Chandra Shumsher was a man known for his wit not the physical prowess!!!
Chandra Shumsher is considered as the somewhat controversial and conflicted figure in Nepalese history. Some call him reformer whereas some call him oppressor. Some call him clever and other a wiseass. Today we are going to look at it from his good side and find out what good works that he did for the people.
1. SON OF A GENERAL:
Chandra Shumsher was the sixth of the seventeen sons of Dhir Shumsher Rana (the youngest brother of Jung Bahadur Rana) through his Thapa wife Nanda Kumari, of whom he was the third son. His father had visited Europe in his lifetime and was impressed by it. That was one of the influencing factors for Chandra Shumsher.
Moreover his family at the beginning had little material wealth so despite being born in a noble and aristocratic family he was not a pampered kid but a sturdy one who could handle the hardships
2. AN EDUCATED PRIMEMINISTER: WELL DONE!!
As said before his father General Dhir Shumsher had visited Europe so he focused on getting his children the best education available at the time. He was educated in Kolkata and thus became the first Nepalese Prime Minister who had passed matriculation examination. In the convocation address of 1884, the then Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University praised him as: “a gentleman who has shown he can handle pen as efficiently as sword.”
3. AN ACCOMPLISHED DIPLOMAT: GOOD JOB!!!
Since he was fluent in English and had contacts in Calcutta the then capital of British India, he was much valued by his brother Prime Minister Bir Shumsher for his diplomatic skills. His skills were well used in Munsi Khana which was office of foreign affairs back in the day. He easily handled the dealings with Britishers, French and Qing China was awarded lavishly by these country for his ability to keep relations with them.
British Monarch George V even visited Nepal during his premiership. He was the second prime minister to visit Britain after Jung Bahadur Rana and achieved much more than Jung was able to achieve.
He was able to sign with his British counterpart the “Nepal–Britain Treaty of 1923“, which recognized Nepal as an independent nation and an ally of the British Empire something Jung wished to do and was not successful.
4. A BUILDER: WHAT DID HE BUILD AGAIN
After his return from Europe he felt that Nepal needed new development projects so that it does not look backward nation in the eyes of Westerners. The first railway service in Nepal, Nepal Government Railway from Raxaul to Amlekhganj, started its service in his tenure. He established several canals in Terai region and established hospitals throughout Nepal.
Chandra Jyoti Hydro Power at Pharping still bears his name as he established them. Singha Durbar, then the largest palace in Asia with over 1200 rooms, was built by him. Chandra Nahar, the oldest canal of Nepal located in Saptari, was built by him as well. The township of Chandranigahpur in Rautahat district was named after him.
5. A REFORMER: SOMEONE COUNTRY BADLY NEEDED AT THAT TIME!!!
He abolished Sati custom, and made it illegal for a person to be killed for witchcraft. He was counseled by Sardar RamMani Acharya Dixit, which further assured him to ban the ritual suicide, and make additional reforms such as abolishing slavery with the money from the treasury of Pashupatinath temple. These reforms were due for a long time and was put in effect by Chandra Shumsher.
6. AN EDUCATOR:
Chandra was metric graduate so he also emphasised education in Nepal as well but with somewhat ulterior motive. He built the first college of Nepal, Tri-Chandra College in 1975 B.S. which allowed Nepalese students to get higher education in Nepal and they did not had to go abroad for it.
7. LONG REIGN: CHANDRA SHUMSHER RULED FOR 29 YEARS OMG!!!
His had the second longest reign after Jung Bahadur for almost 29 years which provided country with stability on those ominous times like WW1 and so on.
8. SECOND TOUR OF EUROPE:
Chandra Shumsher was the second Nepalese prime minister to visit Britain and tour Europe after Jung Bahadur Rana. In Britain, he stayed in Mortimer house and was hosted by His Majesty Edward VII. He also participation in the observation of naval exercises of British Royal Navy and in one its warships, he met the French President under the arrangement of Edward VII.
After he left Britain the Daily Telegraph wrote:
“During the last few years this country has been visited by an unexampled succession of foreign personages, but none of them has been more interesting and few more important than the Prime Minister of Nepal.”
9. AWARDED A FORIEGN HONORS DEGREE: WOW!!!
Chandra Shumsher was awarded on 24 June, honoris causa degree of Doctor of Civil Laws on him by the University of Oxford. He is the first Nepalese statesman and citizen to awarded with such honors degree.
10. A WARTIME PRIMEMINISTER:
From 1914 to 1918 many countries in the world were embroiled in WW1. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher, Nepal participated on the behalf of Great Britain and even provided material and monetary support along with the contribution of almost 900000 personnel military and non military ones. As usual Nepalese soldiers did not hesitate to show their bravery thereby winning Victoria Cross, the highest military awarded by the government of Great Britain.