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A rukkā directing residents of Ālampura and Pakarbāsa to repair an irrigation channel (VS 1894)

ID: DNA_0013_0060

Edited and translated by Manik Bajracharya
Created: 2019-05-14; Last modified: 2019-12-03
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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, 2019. 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.


This royal order issued to the residents of Ālampura and Pakarabāsa along with the officers there directs them to repair an irrigation channel in Māḍi Besī. In return, the residents are exempted from half of the jhārā levy for the year.

Diplomatic edition



[royal seal]

1स्वस्तिश्रीमन्महाराजाधिराजकस्य­रुक्का­¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯ ¯¯


¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯
26इति­सम्वत्­१८९४­साल­मिति­फागुन­सुदि­३­रोज­३­शुभम्­¯¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯¯ ¯¯¯




A rukkā of the glorious great king.

Āge: to all the four varṇas and thirty-six jātas including dvāryās, tharis, mukhiyās, mijhāryās and ryots of the villages of Ālampura1 and Pakarabāsa2 listed [below].

The dvāryās, tharis and local notables of Pakarabāsa came to petition us and apprised us [of the following,] saying: "The irrigation-channel in the paddy fields of Māḍi Besi has overflowed and been swept away by the Bhaṭauli River. If the irrigation channel is not repaired this year, the fields belonging to the kampu palṭana3 may remain barren." Half of the amount of jhārā [levy] of the year [VS 18]94 will be cancelled [for the labourers]. Excluding hulākīs, Brahmins and soldiers (tilaṃgā), each household of villagers or of tenants (mohī) who till land shall become compulsory labourers by command (dapko jhārā). Take with you provisions for three months, mattocks (kodālo), axes, crowbars (gal), mallets (kundā), sledgehammers and measuring rods (ṭā̃go). Gathering together with the dvāryās and tharis [named] Śivanārān Prasāĩ, Mehara Siṃ Kārki, Rāmanātha Pādhyā Pauḍyāl and Kāśīnātha Pādhyā Ḍhuṅgyāla, make a new irrigation channel by digging and cutting through rocks throughout [the months of] Phāguna, Caitra and Vaiśākha, and accomplish the task of geting water to flow4 [through it]. If, having been shown preferential treatment (harahemāyat), you do not join in the compulsory labour or leave the irrigation channel incomplete, so that the fields remain barren, you will have to compensate the crops for the kampu palṭana's [loss of] crops. A fine will also be imposed. During the digging of the irrigation channel, the dvāryās and mukhiyās of Ālampura shall dispatch 10 masons (āgri) for cutting rocks. The expenses for the daily raw food (rojinnā sidhā), wages and rituals for the 10 āgri shall be met from the standing crops of Pakarabāsa's thunuvā kheta5 . Deductions will be granted.6



Pakarabāsa ambala1
Villages within Ālampura6
Kuvāpāni Phulapā7 1
Mākāḍam8 1
Bāṅgyā Sallā9 1
Gāgal10 1
Megarpā Bhadauryā1

Tuesday, the 3rd of the bright fortnight of Phāguna in the [Vikrama era] year 1894 (1838 CE).


This royal order directs the residents of Pakarabāsa and six villages within Ālampura, both lying in Rāmechāpa district, to participate in the repair of an irrigation channel as a civil duty. The paddy field to be irrigated belonged to the army. The document exempts households of Brahmins, soldiers and hulākī porters from the labour. The rest of the residents had to contribute their labour under unfavourable terms: they are ordered not just to work for free for three months on the channel, but also to bring their own supplies and tools. Interestingly, the document mentions providing wages to ten stonemasons, probably because it was an exceptionally difficult task to cut through rocks while digging the conduit.

The document exempts the residents from half of the amount of jhārā fee for the year. This implies that the residents of the stated villages had to pay an annual jhārā levy in cash. It is, however, unclear whether this levy was meant to substitute for regular jhārā obligations. M. C. Regmi argues that such an obligation could not be avoided through monetary compensation, and that a special levy in cash in lieu of the obligation was only rarely possible, in cases where the labourers were in a remote location or the area was sparsely populated (cf. M. C. Regmi 1971: 115-16).


1. From the list provided in this document containing six villages within Ālampura, it seems to be a fairly wide area in Rāmechāpa district. Modern maps, however, do not display this Ālampura. []

2. Pakarabāsa is a VDC in Rāmechāpa district. []

3. The terms used here are kampu and palṭana, denoting two different categories of army units. These two terms are mentioned here together as having the land under their control, so that it may be assumed that they are used collectively to denote the army. []

4. Carhāunu, lit. to ascend, lift. []

5. The paddy fields currently under government restraint. []

6. This probably refers to deductions on the amount of jhārā labour required under the annual levy. []

7. Kuvāpāni village lies within Kathjor VDC in Rāmechāpa district []

8. Also spelled Mākāduma, a VDC in Rāmechāpa district. []

9. A village within Purānā Gāũ VDC in Rāmechāpa district. []

10. Probably Gāgal Bhadaure, a VDC in Rāmechāpa district. []