Sugauli Treaty, There are those who do not accept the contribution of Prithvinarayan Shah’s unification campaign in bringing the state of Nepal to its present geographical shape. Prithvinarayan is the father of the great state of Nepal, whether it is the desire to be the king of a great kingdom or the expansion of the kingdom for any other purpose.
The contribution made by various heroes after the unification of Nepal is important. In 1616, Dravya Shah established the state of Liglig Kot and the establishment of the Gurkha state was the foundation of the formation of the state of Nepal. It was completed in 1914 BS when Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana brought back Banke, Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur.
The Sugauli Treaty of 1816 is ironic for Nepal, which is bigger than it is today. The treaty was signed between the British East India Company and the Government of Nepal after the war from 1814 to 1816.
Treaty of Sugauli 1816
From that, Nepal lost a large area of Terai and hills from Mechi to the east and Mahakali to the west, to the benefit of India. As the war was not with the British-administered India but with the East India Company, India was not interested in it and did not know the pain of Nepal.
Even though our history calls us heroes, Nepal has been badly defeated in the war with the British. The reason for the present Nepal between Mechi and Mahakali is that the British did not want to take the whole of Nepal.
In terms of war readiness and strength, the British army was able to intervene in Kathmandu within 15 days before the Treaty of Sugauli. However, the British wanted to make Nepal like a winged bird rather than annexing it to their empire.
Accordingly, he signed the Sugauli Treaty to take a large territory from Nepal, which was destroyed during the war. Even though some lands were lost, the present Nepal survived. The main reasons behind Nepal’s defeat in the war with the British and the need to make a treaty may be:
1. The decisive power in the court was King Girwanyuddha Bikram Shah, a minor. The next power was the brothers. The political situation was dire, mainly due to factions, killings and conspiracies between Basnyat, Pandey and Thapa Khalak. After the assassination of King Ran Bahadur Shah, Mukhtiar Kazi Bhimsen Thapa started speaking as a new emerging power.
He had many differences with the old ruler about running the state. At the same time, there was a dispute with the British over whether to go to war or not. The old warlords were opposed to the war, especially because of the lack of weapons. But Bhimsen Thapa was in favor of defeating the British through war. Eventually it was decided to go to war. The lack of working unity among the warlords during the national level war was a major weakness.
2. Nepal was not financially capable of fighting the war. Prior to that, the Sino-Tibetan war had taken a heavy toll. Trade with Tibet strengthened the country’s economy, which ended after the war. On the other hand, during the state unification, a large amount of money was spent on the war in Kangra till 1809 BS.
3. Lack of war materials was another reason for the defeat. The British had modern weapons while the Nepali side had conventional weapons like stuffed guns, khukuri, ghuyentro, small cannons, bows, shields and swords.
4. Another weakness was the lack of proportional management of war materials. The commanders who fought in the war from Mahakali to Garhwal conducted the war by collecting taxes from the local people and bringing home soldiers.
The reason for this was that the army commanders fighting in the area were on the side of Bahadur Shah and against Bhimsen Thapa. Bhimsen Thapa did not have good relations with Kumaon administrator Chautara Bam Shah and Garhwal administrator Badakaji Amar Singh Thapa.
As far as Butwal East Morang, Bhimsen Thapa’s nephews and nieces were conducting the war, who had the best financial support from the Government of Nepal and the management of munitions. As a result, Nepal succeeded from Butwal to Morang, while the British won in the first phase from Mahakali to West Kumaon and Garhwal.
5. Military forces without a sense of nationalism also suffered losses in the war. In particular, the Nepali army in the Mahakali West had about 10 percent genuine Nepali and 90 percent local Kumauli and Garhwali armies.
The feeling of being Nepali was not awakened in them. He was hostile to the state when he had to pay heavy taxes and enlist in the army. Due to the bad propaganda of the British, they became anti-Nepal.
6. Another weakness was the division of military leadership without a balanced balance. The battles from Butwal to Morang were led by colonels and generals, while in the Mahakali West, Kazi and Chautara led.
Only General Bhimsen Thapa’s brothers and nephews got the general-colonel. If Bhimsen Thapa had given the leadership of Mahakali West to his brothers and nephews instead of waging war in the same army by forming General Group and Qazi Group, there would have been no quarrel.
7. The war was not in Nepal’s favor due to the inconvenience and inaccessibility of roads. The road from Kathmandu to Garhwal was not good and the distance was about 350 kos. Everything had to be carried by people. Due to which, it took a long time to reach the news, letters and goods sent from Kathmandu.
8. Nepal was greatly disadvantaged by the British’s false propaganda and bribery strategy. In particular, the British portrayed Nepalis as oppressors in the Kumaon and Garhwal areas and preached that they had come to liberate them. He also tempted local kings, merchants, and military commanders to support the Nepalese government.
As a result, the Nepal Army was forced to mobilize rations, recruit fighters and gather news. Similarly, the British showed various temptations to buy the honesty of Bam Shah and Amar Singh Thapa. Even though Amar Singh rejected it, Bam Shah was trapped. He left the Kumaon British and returned to Doti.
The British had started bribing Nepalis on the battlefield. Due to which thousands of Garhwali and Kumauli armies fled and joined the British army.
When the British army led by General David Akterloni advanced towards Hariharpurgadhi and Makawanpurgadhi in the second phase of the war, the Nepalese postal and other employees were bribed and with his help the Nepalese territory was suddenly attacked.
9. Nepal’s international relations were not conducive to war. The war strategy was defensive. The need for external assistance is greater in defensive warfare than in aggressive warfare. Before the war began, letters were sent to various countries and states for military assistance, but no one responded.
The Nawab of Bengal, the Nawab of Oudh and the King of the Punjab, Ranjit Singh, also saw Tibet as a great enemy, as it did not look favorably on China due to the recent war with China, and because of the inability to determine the boundaries of Nepal’s unification.
10. It was unfortunate for Nepal that the British attacked from different directions. The British attacked from a distance of about 500 kos from Garhwal in the west to Tista river in the east. To counter this, Nepal had to scatter its army and war materials in different places. As a result, the defenses were weakened and the British became the basis of victory.
The Loss Can Never Be Healed
The war between Nepal and the British, which started from Nalapani on 31 October 1814 (17 November 1871), ended on 26 February 1816 (17 February 1872) at Hariharpurgadhi in the present Sindhuli district.
Assuming that Nepal would not get involved in the war much, the company-government had already drafted the treaty on 2 December 1815 (19 December 1872). After staying in Hariharpurgadhi for three days and reaching Makwanpur, Nepal was ready for the treaty after the British army estimated that Kathmandu would be eaten.
The proposed agreement was signed between the Nepal-Company government after it was sealed by King Girwanyuddha Bikram Shah. A copy of the agreement to be submitted on behalf of the Government of Nepal was taken to Makwanpur on 4 March 1816 (February 23, 1872) by the Nepali negotiator ‘Taksari’ Chandra Shekhar Upadhyaya and handed over to Lieutenant-Colonel P. Brad-Shaw. This agreement has become a wound in the history of Nepal under the name of ‘Sugauli-Treaty’.
Meanwhile, the company-government feud with the Marhatta power in south-west India began. The British government devised a strategy against the Marhatta power and the Nepalese government. Under this, he sent a proposal to the Government of Nepal on 8 December 1816 (25 December 1873) to return most of the Terai region of Nepal under his control. Accordingly, an agreement was reached between the British Government and the Government of Nepal.
In the agreement, the disputed territories of Tirhut and Saran areas will be included in the agreement. After the company came under the control of the government from 1869, it was mentioned that the lands other than the land given as bounty to others would be returned. Similarly, all the lands under the control of the Government of Nepal before the outbreak of war between the Koshi and Gandaki rivers and the Terai areas between the Gandaki and Rapti rivers were returned.
And, after the Sugauli Treaty and before the return of the ‘new country’ by Jung Bahadur in 1914 BS, the Nepalese frontier including this territory has remained till today.