Damodar Pande (Nepali: दामोदर पाँडे) (1752 – March 13, 1804) was the Mulkazi of Nepal from 1803 to 1804 and most influential Kaji since 1794 to his death on March 13, 1804. He was the youngest son of famous Kaji of Prithivi Narayan Shah Kalu Pande. He was born in 1752 in Gorkha. Damodar Pande was one of the commanders during the Sino-Nepalese War and in Nepal-Tibet War. And he was among successful Gorkhali warriors sent towards the east by Prithivinarayan Shah.
श्री मूलकाजी साहेब
Portrait of Damodar Pande
|Mulkazi (Chief Kazi) of Nepal|
February 1803 CE – March 1804 CE
|Monarch||Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah|
|Preceded by||Bakhtawar Singh Basnyat|
|Succeeded by||Ranajit Pande|
|Died||March 13, 1804 CE|
|Children||5 sons: Ranakeshar Pande, Ranabam Pande, Ranadal Pande, Rana Jang Pande, Karbir Pande|
|Battles/wars||Sino-Nepalese War (I&II)|
After his execution, Ranajit Pande who was his paternal cousin, was established as Mulkazi (Chief Kazi) along with Bhimsen Thapa as second Kazi, Sher Bahadur Shah as Mul Chautariya and Ranganath Paudel as Raj Guru (Royal Preceptor).
He was born on 1752 A.D. to Kaji of Gorkha, Kalu Pande. He belonged to a Hindu Chhetri family. His elder brother was Vamsharaj Pande, Dewan of Nepal. He had five sons among which Rana Jang Pande became Mukhtiyar of Nepal.
Rise in powerEdit
In 1794, King Rana Bahadur Shah came of age, and his first act was to re-constitute the government such that his uncle, Chief Chautaria Bahadur Shah of Nepal, had no official part to play. Damodar Pande was the most influential Kaji among the four Kajis appointed after removal of Bahadur Shah of Nepal even though Chief (Mul) Kaji was Kirtiman Singh Basnyat. Rana Bahadur Shah was shocked and saddened by the death of his mistress in 1799. Owing to his irrational behavior, he was forced to resign by the citizens. He left the throne to his one and half year old son Girvan Yuddha Shah and fled to Banaras along with his followers like Bhimsen Thapa, Dalbhanjan Pande and his wife, the queen Raj Rajeshwari Devi.
Damodar Pande always tried to protect king Girvan Yuddha Shah and keep Rana Bahadur off of Nepal. However, in 1804, March 4, the former king came back and took over the post of Mukhtiyar. Damodar Pande was then beheaded and killed in Thankot.
Decline from powerEdit
Kirtiman Singh Basnyat was Mulkazi (Chief Kazi) and a favorite of the Regent Subarna Prabha Devi. He was secretly assassinated on 28 September 1801, by the supporters of Raj Rajeshwari Devi.[note 1] Kazi Damodar Pande was accused of the murder charges. In the resulting confusion, many courtiers were jailed, while some executed, based solely on rumors. Bakhtawar Singh Basnyat, brother of assassinated Kirtiman Singh, was then given the post of Mul Kaji.
Almost eight months after the establishment of the Residency, Rajrajeshowri finally managed to assume the regency on 17 December 1802. After Rajrajeshowri took over the regency, she was pressured by Knox to pay the annual pension of 82,000 rupees to the ex-King as per the obligations of the treaty, which paid off the vast debt that Rana Bahadur Shah had accumulated in Varanasi due to his spendthrift habits.[note 2] The Nepalese court also felt it prudent to keep Rana Bahadur in isolation in Nepal itself, rather than in the British controlled India, and that paying off Rana Bahadur's debts could facilitate his return at an opportune moment. Rajrajeshowri's presence in Kathmandu also stirred unrest among the courtiers that aligned themselves around her and Subarnaprabha. Sensing an imminent hostility, Knox aligned himself with Subarnaprabha and attempted to interfere with the internal politics of Nepal. Getting a wind of this matter, Rajrajeshowri dissolved the government and elected new ministers, with Damodar Pande as the Chief (Mul) Kaji on February 1803, while the Resident Knox, finding himself persona non grata and the objectives of his mission frustrated, voluntarily left Kathmandu to reside in Makwanpur citing a cholera epidemic. Subarnaprabha and the members of her faction were arrested.
Such open display of anti-British feelings and humiliation prompted the Governor General of the time Richard Wellesley to recall Knox to India and unilaterally suspend the diplomatic ties. The Treaty of 1801 was also unilaterally annulled by the British on 24 January 1804. The suspension of diplomatic ties also gave the Governor General a pretext to allow the ex-King Rana Bahadur to return to Nepal unconditionally.
As soon as they received the news, Rana Bahadur and his group proceeded towards Kathmandu. Some troops were sent by Kathmandu Durbar to check their progress, but the troops changed their allegiance when they came face to face with the ex-King. Damodar Pande and his men were arrested at Thankot where they were waiting to greet the ex-King with state honors and take him into isolation. After Rana Bahadur's reinstatement to power, he started to exact vengeance on those who had tried to keep him in exile. He exiled Rajrajeshhwori to Helambu, where she became a Buddhist nun, on the charge of siding with Damodar Pande and colluding with the British. Damodar Pande, along with his two eldest sons, who were completely innocent, was executed on 13 March 1804; similarly some members of his faction were tortured and executed without any due trial, while many others managed to escape to India.[note 3] Rana Bahadur also punished those who did not help him while in exile. Among them was Prithvipal Sen, the king of Palpa, who was tricked into imprisonment, while his kingdom forcefully annexed. Subarnaprabha and her supporters were released and given a general pardon. Those who had helped Rana Bahadur to return to Kathmandu were lavished with rank, land, and wealth. Bhimsen Thapa was made a second kaji; Ranjit Pande, who was the father-in-law of Bhimsen's brother, was made the Mul Kaji; Sher Bahadur Shah, Rana Bahadur's half-brother, was made the Mul Chautariya; while Rangnath Paudel was made the Rajguru (royal spiritual preceptor).
- Historian Rishikesh Shah (1990) also supports that Kirtiman Singh was killed on the year 1801 A.D. and was succeeded by his brother Bakhtawar Singh Basnyat.
- Rana Bahadur had borrowed a lot of money from many different people: Rs 60,000 from Dwarika Das; Rs 100,000 from Raja Shivalal Dube; Rs 1,400 from Ambasankar Bhattnagar. Similarly, he had borrowed a lot of money from the East India Company as well. However, Rana Bahadur was reckless in the manner he spent the borrowed money. For instance, he had once given an alms of Rs 500 to a Brahmin. For more details see 
- Among those who managed to escape to India were Damodar Pande's sons Karbir Pande and Ranjang Pande.
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