The secret copper plaques, palmleaf manuscripts, and other documents in the store of the Pashupati temple, if made public, may verify most of the speculations made here.)
During Prithvi Narayan Shah's visit to Banaras, a reputed intellectual, politician, patriot and wealthy person named Balakrishna Dikshit used to live there. He was an advisor of the Peshwas, and the Emperor of Delhi also was desirous of his favor. (Hamsha Monthly, Kashi Issue,
It was not impossible that Prithvi Narayan Shah had a meeting with him. Prithvi Narayan Shah might probably have acquainted himself with the contemporary situation of India by meeting the intellectuals of other provinces residing in Brahams. Right at this moment talks were held at the Delhi court on the question of incorporating well-known Hindu pilgrimage centers, such as Mathura, Gaya, and Banaras into the Peshwa Kingdom. All this information reached Banaras at that time, hence Prithvi Narayan Shah set into capitalizing his designs out of his impending political unrest.
Prithvi Narayan Shah might have learnt from a deep study of the contemporary Indian situation that through pursuit of policies like keeping plans secret, refraining from hurting the religious feelings of others, and protecting farmers and craftsmen who do not participate in armed combats, as well as the women and children of even enemies, it would not be difficult to attain success.
Prithvi Narayan Shah engaged himself in the plan of the unification of Nepal immediately after his return to Gorkha from Banaras. First of all, he had to appoint the Minister or Kaji, as the appointment had been delayed because of the coronation.
(Note: A minister was called Kaji in Gorkha. The term is in no way connected to the same word in Arabic. It is connected in same degree, with the Sanskrit word Karyi meaning a functionary.)
Everybody was sure that Kalu Pande was a suitable candidate. He was born in the family of Ganesh Pande, the first Kaji of Gorkha. He was also a son of Bhimaraj Pande, who had been a Kaji for some time during the Narabhupala Shah's reign.
(Note: A statue of the bearded Kapardar, Bhotu Pande, is installed on the ground floor of a building situated south of the Pashupati temple. The inscription that he was installed on the Bishnumati bridge, which he had constructed, refer to his relationship with Ganesh Pande, Minister of Drabya Shah, the first King of Gorkha. The Pande Brahmans of the Upamanya clan of Khopling in Gorkha also mention Ganesh Pande as their ancestor. Bhotu Pande was a Chhetri, his family had marital ties with Bhim Sen Thapa's family. A Brahman's son through a Khas or Chhetri wife becomes a Chhetri. It is not known whether Bhotu Pande was a Chhetri because Ganesh Pande had taken a Khas or Chhetri wife or one of his descendants had done so. Bhotu Pande's stone inscription, and documents about his lineage mention Ganesh Pande's son as Vishwadatta, and Vishwadatta's son as Birudatta. Birudatta had two sons Baliram and Jagatloka. It is not known whether they were Brahmans or Chhetris. Bhotu Pande mentions Tularam, Baliram and Birudatta respectively as his ancestors of three generations. This shows Vishwadatta also to be an historical person.
Ranajit Pande, the second son of Tularam was born in 1809 A.D. Assuming that Tularam was 27 years old at that time, he must have been born in 1782 Samvat. Allowing 25 years for each generation, Vishwadatta seems to have been born in 1707 Samvat. This means that he could not have been the son of Ganesh Pande, who was living in 1616 Samvat, when Drabya Shah was crowned King of Gorkha. In other words, the names of two more generations seem to be missing. Bhotu Pande must have mentioned Vishwadatta as Ganesh Pande's son by mistake. Birudatta's sons, Baliram and Jagatloka, appear to be Brahmans from their names. However, Tularam, Baliram's son, and Bhimaraj, Jagatloka's son, appear to be Chhetris. It is possible that Bhimaraj was Jagatloka's grandson. A deep study is required in this regard.
The genealogy mentions the name of Bhimaraj's son as Vamshidhar or Kalu. Because he was dark in complexion, he became well-known as Kalu. Kalu had three sons, Vamsharaj, Ranashur,and Damodar. The document mentions Jagadhar Pande
as Vamsharaj's nephew, but the geneology does not mention his father's name. possibly Bhotu Pande did not know their names, because both Jagadhar Pande and his father died early. Kalu Pande's sons and grandsons too were probably of a dark complexion, hence Mathbar Singh derisively called them Kala Pande (i.e. Black Pande). Mathbar Singh Thapa was son of the grand-daughter of Tularam Pande, hence Tularam Pande's descendants were called Gora Pande (i.e. White Pande). Moreover, Kalu Pande has already shown his diplomatic skill while negotiating a treaty with King Ripumardana of Lamjung when Prithvi Narayan Shah was yet a Crown Prince.
(Note: In Dibya Upadesh, Prithvi Narayan Shah has written" ''I met King Ripumardana Shah of Lamjung at Chepe-Ghat, and Kalu Pande conducted negotiations in the manner I had desired. This greatly surprised me.'')
In addition, Kalu Pande had demonstrated sufficient administrative skill while working together with the senior Queen Chandraprabha, Chautara Mahoddama Kriti Shah, and Ranarudra Shah during the Prithvi Narayan Shah's visit to Banaras.
(Note: Shri Pancha Prithvi Narayan Shah Ko Jivani (Biography of King Prithvi Narayan Shah) states Kalu Pande was one of the two high officials who stayed at Gorkha while Prithvi Narayan Shah had gone to Banaras. The Bhasha Vamshavali states that he had accompanied Prithvi Narayan Shah to Banaras. The statement of the Bhasha Vamshavali seems wrong).
For these reasons, Queen Chandraprabha supported Kalu Pande's name for appointment as Kaji. But during his visit to Banaras. Biraj Bakheti had sufficiently impressed Prithvi Narayan Shah.
(Note: in Dibya Upadesh, Prithvi Narayan Shah has said: ''I had intended to appoint Biraj Bakheti as Kaji. However, Kalu Pande appeared wiser, so he was appointed Kaji.'').
in these circumstances, Prithvi Narayan Shah thought in proper to take the advice of all the notable persons of Gorkha. On the unanimous recommendation of the nobility, as well as the common people including Bisya Damai, and the support of the friendly Baisi and Chaubisi kings, he appointed Kalu Pande to that high post.
(Note: In Dibya Upadesh, Prithvi Narayan Shah has said: ''The people, as well as the Baisi and Chaubisi kings all supported the appointment of Kalu Pande as Kaji.'' Friendly relations had been established at that time with the kings of Jajarkot among the Baisi, and Lamjung and Palpa among the Chaubisi. Therefore, they too might have been consulted).
Prithvi Narayan Shah had already seen the fertile lands of the three principalities of Kathmandu Valley when he visited the capitals of the mutually hostile principalities of Bhaktapur and Kantipur. The Kingof Kantipur was an obstacle for the Gorkhalis to extend their way to Bhaktapur. The hill district of Nuwakot, which belonged to Kantipur and which adjoined Gorkha was lying undefended, and this led King Prithvi Narayan Shah and Kalu Pande to realize that it was easy to occupy it. But the principalitiy of Kantipur was rich owing to its income from trade with Tibet. Prithvi Narayan Shah had the foresight to realize that unless Kantipur was impoverished by seizing that trade, it could not be uprooted. A portion route in Nuwakot district, but the kuti route was more frequented. The kings of Kantipur had, therefore, occupied Sindhupalchok and Dolakha districts. Kantipur had trade relations with Tibet, which was under the control of the Chinese Emperor, and under the administration of the Dalai Lama. The letter had friendly relations with the Kings of Kantipur. This trade had continued even though more than 100 years had passed since the death of the Bhima Malla, who had first established these trade relations. The trade route was very long and hazardous. The Malla Kings had not been able to extend their territories beyond the Himalayan ranges. As a result, the Tibetans had established trade centers of Kerung and Kuti. The Kerung trade center lay at a distance of 141 Kilometers from Kathmandu, which could be covered in 8 stages. It formed part of the principality of Kantipur. The Kuti trade center lay at a distance of 131 Kilometers, which could be covered in 9 stages. It was under the administrative control of the Dalai Lama. Routes running through Kerung and Kuti converged at Digarcha in Tibet, which was 19 stages and 373 kilometers from Kerung, and 16 stages and 331 kilometers distant from Kuti. From Digarcha the Tibetan capital of Lhasa lay at a distance of 11 stages and 263 kilometers.
(Note: After the 1854-55 war with Tibet, a book was written during the reign of King Surendra in 1856 on Tibet and China. In view of Prithvi Narayan Shah's efforts to established relations with the Dalai Lama and strengthen trade relations with Tibet, a detailed account of the route as far as Lhasa, capital of Tibet, is given in that look, which is in the possession of Pandit Komal Natha Adhikari).
Yaks, sheep and Chyangra (mountain goats) are abundant in Tibet. As such, the Tibetans used to live on their meat by some unknown reason they did not the meat of Chyangras. They, however, wove cloth with the wool of sheep and Chyangra goats. Instead of visiting the borders of China for food-grains, it was more convenient for them to visit Kerung, Kuti, Khartang (Kirat region) and Bhutan through the upper reaches of the Trishuli-Gandaki, the Sunkoshi, the Arun (Chhung) and the Tista respectively.
But the Bhutan and Khartang routes were not used. Moreover, the Swayambhu shrine in Nepal, and the Khasa Chailtya, constructed during Pratapa Malla's reign, were popular pilgrimage centers from ancient times for the Vajrayani Buddhists of Tibet. The Kerung and Kuti routes were, therefore, open, and the salt of Tibet used to traded with the foodgrains of Nepal through these routes.
Besides salt, ponies, yak-tails, harital, and musk also used to come from Tibet, which Nepali traders used to resell to the traders in the plains of Oudh and Bihar. Garlic, chillies and Lapsi fruits were exported to Tibet from Nepal. sheep and Chyangra goats constituted the main items that were sold in Kathmandu Valley. Caskets made of ivory, ivory-hlted daggers, and handicrafts made of dar wood were the main items that were exported to Tibet. Gold in crude or refined form from Monglian mines constituted the main items imported by Nepal through Lhasa. Only silver coins stamped with the seal of the Kantipur kings circulated in Tibet. The main communities trading in both Kantipur and Tibet were Shakyas and Udas mostly of Kantipur, and a few of Lalitpur. The number of their establishments at one time reached as many as thirty-two. As such, they were known as the ''Battis kothi mahajan''.
Tibetan gold seems to have started to come to Kantipur during the reign of King Mahendra Malla (1560-1574 A.D.), and joint King of both Kantipur and Lalitpur, before the time of Bhima Malla. The largest quantity, however, came during the reign of King Pratap Malla (1614-1674 A.D.), the killer of Bhima Malla. The gold plates that he and his grandson King Bhupalendra Malla gave to the copper roots of the temples of Guhyeshwari, Taleju, Pashuapti, and other in Kantipur, and the status installed there had created among the Nawabs of Nengal and Bihar the impression that there were piles of gold in Kantipur. Pratapa Malla's nephew, King Srinivasa Malla of Lalitpur, had not been able to erect a gold-plated statue owing to the small number of Lalitpur traders in Lhasa. However, one trader, Jodhaju Sakya of Laliptur, who owned shops in Tibet, had presented him with a magnificent gilded throne. (Abhilekhasangraha, pt. 6, p. 12).
After Akbar's occupation of Kashmire toward the end of the 16th century, Kashmiri Muslim traders spread all over northern India, and opened shops selling Kashmiri shawls, woolen caps, saffrons, etc. in principa towns there. One Kashmiri who had a shop at Patna came to Kantipur and opened a shop there near the city gates.
(Note: The Capuchin priest Desideri, who had come to Kathmandu in Janu 1722 A.D., had seen the shops of Kashmiri traders near the Ranipokhari in Kantipur. Medieval Nepal, pt. 2, p. p. 1012)j.
This shop was later turned into Kashmiri mosque. This Kashmiri Muslim belonged to the hill region, hence he began to earn double profits by going to Tibet and trading there.
During this very period, King Mahendra Simha, and Chutara Jhagal Thakul permitted two Capuchin priests Prancois Felix and Anthony Marie, when they came to Kantipur, to propagate Christianity and establish a church there. But leter because of the opposition Brahmans, both priests went to Bhaktapur, where king Bhupatindra Malla welcomed them. There are priests cured some patients of plague and converted them to Christianity. When Jagatjaya Malla was crowned King in 1722 A.D., permission church in Kathmandu also. Father Horrace, who had come at this time from Lhasa as chief of the Bkaktapur church, had been able, by virtue of his qualifications and intelligence, to regain there old place in Kantipur. But king Jagatjaya Malla later feft displeased at his mishebavior and confiscated all his property, imprisoned him and employed in road construction. Harrace was a clever man. He sent a petition to Jagatjaya Malla, who later freed him from imprisonment and gave permission to propagate Christianity in Kantipur.
Lhasa was the principal base of the Capuchins. When Joachim, the chief priest of Lhasa and Horrace, the chief priest of Bhaktapur requested Rome for retirement owing to their age, Vitto was appointed as the chief for Bhaktapur. When he arrived at the Patna church, King Ranajit Malla of Bhaktapur sent his relative to fetch him to Bhaktapur, and gave him lodging in a house there was as well as permission to erect an iron cross on the house. Later, Ranajit Malla gave him a magnificent house and garden that had been acquired as the intestate property of a noble, and also a copper-plate decree permitting him to convert the people to Christianity with their consent. (1740 A.D.)
(Note: This account is based on pp. 120-21 of the English translation of Le Nepal by Sylavain Levi. The inscription was as follows: ''King Ranajit Malla of Bhaktapur hereby grants all European priests the night to propagate among the convert my subjects into Christianity, and also his subjects the right to adopt Christianity without fear from any authority. However, such conversion should be done not through force but on a voluntary basis. Marga 861 Nepal Samvat).
Joachim was one of the priests who had accompanied Vitto to Bhaktapur. He request King Jaya Prakash Malla of Kantipur for permission to set up a Church, Jaya prakash Malla, however, did not grant the privilege to propagate
Christianity among the people of Kantipur as Ranajit Malla had done in Bhaktapur. However, he granted a building and garden, and also issued a copper-plate decree (December 17, 1741) in the same of the Capuchin priests.
(Note: This account is based on the English translation of Le Nepal, pp. 129-30).
At this time, the Raja of Bettiah (Champaran district) had sent a request to Vitto to establish a Christian church in his territory. As a result, a church was built there under the jurisdiction of the Bhaktapur organization. (1743 A.D.).
European missionaries used to get secretly involved in the politics of Nepal in the interests of Europeans, and also rendered assistance to the Malla Kings in buying guns and flints, but did not interfere in trade. The permission granted by Ranajit Malla and Jaya Prakash Malla to them to propagate Christianity in a manner detrimental to the culture and religion of their people for the sake of buying guns and flints for use in their mutual conflicts was sign of cultural degeneration. This assured Prithvi Narayan Shah of success in his mission of unifying Nepal.
(To be continued).
Regmi Research (Private) Ltd,
Kathmandul: April 1, 1979.
Regmi Research Series
Year 11, No. 4
Mahesh C. Regmi
1. The Unification of Nepal 40
2. Thak and Thini, 1811 52
3. Serma Tax Rates in Palchok 54
4. Brahmans and the Plow 55
5. Cash Emoluments of Bhardars, 1851 55
6. Miscellaneous Documents of Magh 1856 63
Regmi Research (Private) Ltd
Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal
Compiled by Regmi Research (Private) Ltd for private study and research. Not meant for public sale or display.
The Unification of Nepal
(Continued from the March 1979 issue)
When the wealthy Sanyasis of the Vana and Puri sects from Oudh and Bihar saw that Kashmiri Muslims are making huge profits through trade, they too came to Kathmandu for the same purpose on the pretext of propagating Shaivism. King Ranajit Malla of Bhaktapur welcomed one the these Sansyasis, Kamalavan, and sold him as much land as he wanted near the Dattatreya monastery for the establishment of a Vana monastery. The Vaneswara Shivalinga and a new monastery were thus established there. (January 20, 1744).
(Note: This monastery is now called Chikan Phale. It has not Mahanta. The former Mahanta's widow is the chief of the monastery. Purna Prasad Vana, who lost the case in whch he had claimed the right of succession to this monastery, had provided transcripts of the copper-plate decree, issued for the establishment of this monastery. The date of the establishment of the monastery according to this decree is Saka 1667, Vikrama 1802, srikali 4846, Nepal Samvat 865, Magh Sudi Sri Panchami. Nepal Samvat 865, however, does not coincide with Saka 1667. The correct figure is 866. There must, therefore, have been a mistake while transcribing the figures from copper-plate decree. The text mentions Nepal Samvat 863, Magh Sukla Sri Panchami, Monday. This date has been found to be correct.
Kamal Vana is mentioned as the founder of the Guthi. The witnesses were King Ranajit Malla's Pramanes, Yajnarayan Chhenbhadel, Krishna Das. Jasaraj, Dhanaman Singh, Anirudra, Samarasundara, and Bhagi Singh, and the writer is Baibajnya Jayanarayan. A foreign Sanyasi could not have owned land in Bhaktapur. The mention of the names of royal officials as witnesses indicates that the endowed lands were purchased from King Ranajit Malla. The King certainly must have executed a deed of sale. However, the deed is no longer available).
Sanyasis of the Puri sect were welcomed and granted land by King Vishnu Malla of Lalitpur. They, therefore, established a monastery in Lalitpur. These Sanyasis then collaborated with the kashmiri Muslims in hampering then trade of Shakyas and Udas with Tibet.
Kantipur's trade relations with Tibet were thus weakening. In the meantime, Prithvi Narayan Shah was preparing his plans of annexing Kantipur by occupying Nuwakot, Sindhupalchok and Dolakha, breaking Kantipur's trade relations with Tibet, and rendering that principality insolvent. This plan was prepared in four or five months, but its implementation was likely to offend the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. But there was not time to lose. Prithvi Narayan Shah, therefore, prepared this plan in a way that would keep the Tibetans satisfied in matters of trade.
Sale of Slaves
(''Kamara Kamari Bechdako (Sale of Slaveboys and Slave-girls). Shri 5 Surendra Bikrama Shahadevaka Shasankalama Baneko Muluki Ain (Legal Code enacted during the reign of King Surendra Bikram Shah Dev). Kathmandu: Ministry of Law and Justice, His Majesty's Government, 2022 (1965), pp. 352-54).
1. If one brother among several brothers living in a joint family sells slaves, animals, or other property without consulting his brothers, and if the other brothers complain that he has no right to sell their share of such property, the sale shall be held to be valid only in the following circumstances:-
If the property has been sold to meet the living expenses of the family, or
If the seller has sold only his share of the property.
If he has sold more than his share without consulting his brothers, and has not done so to meet the living expenses of the family, and if his brothers complain, within thirty-five days if they are at home, and within the same period after they come back home if they have gone abroad, that their brother had no right to sell the property without setting aside their shares even though they were all living in a joint family, the seller be made to refund be restored to the brothers. If the price cannot be recovered from the seller, he shall be made to sign a personal bond for the amount. Fees amounting to ten percent and five percent shall be collected from the two parties.
2. If anybody sells or mortgages slaves, animals, or other property to two persons, the first transaction shall be held valid. The seller shall be made to refund the price to the second purchaser if he can do so, or else to sign a personal bond for the amount. A fine of an equal amount shall be imposed on him. if he cannot pay the fine, he shall be imprisoned at the rate of one month for each five rupees of the fine.
3. Children belonging to castes which may be enslaved shall not be enslaved even if the parents are so willing, nor shall any court, police station, or local body do so. if any person enslaves such children, the price paid in consideration thereof shall be forfeited, and both the seller and the purchaser shall be punished with a fine of Rs 100 each. If they do not pay the fine, they shall be imprisoned according to the law.
4. Any person may offer his son, who is above sixteen years of age, as a bondsman to his creditor at a court, police station, or local body, which shall ask the prospective bondsman whether he is willing to be bonded. If he says
he is willing, he shall be made to sign a statement accordingly. He may be bonded in this manner with his consent, but not even his parents shall be permitted to offer him as a bondsman forcibly. If they do so, and if the son submits a complaint, the letter shall be set free, and the father shall be made to sign a personal bond for the loan. If the son submits such a complaint after the death of his parents, he shall himself be made to sign a personal bond for the loan.
5. If anybody falsely complains that any person has enslaved a freeman, and if an interrogation proves that he complaint is false and has been made only out of spite, the complainant shall be punished with a fine of Rs 100 if he is a man, and of Rs 50 if he is a woman. If the fine is not paid, the complainant shall be imprisoned according to the law.
6. If anybody falsely claims children belonging to castes which may be enslaved to be his slaves, and sells them, he shall be held to have enslaved freemen and shall be punished with a fine of Rs 360. If he does not pay the fine, he shall be imprisoned until the fine is remitted at the rate of five rupees for each month of imprisonment. If such person has sold (children) belonging to liquor-drinking castes which cannot be enslaved, falsely claiming them to be his slaves, he shall be punished with a fine of Rs 540. If he has thus sold children belonging to sacred-thread-wearing castes, he shall be punished with a fine of Rs 720. If he does not pay the fine, he shall be imprisoned according to the law.
7. If any person desires to sell slaves inherited by him or acquired by him through his own efforts, he shall inform his co-parceners of his intention and offer them the preemptive right to purchase such slaves at the price offered by other persons. If the coparceners agree to buy the slaves, they shall be entitled to do so in preference to other persons. If the coparceners live at a distant place, and the owner sells the slaves because of his urgent need, both the seller and the purchaser shall write to the coparceners accordingly. The coparceners may redeem the sale within thirty-five days at the price paid by the purchaser even f a deed of relinquishment of title ([dipatra]) had already been signed. If no coparcener offers to redeem the sale within thirty-five days, the sale shall be considered absolute even if no coparcener had witnessed it or appropriate gaurain (?).