Kaji (Nepali: काजी) was a title and position used by nobility of Gorkha Kingdom (1559–1768) and Kingdom of Nepal between 1768–1804. Many other contemporary kingdoms used the same title for their ministers.
Ganesh Pande was the first Kaji under King Dravya Shah of Gorkha Kingdom. He helped Dravya Shah to become King of Gorkha and was later appointed Kaji of Gorkha[note 1] in 1559 A.D. Another significant Kaji of Gorkha was Kalu Pande born in the family of Ganesh Pande. He was son of Bhimraj Pande who was also a Kaji during the reign of King Nara Bhupal Shah. Kalu Pande led Gorkhalis in the Battle of Kirtipur. He had set up a base on Naikap, a hill on the valley's western rim, from where they were to mount their assaults on Kirtipur. He was killed in the battle after being surrounded by enemy forces. The ministers and officials of Kantipur Kingdom also had the title of Kaji. Kashiram Thapa was a Kaji and army commander in the reign of King Jaya Prakash Malla.
Both as per Francis Buchanan-Hamilton and Dilli Raman Regmi, there were 4 Kajis forming the government in Nepal. In the rule of King Rana Bahadur Shah, 4 Kajis were appointed and were to work under the direction of King and Chautariya. The number of officers including Kajis changed after King Rana Bahadur abdicated in favour of his minor son Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah. During the reign of Bhimsen Thapa, there were inner and outer circle of Kajis who acted as decision making body and military commander and governors respectively. Kaji along with Chautariya and Bada Hakim were appointed to run the administration as governors. No single family had full dominance in the position of inner circle of government. All Thapas, Pandes, Basnyats, Bistas and Kanwars (Ranas) held similar shares in the inner circle.
Chief (Mul) Kaji was considered equivalent to Prime Minister of Nepal before King Rana Bahadur Shah created the position of Mukhtiyar in 1806 and carried executive powers of nation to completely control Nepalese administration. In 1794, King Rana Bahadur Shah came of age and appointed Kirtiman Singh Basnyat as Chief (Mul) Kaji among the newly appointed four Kajis though Damodar Pande was the most influential Kaji. Kirtiman had succeeded Abhiman Singh Basnyat as Chief Kaji. Kirtiman was secretly assassinated on 28 September 1801, by the supporters of Raj Rajeshwari Devi and his brother Bakhtawar Singh Basnyat, was then given the post of Chief (Mul) Kaji. Later Damodar Pande was appointed by Queen Rajrajeshwari as Chief Kaji. After the execution of Mulkaji Damodar Pande on March 1804, Ranajit Pande was appointed as Mulkaji (Chief Kaji) along with Bhimsen Thapa as second Kaji, Sher Bahadur Shah as Mul Chautariya and Ranganath Paudel as Raj Guru (Royal Preceptor).
List of people with title KajiEdit
- Gajianesh Pandey (Kaji of Gorkha)
- Kaji Biraj Thapa Magar of Gorkha (kaji of Gorkha)
- Biraj Thapa Magar (kaji of Gorkha)
- Kalu Pande (Kaji of Gorkha)
- Swarup Singh Karki (Kaji of Gorkha during reign of King Pratap Singh Shah and Queen Rajendra Lakshmi Devi )
- Sarbajit Rana Magar (Mulkaji)
- Shivaram Singh Basnyat (Senapati Kaji)
- Dhokal_Singh_Basnyat (kaji) or Basnet
- Ram Krishna Kunwar (Kaji Jethabudha)
- Kashiram Thapa (Kaji of Kantipur)
- Bamsa Raj Pande (Dewan Kaji)
- Kehar Singh Basnyat (Kaji)
- Abhiman Singh Basnet (Mulkaji)
- Amar Singh Thapa (Badakaji)
- Damodar Pande (Mulkaji)
- Kirtiman Singh Basnyat (Mulkaji)
- Bakhtawar Singh Basnyat (Mulkaji)
- Amar Singh Thapa (Sardar) (Sanukaji)
- Bhimsen Thapa (Kaji later Mukhtiyar)
- Ranadhoj Thapa (Kaji)
- Nain Singh Thapa (Kaji General)
- Bal Narsingh Kunwar (Kaji)
- Ranabir Singh Thapa (Kaji General)
- Rana Jang Pande (Kaji later Mukhtiyar)
- Abhiman Singh Rana Magar (Kaji Mulki Dewan)
- Mathabarsingh Thapa (Kaji later Mukhtiyar)
- Gagan Singh Bhandari (Kaji)
- Jung Bahadur Rana (Kaji later Prime Minister)
List of people with name KajiEdit
Kaji was also used as given name and middle name. Notable Nepalese people with first name and middle name Kaji:
- The position of Kaji in Gorkha hill principality was not of only a mere minister but of the chief or prime minister.
- Regmi 1979, p. 43.
- Shrestha 2005, p. 129.
- Regmi 1975, p. 30.
- Wright 1877, p. 278.
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- Majupuria, Trilok Chandra (March 2011). "Kirtipur: The Ancient Town on the Hill". Nepal Traveller. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- Wright, Daniel (1990). History of Nepal. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. Retrieved 7 November 2012. Page 227.
- Paodel 2003, p. 186.
- Khatri 1999, p. 10.
- Pradhan 2012, p. 8.
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- Pradhan 2012, p. 91.
- Pradhan 2012, p. 92.
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- Paodel, Prabha Krishna; Āsā, Esa. Pī (2003), The founder of Modern Nepal Prithvinarayan Shah, Vaani Prakashan
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