Kathmandu: December 1, 1979

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(5) Rahata, or dry riverbeds.

(6) Bahata, or lands damaged by floods or washouts.

(7) Iron, lead, copper, manganese, cinnabar and gold deposits.

(8) Provisions (mejmani) and presents (walak) for the Amali.

(9) Levies (mamuli) for religious functions at local temples.

(10) Payments due to (the Raja of) Mustang.

The royal order also contained the following instructions:-
(1) Do not collect unauthorized payments, thereby compelling the local inhabitants to submit complaints.
(2)Reclaim lands and make the country populous.

(3) The Amali shall not collect anything in excess of the stipulated amount, nor shall the people offer any such payment.

(4) If the Amali or the Jimmawal collect any additional amount, report the matter to us.

(5) Jimmawal and mukhiyas shall attract settlers from outsides to reclaim virgin (kalabanjar) lands.

(6) Such settlers shall make no payment on the reclaimed lands for a period of three years. From the fourth year, Sirto tax shall be assessed on homestead lands at rates current in the village. The proceeds of this tax shall be transmitted through the Amali in addition to amount stipulated under this thek-thiti arrangement.
(7) The Tolpa shall himself transmit the revenue due from his village to the Amali. He shall not use Hulak porters for this purpose.

(8) In case fines and penalties are collected in excess of the amount stipulated for payment as Asmani, the excess amount shall be apportioned equally among the inhabitants of the village. The shortfall, if any, shall be shared equally.

(9) Tax-collections shall be supplied with free provisions (bare-baikar) only so long as collection is not completed. Such provisions shall not be supplied to any visiting government employee or other person.
(10) The inhabitants of these villages shall provide porterage services by rotation for military supplies, sick persons, and cash and supplies meant for the royal palace. They shall not provide porterage services to other persons. If anyone forcibly employs them as porters, the matter shall be reported to us.
(11) Comply with orders issued by the local Amali and Bhardars in connection with official business.
(12) Do not reopen tracks and Paths that have been closed. Arrest people who used such prohibited tracks and paths and hand them over to the local Amali and Bhardars.
(13) If any person visits that area from outside to collect information, report the matter to the local Amali and Bhardars.
The people of these nine villages had submitted the following complaint to the settlement officers (Janchaki):-
''Thekdars (revenue farmers) and Jimmawals employ our men, horse and yaks without any wages on the two-month journey to Ladakh. They do not make any payment for any loss or damage. They also take our horses, yaks and Jhowas at half-price. We are suffering much from such practices.''
The royal order, therefore, forbade such practices. It decreed: ''In the future, visit Ladakh only to procure goods specified by us in orders sent through the Jimmawal. Do not provide porterage services to other persons for their trade. Hourses, yaks and Jhowas shall be paid for at prices specified by Panchas. Force shall not be used in such transactions.''
With regard to trade, the royal order prescribed: ''Traders shall engage in trade only in areas customarily assigned to them (rekh). Outsiders shall not forcibly encroach upon such rekh rights.''
The order concluded: ''Any person who acts in contravention of these arrangements and regulations (thiti-bandej) shall be punished according to his caste status.''
Regmi Research Collection, vol. 34, pp. 676-81.

Kathmahals in the Tarai and Inner Tarai Regions

At the end of the Nineteenth Century
Kathmahal District

1. Kosi-Purrwari Morang

2. Kosi-Pachhuwari Saptari

3. Kamala do.

4. Bhanwarpura Mahottari

5. Tinpatan Sindhuli

6. Chhatauna Rautahat

7. Jamuni Bara

8. Chhapkaiya Parsa

9. Riumadi Chitaun

10. Tribeni Butaul

11. Banaganga do.

12. Dunduwa Dang

13. Rapti Banke

14. Babai Bardiya

15. Karnali Kailali

16. Mohana do.

17. Mahakali Kanchanpur

18. Gusari do.
(Kathmahal means an establishment for the export of timber of twelve main varieties, including sal (shorca robusta) and sisso (dalabergia sissoo), with a diameter of more than three feet. The export of timber of smaller sizes was handled by separate establishments known as Thinguri-Mahal).

Regmi Research (Private) Ltd,

Kathmandul: November 1, 1979.
Regmi Research Series

Year 11, No. 11

Edited by

Mahesh C. Regmi




1. A Supplementary Notes on the Ukhada System 161

2. Sair Duties 161

3. Selected Documents of 1856 Vikrama 167

4. The Dharmadhikar 173


Regmi Research (Private) Ltd

Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal

Telephone: 16927
(For private study and research only; not meant for public sale, distribution, and display).

A Supplementary Notes on the Ukhada System

Landownership in Nepal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974) contains a brief section on the Ukhada system of Landownership in the western Tarai region of Nepal (pp. 11-14). A report of revenue settlement in the adjoining Indian district of Basti sheds additional light on the origion of this system. (J. Hooper, Final Report of the Basti District, Allahabad: North-Western provinces and Oudh Government Press, 1891, pp. 36-39).
It appears that the Ukhada system owes its origin to the halbandi system, under which the tax paid by a tenant was assessed not on the actual area contained in his holding buton the number of plows.
For instance, a village will be divided into 32 ploughs; plough rate is Rs 25 per plough, and each tenant pays at that rate according to the number of ploughs, or the fraction of a plough, which he holds, and the total rental is Rs 800.
The report adds:
In most halbandi villages there is more or less 'ukhra' that is, extra rent paid for land not included in the plough holdings. This generally consists of small plots of koerar or poppy land, in and about the dih. Sometimes it is a large plot of outlying land, which was supposed to be unculturable when the halbandi was made, and has recently been brough under cultivation.
There seems little doubt that the Ukhada system of the western Tarai region is the same as the 'ukhra' system prevalent in Basti district as described above.
Sair Duties

Mahesh C. Regmi

The basic customs duty on imports from India was known as sair during the nineteenth century. Sair is a term of Arabic origion, which, in nineteenth-century India, denoted ''all other sources of revenue accruing to the government, in addition to the land-tax, from a variety of imports, as customs, transit duties, licenses, fees, house-tax, market tax, etc''.1

Sair duties were collected according to different schedules on goods imported from India into different region of the Kingdom. The present state of our knowledge does schedules applicable to different regions, hence we shall limit ourselves to a brief description of the system of sair taxation for imports from India into Kathmandu Valley and the golas of eastern Nepal.

During the last years of the eighteenth century, an attempt had been made to regulate the rate of customs duty on goods traded between Nepal and India through Kathmandu Valley. A commercial treaty, signed between Nepal and the East India Company in early 1792, stipulated that ''2½

Percent shall reciprocally be taken, as duty, on the imports from both countries''.2 However, the arrangements remained unimplemented, because the fation that dominated the political scene in Nepal after 1794 was opposed to any extension of relations with the British.3 Official British sources claimed that while the British side scrupulously complied with the provisions of the treaty, the government of Nepal collected duties on goods imported from India at almost 10 percent instead of he stipulated 2½ percent.4 The differences dragged on for more than four decades. Finally, in June 1838, the East India Company government decided to exempt all imports from Nepal from payment of customs duties in India. The government of Nepal, on the other hand, continued to collect duties on goods imported from India.5

Although contemporary British sources have recorded that customs duty on goods imported into Kathmandu Valley, from India was collected at an average rate of a 6 percent6, there is evidence to suggest that this estimate covered not only sair but also nirkhi, kapas and kirapa duties. Before 1865, the total amount of these taxes was Rs 10-5¼ on each bakkuload of 32 dharnis of cotton, Rs 2-15¼, in the case of cotton textiles, and Rs 3-11¼ in the case of other goods. There were also ''zamindari duties'' payable of goods imported into Kathmandu valley from India at Chitlang and Thankot.7 The rates were 2 annas in Chitlang, and 4 annas in Thankot, on each manload of goods. Moreover, sair was a specific duty, rather than an ad valorem payment. During the early 1830s, the rate of sair duty amounted to Rs 2 on each bakkuload of goods,8 irrespective of its category.
The total payment on each bakkuload of good imported into Kathmandu Valley from India, inclusive of sair and miscellaneuous other duties and taxes such as kapas, nirkhi and kirana was fixed as follows in 1866.9

Customs and Transit Duties on Import from India

into Kathmandu Valley
In 16-anna Mohar Rs.
(On each bakkuload of 32 dharnis)
Description Sair Kapas Nirkhi Kirana Total

Cotton Rs 1-2 Rs 4-4 2 annas 8 annas Rs 6.

Cotton textiles

and other goods Rs 1-8 4 annas --- 12 annas Rs 2-8.

It is significant that a bakkuload of raw cotton paid as much as Rs 6, whereas cotton textiles and other goods paid only Rs 2-8. In other words, import duties were higher on raw mterials than on manufactured goods.
Revenues from sair duties on imports from India into Kathmandu Valley during the period from 1813 to 1859 are given in the following table:-
Sair Revenue in Imports India into Kathmandu Valley

Year Revenue

(in 16-anna Mohar Rs)

1813 Rs 11,50210

1815 Rs 8,50111

1851 Rs 8,00012

1852 Rs 8,451

1853 Rs 9,540

1859 Rs 24,827

The rates of sair and other duties on goods imported from India, as mentioned above, were applicable only to trade conducted through Kathmandu valley. The rates were different on goods imported from India through the golas of eastern Nepal.
Selected entries from the customs tariff schedule for goods imported from India through the golas of eastern Nepal are given below to illustrate with the composition of trade and the level of sair duties:13

Sair Duties on Goods Imported from India Through the

Gola of Vijayapur, 1861
Description Rate of Sair Duty

(In 16-anna Mohar Rs)

1. Sidra fish 2 paisa per seer.

2. Tobacco (surti, tamakhu) 2 paisa do.

3. Fine cloth ¾ paisa do.

4. Coarse cloth ½ paisa do.

5. Kirana goods 1 anna do.

6. Pigs 1¼ anna each.

7. Crushed rice 2 paisa per seer.

8. Rice 2 paisa do.

9. Sweetmeats 3/8 paisa do.

10. Flour 1 paisa do.

11. Oil 2 paisa do.

12. Onion, garlic 2 paisa do.

13. Coral 1 anna per tola.

14. Gelded Goats 1 anna each.

15. Paddy 2 paisa per 4 seers.

16. Brass, copper and

bronze utensils ¾ pasia per seer.

17. Salt 1 paisa per seer.

18. Soap ¾ paisa do.

19. Goats 8 annas each.

20. Buffaloes 11 annas each.

21. Calves 8 annas each.

22. Male buffaloes 1 rupee each.

23. Famale calves 5½ annas each.

24. Horses 11 annas each.

25. Dry fish 5/16 paisa per seer.

26. Dry meat 5/16 paisa do.

27. Ducks ¼ paisa each.

28. Pigeons 1 paisa per pair.

29. Tin 5/16 paisa per seer.

30. Bire and Sindhe salt ¼ paisa per seer.

31. Wooden vessels for

storing oil (Kuppa):

Big 1 anna each.

Medium ¾ paisa each.

Small ½ paisa each.

32. do. for storing

ghee (Kuppi) ¼ paisa each.\

33. Catechu 1 paisa per seer.

34. Zinc 3 paisa do.

35. Manganese (Rang) ½ paisa do.

36. Coconut narghiles ¼ paisa each.

37. Pearls (Pakka) 1 ann per masa.

38. do. (Kaccha) ¼ paisa do.

39. Gunpowder ½ paisa per seer.

40. Hides and skins 1½ anna each.

41. do. pieces ¾ paisa each.

42. Fetya (?) ¾ paisa per seer.

43. Ganja ¾ paisa do.

44. Lutkera (?) ¾ paisa do.

45. Sugar ½ paisa do.

46. Gram Flour (Besan) 2 paisa do.

47. Pulses 2 paisa do.

48. Kurhin(?) 1 anna do.

49. Boxes 1 anna each.

50. Nirso (?) 1 anna each.

51. Yarn ½ paisa per seer.

52. Cotton (Kapas) 2 paisa do.

53. Raw cotton (Ruwa) 3/8 paisa do.

54. Kamda (?) ¼ paisa do.

55. Kaabahi (?) ½ paisa do.

56. Alum 1 paisa do.

57. Guns (Banduk) 8 annas each.

58. Pistols 8 annas each.

1. H.H. Wilson, A Glossary of Judicial and Revenue Terms, Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1968 (reprint of 1855 ed.), p. 454; Irfan Habib, The Agrarian System of Mughal India, Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1963, p. 243.
2. For the full text of this treaty, see Ramakant, Indo-Nepalese Relations, Delhi: S. Chand & Co., 1968, pp. 358-59.
3. Leo E. Rose, Nepal's Strategy for Survival, Bombey: Oxford University Press, 1971, p. 75.
4. Ramakant, op, cit, . 119.

5. Ibid, p. 126.

6. B. H. Hodgson, ''The Commerce of Nepal,'' in Essays on the Langauges, Literature and Religion of Npela and Tibet, Varanasi: Bharat-Bhariti, 1971, (reprint of 1874 ed), p. 93.
7 Ibid, p. 100.

8. Ibid, p. 99.

9. ''Order the the Kathmandu Bhansar Goswara Regarding Collection of Sair and Other Duties,'' Ashadh Sudi 10, 1923 (June 1866). Regmi Research Collection, vol. 63, p. 8.
10. ''Ijara Grant to Nandalala Sukal for Collection of Sair Duties in Chisapani, Hitaura, Parsa, Etc,'' Jestha Sudi 13, 1870 (June 1813). Regmi Research Collection, vol. 39. 41, p. 278-79.
11. ''Ijara Grant to Kulananda Jha for Collection of Sair Duties in Chisapani, Hitaura, Parsa, Etc,'' Jestha Sudi 8, 1871 (May 1815). Regmi Research Collection, vol. 39, pp. 652-53.
12. Figures of sair revenue for the years 1851, 1852, 1853 and 1859 have been obtained from accounts of the revenue and expenditure of the government of Nepal for the appropriate years.
13. ''Regulations Regarding Trade and Customs in the Eastern Tarai Districts,'' Marga badi 6, 1918 (November 1861). Regmi Research Collection, vol. 10, p. 213. schedule appended to sec. 8.


Selected Documents of 1856 Vikrama

(Continued from the July 1979 issue)

1. Appointment of Chaudhari in Sheoraj

Royal order to Jhunga Chaudhari and Mansukha Chaudhari: ''You had previously been granted exemption from bunda-gayari (?). We hereby reconfirm the exemption in favor of the descedants of Santoshi Chaudhari. Make arrangement for the settlements of ryots in Sheoraj. Prove true to you salt and promote land reclamation and settlement. We also grant as jagir the kalabanjar mouja of Mahadeva in the territory of Sheoraj under the jurisdiction of Jhunga Chaudhari. Settle ryots there. Appoint peons (sipahi) in proportion to the income accruing from that mouja. Also appropriate half of the perquisites of the Chaudhari in the Parganna of Sheoraj.''

Poush Sudi 5, 1856.

Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, p. 32.
2. Appointment of Bichari in Pyuthan

Royal order to Rama Rana: ''We hereby appoint you as Bichari of Pyuthan, replacing Bhagiratha. Do not commit injustice in that territory, and dispense of cases in a just manner. Do not bring complaints to the royal palace.''

Poush Sudi 5, 1856.

Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, p. 33.
3. Land Reclamation in the Far-Eastern Hill Region

Royal order to Prithvidhar Padhya and Siddhikarna Padhya Ghimire making a grant of waste and kalabanjar lands at Syamban east of the Arun river: ''Reclaim these lands, dig irrigation. Settle people on the lands so irrigated. Any person who reclaims land and converts it into rice-fields shall, after the expiry of the stipuated period (bad karar), report to us now much lands he has thus converted. As elsewhere in the kingdom, such person shall remain secure on the basis of adhiya tenure, and shall not be evicted from the land. He shall make payments at rates current in the area (Khola). You shall be held responsible if irrigation channels are not dug, and if lands are not reclaimed as rice-fields.''

Poush Sudi 5, 1856.

Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, p. 33.
Similar grants were made on the same date to (1) Bharath Padhya in the Chewathum are east of the Arun river, and (2) Balabhadra Padhya on the banks of the Tamor river, north of the Adhyari river and south of the Piguwa river.
4. Royal Order to Dittha Gaja Singh

Dittha Gaja Singh had been sent to the western hill region to enforce the law prescribing the rate of interest at a maximum of 10 percent on loans. He was informed that 8 families in the Pokhara area had been appointed to weigh copper supplied to the government for the use of the mint. The order added, ''These families have made a payment of Rs 60 panphul in lieu of fines to which they may be liable for having charged interest in excess of 10 percent. Do not demand any additional payment from them.''

Poush Sudi 5, 1856.

Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, p. 39.
On the same date, Dittha Gaja Singh was informed that the moneylenders of the rui-Bhot area had similarly paid Rs 100 as panphul. (Ibid, p. 40).
5. Land Measurement in the Tarai Region

Sardar Ganjya, Benidatta Thapa and Bhajan Das were instructed not to take any action in respect to the birta-lands of Dinanath Padhya while surveying lands and installing boundary makers in the Tarai region. The order adds: ''Conduct necessary inquiries on the day Dinanath Padhya arrives there. In case the area held by him is found to be in excess of the area granted, we shall reconfirm only the area actually granted. Until then, take no action. If you have made any collection, refund the entire amount collected.

Poush Sudi 5, 1856.

Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, p. 40.
6. Appointment of Kotwal

Laxman and Rathya Tolo of Nuwakot were appointed as Kotwals in Nuwakot and Limi. They were ordered to perform the customary functions of the Kotwal as directed by the local amali. However, they were informed that they would be under the control of the royal palace, not of the amali, in matters concerning their appointment. They were, in addition, empowered to appropriate the customary perquisites and jagir emoluments.

Poush Sudi 5, 1856.

Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, p. 40.
7. Rhinoceros Hunting

The Subba of Saptari and Mahottari was ordered to requisition the services of all hunters in the areas under his jurisdiction to hunt rhinoceros, but only to capture. The male animals and send them along woth other would animals to the royal palace every year. The killing of female rhinoceros was prohibited.

The order was sent also to the Subbas of Majhkirat, Morang, Bara-Parsa, Pallo-Kirat and Chitaun-Belaun-Sajaut, and the amalidars of Tinpatan and Patringa.
Poush Sudi 5, 1856.

Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, p. 41-42.
8. Perquisities of Tharthoks

The following royal order was issued on Poush Badi 3, 1856 in the name of the Pande, Pantha, Arjyal, Khandal, Rana, and Bohara families, collectively known as the Tharthko families, as well as to surveyes (bubhadel) and measures (dongal) of birta lands: ''We have received reports that you charge fees and perquisites as much as you like while demarcating the boundaries of birta lands. We hereby decree these regulations (bandej) for the future. Collect only the fees mentioned below. Birtaowners, on their part, shall pay these pays. Any person who acts in contravention of this bandej, and charges or pays more than the fees mentioned below, will be punished according to the provisions of the copper-plate inscription.''

Fee Payable to the Palace

Fees (dastur) to the palace

through the budhadel - Rs 4 for the four boundaries.
Baksauni fee payable to the palace

through the budhadel - 8 annas.

Fees Payable to Functionaries (dasturiya)

For Tharthoks on each khet (i.e.

100 muris) of rice-land as well

as homestead (ghadyari) - Rs 7½

For the budhadel - 8 annas for each kush (birta).
For the measurement-rod (tanga) - 2 annas do.
Fee for the dangol - R. 1 and 2 annas for each khet.

Fee payable to the local

amali or thari - R. 1

Total Rs 10


''If any discrepancy is subsequently detected, the local amali or thari shall report the matter. In no circumstances shall (the birtaowner) be allowed to use land in excess of the area within the prescription boundaries.''

Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, pp. 42-43.
9. Ban on Export of Wax

On Magh Badi 9, 1856, a royal order was sent to local authorities, functionaries and landowners (amali, subba, dware, ijaradar, umra, talab, bitalab-holders, mohoriyars) in the region east of the Dhobikhola river up to theKanka and the Tista not to permot the export of even a single tol of wax to the South (madhes). The order added, ''Employee of the Main bhansari (i.e. the individual responsibe for the procurement of wax on a compulsory basis) have been sent there. Supply them with wax at current rates against immediate payment in cash. Any person who wants to export wax to the South shall first bring his supplies to Nepal (i.e. Kathmandu Valley). If, however, the exports wax directly to the South, or if anybody permits him to do so, appropriate punishment shall be inflicted.''

A similar order was issued on the same date for the region west of the Bishnumati river up to the Bheri river.
Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, pp. 29-70.
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