The political fortunes of the Shah dynasty, as even a brief glimpse into the modern history of Nepal will demonstrate, have fluctuated widely -- ranging from periods of political impotence to periods of absolute authority. Indeed, it is difficult to define a "traditional" role for the monarch, not only because of these fluctuations but also because his role has probably been perceived differently by the various ethnic groups which constitute modern Nepal. Nevertheless, certain consistent features can be noted which have provided the legal basis for all of the political systems established since the conquest of Kathmandu Valley in 1769.
The Shah dynasty traces its ancestral line to highborn Rajputs who fled to the Himalayan region as a consequence of the Muslim conquest of Rajasthan in the fourteenth century. Their tradition is thus one of Hindu orthodoxy, imbued with Rajput (warrior) ideals and grounded upon time-honored Hindu concepts of monarchy. The Shah kings of Gorkha were no doubt forced to make a few concessions to local conditions, but the essential features of a Hindu monarchy were retained. According to traditional concepts, the king is an absolute mon
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Publication information: Book title: The Politics of Nepal:Persistence and Change in an Asian Monarchy. Contributors: Leo E. Rose - Author, Margaret W. Fisher - Author. Publisher: Cornell University Press. Place of publication: Ithaca, NY. Publication year: 1970. Page number: 34.
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