|A Licchavi Inscription at Lazimpat, Kathmandu|
When the petition of Tribhuwan Khawas was presented to him, Rana Bahadur Shah convened a full court at the residende of Tribhuwan. The house had already been granted to Chitravati, mother of Kirtiman Simha. Rana Bahadur Shah had taken his supper in the same house on the day when the meeting was held. The meeting was called at midnight. Such meetings were mostly called for sentencing people to death. Vansha Raj Pande was sentenced to death at the same meeting. Sher Bahadur Shahi was called to attend the meeting held at night on Baisakh 14, 1863. Orders were issued to bring him by force if he refused to come. Sher Bahadur Shah attended the meeting. Rana Bahadur blamed Sher Bahadur Shahi and Narsing Gurung with having colluded with Tribhuwan Khawas in misappropriating funds.
He asked how the money had been spent. Rana Bahadur Shah charged them that they had misused the money in driving him out to Kashi, and permitted the British to open an office in Kirtipur to prevent his return to Nepal. Tribhuwan Khawas could not present accounts of the money. None of the Bhardars had supported the proposal to open the British office in Kirtipur. That is why royal assent had not been granted to the treaty even for a year. Tribhuwan Khawas and Sher Bahadur Shahi migh have agreed to do so, since they were supporters of Subarnaprabha. Sher Bahadur, Narsing Gurung, and Tribhuwan Khawas alone were arrested, ingnoring the role of others. Sher Bahadur Shahi was frightened, and asked Rana Bahadur whether he too would be charged on this account. Rana Bahadur replied in the affirmative. The meeting was being held on a verandah in the southern wing, and jugs of water and other vessels were kept there. Sher Bahadur Shahi again took a jug of water, came in from of Rana Bahadur and struck him with a sword on the neck. But Rana Bahadur Shah was hit in the stomach, and feel donw. Sher Bahadur Shahi then run away after extinguishing the lights. When Rana Bahadur asked Balanar Simha and Chautara Bam Shah for help, they were able to catch Sher Bahadur. Sher Bahadur Shahi was killed at the hands of Balanar Simha. Bam Shah sustained injuries. At that time, Bhimsen Thapa was taking his supper. He came to the Varandah with a light, and fund Rana Bahadur Shah lying on the ground. It was 10:00 P. M. It was decited to summon the troops. Bhimsen Thapa then issued a strict order to everybody not to quit the place. Two slaves were found in the Varandah, who had come to help Sher Bahadur Shahi. They were killed on the spot, and their deadbodies, including that of Sher Bahadur were through from Varandah. Rana Bahadur Shah was taken down stairs, but he died immediately. His dead body was sent to Aryaghat for cremation. Possibly, Bam Shah lit the Pyre.
Meanwhile, Bhimsen Thapa ordered the arrest of Tribhuwan Khawas and Narsing Gurung and their detention at the barracks of the royal palace. Balanar Simha Kunwar, Kaji Ranjit Pande, Kaji Bahadur Bhandari, Ranganath Guru, and Bhimsen Thapa reached royal palace under the protection of troops. After reacing there, Bhimsen Thapa sent men to detain Bidur Shahi at his own residence, while King Prithvi Sen of Palpa and Chautara Rana Bahadur Sen were detained at the Patan Palace, where they were staying. He sent horsemen to Rajarajeshwari with instructions to become a Sati on the banks of the Shali river in Sankhu.
Next morning, Bidur Shahi, Tribhuwan Khawas, Narsing Gurung, the King of Palpa, and Chautara Rana Bahadur Sen were beheaded at Bhandarkhal. The same day, eighteen guards of the King of Palpa were also beheaded. On the following day, thirteen persons including Jagat Khawas, were beheaded at the Bishnumati. On the ninth day of the death of Rana Bahadur shah, Queen Rajarajeshwari and fourteen concubines became Satis. In the fifteenth day, his concubine of Kashi followed suit. Sixteen women thus became Satis, and 77 were beheaded, after the assassination of Rana Bahadur Shah. In this wasy 93 persons lost their lives.
Bilas Kumari, daughter of King Prithvi Narayan Shah and Queen of Salyan, come to Kathmandu on hearing the report of the assassination of Rana Bahadur Shah. She started taking that Bhimsen Thapa had had a hand in the massacre; hence Bhimsen Thapa sent her back to Phalawang in Salyan, after providing an allowances of Rs 1,400 per year. The Kingdom of Salyan was marged into Nepal. Morever, the Birta lands granted by King Prithvi Narayan Shah to her were confiscated.
Kumaun was also affected by the massacre. Kaji Rituvarma Thapa was chief administration in Amora. Birabhadra Thapa, His rank was above that of Rituvarna Thapa. Birabhadra Thapa sent Rituvarna Thapa to Doti, and had him beheaded there. Bhimsen Thapa then became the all-in-all in Nepal. He managed to get a royal order ordering all kajis and Chautaras to obey him.
Girban remained King, and Tripura was designated as Queen-Mother under the name of Lalitasundari. A Suki coin was brought into circulation in her name. Bhimsen Thapa was called minister. The King, the Queen-Mother, and the minister became the leading components of the state.
(S. B. Maharjan)
Regmi Research (Private) Ltd,
Kathmandu: August 1, 1975
Regmi Research Series
Year 7, No. 8,
Mahesh C. Regmi.
1. Social Changes during the Early
Shah Period ... 141
2. A Lichhavi Inscription at
Lazimpat, Kathmandu … 150
3. Jitamitra Malla … 152
4. Selected Documents of Marga 1842 … 156
5. Mining Regulations … 159
Regmi Research (Pvt) Ltd,
Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Compiled by Regmi Research (Private) Ltd for private study and research. Not meant for public sale of display.
Social Changes during the Early Shah PeriodX
We shall now commence a discussion of the changes that occurred in the Nepali society during the period from King Prithvi Narayan Shah to King Rana Bahadur.
Language is the most important factor affecting the social structure. Five or six centures before Prithvi Narayan Shah, the Khas people had settled in the western regions of modern Nepal, as well as in Kumaun and Garhwal farther to the west. These people had established petty principalities in these regions. Their march toward the east was checked by the Malla rulers of Nepal when they reached Pyuthan. After Jayasthiti Malla, however, the Khas were able to crose the Sakhi-Lekh mountains and enter the Magar region. Their dialect was then called Khas-Kura, to which the morder Nepali language owes its origin. This dialect was capable of evolution like other Aryan languages. Consequently, it was understood easily by Magars, Thakalis and Gurungj. Previously, social intercourse among these communites had been hampered by difficulties of communication. But now the Khas-Kura provided a common bond, and thereby laid the foundation of national untiy.
The Khas proceeded farther towards the east, and ultimately succeeded in establishing the Chaubesi kingdoms in the Kali-Gandaki region. Gorkha was the twenty-fifteen kingdom in that region. The main task before these states at that time was to propagate the Khas-Kura among Magars, Thakalis, and
XBaburam Acharya, Nepalko Samshipta Vrittanta (A Concise Accont of Nepal). Kathmandu: Pramod Shamsher and Nir Bikram ''Pyasi,'' 2022 (1966). Chaptar 21: ''Tin Shahrajaharuko Samayama Samajma Bhayeko Parivartan ra Prabandhako Tulanatmak Lekhajokha.'' (A comparative evalution of the social changes and arrangements during the time of three Shah Kings). PP. 127-51.
Gurungs, thereby strengthening unity among them. Magars had embraced the Sanatan religion of the Khas. This had led to a close effinity between these two coccuminities. Thakalis and Gurung did not adopt the Sanatana religion because they had already embraced Buddhism, and made Lamas their spiritual leaders. It was only during the reign of Prithvi Narayan Shah that Khas had been able to establish close relations with Thakalis and Gurungs.
The three Malla states situated to the east of Gorkha were inhabited mainly by Newars, who cultivated only paddy, not dry crops. Newars faced no shortage of rice; hence it was not neccesary for them to grow such crops as maize and millet on unirrigated (Pakho) lands. Pakho lands were occupied by Murmis, who called themselves Tamangs. They cultivated Pahko lands, and raised such crops as millet and maize.
The Malla Kings did not permit anu community other than Newars to stay overnight withen their walled cities and villages.
After expanding their settlements of Gorkha and Tanahu, the Khas entered into the Malla states also. They originally settled on Pakho lands, because the Newars did no let them cultivate irrigated lands. Gradually, the Malla Kings allowed them to occupy irrigated lands, and requisitioned military services from them. Murmis, Sherpas, and Newars then began understanding or learnig the dilect spoken by the Khas, and there was greater cooperation among these communities. The Khas-Kura became a medium for promoting untiy among these communities. Even Kamis and Sunuwars living in Dolakha began to understand this dialect, and this strengthened untiy among themselves.
At the time, the Khambys of Kirat, whose number was estimated at 100,000, spoke about ten or twelve different dialects. They dialect spoken by one section was understood by the other. Khambu families belonging to different sections, however, maintained marital relations experienced difficulty, because they did not understand each other. Gradually, the Khas settled in the areas inhabitants by Khambus. The language difficulty experienced by husbands and wives came to an end.
when all Khambus began to understand the Khas dialect. Khasas later crossed the Arun-Koshi river and settled down in Pallo-Kirat also. As a result, the Limbus of that region also learnt the Khas dialect. Like the Khambus, Thamis, and Hayus of Kirat, Limbus also contributed in strengthening national unity.
Among the Kirat communities of the eastern region, Sanuwars had embraced the Sanatana religion only during the region of King Rajedra. Thamis, Hayus, and Dhimals adopted neither Buddhism nor the Sanatan religion. They still do no worship any idol, but pray to their own deities. However, they have adopted the Khas dialect and rendered contribution in strengthening national untiy.
Khasa-Kura, or the Nepal dialect, used bu the Prithvi Narayan Shah in his letters, was pure and hence cannot be compared with the modern Nepali language, which contains Hindi as well as Urdu words. The Gorkhalis started polishing the refining their language. The first letter written by Prithvi Narayan Shah is dated 1803 Vikrama. The lagnauge used in that letter was still pure. This indicates that the task of improving the Khas dialect had begun before Prithvi Narayan Shah, and continued till the reign of King Rajendra. Efforts to refine the Khas dialect were concentrated in Gorkha. This language helped Prithvi Narayan Shah greatly to unity Nepal.
The Union of three communities, namely, Khasas, Gurungs and Magars, was another factor contributing to the unification of Nepal. At first, Prithvi Narayan used to appoint only the Magars and Khasas of Gorkha in his army. He ignored Gurungs, who inhabited Lamjung. Khas and Magars, not Gurungs, were appointed as commanders. Some Gurungs were, of course, recruited as soldiers, but none of them attained the status of Sardar. It was only after the annexation of Lanjung during the reign of Queen Rajendra Laxmi that Gurungs began to be recruited in large numbers in the army. The military organization that comprises these three communities later proved to be highly powerful.
Prithvi Narayan Shah enlisted Gurungs for his eastern campaing. Bhinse Gurung had proved himself a capable officer in defeating the troops commanded by Kinloch when they advanced to Sindhuli. Narsing Gurung was one of the four ministers appointed during the reign of King Rana Bahadur Shah. All
this was the contribution of the Khasa language. Brahmans, Thakuris, Thapas, and Basnyats began to speak in this language.
Bhahmans were divided into two sub-groups, Upadhyaya and Jaisi, Thakuris considered Kshatriyas. Thapas and Basnyats did no recognize Thakuris as Kshatriyas, since the latter had never been ruler, one section of Thakuris not wearing the sacred thread were called Matwali, because they took liquor. Vaishyas did no form part of the Khas community. Matwali Khas were regarded by Brahmans, Thakuris, and Kshatriyas as pure Khawas. Matwali Khawas regarded themselves as Kshatriyas. There was, indeed, no community or caste which did not regard itself as pure. Even Magars considered themselves to be Vaishyas. Brahmans, however, regarded them as Shudras, even though Magars regarded them as spiritual leaders or priests.
Gurungs were not divided into different castes, because they were Buddhists. The same was the case with Hayus, Limbus, Khambus and Thamis belonging to the Kirat community.
Brahmans were responsible for imparting education, but they did not want to teach in the Khas language, which was the national language. Instead, they used Sanskrit books to teach Brahman boys alone, while others were made to recite verses from Chandi and other texts. They recited epics such as the Mahabharat and the Ramayan in the national language. Teachers used to be emplyed in the royal palace. No provisison was made for imparting education to the public. However, all but Brahmans had realized the importance of providing education through the mediun of the national language. The wife of Kaji Vamsha Raj Pande had emplyed a Pandit to teach her sons, and had the Panchatantra translated into national language. Brahmans were granted Birta lands with obligations to impart education to the public. Accordingly, they tought pupils who came to their housed for education.
From the time of Prithvi Narayan Shah to the war with the British, Nepal was preoccupied with the campaign of territorial expansion. As a result, not much progress was ahieved in the field of education. Even then, there were many Sanskrit scholars during the reign of Prithvi Narayan Shah. Previously, there was no well-Known Sanskrit scholar in Gorkha. While Kaski
had several famous scholars. Most of them shifted to Kathmandu after conquest of Kaski, and started working for the dissemination of the national language. Proetry appears to have begun to be composed in the national language only during the reign of King Pratap Simha. Poems were written during the reign of King Prithvi Narayan Shah also, but these mostly bore the imprint of Hindustani, and could not, therefore, be said to have been written in the national language. During the reign of Pratap Simha, two brothers named Radha Ballabh Aryal and Shakti Ballabh Aryal, who came to priestly family, begaun writing poems in the national language. There are only a few poems written by Radha Ballabh Arya, while the number of those composed by Shakti Ballabh Aryal is large. Shakti Ballabh had also written a Nepali drama entitled Hasyakautuka.
Education in Sankrit was imparted in Nepal to some extent. But this was done more out of selfish considerations then of any considerations of national language. For Nepal, Sanskrit education is essential. Hindu culture cannot survive in the absence of Sanskrit education. No nation that does not have a culture of it own can become strong. At that time, it was difficult to popularize English education, which is now considered necessary for including national language consciousness among the people. Arrangements could have been made then to arouse national consciousness byu imparting instruction in the national language. But Sanskrit scholars did no care to do so. the Joshis who conducted official correspondence in the national language since the time of Prithvi Narayan Shah expressed their ideas effectively in the national language. They coulf have written books in the national language to spread national consiousness had they so wanted. But, in an age in which Sankrit occupied a dominating position, writing in the national language was considered to be disgraceful. They confined themselves to relelling stories concerning religion, society, and politics from such Sanskrit epics as the Mahabharat and the Ramayana in order to enlighten their audience. They were afraid that they mught be deprived of their means of livelihood if they wrote books on religion, society and politics in the national language. As a result, education could not be imparted in the national language during that period. However, one drama was written in the national language, and one or two Sanskrit dramas and books on mathematics were translated. A few ordinary peots also wrote poems in the Nepali language. However, their poems were in the nature of a sample only, and were not useful for teaching purposes. The importance
of English education was realized by the Nepalis only after the war with the British. The British tried to obstruct the spread of free education in Nepal, and distored the very history of Nepal. This is why, since the time of Prithvi Narayan Shah, Nepal has been facing numerous obstables in the way of developing education.
Religion was an important aspect of the Nepali society. Nepalis had full faith in the Sanatan religion. Prithvi Narayan Shah was a devout adherent of this religion. At the same time, he respected other religions, and had faith in Buddhism also. The policy of religious tolerance had been followed in Nepal since the time of the Malla Kings. This policy was continued during the reign of Prithvi Narayan Shah and his successors. They opposed religious reforms, which they regarded as a sin. They desired the continuance of the traditional religious customs, and faithfully followed the scripturs and Tantric rites. Brahmans, Thakuris, and Khasas, also did not same. They recited religious scriptures in Sanskrit, though they did not understand them. They recited the Chandi. Magars, who had been educated nearly to the same level as /_Sanskrit, as they had been converted to Buddhism by the Lamas of Tibet. Gurungs, Sherpas, Murmis, and Thakalis lagged behind in learning Nepali, because they adhered to Buddhism.
Slavery was prectised for a long time. Prithvi Narayan Shah initiated steps to abolish this evil. An anti-slavery campaign was sweaping at that time in Europe also. Such a campaign had been started in Europe because the establishment of new factories there had rendered slavery unnecessary. They situation was quite the opposite in Nepal. Not a single piece of machinery operated in Nepal, and there existed only dhikkis and grinding-stones. Even so, Prithvi Narayan Shah realized that it was barbarous practice to allow transactions in human beings. Before conquering Kathmandu, he had emancipated one Newar of Lutikot from slavery. During the last years of his reign, Prithvi Narayan Shah liberated the slaves of the royal palace as well as of the nobles. He even recruited capable freed slaves in the army, and appointed some of them as Subedars. Prithvi Narayan Shah wrote a letter to Sardar Ramakrishna Kunwar, asking him to have his young slaves recruited in the army. This letter appears to have inspired other nobles also to free their slaves.
/_Kshetriyas, also recited the such taxes and followed Tantric rites. Gurungs had no knowledge of
During Prithvi Narayan Shah's reign, bribery and gambling were prohibited, and imcome frim judicial fines was not allowed to be utilized for meeting the expenses of the royal palace. During the reing of Rana Bahadur Shah, however, gambling was revived, brivery was encouraged, and judicial fines were eredited to the royal treasury. Prithvi Narayan Shah had tried to put an end to slavery. But it was not as easy to abolish slavery as it to ban gambling, because such a measure was likely to lead to an unheavel in society. That was the reason why Prithvi Narayan Shah's attention was directed toward preventing new enslavement. Rana Bahadur Shah, however, enslaved even the wives and children of persons involved in the incidents that took place at Golpuchhepar as year before his accession to the throne. Thereafter the practice of enslaving people was continued on a large scale. During the administration of Bhimsen Thapa, there was hardly any Gorkhali soldier eputed to Kumaun and Garhwal who did not return with one or two slaves. In particular, men and women (other than Brahmans), who were convicted of insect were enslaved. As a result, the number of slaves increased rapidly. Slavery has now been abolished, and has become a story of the past.
Ram Shah, King of Gorkha, had entered a brief law for the State. This law did not meet the requirements of the State ruled by Prithvi Narayan Shah, inasmuch s the new state was several times bigger than Gorkha. Prithvi Narayan himself. Hodgson, who was appointed as British envoy to Nepal during the reign of King Rajendra, took away some files containing old Nepali laws to the India Office Library in London. The files were marked ''Laws Enforced during King Pratap Simha's reign.'' Pratap Simha reigned only three years. That period was marked by the resistence offered by the Kings of the Chaubisi states. It was, therefore, inpossible that those laws had been drafted during such a short period. It is more likely that these laws were enacted during the reign of the Prithvi Narayan Shah, and enforced also during the reign of his successor. These laws were not compiled in the form of a book, as is the common practice today. At that time laws written on sheets of paper joint together. Each law was recorded separately. By the time of Bahadur Shah, the frontiers of the Kingdom of Nepal stretched from Sikkim to Kumaun. As the customs and
usages in different areas varied, and as the law enforceing authorities held different views, it was not possible to apply these laws uniformly in the country. During the military administration that was run at the time of Bhimsen Thapa's regime, the sanctiny of the law was undermined. It was probably that Jang Bahadur Shah had made extensive additions in the laws enforced during the rule of Pratap Simha. Later, Bir Shamsher abridged these laws. Anyway, thanks to the impact of the British rule in India, the sanctity to the law was respected during the Rana regime. Thus codified law originated during the reign of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, and their sanctity won increasing acceptance during the Rana regime.
It was extremely diffufult to built roads in Nepal, because it was predominatly hilly country. It was even move diffifult to constrct bridegs and culverts on rivers and streams. Prithvi Narayan Shah had made Kipat land grants to Tamangs, Khambus, and Limbus, who were not recruited in the army, in order to impress porterage and labor services from them for constructed from Gorkha to its eastern frontier. After the death of Prithvi Narayan Shah, the Gorkhalis were able to conquer the Chaunbisi states situated to west of Gorkha district. In that area, however, roads were built through Jhara (forced labor), because no provision for kipat land grants could be made there. It was through these roads that the Gorkhalis were able to advances as far as Kangra. By the end of the rule of Rajrajeshwari Devi, Damodar Pande had begun makng arrangements for running a mail mail service. Not only documents but also goods were dispatched by mail. Such post offices, however, werer carriers operated exclusively for official purposes, however, were not paid salaries in cash, but they were exempted from homestead taxes, some mail-carriers were also exempted from the obligation to provide unpaid labor services, and their duty was to transport mail only.
The economic policy followed by Prithvi Narayan Shah was remarkable. It was his desire that the country should be economically prosperous,and that every ordinary present, artisan, and trader should become affluent. He did not like soldiers to become rich, however, for he believed that a soldier who is obsessed by wealth lacks the courage to underto any sacrifice for the country. However, soldiers were wellfed, and their children were properly looked after.
There was much land, but too few men to cultivate it. Hence people had no reason to feel worried as to whether they would be able to get enough land. Familities were made available to encourage settlers to reclaim lands. Before Prithvi Narayan Shah's rule, it was a customary practice to grant Dhunwa Birta lands to settlers. A homestead from which smoke was emitted as registered as Dhunwa Birta (Dhunwa: smoke). In this manner, people were encouraged to resettle on Raikar lands in order to make the country prosperous. This policy not only constributed to agricultural growth but also helped to promote arts and crafts.
Cloth had been manufactured since before Prithvi Narayan Shah. Cotton was cultivated and spun in the country. In fact, the hondloom had reached an advanced stage during the reign of Prithvi Narayan Shah. Arts had crafts continued making progress till the reign of Rana Bahadur Shah. Though political unheavals occurred occasionally, these did not have any impact on the society, which was making progress step by step.
Prithvi Narayan Shah was well-knon for his thrift. At the same time, he was large hearted. Although poets have eulogized him as philanthropist, as temperament was such that he did not allow a single price to be spuandered. Evidence of his thrift is furnished by his strictures. Against the revenue-farming system. Prithvi Narayan Shah also wanted accounts of government funds to be maintained accurately. He believed that if administrative and revenue-collection functions were discharged by officers appointed by government, government servants would get word, the profits going to revenue-farmers would be saved, and work would be done properly. In addition, Prithvi Narayan Shah believed that the government's revenue would increase if trade was developed. He never forget that trade is the source of affluence. This was the main reason why he chose Kathmandu as his capital. Tibet used to import gold from the mines of Mongolia. Kathmandu was the center torugh which this gold passed on to Bihar and Bengal. For his reason, Prithvi Narayan Shah reluctantly made Kathmandu his capital.
(To Be Continued).
There is a mound-like historical site known as Dhobichaur in Lazimpat, Kathmandu. There inscriptions belonging to the time of King Manadeva have been found there. One the these inscriptions is translated below. The inscription is contained on the font of a Shivalinga. It is dated 388 Samvat. The translation is based on a copy of the inscription in the possession of the National Archives. This text is complete, unlike that given by R. Gnoli (No. 4).
Acting in a pure manner, he…. Conquered and ruled
though bravery and statemenship. By the order (of
Manadeva), who was endowed with the good intellect, his
dutiful servant, Nara Varma, installed a suitable Shivalinga
along with a temple here, on Jestha Shukla
Chaturdashi, 388 Samvat with the object of achiev-
ing gereral well-being.
Parts of this inscription have been disfigured, and are, therefore, illegible. Some of the missing portions can now be read in the photocopy of the original inscription in the possession of the National Archives. This photocopy indicates that the inscription had started cracking up about thirty or forty years ago. If stepsl are not taken for the safety of this inscription, its condition may further deteriorate in the future.
XDhanavajra Bajracharya, Licchavi Kalko Abhilekh (Inscription of the Licchavi Period). Kirtipur. Institute of Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuwan University, Ashadh 2030 (June 1973) PP. 31-33.
This inscription mentions the Samvat year 388. The portion containing the name of the King is broken. However, it is definite that the King referred to in this inscription is none but Manadeva, for all inscriptions belonging to the period from 380 to 427 Samvat mention only his name.
It is not considered appropriate for a good King to dominate others through brute force. Nor does it behove a King to resort only displomatic tactice. Hence, according to Kalidas, a King should follow a policy of balance between force and statesmanship. The first line in this inscription indicates that Manadeva followed such a policy.
This inscription had been installed by Nara Varma after installing a Shivalinga on the orders of King Manadeva. In this inscription, Nara Varma describes himself as a servant of Manadeva. This indicates that he was an officer dependent on the favors of King Manadeva.
Although the Shivalinga installed by Nara Varma is still intact, not even the ruins of the temple built by him can be seen new. Ancient temples, palaces and houses in Kathmandu Valley have not sevived because of frequent and major earthquakes.
Shaivism occupies an important place among the religious sects which have been followed continuously in Nepal since ancint times. This explains why