bridges, and public buildings like Singha Durbar.

He reformed the judicial system, established the police force, and centralized the government. Bir Shumsher built the Bir Hospital, improved healthcare, and promoted education. He also abolished slavery, fought bribery, and improved the postal system. His legacy as a visionary leader who modernized Nepal continues to be honored.

Dev Shumsher

Dev Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, born on July 17, 1862, in Nepal, was a knowledgeable and well-educated person. He became the Prime Minister of Nepal for a short period of 114 days in 1901. Dev Shumsher was also known as the King of Lamjung and Kaski. He was the younger son of Dhir Shumsher, the Chief of the Army.

Dev Shumsher’s early life involved being adopted by his childless uncle, General Krishna Bahadur Kunwar Ranaji, which provided him with a lavish upbringing. He inherited his uncle’s wealth and became wealthier than his brothers. Despite the economic difference, he maintained a close friendship with his brothers.

During his time as Prime Minister, Dev Shumsher implemented several important reforms. He established 30 primary schools to provide education for common people, initiated the publication of the weekly newspaper Gorkhapatra, and worked on improving the water supply in various areas. He also aimed to end the arbitrary rule and introduce a parliamentary system, abolish slavery, and introduce fixed office hours for employees.

Chandra Shumsher

Chandra Shumsher, an influential figure in Nepal’s history, implemented various reforms during his tenure from 1901 until his death in 1929. He abolished slavery and signed the Nepal-Britain Treaty of 1923, which recognized Nepal as an independent nation. He also overthrew his brother Dev Shumsher to rule the country.

Chandra Shumsher’s academic achievements garnered praise, and he introduced administrative, judicial, and educational reforms. He played a significant role in ending the Sati system and promoting women’s rights. His actions continue to impact Nepal, and his dedication to education and self-improvement, along with his clever tactics and powerful reign as Prime Minister, has solidified his position as a prominent figure in Nepali history.

Bhim Shumsher

Bhim Shumsher, the Maharaja and Prime Minister of Nepal, held a prominent role as the Rana Prime Minister of Nepal from 1929 A.D. Born into the influential Rana family, he became Prime Minister at 64 after his brother’s death. Bhim Shumsher was recognized for his progressive stance on human rights, changing the death penalty to life imprisonment.

However, his administration faced scandals, controversies, and political oppression, with criticism for his greed and selfishness. Despite the mixed legacy, Bhim Shumsher implemented significant reforms that shaped Nepal’s history. His reign witnessed improved government office hours, Saturday holidays for employees, water stream constructions, waiving grazing fees, and reduced customs duties on salt and cotton.

Juddha Shumsher

Juddha Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana was born on April 19, 1875, in Kathmandu, Nepal. He served as the Prime Minister of Nepal from 1932 to 1945 and was known for his contributions to the country. Juddha Shumsher played a crucial role in rebuilding the Dharahara monument, which was destroyed by the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake.

He introduced various reforms, including land reforms, public works, and the construction of roads and bridges. Juddha Shumsher’s efforts contributed to Nepal’s development and left a lasting impact. He also focused on industrial development, establishing the Industry Council and Nepal Bank Limited.

Padma Shumsher

Padma Shumsher was a prominent political leader in Nepal during the Rana period. He focused on bringing reforms and had a liberal approach to governance. Despite facing opposition from other Ranas, he implemented significant changes during his tenure.

Padma Shumsher introduced reforms in education, media, women’s rights, and industrialization. He played a vital role in Nepal’s constitutional reform by proclaiming the statutory law, which included fundamental rights, Cabinet, Panchayati Sabha, Parliamentary Legislature, Chief Court, Chief Examiner, and Petition Council.

He emphasized education and established more private schools, including the Padmodaya High School and girls’ schools. He also contributed to the development of media by publishing the Nepali language newspaper, Gorkhapatra, three times a week.

Under his leadership, several industries were established, such as textile mills, a sugar mill, a cigarette factory, and a jute mill. Additionally, he implemented municipal elections, increased the salary of army personnel and government employees, and provided electricity and radios to the public.

Mohan Shumsher

Mohan Shumsher was the last Rana Prime Minister of Nepal. He was ambitious and autocratic like his father, Chandra Shumsher. During his reign, he implemented some reforms but adhered to the old ideology.

Mohan Shumsher had multiple marriages and had two sons and six daughters. He held the position of General for a long time and gained political influence during his father’s rule. He became the Commanding General in 1959 and later became Prime Minister in 1986 BS.

However, Mohan Shumsher’s actions led to the downfall of the Rana regime. He insulted King Tribhuvan and the royal family, confiscated properties, and maintained oppressive rule. He also enthroned Gyanendra, which sparked a revolution in 2007.

Despite his controversial actions, Mohan Shumsher implemented notable reforms. He formed the National Planning Committee, established Rashtra Sabha and Bhardar Sabha, and inaugurated the National Parliament.


Rana Prime Ministers were Powerful and De-Facto Rulers of Nepal that attempted to Modernize Nepal Legally and Technologically at the cost of Social, Economic, and Infrastructural Development and Well Being of Nepal.


Pokhrel, A. (2023). Rana Prime Ministers of Nepal – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/ranas/rana-prime-ministers-of-nepal/