Kathmandu: December 1, 1979



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and if any officer, functionary (Hakim, Dittha, Bichari, Amali, Dware, Thekdar, Ijaradar, Thari, Mukhiya, Jimmawal, Mihar, Gourung, Jethabadha, Chaudhari, Mokaddama, Theni), or other respectable person, who is a local person or who has ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water, does not peruse the confessional statement, or does not understand or ignores the fact that he or she has already confessed rice and water, or suppresses such confessional statement out of favoritism or fraud, or arranges to have a royal or official order, or a grant of Patiya, or other document, issued with fales particulars, or to have an official order or a grant of Patiya issudd by falsely stating that he has received sanction to do so, or that he has had the matter confirmed by the government without actually doing do, or that the offense had been committed out of ignorance, and has lifted the ostracization,

and if the case is later discussed at the Kachahari and it is held that the confessional statement that had been obtained previously is valid, and that (the guilty person) should remain ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water,


then the person who is mainly responsible for having the ostracization lifted shall have his share of his ancestral property confiscated according to the law, deprived of his sacred thread, if he belongs to a sacred-thread-wearing caste, ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water, degraded to a lower caste, and branded with one letter of the name of such caste if he has lifted the ostracization (of the guilty person) in respect ot cooked rice and water, personally taken cooked rice and water willfully from the hands (of the guilty person), or from the

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hands of a person who has done so, and then offered cooked rice and water to members of his family and other relatives without informing them of his guilt.


However, if (such officer or functionary) has only himself taken cooked rice and water (from the hands of the guilty person), and has not offered cooked rice and water from his hands to members of his family and other relatives, his share of the ancestral properlty shall not be confiscated, nor shall he be branded in the manner mentioned above. He shall only be degraded to a lower caste, and also deprived of his sacred-thread, if belongs to a sacred-thread-wearing caste,
If (such officer or functionary) has not willfully taken cooked rice and water (from the hands of the guilty person), or from the hands of a person who has done so, he shall be punished with a fine of Rs 500, but shall not be degraded to a lower caste.
If any officer or functionary (Amali, Hakim) receives information about any caste in which his predecessor had lifted ostracization in respect to cooked rice and water, but fails to dispense justice of negligence or favoritism, and subsequently lifts such ostracization for othe persons in similar cases, he shall be punished with a fine of Rs 250 and granted a writ of Patiya for having allowed the use of cooked rice and water (from the hands of the guilty person) on the ground that his predecessor had done so, and himself taken cooked rice and water from the hands of such a person. The guilty officer or functionary shall not, however, be degraded to a lower caste.
Other persons, including Tharis, Mukhiyas, Jimmawals, and respectable persons who are present at the Kachahari, who sign a statement to the effect that cooked rice and water can be taken from the hands (of the guilty person), and themselves taken cooked rice and water from his hands, maintaining that though (the guilty person) had been previously ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water, no action would be taken against the officer or functionary for having issued an order (lifting the ostracization) or granting a writ of Patiya, whereas (the Tharis, etc). should have maintained that (the guilty person) should be ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water even though the officer, or functionary had issued an order lifting the ostracization, shall be granted a writ of Patiya, and persons who have taken cooked rice and water from their hands, or from the hands of other persons who have done so, shall not be degraded to a lower caste. Each such functionary (Mukhiya, Jimmawal, Thari, Mijhar, Gourung, Jethabadha, Chaudhari, Mahato, Thekdar, Ijaradar, Thani etc. shall be punished with a fine of Rs 100 if he has signed the statement, or of Rs 50 if he has only stated orally that the ostracization should be lifted. Persons who had only said orally that the ostracization should be
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lifted, without signing a statement, shall each be punished with a fine of Rs 10, and granted a writ of Patiya in respect to cooked rice and water. They shall not be degraded to a lower caste.
If persons who have signed a document in a draudulent manner after deciding that the ostracization in respect to cooked rice and water should be lifted, but have not actually taken cooked rice and water (from the hands of the guilty person), and if the matter is reported in the meantime, the person who had the document prepared shall by punished with a fine of Rs 100, the person who wrote it with a fine of Rs 50, and other persons who were present at the Kachahari on that occasion with a fine of Rs 10 each.
If any person has taken cooked rice and water (from the hands of the guilty person) without any knowledge of the guilt, a writ of Patiya shall be granted in view of his ignorance. No fine need be imposed.
Any person who does not pay the fine imposed on him shall be imprisoned according to the law.
61. If a man of woman belonging to any pure (Chokho) caste, from a sacred-thread-wearing caste to one whose touch does not defile water, takes cooked rice and water from the hands of any person, or engages in sexual intercourse, knowing full well that the latter has been osctracized in respect to cooked rice and water for having taken cooked rice and water from the hands of a person belonging to a caste whose touch defiles water and contamination thorugh contact with whom must be purified through the sprinkling of water,
and if the former has been ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water because a confessional statement of his guilt was obtained from him, or even before such confessional statement was obtained from him or her, he or she had reported the matter on his or her own initiative,
and if any officer, functionary (Hakim, Dittha, Bichari, Amali, Dware, Thekdar, Ijaradar, Thari, Mukhiya, Jimmawal, Mijhar, Gourung, Chaudhari, Mokaddam, Thani) or other respectable person, who is a local person, or who has come from another area but knows that such person has been ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water, does not peruse the confessional statement, or does not understand that he or she has already confessed his or her guilt and been ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water, and lifts the ostracization through an official order or a writ of Patiya on payment of a bride or other illegal, gratification,

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and if subsequent inquiries reveal that the confessional statement that had been obtained previously in valid, or that (the guilty person) had confessed his guilt on his own initiative and been ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water, and that the ostracization cannot be lifted,


then the person who is mainly responsible for having the ostracization lifted on payment of a bride shall have his share of his ancestral property confiscated according to the law and deprived of his sacred thread, if he belongs to a sacred-thread-wearing caste, ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water, degraded to the lower caste, and branded with the one letter of the name of such caste on the left cheek, and the bride taken by him shall be confiscated, if he shall lifted the ostracization (of the guilty person) in respect to cooked rice and water, personally taken cooked rice and water willfully from the hands (of the guilty person), or from the hands of any person who has done so, and then offered cooked rice and water to members of his family and other relatives without informing them of his guilt.
However, if (such officer or functionary) has only himself taken cooked rice and water (from the hands of the guilty person), and has not offered cooked rice and water from his hands to members of his family and other relatives, his share of the ancestral property shall not be confiscated, nor shall be he be branded in the manner mentioned above. The bridge taken by him shall be confiscated, and he shall be deprived of his sacred thread, if he belongs to a sacred-thread-wearing caste, and degraded to the lower caste.
If (such officer or functionary) has not willfully taken cooked rice and water (from the hands of the guilty person), or from the hands of a person who has done so, the bride taken by him shall be confiscated, and he shall be punished with a fine of Rs 500, but shall not be degraded to the lower caste.
If any officer or functionary (Amali, Hakim) receives information about any case in which his predecessor had done so, and himself taken cooked rice and water from the hands of such a person. The guilty officer or functionary, however, shall not be degraded to the lower caste.

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Other persons, including Tharis, Mukhiyas, Jimmawals, and respectable persons who are present at the Kachahari, who sign a statement to the effect that cooked rice and water can be taken from the hands (of the guilty person), and themselves take cooked rice and water from his hands, maintaining that though (the guilty person) had been ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water, no action would be taken against the officer or functionary for having issued an order (lifting the ostracization) or granting a writ of Patiya, whereas (the Tharis, etc) should have maintained that (the guilty person), should be ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water even though the officer or functionary had issued an order lifting the ostracization, shall be granted a writ of Patiya, and persons who have taken cooked rice and water from their hands, or from the hands of person who have done so, shall not be degraded to the lower caste. Each such functionary (Mukhiya, Jimmawal, Thari, Mijhar, Gourung, Chaudhari, Mahato, Thekdar, Ijaradar, Thani etc.) shall be punished with a fine of Rs 100 if he has signed the statement, or of Rs 50 if he has onlky stated orally that the ostracization should be lifted, and the bride he has taken shall be confiscated. Other persons who were present at the Kachahari and who had signed the statement lifting the ostracization shall each be punished with a fine of Rs 50, and the bride they have taken shall be confiscated. They shall be granted a writ of Patiya in respect to cooked rice and water and not degraded to the lower caste.


If persons who have signed a document in a fraudulent manner or on payment of a bride after decidig that ostracization in respect to cooked rice and water shouldbe lifted, have not actually taken cooked rice and water (from the hands of the guilty person), and if the matter is reported in the meantime, and main person responsible for having the document prepared on payment of a bride shall be punished with a fine of Rs 100; the person who wrote it with a fine of Rs 50; and other persons who were present at the Kachahari with a fine of Rs 10 each, and the bride taken by them shall be confiscated.
If any person who has taken cooked rice and water (from the hands of the guilty person) without any knowledge of the guilt, a writ of Patiya shall be granted in view of his ignorance. No fine need be imposed.
(To be continued)
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The Kathmandu Valley Entrepot Trade


By

Mahesh C. Regmi


For several centuries, a large share of the commerce between northern India and central Tibet was channeled through Kathmandu Valley. Indeed, the comparative affluence of this region has traditionally been associated with its position in a well-developed trans-Himalyan trade system.1 We shall here make an attempt to discuss the background of this trade, the nature of the commodities that were exchanged, and the policies and measures that successive governments during the nineteenth century adopted with the objective of exploiting it as a source of revenue.
We may commence this discussion with an enumeration of the factors that contributed to the states of Kathmandu as a center of the entrepot trade. A glance at the map will show that the Nepal Himalayas comprise about 18 passes leading to the Tibetan plateau, two of the most accessible of which are situated athward Kathmandu Valley and Kuti. Whereas most of the other passes are situated at an altitude of more than 17,000 feet and hence are snowbound almost through the year, the passes leading to Kerung and Kuti have an altitude of between 13,000 and 14,000 feet and are ''usually not totally impassable in winter''.2 The Kerung and Kuti routes were thus the shortest and most convenient routes between northern India and Tibet. The towns of Kathmandu Valley and of Patna in Bihar were the main links in the trade that was conducted along those routes.
There was yet another reason why Kathmandu was preferred as a center of the entrepot trade. Under a treaty signed between Kathmandu and Tibet during the reign of King Pratap Malla (1641-74), traders from Kathmandu were permitted to open establishments in Lhasa and conduct trade free of any duties or other charges. Tibet also agreed that all trade with India should be channeled through Kathmandu Valley in preference to other routes. Provision was made that coins for cultivation in Tibet should be minted in Kathmandu, and that Tibet would either provide the silver required for their minting or pay in gold.3 the treaty thus strengthened the position of Nepali traders vis-à-vis their rivals from different parts of India as well as economic links between Kathmandu and Tibet.
Newar Traders

The Newar traders of Kathmandu Valley who were engaged in trade with Tibet constituted a well-organized community. In Lhasa, the community was headed by one of its senior members, called Thakali, who acted as its chief spokenman.4 There was also an official called naike to collect taxes from the

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traders on behalf of the government of Nepal.5 The naike assisted another official, known as dittha, to exercise judicial authority over the Newar trading community, for the courts of Nepal had no jurisdiction over Newar traders in Tibet.6 Overall control and supervision of trade between Kathmandu Valley and Tibet was exercised by an official called the Takshari, or ''superintendent of the mint''.7 The term taksar means a place where coins are mined, and Taksari master of mint. The association of the Taksari with the Kathmandu-Tibet trade obviously dated back to the period when silver coins were minted in Kathmandu for circulation in Tibet. The Taksari was the final authority for the settlement of business and domestic disputes among Newar traders engaged in trade with Tibet. He also presided over the infra-coomunal Panchayats with settled disputes among traders of all categories in Kathmandu Valley.
Kashmiri and Gosain Traders

In addition to the Newars of Kathmandu, two categories of traders from India were actively engaged in the entrepot trade between northern India and Tibet through Kathmandu Valley. They were Muslim traders from Kashmir and the Gosains in Banaras or Patna. The Kashmiris had their headquarters India and Tibet through Kathmandu but also between Tibet and China. Indeed, they had extensive commercial interests throughout India and East Asia and had establishments in Lhasa and all the principal towns of Tibet. The other group of Indian traders engaged in the Kathmandu Valley entrepot trade consisted of Gosains, who had ''very extensive establishments'' in both Nepal and Tibet. The Gosains were actually members of an ascetic sect and so have been described as the trading pilgrims of India.9 Kathmandu was thus an important center of commerce for traders from different parts of India, Tibet, and, of cource, Nepal itself. As Ippolito Desideri, a Capuchin priest who traveled through Kathmandu in early 1722 on his way back to Rome from Lhasa, has recorded:10


The city of Kathmandu, situated on a plain, is large, and it contains many hundred thousand inhabitants and has a few handsome buldings. There is much commerce in this places, as many Tibetans and Heathens from Hindistan come here to trade, and merchants from Cascimir have offices and shops in the town.
The Kathmandu Valley entrepot trade was thus confined to a small body of traders operating from a small area. The 1830s perhaps represented the peak period in the growth of that trade, for, according to Hodgson, the valuem of Nepal's trade with India and Tibet increased by nearly 300 percent during the 15-year period following the Nepal-British war. But even at that time, less than 100 traders appear to have been engaged in the entrepot trade. As Brian H. Hodgson has recorded:11

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It appears then that at this present time there are, in the great towns of the valley of Nepal, fifty-two native and thirty-four Indian merchants engaged in foreign commerce, both with the South and the North. .. A third of such of these merchants as are natives of the plains have come up subsequently to the established of the Residency in 1816.
Trader Routes

Although the Kerung and Kuti routes through Kathmandu Valley met the needs of the trade between northern India and Tibet to a considerable extent, the nature of the terrain through which these routes passes, and the virtual absense of any effort to improve their condition, made the entrepot trade through Kathmandu Valley an arduous and hazardous undertaking. The Kerung route lies western from Kathmandu though Balaju and Jitpur across the Kakani hill to Rasuwachok on the border and from there to the Tibetan town of Kerung. From Kathmandu, Kerung lies at a distance of 141 kilometers, which then was usually covered in eight days. The route to Kuti was shorter by ten kilometers, but was more arduous and so required one day more. It lies eastward from Kathmandu through Sankhu and Listi to Kodari on the border in Sindhupalchok district, and from there to the Tibetan town of Kuti. Ater travelling 19 days from Kerung, and 16 days from Kuti, traders reached the town of Digarcha, from where Lhasa lies at a distance of 273 kilometers, which could be covered in 11 days more. A journey from Kathmandu to Lhasa thus required about 38 days through Kerung and about 36 days through Kuti.12

It may be worthwhile to summarize the observations and experience of some Jesuit missionaries who traveled through these routes during the the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In 1661, Father Grueber, a Jesuit priest working in Peking, passed through Kuti and Kathmandu on his way to India. He describes a hill ''of unsurpassed altitude, so high that travelers can scarcely breathe when they reached the top, so attenuated it the air'', and addes:13
In summer no one can cross it without gravely risking his life because of the poisonous exhaleatious of certain herbs. Neither carts nor horses can pass this way because of the terrible precipices and the stretches of rock path. The whole journey has to be done on foot.
Another Jesuit missionary, Father Desideri, who traveled through Kuti about half a century later, similarly speaks of the ''frightfull precipices'' on the Kuti route and mentions additional hazards:14

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The raod skirted frightful, precipices, and we climbed mountains by holes just large enough to put one's toe into, cut out of the rock like a staircase. At one place a chasm was crossed by a long plank only the widthe of a man's foot, while the wooden bringes over large rivers flowing in the deep valleys swayed and oscillated most alarmingly.


Indeed, the Kuti route has been described as ''one of the most dangerous in the whole Himalyan range''.15 The Kerung route was somewhat less arduous, but still ''steep, loose, and difficult''.16

The routes leading from Kathmandu valley to the south were, of course, less hazardous because of the nature of the terrain, but even then subjected traders to considerable hardships. Kathmandu Valley was then connected with the south through two routes. One route lay through Sindhuli-Gadhi east of Kathmandu, and the other through Chisapani-Gadhi in the south. The Sindhuli-Gadhi route19 appears to have gradually fallen into disuse early during the nineteenth century.


The other route from Kathmandu toward the south lay through Thankot, Chiltang, Chisapani, Bhimphedi, Hitaura, Bichakhori, and Parsa18. Between Parsa and Hitaura, and road was ''very good good loaded catlle''19 and ''passable by bullock-carts during the dry season''20 From Hitaura to Kathmandu, however, the road was ''utterly impassable during the periodical rains''.21 As Hamilton has notedj: ''The road over this mountain called Chisapani, is on the whole fatiguing; nor will it admit of any load being transported by cattle''22 Porters were, therefore, the only means of transportation.23 It usually took three or four days for a porter to reach Kathmandu from Hitaura.24
Hitaura was the main center for the movement of good between Kathmandu Valley and India.25 In 1661, Father Grueber had described Hitaura as possessing no permanent buildings, though there were many straw-built huts and the office of the tax-gatheror.26 In 1792, Kirkpatrick described Hitaura, ''though a place of such occasional resort on account of its being the center of all the commerce carried on between Nepaul and the Vizier's as well as the Company's western possessions,'' as ''but a miserable village, containing from fifty to sixty houses''.27 More than four decades later, Hitaura was still nothing more than ''a considerable village'' in the cold season, because ''the place is almist deserted from April to November on account of the aoul, or malarious fever, which is deadly to all except the natives of the Tarai''.28

By the early years of the nineteenth century, however, the road between Bhimphedi and Hitaura had been sufficiently improved to permit the transportation of goods on the back of oxen up to Chisapani.29 During the 1860s, it was improved


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and bridges were constructed at several places.30 Beyond Bhimphedi, however, it remained ''a mere Pag-dandi or footpath over the hills, impassable for laden beasts of burden''.31
Goods imported into Kathmandu Valley from India were, therefore, transportated through porters. They were packed in loads of 32 dharnis each. Each such load was called a of 16 dharnis each for onward transit to Tibet ''owing to the extreme difficulties of the road, which will not permit a man to carry more than that weight upon his back''.
The general condition of the routes through which trade was conducted between northern India nd Tibet through Kathmandu Valley was thus deplorablej. As Wright wrote in 1877 with an understandable measure of exaggeration, ''As long as the roads between British India and Nepal, and between Nepal and Tibet, remain as they are at present, any trade with the last-named country I conceive to be impracticable.''33 Entrepot trade was, therefore, confined for the most part of articles of grat value and small bulk.
Composition of Kathmandu Valley Entrepot Trade

In a report prepared in 1830-31, Brian H. Hodgson has given a detailed account of the entrepot trade between northern India and Tibet though Kathmandu Valley. The following tables have been compiled on the basis of that account:34


Particulars of Goods Imported from India and Reexported
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