|In 1883, the Rana government abolished all jagir land grants in the Tarai region. That decision was promoted by the realization that ''because lands in the Tarai have granted to civil and military officials, the amount of revenue deposited in the treasury is meager''.11 In other words, the Rana government made an attempt to regulate the assignment of economic resources to ascriptive groups in order to maximize its own receipts of ''free floating mobile'' resources.
Tax on Birta and Jagir Incomes
The Rana government's efforts to locate new resources of revenue to finance the Nepal-Tibet war revealed the taxable potential of birta and jagir incomes. In 1856, a special levy was imposed amounting to one-third of incomes from birta, guthi, and kipat and, as well as incomes of jagirdards whose assignments exceeded 700 muris of rice-lands of homestead tax revenue amounting to Rs 80 a year, ar a consolidated cash salary exceeding Rs 400 year.12. The levy was imposed on a one-time basis only. Collections during that year in the eastern and western Tarai districts amounted to approximately Rs 300,000, or nearly one-eighth of the revenue collected from all sources throughout the Kingdom.
Revenue from Trikhandi Levy, 1856
Moragn Rs 19,312
Saptari Rs 51,511
Mahottari and Sarlahi Rs 112,627
Rautahat Rs 20,436
Bara Rs 66,985
Parsa Rs 22,561
Butaul Rs 5,884
Before the emergence of Rana rule, lands endowed as Guthi by the King or other members of the royal family were actually operated and managed by private individuals, who also usually appropriated by the surplus, income. Occasionally, the government collected annual royalties or ad hoc payments, from individuals who obtained guthi lands on lease or contract,14 but there was no regular procedure for taxing the surplus income of guthi land endowments. The government even did not have a full list of guthi endowments all over the country. In 1852, the Rana government undertokk a census of guthi endowments made by Kings or members of the royal family. Particulars of the incme and expenditure of each guthi were recorded on the basis of the original deeds of endowment. After determining the amount of the surplus income of each guthi in this manner, the government entrusted its management to a person who offered the maximum amount of royalty.15 Privage guthi endowments were similarly brought under government control of the trustees had failed to perform the prescribed religious or charitable functions, or had sold or mortgaged the guthi lands. Thanks to these measures, the Rana government was able to exploit this potential source of revenue, and also to improve the guthi administration and management system. in 1862, revenue from guthi royalties amounted to approximately Rs 35,000.16
Revenue from some other sources in 1901 were as follows:
Revenue from Mescellaneous Monopolies,
1. Liquor monopoly in the region between
the Kosi and Trishuli rivers, and
Hitaura-Indrayani Rs 33,543
2. Chaudhari levies Rs 13,475
3. Wax monopoly Rs 3,908
4. Paper monopoly in the Marsyangdi-
Dudhkosi region (except Khinchet) Rs 3,771
5. Monopoly in Chares Rs 3,711
6. Monopoly in buffalo-horn
in Kathmandu Valley Rs 667
The narrow base from which the government derived its revenue is the most striking characteristic of Nepal's public finance sytem during the 19th century. Hamilton has written that in addition to the income from Crown lands:18
The only other public revenues are the fines levied from offenders, which are sometimes considerable; the customs, which are very trifling; and some small profits arising from the mines, from elephants,a nd from the sale of Sal or Sakhuye timber, from the forests below the mountains.
Hamilton has noted with reference to the Majhkirat region of eastern Nepal: ''The land revenue has been almost entirely granted to the different officers of the Gorkhalese government, and there is no Sayer, nor customs, so that the Raja chiefly receives the income tax (Rajanka) fines, and the profits of mines.19 The situation remained more or less the same throughout the nineteenth century.
1. Mahesh C. Regmi, A Study of Nepali Economic History, 1768-1846. New Delhi: Manjusri Publising House, 1978 (reprint). Pp. 58-59; Chittaranjan Nepali, Shri 5 Rana Bahadur Shah (King Rana Bahadur Shah). Kathmandu: Mary Rajbhandari, 2020 (1963), pp. 68-69 and 138-39.
2. ''Imposition of Levy on Ministry Personnel of Different Ranks.'' Chaitra Sudi 11, 1860 (March 1804). Regmi Research Collection, (RRC), vol. 2, pp. 74-75; ''Royal Order to the Inhabitants of Panchayakhola,'' Kartik Badi 11, 1861 (October 1804), ibid, pp. 189-91, ''Royal Order Regarding Imposition of Salami levy in Garhwal,'' Chaitra Badi 8, 1863 (March 1807), RRC, vol. 5, pp. 151-53.
3. Calculated on the basis of the accounts of revenue and expenditure of the government of Nepal for the years 1908 (1851-52) the 1918 (1861-62). The figures mentioned above indicate the amount actually received by the central government after deducting salaries of revenue-collecting personnel and other local expenditures. Accounts were then maintained in different Nepali and Indian rupee units. During the mid-nineteenth century, Indian rupee coins of different categories were in circulation in Nepal. the Nepali rupee too was not a standard unit of account. It has not been possible to ascertain the rates as which each unit was convertible into the other units. In order to facilitate comprehension and comparison, albeit at same cost to accuracy, all India
rupees, as wel as all Nepali rupees, have been assumed to be standard and homogeneous units. Indian rupees have then been converted into Nepali rupees at the official exchange rate of Rs 100: Rs 123 betweeen Indian rupees minted at the Patna mint, and Nepali mohar rupees. (''Order Regarding Rate of Exchange Between Patna and Mohar rupees in the Eastern Tarai Districts''. Ashadh Badi 9, 1912 (June 1855). RRC, vol. 56, pp. 408-9).
4. The 1861-62 accounts contain land revenue figures for the ''Naya Muluk'' districts of Banke, Bardiya, Kailali and Kanchanpur only for the year 1860-61. The amount mentioned above comprises the 1861-62 figures as given in: ''Land Revenue Assessment figures for the Naya Muluk Region,'' 1918 (1861), RRC, vol. 37, pp. 55-56.
5. The 1861062 accounts have omitted forest revenue figures from ''Naya Muluk'' on the ground that these were not available. The total amount of revenue from forests and pastures, as given above, includes the amount collected in that region as mentioned in: ''Kathmahal Revenue in the Naya Muluk Region, A.D. 1861-63'' RRC, vol. 37, pp. 42-46.
6. This figure does not include the amount of judicial fines collected in ''Naya Muluk'', about which no information is available.
7. Compiled on the basis of revenue and expenditure records of the government of Nepal for the appropriate years in the Regmi Research Collection.
8. ''Order to the Parsa Revenue Office Regarding Remittance of Funds'', Aswin Sudi 1, 1957 (September 1800), RRC, vol. 70, pp. 469-74.
9. ''Register of Jagir and Jagera Lands, 1852-53,'' RRC, vol. 11, pp. 338-84.
10. ''Revenue and Expenditure of the Government of Nepal, 1852-53,'' RRC, vol. 16, pp. 193-228.
11. Mahesh C. Regmi, Thatched Huts and Stucco Palaces, Peasants and Landlords in 19th Century Nepal. New Delhi: Vikas Publising House (Pvt) Ltd, 1978, p. 47.
12. ''Order Regarding Collection of Trikhandi Levy in Jajarkot and Elsewhere.'' Bhadra Badi 5, 1913 (August 1856), RRC, vol. 30, pp. 435-37.
13. ''Revenue for the Trikhandi Levy in the Tarai Region'', RRC, vol. 16, pp. 246-52.
14. Mahesh C. Regmi, Land Tenure and Taxation in Nepal, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968, vol. 4, p. 73.
15. ''Order Regarding Particulars of Rajguthi Lands'', Poush Badi 6, 1915 (December 1858), RRC, vol. 29, p. 264, and Magh Badi 11, 1918 (January 1862), RRC, vol. 33, pp. 437-39.
16. ''Revenue and Expenditure of the Government of Nepal, 1861-62'', in Regmi Research Collection.
17. ''Ijara Grant ot Subba Ganesh Das Ratna Das for collection of Reveue from Different Source'', Marga Badi 11, 1957 (November 1800), RRC, vol. 70, pp. 630-45.
18. Francis Hamilton, An Account of the King of Nepal. New Delhi: Manjusri Publishing House, 1971 (reprint of 1819 ed.), p. 218.
19. Ibid, p. 164.
(''Dharmadhikarko'', Sri 5 Surendra Bikram Shah Devaka Shasanakalama Baneko Muluki Ain, (Legal Code enacted during the reign of King Surendra Bikram Shah Dev). Kathmandu: Ministry of Law and Justice, 2022 (1965), pp. 378-4060.
1. All castes and communities throughout the Kingdom of Gorkha, whether sacred-thread-wearing castes such as Upadhyaya Brahman, Rajput, Jaisi and Chhetri, or Europeans or Muslims or castes water touched by whom cannot be taken (by people belonging to higher castes) but contact with whim does not required purification through the sprinkling of water, or cates contact with whom requires purification through the sprinkling of water, may perform any act that they have traditionally been performing for earning spiritual merit according to their religion, butthey shall nto be permitted to slaughter cows. Nobody shall prevent them from doing so. In case anybody tries to prevent them from performing such acts, and a complaint if filed with the court, the person who commits any action that is likely to disturb the religious sentiments of others shall be punished with a fine of Rs 100. if he does not pay the fine, he shall be imprisoned according to the law. If a clash has occurred, leading to the death of any person, life shall be taken for life, if the guilty person belongs to a caste that can be sentenced to capital punishment. If not, his property shall be confiscated according to the law, and he shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life.
2. If any person commits adultery with a widow or married belonging to sacred-thread-wearing castes including Upadhyaya Brahman, or to any liquor-drinking caste which cannot be enslaves, or to any caste which can be enslaved, and other persons take rice or water touched by such woman without any knowledge of her guilt, the court, police station, or local body shall collect a fee of Rs 2 for persons of abal category, and 8 annas for those of chahar category, and wirte to the Dharmadhikar for a writ of Patiya.
3. If any person other than the Dharmadhikar issues a writ of Patiya, he shall be sentenced to imprisonment for 18 months. If he has only promised to do so, he shall be sentenced to imprisonment for one year. He shall be released if he pays an account double the commuted value of such sentence of imprisonment.
4. The Dharmadhikar shall issue a writ of Patiya only to persons who have committed an offense unknowingly. Such a writ shall be issued to persons who commit an offense willfully only of an order to do so is received from the government and the Mukhtiyar, and, if such an order is issued in cases where the law forbids the grant of Patiya, only if it is confirmed under the royal sign manual. If the Dharmadhikar himself willfully grants a Patiya to an unauthorized person without royal sanction, he shall be punished with a fine of Rs 500 and dismissed from the position of Dharmadhikar. If such Patiya has been granted by his employees, he shall be punished with a fine of Rs 50 and dismissed from service.
5. If the law provides that a writ of Patiya be issued to a person who is guilty if any offenses which is punishable through degredation of caste status and disqualification for maintaining relaions (with members of the appropriate caste), so that water touched by him can be taken by persons of higher castes, and if any officer issues such an order withour punishing the guilty person with fines, confiscation of propery, etc. according to the law, he shall be punished with a fine of Rs 40. Such Patiya shall be granted only if the law so prescribes after inflicting the prescribed punishment on the guilty person.
6. If any government officer or local functionary, fraudulently or by suppressing documents, decrees without referring the matter to the government that a person belonging to a sacred-thread-wearing caste, who had been ostracized from offering cooked rice to members of the appropriate caste by his predecessor, prepares false documents and lifts the oscracism, and if inquiries reveal that the confession or statement obtained by the previous offers was valid, and that the guily person should actually be obstracized from offering cooked rice to members of te appropriate caste, the officer or local functionary who has lifted the
ostracism shall nto be degraded to a lower caste if he has not himself taken cooked rice from the hands of the guilty person, but shall only be punished with a fine of Rs 500. If he has lifted the ostracism and himself taken cooked rice from the hands of the guilty person, he shall be punished with a fine of Rs 500, deprived of his sacred-thread, and degraded to a lower caste. If he does not pay the fine he shall be imprisoned according to the law.
7. If a lunatic who has no sense of prestige of propriety, nor of what he should eat or not, eats any forbidden food, or food from the hands of a person belonging to a lower or untouchable caste, godan fee shall be realized from him after he comes to his senses at the rate of Rs 5 if he belongs to abal status, Rs 4 if he belongs to doyam status, Rs 3 if he belongs to sim status, and Rs 3 if he belongs to chahar status, on behalf of the Dharmadhikar, and such person shall be made to undergo expiation.
8. In case any person tries to commit suicide by jumping, or by cutting his own throat, or stabling himself, or by hanging, or by taking poison on his own will because of pain or anguish, but servivies after treatment, he shall pay to the Dharmadhikar godan fee from one anna to two rupees, depending on his financial status. The Dharmadhikar shall then make such person undergo expiation and issue a writ of Patiya. Such person shall not be considered to have committed any crome punishable by the local authority (amali).
9. In case any person commits suicide by hanging, or using any weapon, by jumping into a river, or from a hill, or into a tank, or from a roof, or by taking poison willfully, or in case he dues at the hands of a person belonging to a caste water touched by whom can not be taken by members of higher cates, the Dharmadhikar's godan fee shall be realized from his sons, brothers, and other relatives at the rate of R.1 if he belongs to abal status, 8 annas if he belongs to doyam status, and 4 annas if he belongs to sim or chahar status. The proceeds shall be handed over to the amali. The sons, brothers, and other relatives of the deceased person shall then perform the funeral rites.
10. If the brother, son, or any other relative of a person who has been executed in the charge of murder submits a petition for performance of his last rites, the appropriate court, police station, or Amal shall issue necessary orders, and Dharmadhikar shall issue a writ of Patiya and allow the funeral rites to be performed on payment of fees ranging from one anna to two rupees, depending on financial status.
11. In case any person who is gulty of sexual intercourse with any women who is closely related to him (had nata), or who belongs to a lower caste, or to a caste water touched by whom cannot be taken by him, or contact with whom requires purification through the sprinkling of water, or eats rice cooked by her, and who is consequently degraded to a lower caste, dies, and his sons, brothers, and nephews request for a writ of Patiya of performance of his last rites, a writ of Patiya shall be issued to the effect that such rites may be performed.
12. If a person, who had lost his caste by being degraded to a lower caste contact with whom must be purifed through the sprinkling of water, or by taking cooked rice or water from the hands of a person belonging to a lower caste, dies, those persons who perform the funeral rites or arrange for such performance without obtaining expiation through a writ of Patiya shall each be punished with a fine of five rupees. In addition, the Dharmadhikar shall collect a fee of Rs 2 in the case of abal, R.1 in the case of doyam, 8 annas in the case of sim, and 4 annas in the case of chahar, and grant a writ of Patiya, thereby entitling (the offenders) to offer cooked rice and water (to persons of equivalent caste status).
13. If any person if either sex is guilty of murder or infanticide, and the crime subsequently comes to light, persons who have taken cooked rice from the hands of such criminals without any knowledge of the crime shall pay godan fee to the Dharmadhikar at the rate of Rs 3-8 in the case of abal, Rs 1-12 in the case of doyam, 13 annas in the cae of sim, and 7 annas in the case of chahar. The Dharmadhikar shall then grant them a writ of Patiya, thereby entitling them to offer cooked rice and water (to persons of equivalent caste status).
14. In the event of the death of any person who has been punshed with death or imprisonment for life, or deprived of his sacred thread and degraded from his caste, or obstracized in respect to cooked rice and water in consideration of sexual intercourse with a person belonging to an untouchable caste and degraded to that caste, the Dharmadhikar shall collect godan fee at the rate of Rs 5 in the case of abal, Rs 4 in the case of doyam, Rs 3 in the case of sim, and Rs 2 in the case of chahar and grant expiation through a writ of Patiya if the brother, son, daughter, or other relative of the deceased person makes a request to that effect.
15. If any person is accused of sexual intercourse with others and ostracized in respect to cooked rice and water without ascertaining the facts or merely on suspicion, and if it is subsequently provded that such accusation had beed made out of malice, the person making such a false accusation.
shall be imprisoned for a period of eleven months. He shall not be freed even if he offers meony in lieu of imprisonment. If any person has done so merely on grounds of suspicion, but fails to produce evidence in the course of inquiries, and if it is found that the accused person cannot be punished with a fine of ten ruees, or, in default, with imprisonment according to the law. The accuser need not undergo expiation, and his caste status shall remain unchanged.
16. If any person belonging to a sacred-thread-wearing caste commits any crime which is punishable through partial shaving of the head and is accordingly so punshed, degraded to a Shudra caste which cannot be enslaved, and is granted a writ of Patiya in respect to water, the naming-ceremony, marriage, of funeral rites of his children born of his married or other wife shall be performed by Brahmans as if they belong to a Shudra caste which cannot be enslaved. In the case of children of men who have not obtained a writ of Patiay in respect to water, no rites shall be performed. Any Brahman who performs ritesin the case of men water touched by whom cannot be accepted by persons belonging to highter castes, and the person who performs such rites, shall be punished with a fine of Rs 5 each, or, in default, with imprisonment for one month each.
17. If the law prohibits the grant of a writ of Patiya in respect to water to persons guilty of any offense, such as incest with prescribed categories of relatives, or with persons contact with whim requires purification through the sprinkling of water, and if such guilty person has accepted cooked rice and water from the hands of the latter, and has been graded to a lower caste for that offense, water touched by him cannot accepted by persons belonging to higher castes, and no writ of Patiya shall be granted to them. Persons who have been degraded to a lower caste for other offenses shal belong to the Shudra caste, but persons belonging to higher castes may take water from their hands. However, they shall not be granted a writ of Patiya in respect to cooked rice. While granting them a writ of Patiya for water, the Dharmadhikar shall collect godan fee at the rate of Rs 10 for abal, Rs 8 for doyam, Rs 4 for sim, and Rs 2 for chahar. Such persons shall be prohibited from applying tika to Brahmans, but they may offer ritual gifts and dakshina. They shall ritually offer gifts or money without applying tika. Any Brahman who accepts tika from such a person shall be punished with a fine of Rs 2½, and the latter with Rs 5. In default of the payment of the fine, he shll be imprisoned for a term prescribed in the law and then released. Any Brahman who accepts tika from the hands of such a persons out of ignorance shall not be deemed to have committed an offense.
(To be continued).
Jimmawals in the Baisi Region
The thek-thiti system of revenue-collection in the Baisi region of north-western Nepal through village-level mukhiyas has been decribed in: Mahesh C. Regmi's Thatched Huts and Stucco Palaces: Peasants and Landlords in 19th century Nepal, pp. 74-75. These village level mukhiyas usually worked under the supervision of functionaries called jimmawals, each of whom had a group of villages, comprising a dara or garkha, under his jurisdiction.
''Thek-thiti Arrangements for Revenue-Collection in Salyana Garkha of Doti District,'' Baisakh Sudi 10, 1895. Regmi Research Collection, vol. 34, pp. 421-26. According to this document, village-level mukhiyas were under obligation to transmit revenues to the local administration through jimmawal Dilip Singh Bogati.
The dara or garkha-level jimmawal of the Baisi region should not be confused with the village-level jimmawal of the central hill region who collected rents and others payments on rice-lands in the central hill region on behalf of Jagirdars.
Other references to the functions of jimmawals in the Baisi region are as follows:
1. ''Regulations for Revenue-Collection in Jumla District,'' Chaitra Sudi 7, 1900. Regmi Research Collection, vol. 34, pp. 609-19.
2. ''Arrangements Regarding Revenue-Collection in Gam Dara, Jumla District,'' Chaitra Sudi 7, 1900, in Yogi Narahari Nath, Itihasa Prakasha. Kathmandu: Itihasa-Prakashaka Sangha, 2013 (1956), pp. 273-84.
3. ''Order to Bhardars in Jumla Regarding Revenue-Collection Arrangements,'' Marga Badi 10, 1903. Regmi Research Collection, vol. 26, p. 134.
Full collection of revenue was not possible in the Baisi region even with the help of mukhiyas at the village level and jimmawals at the level of the dara or garkha. At times, therefore, the government appointed an ijaradar to collect revenues on a contractual basis through these two categories of functionaries. The ijaradar was authorized to collect no more than the usual payments and to deal with the peasantry only through mukhiyas and jimmawals, hence he frequently resorted to irregular practices in order to make a profit. In any case, the peasant in the Baisi region was subject to the jurisdiction of three-level of revenue-collection functionaries: the mukhiya, the jimmawal, and the ijaradar.