Regmi Research Collection, vol. 27, p. 252.
(2) Ranbir Khatri, Bahadur Srinaru, and Ravidatta Rana of Bhirkot submitted the following petition to the royal palace:
''At Jharkhang-Khola, Sima-Khola, Chyangra-Khola, and other (specified) places in Bhirkot, forests had been protected formerly for the supply of bows, quivers, etc. to the government every year, and rice fields too were under cultivation. These days trees are being cut
indiscriminately, with the result that bamboo plants have died, and rice-fields have been damaged by landslides. Moreover, sources of water have dried up, no timber is available for the construction of dams and irrigation channels, and the supply of bows, quivers, etc. to the government has stopped.''
A royal order was then issued granting authority to the petitioners to protect the forests.
Magh Badi 11, 1894
Regmi Research Collection, vol. 27, p. 497.
A Short History of Nepal By
(Continued from the September 1982 issue)
People and Languages of Nepal
1. The people of Nepal are divided into two main racial groups: Aryans and Mangolians. The Aryans are divided into two groups. People of Mangolian origin reveal some admixture of Tibeto-Burman blood. Because of the impact of the varma or jati (caste) system of the Aryanas, a number of castes have emerged among the Monglian people as well, hence the well-known saying ''Four varn-s and 36 castes.'' The four varnasobviously refer to the Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra castes of the Aryans, but in actual life ther are more than 100 castes, rather than only 30. All of them remain separate from each in matters relating to commensal and marital relations. The 7.5 million people of Nepal speak more than 40 languages and dialects. The main castes and the languages spoken by them are as follows.
2. There are two types of Brahmans in all parts of the hill region. One of them, belonging to the upper, is known as Upadhyaya, whereas the other, belonging to a lower level, is known as Jaisi. Likewise, there are two types of Kshatriyas. Descendants of the Kings of the medieval period are known as Rajput, and those of Kshatriyas of the ancient period are known as common Kshatriyas. Rajput Kshatriyas are regarded as belonging to a higher level, than common Kshatriyas. Khasas are left only n Khasanta region. Jaisis and Kshatriyas had settled among the Khasas, hence the Brahmans and Rajputs who came there time later called them Khasa Brahmans and Khasa Kshatriyas respectively. The name Jaisi was given to the lower level of Brahmans some time later. Since these Brahmans, Kshatriyas, and Khasas belonged to the Aryan race, they speak the dialects of the Aryan language. There are differences in their dialects due to geographical factors. The dialect of Doti is called Dotyali. In eastern Khasanta, there are six types of Purbiya dialects. The Parbatiya dialect is spoken in other areas. It has not become the national language and is now known as the Nepali language.
3. Some Brahmans and Kshatriyas belonging to the hill region have settled in the Tarai region as well. But most of the Brahmans and Kshatriyas in the Tarai region have come from the Madhesh.
(Footnote: Around the first century, the plains region on the banks of the Ganga and Jamuna rivers up to Prayag used to be known as Madhyadesha (central region). Since the plains region of Oudh and Bihar looked similar, the Nepalis seem to have included them in the Madhyadesha. It is clear that Madheshais the developed version of Madhyadesha.
These Brahmans too are divided into two levels like Upadhyayas and Jaisis. The upper level consists of two types: those living in the region east of the Bagmati river belong to the Maithili category, and those living in the region west of that river belong to the Sarabariya category. Bhumihar Brahmans belonging to the lower level are found everywhere in the Tarai region. All Kshatriyas migrating from the Madhesh are called Rajput. Among them, the Danuwar Rajputs living in Saptari say that their original home is Karnataka.
The Nithar Baji community, which belonged to the ancient tribe known as Vriji or Vajji, lives in the Tarai region of Nepal (also in the adjoining Madhesh). Though the Tharus of the region call Brahmans and Kshatriyas as Baji, yet the latter do not seem to have any connection with the old Vriji tribe. Among the Bajis, Kurmi is the main community. The claim themselves to be descendants of the old Kshatriyas.
(Footnote: There are Licchavi Kshatriyas too among the Vrijis. The Manusmriti describes the Licchavi and Khasas as descendants of those Kshatriyas who have not gone through the sacrad thread investiture ceremony.
Other groups of this community are Dhanuk, Koiri, Kewat, Anat, Bin, etc. Kayasthas and Ahirs too seem to have mixed with the Bajis. Since the above-mentioned Madheshe Brahmans and Kshatriyas were Aryans, and since Bajis too bear a heavy admixture of Aryan blood, they speak Aryan dialects. It is because of geographical factors that those inhabiting the region east of Bagvati river speak Maithili, those inhabiting the region from Bagvati to Butwal speak Bhojpuri, and others inhabiting the region farther to the west speak Awadhi.
4. One community living in an around the capital of Nepal is called Newar. Sarbariya and Maithili Brahmans later integrated themselves into this community, hence they do not want to be called Newars. The Malla Rajputs who subsequently merged themselves into this community also hesitate to call themselves Newars. The other Newars are divided into two categories known as Bharo and Bhao. The Bharos have assumed the prestigious title of Shrestha, and have conferred the lower status of ''Jyapu'' (that is, one who works in a rice-field) on Bhaos, who are predominantly peasants.
(Footnote: The title of Shrestha has been assumed only by Bharos who adhere to the Sanatana sect of Hinduism not by those having faith in Buddhism).
Newars whose occupation is pottery have totally assimilated themselves into the Jyapy community. Bandas and Udasas who were engaged in the occupation of metal and wood work, occupy status higher than that of Jyapu, while Gatha (or Malis) who work as petty artisans, and Kau (blacksmiths) belong to the lower category. The physical appearances of all these Newars mostly contain Aryan features.
(Footnote: Formerly, anyone who practised celibacy and performed a penance in a Budhist monastery ro Bahal used to be called a Banda or Bandini. Bhotiyas or Murmis too could joint in such penance. Woman (Bandinis) born of illicit sexual relations among them were accepted by Gubhajus, while the children of Bandas were taken into the Udasa caste. This explains why the physical appearance of all these three communities is larly Mongolian).
But Newari, the mother tongue of all Newars, is just as dialect of the Tibeto-Burman family.
5. The southern part of the hill region is inhabited by Magars. Their settlements extended to the Koshi river in the east on either side of the Mahabharat range. Their physical characteristics are wholly Mongolian. Ther dialect is a branch of the Tibeto-Burman family.
6. Gurungs inhabit the region north of the Magar areas. Syarpas similarly inhabit the Himalayan part of Sesant, and Murmis the hill part of that region. Dura, a small community, which appears to have separated from the Gurung community, inhabits a region located on the banks of the Marsyangdi. All these four communities adhere to Buddhism as practised in Tibet and therefore respect Lamas and use the Tibetan calendar. They are generally Mongolian in appearance. Gurungs, however, have less clearly marked Mangolian features than the other three communities, because they also have Aryan blood. The different dialects spoken by the four communities belong to the Tibeto-Burman family.
7. Thamsi inhabit the hill areas located to the east of Sesant, as well as the inner Tarai. Sunuwars, a small community, are found on the banks of the Khumati-Khola, located across the Tamakosi river. Thamis want to be equated with Sunuwars. On the other hand, Sunuwars consider Thamis to be inferior status. Thamis speak a dialect belonging to a Mongolian family. Unitl a year ago, the dialect spoken by Sunuwars contained traces of that dialect also; not it has been cast on the model of the Tibeto-Burman family.
8. A small community called Hwayu inhabits the lower Kirat region (Wallo-Kirat). The Khambu community, which is divided into several groups, inhabits both Wallp-Kirat and Majh-Kirat. One of these groups, called Chaurase, inhabits Pallo-Kirat also. Yakhas and Yakathumbas live in the north and south respectively of Pallo-Kirat. Dhimals live in the Tarai area of Morang district. Both Khambus and Yakthumbas were previously called Rais. Now-a-days, only Khambus are called Rais. Yakthumbas are now called Limbus. Both these communities consider themselves to be of equal and hold Yakhas in contempt. Hwayus consider themselves equal to Khambus in status, whereas the latter look upon the former with contempt. Both Hwayus and Dhimals are inferior in status. The physical appearance of all these five communities is Mongolian in character. The various groups of the Khambu community speak some twenty dialects, while each of the remaining four communities speak a single dialect. All these dialects belong to the Mongolian family. The total number of Khambus is probably not more than 200,000, yet surprisingly then are divided into different groups speaking about twenty dialects, each group not knowing the dialect used by the other.
9. Tharus inhabit all parts of the Tarai region from the Mahakali riverto the Koshi river. The Tharus inhabiting the Tarai located in the Khsanta region are divided into two communities called Rana and Dangoriya. Ranas inhabit Kanchanpur district, while Dangorias have Dang as their ancestral home. Tharus have spread to Kailali district and Butaul in the east. In Butual, we see settlements of Tharus belonging to the Katheriya group. But there exists a marked difference in the manner as well as the farming practices of these two groups of Tharus.
In Chitaun, Tharus are called Chitauni Tharus. Malapuchhana Tharus live in Parsa, and Kuchila Tharus in Bara. Settlements of Kuchila Tharus extend as far as Morang district. But Tharus belonging to other categories also are found here and there. In the eastern part of Morang district, we find a small community called Meche. Meches have Mongolian features and speak a dialect belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family. Whenever they live, the Tharus used the dialects and customs of Bajis. A community called Ranavamshi also lives in Morang. Rajavamshis too have a Mongolian physiognomy, and speak a corrupt form of Bengali. They are a small branch of the Koch community that has imigrated from Cooch Behar. Gangain and Tajapuri branches of the same community also inhabit this area.
10. The Sauko community inhabits the Byas-Himal area of Doti and the Thakali community in the Thak-Himalayn area of Parbat. Both these communities are affluent, because they trade in wook and salt. The Dangalis trade in wook and salt, but they are a nomadic community. They always do they live in tents at one place. A community called Raut roams about in the forest areas of the same region, subsisting on wild roots and hunting wild animals and birds. They mostly hunt monkeys. A similar tribal community, called Kusunda, is found in the Magarant region. Some Rauts visit populated areas and earn money by working in wood. On the other hand, Kusundos visit villages only to begalms. In the Sesant region, there lives a semi-tribal community called Chepang, who cultivate drylands on a limited scale. They use fire more than cloth to keep themselves warm. in the Magarant area, there is another community called Baramu, who are as backward as Hwayus. Other small backward communities found in the Magarant region are Raguwau, and Ruwani both of whom have Mongolian characteristics. They speak different dialects of Mongolian origin. Dangalis, Rauts, and Kusuandos have not been counted in the course of census operations, because they do not live in houses. The number of people belonging to other small communities too is very small.
11. Sanyasi, Banda, and Udas communities comprise people born from these who renounced wordly wife but later returned to a household life. Ghartis are children of freed shaves. There are also several untouchable communities; Teli, Kalwar, Sudi, and Dhobi of the Tarai, and Kasai and Kushle, belonging to to the Newar community, belong to the upper stratum of the untouchable community. Those who are converted into Islam are called Muslims, who belong to the upper category of the untouchable cases. In the medium category come the Musahar, Batar and Dhangar of the Tarai. Damai, Sarki and Kami of the hill region, Pode and Chyame belonging to the Newar community, and the Dum, Dusadh, etc of the Tarai occupy the lowest place among untouchable groups. Ghartis speak the Nepali language, while Bandas, Udasas, Kasais, Kushles, Podes and Chyames speak Newari. In the Tarai, Musahars and other belonging to the
medium category in the untouchable caste as well as other untouchables of the lowest category, speak the dialect used by the Bajis. But the intonation is different. Communities belonging to the upper category (of untouchables), such as Teli, however, have the same intonation as the Bajis. Their physiognomy has mostly Aryan features. Untouchables of the medium category, such as Musahar, have the same physiognomy as that of Mongolian communities in India. It is hard to determine the physiognomy of untouchables belonging to the lowest category, because of the high degree of miscegenation among them.
End of Chapter II
Land Grants of 1874 Vikrama Baisakh Badi 10, 1874
On Magh Sudi 1, 1873, when King Girban died at Aryaghat near the Pashuapati temple, several ritual land grants (sankalpa) were made in his name to Brahmans. Royal orders confirming these grants were issued on Baisakh Badi 10, 1874, by his successor, King Rajendra. These grants included the following:-
(1) 23 muris of rice-fields and a homestead in Jiunpur (Dhading) to Punyashila Pandit. (Regmi Research Collection, vol. 28, p. 320).
(2) 20 muris of rice-fields and a homestead comprising 4 muris of land at Ichundol in Kathmandu to Harikrishna Padhya Dawadi. The 4 muri homestead was later replaced by 2 muris, 13 pathis, and 3 manas of rice-lands (i.e. 25 percent less).
(Ibid, p. 323).
(3) 20 muris of rice-fields and a homestead to Trilochana Padhya. A royal order for demarcating the boundaries of this grant was issued on Ashadh Badi 11, 1874.
(Ibid, p. 321).
Baisakh Badi 10, 1874
The village of Selang was granted as bekh or Dharmaraj Khatri in appreciation of his services in operating the Pyuthan Munitions Factory and manufacturing muskets.
(Ibid, p. 321)
Baisakh Badi 10 1874
Ramadayal Gosain had mortgaged his house at Chokhache, Indrachok (Kathmandu) to Waha Ali, a Kashmiri, for Rs 1000. The money was repaid to the latter's son, Azizullah, and the mortgage was redeemed. A royal order was then issued granting the house as birta to Bastiram Madhise, a mechanic.
(Ibid, p. 332).
Baisakh Sudi 12, 1874
On Aswin Sudi 12, 1868, birthday of King Girban, 400 muris of rice-lands had been granted to Icchavati Brahmani as a ritual (sankalpa) gift, along with a homestead at Patan.
(Ibid, pp. 325-27)
Jesthan Sudi 13, 1874
King Prithvi Narayan Shah had granted lands at Naldum to (Jiva Shah) under Chhap tenure. These lands were now reconfirmed in favor of Jiva Shah's son, Prana Shah, under bekh-bunyad tenure on an inheritable basis.
(Ibid, p. 328
Ashadh Badi 4, 1874
On the thirteenth day of the death fo King Girban, on Marga Sudi 13, 1873, 20 muris of rice-lands had been granted through a sankalpa gift to Haradatta Jha. The lands were located on the banks of the Manahar river in the Changu area.
(Ibid, p. 329).
Ashadh Badi 4, 1874
King Girban's sacred-thread-investiture ceremony was performed on Baisakh Sudi 10, 1865. On that occasion 40 muris of rice-lands had been granted as a ritual (sankalpa) gift to Brahma Padhya Adhikari and Harivamsha Padhya Adhikari.
These two Brahmans had received a similar grant on Marga Sudi 1, 1873, when King Girban died.
On Ashadh Badi 4, 1874, King Rajendra issued a copper-plate inscription for both grants, in addition to a 16 muri homestead.
(Ibid, p. 330).
Ashadh Badi 11, 1874
The first anniversary of the death of King Ran Bahadur Shah was observed on Baisakh Sudi 7, 1864. On that occasion, his successor, King Girban, made a ritual gift of 100 muris of rice-lands. A royal order to demarcate the boundaries of these lands were issued on Ashadh Badi 11, 1874. The beneficiary was Vidyananda Pandit.
(Ibid, pp. 331-32).
(To be Continued)
Regmi Research (Private) Ltd ISSN: 0034-348X
Regmi Research Series
Year 14, No. 11
Kathmandu: November 1982
Mahesh C. Regmi
1. A Short History of Nepal … 161
2. Land Grants of 1874 Vikrama … 166
3. The Nature of Jagir Obligations … 171
4. Collection of Jagir Revenues in the Tarai Region … 175
Regmi Research (Private) Ltd
Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal
(For private study and research only, not meant for public sale, distribution and display).
The Pre-Historic Period 1. Around 10,000 B.C., the Himalayans had already assumed their present form, but the climate was coler. The rivers and streams did not flow as deep as they do today, and the valleys were broader. Primitive communities of Mongolian origin inhabited the Himalayan villays, and agriculture and animal husbandry were unknown. People lived on wild roots and fruits, and the meant of the wild animals they hunted with weapons of stone or wood. Because they lived in the midst of wild animals, they used to save themselves from tiger, bear, and other beasts of prey by climbing trees quckly. They protected themselves from the cold by wearing the skins of the animals they huted. Such communities of Mongolian origin lived in Tibet as well as in the forest of the northern Indian plains.
2. Settlements of these Mongolian communities in the Himalayan valleys did not adjoin each other. Rather, like islands in the sea, they took the form of isolated villages wth thatched huts, inside forests in those valleys. These villages were not permanent, but were shifted to places were wild roots and game were available, albeit within a radius of 30 or 40 miles. these villages did not live in amity, but fought with each other from time to time. As a result, it ook thousands of years for any important invention to reach from one end of the Himalays to another. Bows and arrows were invented in some country of the west circa 7000 B.C. Later, the potter's wheel was also invented. These two inventions opened the path of progress before world, and eventually reached the wearing Mongolian communities. The use of bows and arrows greatly facilitated both hunting the warfare. After pottery became known, people began to cook wild roots and meat. They also started wearing coarse cloth made of plant fiber, instead of the skins of animals.
3. One of the Mongolian groups belonging to the Himalayan region lived in the Sindhuli area on the southern side of the Himalayas. It moved rapidly on the path of progress. Khasas who came there later gave that group the name of Magar. The Magar community had links with the Mongolian groups inhabiting the Tarai region. Around this time, Mongolian groups inhabiting the forest areas of Tirhut had taken up a sedentary life and started agriculture, animal husbandry, and the weaving of cloth. Magars too learnt these skills from them and started
living a sedentary life.they were unable to preparte rice-fields in the hill region, but began to cultivate maize, millets, mustard, and other crops on hillside lands. The Magar population then gradually increased and their settlements reached Dahaban. Magars spread to the interior areas of the hill region and established villages there. The autochthonus communities of that region, Chepang and Baramu, were relegated to a sedentary place, while the Kusundas took refuge in the forests. Many other similar communities were wiped out. At this time, a branch of the tibeto-Burman group came from the east and disturbed other communities of Mongolian origion.
4. Most areas of Tibet and Burma are inhabited by people belonging to a single racial stock, hence they are known as Tibet-Burman. Groups living elsewhere, or those with mixed racial descent, are neither Tibetans nor Burmans. The original home of the Tibeto-Burmans is the Huang area of China, which adjoins Tibet, as well as the Valleys situated on the upper reaches of the Yangtse-Kiang river. During circa 3000 A.D., the Tibeto-Burman population of these regions increased to such an extent that there were successive waves of migraton to other areas. This trend continued for thousands of years. Many groups of emigrants reached Burma through the banks of the Irrawady river and settled there. Another group crossed the Himalayans through the gorge of the Brahmaputra river through the pass of Prabhuthaku and then spread to East Bengal also. A few groups crossed the Himalayas and proceeded toward the western mountain region. There was a large number of such small groups, which, in the course of movements spread through several thousands of years, brought about a drastic change in the condition of the Mongolian population,
5. There was not much difference in the physiognomy of the Tibeto-Burman and the Mongolians of the Himalayas, for both of them were of Mogolian stock. However, the Tobeto-Bumans were somewhat taller. Accordingly, the two groups mixed with each other. The new immigrants were limited in number, hence they adopted the language of the Mongolians as their mother-tongue. But the latter assimilated hundred of words from the tibeto-Burman languague, especially numerals. The degree of admixture was not uniform in all cases. It is possible that the Magars did not allow any such admixture. Because of variations in the degree of admixture between the Tibeto-Burman and various Mongolian groups, a number of dialects emerged, each of a separate group. The Tibeto-Burmans were engaged in agriculture and animal husnbandry, and were acquainted with the use of copper and other metals. The sheep was their main domestic animal, which they brough along with them into the Himalayas. They also taught the Mongolian groups the art of weaving cloth, as well as the mining of copper and the manufacture of metal utensils.
Consequenlty, the Mongolian groups started living s sedentary life, set up villages, and gave up hunting. The exceptions are a few groups of Mongolian stock who are still living a nomadic life as hunter in Nepal and elsewhere in the Himalayan region.
6. Several groups of Aryan stock had started settling in the regions between the Gangas and the Volga circa 300 B.C. Because they lived a nomadic life, their original home is not known. At that time, there were two groups of Aryans in the plains of northern India, Aida and Manava. Jamuna plains, while the Manavas inhabited the region now known as Oudh. Modern Kashmir was known as Idavrita in ancient times, and people who moved from there to the plains were known as Aida. There were some differences in the languages and life-styles of the Aidas and the Manavas, although both claimed to be Aryas and inhabitants of Aryavarta, and followed the Vedic religion. There was open social intercourse between Aidas and Manavas, and their political life too was almost similar. Bharata and Yudhisthira were prominent Aida Kings, while Bhagawan Ramachandra was a prominent King of the Manavas. Aidas had well-knonw Kingdoms in the region east of Oudh and soudh of the Gangas, known as Magadha, while there were Manvaa Kingdoms in Mithila or Videha in the north. The Videha Kingdom was small in extent, hence the Kingdom of Magadha dominated the whole of modern Bihar. The Mongolian groups inhabiting that region took to the forests and lived an isolated life, although some of them remained with the Aryas and became agricultural laborers called shudras. Yet others formed Dum, Chamar, and other untouchable communities, serving both the Aryas and the Shudras. A few of them became domestic slaves of Aryas and Shudras. All of them renounced their dialects and started speaking the Arya language. Similar developments occurred in the western regions as well.