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An arjī from Raṇadala Pā̃ḍe re the capturing of elephants (VS 1894)

ID: DNA_0001_0005


Edited and translated by Axel Michaels, Manik Bajracharya and Rajan Khatiwoda in collaboration with Philip Pierce
Created: 2014-12-04; Last modified: 2018-06-14
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Published by Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities: Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Pre-modern Nepal, Heidelberg, Germany, 2017. Published by the courtesy of the National Archives, Kathmandu. The copyright of the facsimile remains with the Nepal Rashtriya Abhilekhalaya (National Archives, Government of Nepal). All use of the digital facsimiles requires prior written permission by the copyright holder. See Terms of Use.
The accompanying edition, translation/synopsis and/or commentary are available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License CCby-SA.

Abstract

Raṇadala Pā̃ḍe writes this letter to the authority concerned in respect of offering an elephant named Raṇa Prakāśā from Citavana, Nepal.



Diplomatic edition

[1r]

1अर्जि­¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯


2उप्रान्त­•येस्‌‌­पटक­चितवन्‌को­तप्पामा­•पक्रियाको­ठुलो­मत्ता­•रण­प्रकास­हाति­१­हजुरमा­चर्‍हा
3ई­पठायाको­छ­दाषिल­होला­•हैदरवेग्‌­हाति­•सधै­उस्तो­काम्‌‌­लाग्न्या­होइन­•ये‌स्‌‌­पाला­दा
4रोगा­राउत्‌‌­माहुत्‌‌हरूले­धेरै­मिहिनेत्‌‌­गर्दा­•हैदरवेग्‌‌ले­पक्र्यो­•पाल्‌‌पा­हातिसारको­नांज्या
5दा­मुल्‌‌हाति­•हातिषेदामा­सधै­काम्‌‌­लाग्न्या­•सवारि­माफिक्‌‌का­हातिहरु­पक्रन्या­अडंग­
6वाहादुर­
हाति­हो­•ञाहाको­हातिसारमा­अडंग­वाहादूर­हाति­पनि­पठाइवक्सनु­भया­ञाँहा
7को­हातिसार­वेस्‌­गरी­जम्‌न्या­[...]­[...]वारि­माफिक्‌‌का­हातिहरू­पनि­पक्रि­हजूरमा­दाषिल­
8हुँदै­रहदा­हुन्‌­•जो­हुकुम्­•विज्ञप्रभुचरणकमलेषु­किमधिकम्‌­इति­सम्वत्‌­१८९४­सा
9ल­मिति­चैत्र­शुदि­१५­रोज­२­मुकाम्‌­तानसेन्‌‌­शुभम्‌­¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯- - -


10सदा­सेवकस्य­रणदल­पाँडेकस्य­कोटि­कोटि­कुर्नेस­साष्टांगदंडवत्­सेवा­सेवा­सेवा­सहस्रम्‌­शुभम्­

Translation

[1r]

Arjī

[Regarding the] following: This time a big ruttish (mattā)1 elephant captured in an area of Citavana [and given the name] Raṇa Prakāśa has been sent to you. [Hopefully], it will have reached you. The elephant [named] Haidaraveg is not always so useful. This time, thanks to the hard labour of the elephant stable manager (dārogā)2 , head of the elephant care team (rāut)3 and elephant riders (māhut), Haidaraveg caught [Raṇa Prakāśa]. The popular chief elephant Aḍaṅga Bahādura from the elephant stable (hātisāra) in Pālpā is the one who is always useful for elephant hunts,4 and catches elephants best suited for your outings. The elephant stable here would [therefore] be much better, if you could also send the elephant Aḍaṅga Bahādura. Once elephants suited for outings are caught, they would be continously turned over to you. [We will do] as you order. What more [to say] to our learned lord whose feet are lotuses!

Monday, the 15th of the bright fortnight of Caitra in the [Vikrama] era 1894 from the Tānasen residence. [Let it be] auspicious.

Tens of millions of eightfold salutations5 from [your] always [faithful] servant Raṇadala Pā̃ḍe, at [your] service. Three times reverence. [Let it be] thousandfold auspicious.


Commentary

Most documents on elephants deal with elephants used for hunting and riding for kings and nobility. They are regarded as a prized symbol of status and, due to their association with Gaṇeśa, of power combined with auspicious qualities. This became last evident in 1975 when King Vīrendra and Queen Aiśvaryā undertook their coronation proccession on the back of an elephant. The Śāhas and Rāṇās were famous for organizing hunts which could last several weeks and involve hundreds of elephants (Locke 2006: 11). Jaṅga Bahādura Rāṇā’s fondness for elephants and his courage in dealing with them is well-known.

Elephants were important for the economy and lucrative trading commodity (Regmi 1984: 198-199). They were also used in war and in controlling the borders, as is clear from a lālamohara issued by King Gīrvāṇayuddha dated Mārga sudi 1, VS 1867, to all officials where elephant stables had been established and in which the dārogās, rāutas, māhutas etc. are told: “In case you vacate a single inch of the territory under our occupation, you shall be held to have committed a serious crime” (Regmi 1972: 46 referring to RRC, vol. 38, p. 645).


Notes

1. An elephant who is erotic for female elephants and whose ear-glands are flowing. []

3. Locke 2006: 148f.: "In the modern era, raut is responsible for managing the team of elephant driving staff (the mahuts, patchuwas, and phanets)"; also a Tharu surname: Krauskopff and Meyer 2000: 185. []

4. Hunt by stockade methode or a "fenced enclosure into which wild elephants were herded before being subjected to training" (Locke 2006): 26. []

5. An expression for a greeting gesture with eight body parts, i.e., the whole body. []