Mathabar Singh Thapa

Mathabar Singh Thapa (माथवरसिंह थापा) born 1798, Borlang, Gorkha - 17 May 1845, Basantapur, Kathmandu) was the Prime Minister and Commander in chief of the Nepalese Army from 1843 December 25 – 1845 May 17, until he was murdered by his nephew Jung Bahadur Rana. He was the first Mukhtiyar to title himself as a Prime Minister, as per the British convention. He was the nephew of Bhimsen Thapa, who was falsely sentenced for imprisonment for the death of King Rajendra's six months old son. Mathabar Singh Thapa fled to Shimla after the execution of Bhimsen Thapa, to avoid his own execution as he was Bhimsen’s nephew. Four years later, the second queen of Rajendra, Queen Rajya Lakshmi, called him back and installed him as the Prime Minister. Mathabar Singh, however, enraged the queen by refusing to make her son, Ranendra Bikram, the king. The queen, in turn, had him shot by his own nephew Janga Bahadur Rana and thereby making him the last dynast of the Thapa dynasty.

Early years
Not much is known of Mathabar Singh Thapa's childhood. He was born in Borlang, Gorkha. He was the son of Kaji Nayan Singh Thapa who was killed in the war against the Kingdom of Kumaon. He was a nephew of Bhimsen Thapa and also the maternal uncle of Jang Bahadur Rana. Through his mother's side, he was the grandson of Kaji Ranajit Pande, who was the son of Kaji Tularam Pande. Kaji Tularam Pande was a cousin of Kaji Kalu Pande.

Rise to Power
Portrait of Colonel Mathabar Singh Thapa
Mathabar Singh Thapa, who was exiled to India when Bhimsen Thapa was supposedly found to be guilty of murdering the King Rajendra's son who was 6 months old, was asked to return to Nepal by the queen. Mathabar Singh Thapa arrived in Kathmandu Valley in 1843 April 17 where a great welcome was organized for him. After consolidating his position, he successfully led to the murder of all his political adversaries Karbir Pandey, Kulraj Pandey, Ranadal Pandey, Indrabir Thapa, Radabam Thapa, Kanak Singh Mahat, Gurulal Adhikari and many others, in several pretexts. The second queen of Rajendra, Queen Rajya Laxmi declared him Minister and Commander-In-Chief of the Nepalese army in 1843 December 25 believing he would help to usurp the power from Rajendra, her own husband, and make her own son, Ranendra as the king of Nepal.

The murder of Mathabar Singh Thapa led to the political instability in Nepal. Though, Fatte Jungh Shah was declared the Prime Minister (1845 September 23), Gagan Singh had more regiments of the army under him and was more powerful. Jung Bahadur Rana also had 3 regiments under him. Fatte Jungh Shah himself had 3 regiments of the army under his control. Also Gagan Singh had the special support of the queen Rajya Laxmi Devi. British Resident Sir Henry Lawrence once mentioned that, "If there is struggle for power, that struggle will be between Gagan Singh and Jung Bahadur." Ultimately, the extreme power of Gagan Singh led to his assassination by King Rajendra and Prime minister Fatte Jungh Shah in 1846 September 14 at 10 P.M.. The assassination of Gagan Singh led to the Kot massacre and ultimately, the rise of Jung Bahadur Rana.

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