२००९ देखी मेन्याङबो कल्याणकारी संघ युकेको स्थापना भएको हो साथै यो वेव पेज पनि उक्त वर्ष देखिनै स

वंशजको एकता नै समाजको वलियो शक्ति हो |

                                                                                                        e/Menyangbo D

Part – I
Chapter – 1
1. The term Kirat and its origin 2 - 5
2. Time of Mahabharata,
First Kirat King of Central Nepal 5 - 8
3. King Narkashur of Assam 8 - 9
4. The First Revolution of Kirat people 9 - 10
5. King Parbate of Kirat Land 10 - 11
6. The second Revolution of Kirat people 12
7. Kirat war with the Susanian King of Persia
in early period of 4th century A.D. 12 - 15
8. Lichhavis and their origin 16 - 18
9. The Kirat Culture
(a) Mundhum : the scripture of Kirat people 18 - 20
(b) The Good spirit 20
(c) The Bad spirit 21 - 22
(d) The Inspiriting spirit 23
(e) The Tantric Feat in Kirat Mundhum 23 – 24
(f) The Spirit of Envy and Jealousy 24
10. Existence of God Ningwaphuma 25
(a) Creation of small burning fire 25
(b) Creation of great light 25
(c) Creation of water 25 - 26
(d) Creation of wind 26
11. (a)The First Marriage Law 27
(b) The Death rite 27 - 31
12. The First Council of Mankind 31 -36
13. The Strength of Council or Panchayat meeting 36 - 42
14. The comparative description about Ashur
people of Vedic age and the Biblical Ashur
people of Elam or Southern Persia 42 - 43
15. The Ancient Account of Ninebeh 43 – 46
Chapter – 2
Coming of the Limbus.
1. A spectacular phase 47 - 51
2. The Third Revolution of the Kirat people 51 - 54
3. Birth of Proud name Limbu 54
4. The Republic system of Kirat Government 55 - 56
5. Rules for Social Custom of the Limbus 57 - 59
(a) Rules for status of children between wife
and husband 59
(b) Rules for Unchaste woman 59 - 60
6. Kirat Culture
(a) The Chokphung Thim (Adoption of
Nationality) 60 - 61
(b) Samyok-Lung Thim (Confession and
Reception) 62 - 65
7. The Ecclesiastical Rules of the Limbus 66
8. House building (construction) 66 - 68
9. The Agrarian Law of the Limbus 68 - 70
10. The Kirat Drum-Dance of Limbuwan 70 - 73
11. The Kirat Paddy-Dance of Limbuwan 73 - 77
12. The Tongsum Tongnam Festival of Limbuwan 78 - 79
13. The Thebasam cult of Limbuwan 79 - 82
Part – II
Chapter – 3
1. Introduction 83 - 87
2. Mawrong Hang (7th Century A.D.) 88 - 95
3. Kirat Culture :The Munlom Faith
of Rong Kirat people 96 - 98
4. King Uba Hang (849-865 A.D.) 106 - 114
5. King Mabo Hang (865-880 A.D.)
(i) Amendment of the Religious Rite
of King Mabo Hang 114 - 116
(ii) Feudal Antagonism 116 - 117
6. King Shirijunga Hang (880-915 A.D.) 117 - 123
(i) The land Reformation of King
Shirijunga Hang 123 - 124
(ii) King Shirijunga Hang's Instruction 124 - 128
Chapter – 4
6. Kirat Kings' Achievement in West Nepal
(i) Origin of Gurung and Mangar tribes :
The Gurung tribe 129 - 131
(a) Relation of Gurung people with
Ghaley tribe 131 - 134
(b) The Pligyi tribe 134
(c) The Kugyi tribe 135
(d) Down fall of Ghaley chiefs 135 - 138
(ii) The Magar tribe 138 - 150
(iii) The Sunuwar tribe 150 - 151
(iv) The Tamang tribe – Introduction 84 - 86
(v) The Gurung Legend – Introduction 86 - 87
Chapter – 5
7. King Bijay Narayan Rai of Bijaypur
(1584-1609 A.D.) 152 - 156
8. King Lo Hang Sen (1609-1641 A.D.) 156 - 158
9. Battle of Morong (1706 A.D.) 158 - 161
10. Kirat King of Namgyal Dynasty
(i) King Phunchho Namgyal of Northern
Limbuwan (1641-1670 A.D.) 162 -165
11. Sikkim under Bhutanese King 165 - 167
12. The Fourth Revolution of the Kirat People 167 - 168
13. Queen Padmidhata Induraj Rajeswari Sabitri
(1706-1725 A.D.) 168 - 170
14. King Kamadatta Sen (1761-1769 A.D.) 171 - 172
(i) King Kamadatta Sen's Home Policy 172 - 173
(ii) His Foreign Policy 173 - 174
(iii) His Social Policy 174 - 175
(iv) His Assassination 175 - 177
15. Raja Buhhi Karna Rai of Morong
(1769-1773 A.D.) 177 - 180
16. Letter of Karna Sen Raja of Chowdandi,
Bijaypur 180 - 181
17. Progress of Gorkha Invasion 181 - 183
18. Invasion of Newar Kingdom of Nepal Valley
by Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah 183 - 186
(i) War with Lamjong King 186 - 188
(ii) Letter to Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah 188 - 189
19. Invasion of Majhkirat State by Gorkha
King Prithvi Narayan Shah 1770 A.D. 189 - 193
20. Assassination of Kirat King Karna Sen 193 - 195
21. Description of Kirat war with Gorkhas in
Limbuwan according to Kirat MSS. 196 - 198
(i) Letter from Prithvi Narayan Shah Raja
of Gorkha to the Governor General 198 - 200
(ii) Third Invasion of the Gorkhas to
Limbuwan 201 - 204
(iii) Letter from Prithvi Narayan Shah to the
Governor General 204 - 205
(iv) Function of Noon-Pani 205 - 206
(v) Tasali Patrako Lal Mohor 206 - 209
(vi) Letter to Raja Prithvi Narayan
Shamsher Jung, Ruller of Nepal 209
(vii) Letters from Gurkha Raja Prithvi
Narayan Shah 209 - 211
Chapter – 6
22. Sikkim-Gorkha War 1775-1815 A.D.
(i) Sikkim Invasion to Limbuwan 212 - 214
(ii) Letter from the Maharaja Dhiraj
to Lingdom Rai Hangsu Phuba 214 -218
(iii) Migration of Limbu Rai people
to foreign countries 218 -219
(iv) Assassination of Raja Budhi Karna Rai
(1777 A.D.) 219 - 221
(v) Occupation of Western Sikkim by
Gorkha Raja (1708-1815 A.D.) 221
(vi) Letter from Maharaja Dhiraj Ranbahadur
Shah to Shubhas of Limbuwan 221 - 222
(vii) List of War materials given to
Shubhas of Limbuwan 1783 222 - 224
(viii) Letter from Sikkim Government to
Gorkha Government through Shubha
Udimma Rai of Limbuwan 224 - 226
(ix) China-Gorkha War 226
(x) Letters from China Government to
Sikkim leaders and Chong Kirat leaders 227 - 228
(xi) The Arbitration Treaty of Gurkha-Bhot
and China 1792 A.D. 228 -230
23. The Rise and Fall of Koch Kirat People 230 - 232
(i) The Mech Tribe 232 - 233
(ii) Tharu Tribe 233 - 235
(iii) The Koch or Rajbansi Tribe 235 - 239
24. The Khas-Kirat tribes as Gorkhas or
Nepalese Nation 239 - 243
List of Illustrations
1. Memory, Sri Megbar Singh Chemjong
2. The Author
3. Ancient Biyaypur town in ruins 153
4. Epitaph of Limbu Martyr Shirijunga
5. Sepulchre of Burha Subha Budhi Karna Rai 220
1. Appendix A – Bibliography 244 - 247
2. Appendix B – A brief history of Mrung
Kirat people of Tripura
State of Assam 248 - 249
3. Appendix C – An Account of Ahum Kirat
tribe of Assam 250 - 251
4. Appendix D – A letter of Gurkha King Run
bahadur Shah to Subhas
of Limbuwan in 1784 A.D. 252 -253


PART – 1
The term “Kirat” and its origin
A glowing tribute on the studies of language, literature and the general history of Kirat people has very well been paid by the well versed scholar late Mr. Brian Hodgson in this way, "The Kirati on account of their distinctly traceable antiquity as a nation and the peculiar structure of their language are perhaps the most interesting of all the Himalayan races".1Besides that, an intellectual luminary Dr. S. K. Chatterjee in his competent work, "Kirat Janakriti" mentions that Buddha, who is considered as one of the greatest leaders and teachers of mankind, was thought to be of pure or of mixed Kirat origin.
"Many of us are not as yet alive to the nature and importance of the problem. Closer study through the various human sciences should be carried on with greater intensity through linguistics, through sociology, through anthropology, through political history and through comparative religion". 2 Although these scholars during their times could not get enough opportunities to utilize a good number of primary sources in the form of MSS and colophons on the subjects of Kirat studies, the present author is thankful for their painstaking efforts that have been taken on the present subject. However, now there is
1 Essays relating to Indian Subjects, 1880, London by B. Hodgson, page 397
2 Kirat Janakriti, 1951, Calcutta, ASB by Dr. S. K. Chatterjee. Page 92
a vast storage of Kirat MSS in Kirat scripts. Among them are the MSS in the, “Srijunga or Limbu", scripts and the, "Rong or Lepcha" scripts and the treatment of the present subject is based on these sources.
In fact, the term Kirat is a corrupt form of Kiriat, Kiryat or Kirjath which means a fort or town in Moabite language of the Mediterranean region.3 When their number increased, they built many forts and towns and called them Kiriat-hime, Kiryat-yarim, Kirjath-arba, Kiryat-baal, Kiryat-hujro, Kiryat-sanna and Kiryat-sapher which indicate the meaning of the town or fort of the forest, or the town of the god Baal, or the town of books, or the town of palm trees. The residents of the above noted towns started calling themselves, “Kereti” which later on became Keretite or the Kerite tribe. The ancestors of this tribe if identified, comes to Nahor; the younger brother of Abraham, a resident of Ur in Babylon. He belonged to the Semitic family. When the Hebrew people under the leadership of Moses, invaded their country, they were defeated and expelled from their native land. The Kereti people then led a nomadic life and spread towards the eastern and north-eastern countries.4 In 2400 BC, a branch of which came to Mesopotamia5 or the Assyrian country, intermingled with the Ashur people and formed one nation with them. Later on they migrated to Northern India and the Himalayan region via Media and Nisa of Northern Persia with the title of the Kirat-Ashur tribe. But in Nisa they were called Khambos or Yavan and claimed their descent from the Greeks of the Ionian island.6 In the Sanskrit book of Yogini Tantra, the Kirat nationality is included among the Yavan, Pallava, Koch
3 New Biblical Atlas of London Religious Tract Society, London, page 78
4 Ibid page 3
5 The History of Nations - Assyrians by Leonard W. King, Page 271
6 Prachin Bharat ka Rajnitic aur Sanskritik Itihas by Rati Bhanu Singh Nahar, page 231
and Pulinda races. The Greeks had also known the Kirats by the name of Kirhadai. The last remnant of the ancient Kiratite or Cherethite tribe was found recorded in the book of 2 Samuel, 15 - 18. They were a martial tribe during the reign of the Syrian King David in 1049 BC.7
There is no doubt that the Kirat-Ashur people came to North India earlier than the Aryans yet they had known them very well in Persia.8 As the Assyrian country was mountainous and the Kirat-Ashur people were great hunters,9 they preferred to live in the mountainous countries of Kabul, Kashmir, Karakoram and all the Himalayan regions, though some of them migrated to the Indian plains and lived there for about twelve generations.10 "There were certain principalities which were definitely styled as Nishada in the epic and Alavaka in the Pali Texts and were doubtless of non-Aryan origin."
Buddhist writers refer to other Yakkha Principalities besides Alavaka."11 The Kirat Vansavali mentions that after twelve generations, one branch of Kirat people migrated from the Indo-Gangetic plains to the Himalayan region and the other branch to Lanka or Ceylon to the south.
It is for this reason that some scholars admire to find one of the aboriginal tribes of Ceylon with the name of, “Yakho” similar to the Yakkha-tribe of Eastern Kirat people of Nepal.
The origin of the Kirat people of Nepal can be traced back in combination of three races. According to the Kirat Mundhum or tradition, three races are known by the names of Khambongbas or the Khambos, the Tangsangthas or the Mongols and the Munaphens or the
7 Old Testament, 2 Samuel 15 - 18 and Biblical Atlas, page 22
8 Bharat ka Parampara aur Prachin Itihas by Rangheya Raghav, page 96
9 The Assyrian History by Leonard W. King, M.A.,FSA, page 272
10 Kirat Vansavali. The Political History of Ancient India by H.C. Ray Chowdhary, page 197-199
11 Of Sutto Nipata SBE, Vol. X, II, page 45
Chinese. The Khambongbas or the Khambos were the first immigrants to this Himalayan region. The Tangsangthas or the Mongols and the Munaphens or the Chinese people came in later periods and intermingled with the Khambos and constituted a big human race. They spread from this Himalayan region to India, Burma, Syam, Vietnam, Malaya and Philippine islands,12established their kingdoms and kept their respective records of history. In India, Kirat people occupied the regions from Himachal Pradesh to Assam in the north and from Manipur to Chittangong in south-east.13
Sir John Hammerton in his book called “Early Races of Mankind", mentions that probably in the 4000 BC, there was a civilized race of mankind on the lower Euphrates of the Mediterranean region described as Mongolian or Summerian of the Cheldean. They had their own independent forts or towns. They used to fight for their border line and had erected an inscribed stone pillar of agreement in the middle of their boundaries. The defeated town never agreed to live under their enemies. They used to quit their native place for good and migrate to other countries. In like manner, in about 3000 BC, a big horde of people left their native place and came to the east and established the Chinese Empire.14
In the Kirat folk-lore of Kabul or Golku, it is said that the Hazara tribe of Kabul and the Kirat tribe of Nepal were of the same group in the beginning when they first came from Persia. Later on, the news of the prosperous country of the Indian plains tempted the Leader of the group, the elder brother of the Hazara tribe, Laley Hang. They came to the India plains just for a visit and returned back. But they instead of going back to Kabul, went ahead into Nepal and came to be known as Gorkhas. The Hazara people say that so long as they were in one family, they were
12 Boudha Sanskriti by Rahul Sanskrityayan, page 47
13 The Kirat Itihas, 1948, Kalimpong by I.S. Chemjong, page 8
14 Early Races of Mankind by Sir John Hammerton, Vol. I, page 434
neither Muhammaden nor Hindu; but when the brothers separated, they became weak and the Pathans invaded their country, defeated them and converted them into Muhammadanism. The Kirat Gurkhas of Nepal, however, became Hindus. Even till this day, whenever a Hazara meets a Gorkha, he calls him Chacha, which means uncle.
When the Aryans came to India for the first time and started to advance towards the hilly regions, they had to fight against a Kirat-Ashur king whose kingdom was situated on the bank of river Indus in the Himalayas. His name was Shamba15 Ashur. He was defeated in the battle, so he left his place and came towards the east and established a stronghold in the Kinner land16 which is now known by the name of Himachal Pradesh in India. In this place, a horde of Mongolian people came and intermingled with this stock of Kirat people and constituted one big Kirat race.17 Gradually they spread towards the east and settled in Nepal.
Time of Mahabharata
The first Kirat king who ruled central Nepal was Banashur. His kingdom was conquered by a king whose name was Bhuktaman of Gopal dynasty. The Kirat folk-lore mentions that when Krishna came to know about the establishment of a Kirat rule in central Nepal, he sent a strong force of the Yadava tribe under the command of Bhuktaman to conquer the kingdom of Banashur. According to Krishna's instructions, Bhuktaman attacked Banashur, killed him and established his new kingdom. Thus the kings of this
15 Prachin Bharat ka Rajnitic aur Sanskritik Itihas by Rati Bhanu Singh Nahar, page 231
16 The History of Kumao by Rahul Sanskrityayan, page 20
17 Journal of Tribhuwan University, Nepal 1964. The Origin of Thakuri by I.S.Chemjong, page 55
Yadava dynasty ruled central Nepal for eight generations. Their capital was at Tistung situated to the west of the Kathmandu Valley. But during the time of king Bhuvansingh of the same dynasty, a Kirat king of eastern Nepal18 whose name was Yalamba, attacked him and slew him in the battle. The jurisdiction of Central Nepal in those days was from river Trisuli in the west to river Tamba Koshi in the east and from Chitlang in the south to the snow line mountain ranges in the north. When Yalamba, the Kirat king conquered Central Nepal, his kingdom extended from river Tista of Bhutan to river Trisuli in the west. The capital town of the Kirat king Yalamba was Yalung in the east; but when he conquered Central Nepal he shifted his capital from Yalung to Thankot. Some of the European scholars have called Yalung or Yelung as the first Kirat king who conquered Central Nepal. They seem to have made a mistake in writing the name of his residence as the king’s name. After a successful reign of ninety years, King Yalamba died and his son Palamba succeeded him. He built a town near Thankot and called it Suprabha and gave himself the title of Kiratashur19 (Kiratishur).
During the reign of the sixth Kirat king Humati Hang, Arjun, the son of Pandu of Indraprastha had visited Indrakil Parvat or the hills of the Eastern Kirat country. Bharawi has mentioned about a fight with a Kirat feudal chief in the hilly forest of Eastern Nepal. When Arjun came to know that his combatant was as strong as Mahadev or the Great God, he addressed him as Mahadev or the Great God and begged him pardon for his mistake of taking him as an ordinary man and humbly prayed him for his blessings to acquire Pashupatastra.20
When Arjun was late in returning from Indrakil Parvat, all the Pandavas accompanied by Draupadi and Dronacharya came in search of him to the Himalayan
18 An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal by Co. Kirkpatric, page 257
19 Ibid
20 Kirat Itihas, 1948 by I.S. Chemjong, page 17
mountains. First of all, they were received with great honour by the Kirat kings Subahu and Pulinda of the Western Terai land of modern Nepal. They helped them in proceeding towards Indrakil Parvat.
Bhimsen fought with the Rakshas servants of Kirat King Kubera in Alkapur, the capital of the Kirat kingdom in the Himalaya. Kubera advised Bhimsen and asked him not to depend only upon strength like the Rakshas. Bhimsen thanked him for the instructions and bowed his head down before him with great respect. He again fought with a Gandharba Kirat near a stream in the Himalayas. The Gandharba Kirat very humbly explained to Bhimsena the meaning of Deva or civilised person, their duties and the reasons of calling themselves Devas. Though they were ordinary men, the Gandharba Yakkha and Kirat Ashur were very proud calling themselves Devas. When Dronacharya was roaming about with his five Pandava pupils on the Terai lands of modern Nepal, he was honored by the Kirat Prince Ekalabya of Nepal, the image of whose head is still regarded by the people of Kathmandu by the name of Akash Bhairav.
The five Pandavas spent their year of disguise in the palace of Kirat King Viratha in the Terai land of eastern Nepal. In the same way, before the coming of the Aryans towards eastern India, there were only Kirat kings in every village in North Bihar, North Bengal and Assam. No doubt, the Aryans had heard the news of Kirat people of the east. They used to call the modern Assam and Lohit by the name of Mlechha desh or the country of Mlech or Mech people.
According to the Markandey Puran, the famous seven Kirat kingdoms during the Mahabharat time were Aswakut or Kabul, Kulya or Kulu Valley; Matsya or North Bihar Paundra or Bengal, Sumer or Assam, Malak or Mlek or Lohit; Kinner Kirat or Garhwal and Nepal. The Kirat nation in those days included Khambos or Khamboja, Yaven or Greek, Saka or Scythian, Pallava or Parthian,
Parasika or Persian, Parad or Balhikas, Chinese Kirata or Assyrian and Khasas. They were all civilised people but they had no connection with the Aryan culture. So the Aryans used to call them Shudra or foreigners.21 Thus, when Bhimsena and Arjuna came to the eastern countries when for the first time, they had to fight against these Kirat people. It appears that the above mentioned tribes had their confederacy in this Himalayan region and they had regarded the Kirat-Ashur king as the figure of their central Government.
At that time, there were many kings in Bihar and Bengal who were called Harba Hang, Darba Hang, Viratha, Satya and Kichaka. Among them, King Viratha was very famous. In those days, the Kirat people were ruling all the lands from Himalayan mountains to the sea shores of the Bay of Bengal.
A branch of the Kirat-Ashur tribe who migrated to Assam established their habitat there. They intermingled with the Chinese people who had migrated from the north. The first famous king among them was Narkashur. His capital was at Pragjyotishpur. He belonged to the Mlech family or Kiratashur nationality, so for some time he was also called Mlechha king or the king of the Mlech or Mech people.22
It is said that King Narkashur oppressed his subjects very much. As a result, many of them left Assam and migrated to Burma, Syam and even across the sea. The Chingphos of Burma still claim their relationship with the Kirat people of Nepal and Assam.
21 Manu Smriti - Chapter X
22 Kirat Janakriti by S. K. Chatterjee, page 52
It was during the time of King Bhagadatta, the son of King Narkashur, that the battle of Kuruchetra took place. He formed two regiments of Kirat and Chinese people and led them to Kuruchetra to fight on the side of Kauravas against the Pandavas. In the battle, King Bhagadatta was slain. Another Kirat king, Jitedasti who was fighting the Kauravas was also slain so the Kirat forces fought under the command of Bhimsen. Even unto this day some of the Kirat families remember the day when Bhimsena had commanded their Leaders to plunder all the cocks of Kuruchetra and destroy them before the time of cock-crow early in the morning. Because that time of cock-crow early in the morning was the time given to Duryodhana by Krishna to attack the Pandava's forces. The Kirat soldiers had carried out the order of their Commander-in-Chief and had been successful in the night attack upon the Kauravas. The Kirat people once a year collect a number of cocks at night and perform a puja ceremony in the name of Bhimsen and consume all the cocks before the time of the first cock-crow early in the morning.
Many generations after King Bhagadatta, one of his descendents, Vaskar Varma became a famous king in Assam. Although he was a descendent of the pure Kirat King Bhagadatta, at one point of time, it has been disclosed that his original nationality was Chinese and he had come from Peking as a Chinese envoy, Li Yi Pao, in the 7th century AD.23
After the death of King Humati Hang, his son Jitedasti became the seventh Kirat king in Central Nepal.
23 Ibid page 51
During the regime of this king, the administrative chiefs of Kirat revolted against the king of Central Nepal and ceased to regard him as their Overlord. They held a meeting and by common consent of all the chiefs elected Bhaiphutta Hang as their, “Overlord” in about 500 BC. All the Kirat chiefs of eastern Nepal paid him tribute and rendered military service in a manner resembling the feudal system of medieval Europe. King Bhaiphutta Hang made his capital in Phedap and ruled eastern Nepal.24
It is also believed in Nepal that during the reign of this Kirat Jitedasti, Gautam Buddha also visited Nepal and preached his new faith to the people of the Nepal valley. He was successful in making as many as 1350 disciples among which Sariputta, Moudgalyana and Ananda were famous. 25
When Chandragupta Mourya of Magadha was making plans to revolt against the Nanda king, there was a very powerful Kirat king in the Himalayan country of eastern Nepal. His name was Parbate or Parbatak. He was a descendant from King Bhaiphutta Hang. His father's name was Jeite. The name and fame of King Parbate in art of archery spread far and wide. So, Chandra Gupta requested him in the scheme of struggle against the Nanda king of Magadha for his help. Probably in the year 317 BC, the Kirat king Parbate helped Chandra Gupta Mourya with a composite army made up of Saka, Yavana
24 Kirat Itihas, 1948 by I. S. Chemjong, page 18
25 Nepal ko Itihasic Bebachana by Dhundiraj Bhandari, page 31
Kirata, Khamboja, Parasika and Balhika forces26 in a battle that took place in Kusumpur against the Nanda king. The latter was slain in the battle and his kingdom came into the hand of Chandra Gupta. The Kirat king Parbate again helped King Chandra Gupta in driving away the Greek governor Seleucus from Punjab and Shindh. For this military help King Chandra Gupta gave the north and east part of the Magadha kingdom to the Kirat king.27 From that time, the Kirat people again began to migrate to North Bihar and North Bengal. But later on by political tactics of Chanakya, the Kirat chief Parbatak was murdered; so most of the Kirat people of Kusumpur and North Bihar left the plains and returned to their mountain homes. From that time onwards, they were called the Madhesia Kirat or the Kirat of Kashigotra.
During the reign of the fourteenth Kirat king Stungko in Central Nepal, King Ashok of India also visited Nepal. His date of visit is mentioned to be 269 - 265 BC. King Ashok was a great believer of Buddhism. He visited all the holy places in Nepal and in commemoration of his visit, he built Buddhist monuments in Nepal. His Buddhist stupa of Patan is a famous one.28 It cannot be guessed that King Ashok was a ruler of some parts of Nepal simply because he gave 3600 ropanies of land to Devpal as a gift. It is natural that in love of his daughter Charumati he could buy so big a land in Nepal and give it to her as dowry. Although the Kirat king Stungko was not a follower of Buddhism, yet it appears that he being an enlightened king of his time kept a broad view and treated all faiths equally and allowed the foreigners to preach his new faith in his territory.
26The History and Culture of Indian People by Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, page 57, Vol.II
27 Bishakha Datta's Mudarakshasa by R.R. Desh Pandey, MAP II
28 Nepal of Itihasic Bebachana by Dhundiraj Bhandari, page 31
(About 125 BC)
Seven generations after King Parbate, a revolution took place in the eastern Nepal against King Samyuk Hang. The children of Madhesia Kirat29 could not tolerate the oppression of King Samyuk Hang and stood against him under the leadership of Bazdeo. In the revolution, the Kiratese of the Tibetan origin also helped the Madhesia Kiratese; so after the defeat of King Samyukhang, the village headman of the Kirat people elected Bazdeo as their king. He ruled eastern Nepal by making his capital at Libang. After this king, there followed a series of twelve kings who were called Sankhadeo, Deo Sankha, Dewapur, Deo Bhichhuk, Deo Ghantuk, Sotum Hang, Limdung Hang, Lije Hang, Mapun Hang, Dende Hang and Kundungjapa. King Kundungjapa had four sons whose names were Mundhungge, Sandhungge, Kane Hang and Kochu Hang. It was Kochu Hang who migrated to North Bengal and established a kingdom there and called it Kochpiguri from which the word Kuchbihar is derived and all his followers adopted the name Koch.
(In the early period of the 4th century AD)
The ancient name of Southern Persia was Elam. It was so called because the children of Elam had first settled in the country, the eldest son of Shem whose father was the famous Noah who was saved from the great
29 Gurkhas by Lt.Col. E. Vansitart, 1915, page 101
deluge.30 The capital town of this country was Susa. Therefore, the kings of Susa were famous by the name of Susanian dynasty.
“The Kushans were the leading tribes among the Yueh-chi people who came out of Central Asia, settled in Bactria and in the first century AD pushed on into North West India.”
“Under Kujala Kadphises I, the Kushan Empire reached the Indus from the Parthian frontier. Kadphises II extended his dominions on to eastward to the Jammu and Ganges.”
'Kaniska, the chief of Kushans made his Indian capital at Purushapur or Peshawar in the district known as Gandhara.31 The Kirat residents of Gandhara were called Gandharbas. The system of love-marriage among the Kirat people is called Gandharba marriage by the Hindus.
The above records prove that the non-Aryan kings ruled North India from the 1st to the 2nd century AD. But after Bajdeo whose sanskritised name is Vasudeo, the last Kushan Emperor, the Kushan empire disintegrated into small states where various kings ruled in the 3rd and 4th century AD., but gradually gave way to the rising Susanian empire in the west to the Guptas in India.32
In the early period of the 4th century AD, Assam was ruled by a Kirat king of Koch family, whose name was Shankal.33 At the same time a Kushan king or Murunda Daiwa Putra Shahi by name was ruling north west India under the Susanian king of Persia.34 But after some years, the Kushan king revolted against the Susanian king and became an independent ruler of north west India.
30 The Scripture Gazetteer by W & A.K. Johnston, London, page 4
31 The Archeology of World Religion by Jack Finegan, page 152
32 Ibid
33 Assam History by E. Gaete, page 19
34 Some scholar mentions that that a Brahman, Kidara by name was ruling North India in early period of 4th century AD.
”A Sanchi inscription discovered by Marxhall discloses the existence of another Saka principality or province which was ruled about 319 AD by Mahadandanayaka Sridhar Varman, son of a Nanda. A Murunda is mentioned in a Khoh inscription of Central India.35
According to E. Gaet, the Kirat king Shankal had a very strong force of 4,000 elephants, 100,000 horses and 400,000 foot soldiers in his military establishment. He, with a view to invade the Kushan king's territory of North India, attacked the kingdom of Gaur or Bengal and conquered it. He shifted his capital from Kamarupa to Lakhnauti in Bengal. He then invaded the kingdoms of Bihar and subdued them, as in those days every village had its own king. The Kirat king Shankal then collected a large number of soldiers and attacked the Kushan kingdom of north India and drove him from there.
Now the Kirat king Shankal became a big monarch of north India. His empire extended from Eastern Assam to Kabul of Afghanistan. It is quite possible that he must have made coins and preferred to engrave on it the name of his tribe than his own name. The research scholars have found coins bearing names such as Kirada or Kirata in Punjab and in neighboring countries. They say that there are good grounds to believe that this tribe also ruled Punjab in the fourth century AD.
When the Kirat king Shankal was at the zenith of his power in north India, the Susanian king of Persia treated him as his vassal like the Kushan king and demanded tribute from him. The latter being very furious at such demand, very haughtily refused it and challenged him in the battle field. As soon as the Persian monarch Afrasiyab heard his proud reply, se sent 50,000 strong
35 Political History of Ancient India by Hemchandra Chowdhary, page 547, 6th edition
Mongolian soldiers to make war with the Kirat king of north India. The Persian army of Elamite soldiers advanced very bravely and within a short period reached Bihar. The Kirat army stationed at Ghora ghat showed their military tactics to their enemies in such a way that they were encircled by the Kirat soldiers and a terrible battle took place. The Kirat fighters fought so bravely that the Mongolian or Elamite soldiers were very badly defeated. The enemy's soldiers reduced to such a small number that they fled away from the battle field and took refuge in the mountain region of eastern Nepal. It is quite probable that from that date the word, “ Elam” was introduced in the east Nepal and it is a fact that one sect of the Lapcha tribe still claim their descent from the Elamite race whom they call Elammu in Lapcha language. They mixed up with the Kirat tribes of the hill areas and converted themselves into Kirat nationality.
Those Persian soldiers who were about to be annihilated in Bihar were suddenly encouraged by the arrival of their reinforcements.
The Persian king Afrasiyab sent reinforcements from his military Headquarter Gangdoz. At the receipt of such auxiliary force, the soldiers fought very strongly and defeated the Kirat soldiers in the battle of Tirhut. They, therefore, left Tirhut and fled away to the hilly regions of the Himalayan mountains and took refuge there. The Persian soldiers advanced towards Lakhnauti, the capital of Kirat King Shankal and conquered it.
King Shankal was taken captive and was taken to the Susanian king Afrasiyab of Persia. Thus, the whole country of north and east India fell into the hands of the Persian king for some time in the 4th century AD. The Susanian king Afrasiyab belonged to the Semitic family.
It is quite probable that the Kirat leaders who were defeated in the battle field of Tirhut and took refuge in the mountain region opposite to Tirhut of North Bihar must have come to the Nepal valley in the 4th century AD. They must have gained much experience in war tactics through such battles. When he studied the weak position of the Nepalese Kirat kingdom of Gokarna, he also attacked and conquered it. He drove away the Nepalese Kirat King Gasti from the Nepal valley and established his new kingdom there.
King Nemikh had adopted Hinduism from the time of his ancestors and was convinced that he was of a Hindu Kshetri family, though he did not miss to claim the title of the Lichhavi family which had originated from the Indo-Mongoloid or Kirat nationality of India. Thus it can be said that he had certainly descended from the Lichhavi race of North Bihar.
Regarding the Lichhavi race, different scholars have tried to prove them to be of foreign origin. According to Smith, they are from a Tibetan family. S.C. Vidyabhusan locates them from Persian Nisibis origin. Other scholars mention that they were from Vratya Kshetri of north India. S.K. Chatterjee, however, writes that the Lichhavis were from Kirat origin.
Hemchandra Ray Chowdhary mentions that in the year 600-500 BC, when the King Bimbisara was ruling Magadha country, the Lichhavis were ruling over all the countries situated between river Ganges and the Himalayan mountains. Their capital town was at Vishali situated on the bank of river Ganges. They were non-Aryans. They had all together eight or nine towns in which every head man of the town had the authority to supervise his own town. Besides this, they had agreed by common
consent to regard Vishali as their place of central Government.36
The Vajis or Vrijis or Wajis were the rulers of the Vishali town, the Mallas of the Kusinara town, the Shakyas of the Kapilvastu town, the birth place of the famous religious teacher Gautam Buddha. Similarly, the Koliyas and Bhagas were the rulers of the Deodaha and Sumsumara hill tracts, the Bulis and Kalamas of Alavakka and Kasaputta towns, the Moriyas of Diffalibana town from which the family of the famous king Chandragupta Maurya came from. The Yakkha principality was situated on the bank of river Ganges. This Lichhavi confederation was marked by the Chinese traveler Huang Chang with the name of Chang Chyu state. According to Kirat Mundhum, this Chang Chyu state of the Lichhavi race must be the place of first Kirat settlement on the bank of river Ganges, where the Mundhum mentions, that the children of Kirat people resided for twelve generations. It was from there that one batch migrated to the Himalayan Terai land of Simanggarh and built twelve forts. They named it Barah Garhi. From BarahGarhi, they spread to the eastern, western and northern sides. The Khojum tribe of Barah Garhi is very famous.
The Mundhum adds that another batch migrated to Lanka or Ceylon many years ago and it is a fact that the research scholars have found the aboriginal tribe of Lanka or Ceylon with the name of, “Yakkho" similar to the Yakkha tribe of Kirat people of east Nepal.
After many years, King Ajatshatru of Magadha country, fought against the Lichhavi king Jataka and his colleagues of the Chang Chyu state of north Bihar and destroyed their republican government. The Lichhavi race had disappeared from north Bihar for a long period. They might have been subdued by other races for many years.
36 Political History of Ancient India by Hem Chandra Ray Chowdhary, page 116-126; 190-193
But when they re-established their power in Central Nepal, they came out like worthy rulers and declared themselves as the kings of the Lichhavi dynasty. The word Lichhavi belongs to Kirat language which means the children of Li family. Li is the name of a certain class of Kirat nationality and Chhavi means children, the singular number of which is chha or child.
There are many words in Kirat language which begin with the word Li. For example, Li bang - Li village; Li lyang - Li country; Li chha - the son of Li; Li pachha - the child of Li father; Li abong - origin of Li family, etc. Those Lichhavi classes of people who took refuge in eastern Nepal made their settlements in villages known as Dilpa, Necha, Dungma, Dimma, Para, Sherma, Makpa, Sawa and called themselves by the name of Dilpali, Nechali, Dungmali, Dimmali, Parali, Sawali, Shermali and Makpali which means the Li family of the above mentioned villages.37
Thus, Vajis or Wajis or Yakkha or Yaksha classes of people are still in existence among the Kirat people of East Nepal. The Mallas and Shakyas are also in existence among the Thakuri and Newari tribes of West and Central Nepal.
Mundhum-The Scripture of Kirat People
The word Mundhum means the power of great strength and the Kirat people of east Nepal take it to be a true, holy and a powerful scripture.
37 In ancient time the Tibetans used to call Nepal by the name of Li - yul, which means the country of Li people.
The Mundhum is divided into two parts. The first is called the Thungsap Mundhum and the second is called the Peysap Mundhum. The Thungsap Mundhum is the original one and came from the very words of mouth till the art of writing was introduced and was referred to as the oral Mundhum in books. It was an epic recited in songs by the learned Sambas or poets. The Kirat priests in the beginning were called the Sambas where, “ Sam” means song and, “ Ba” means the one who (male) knows the Song or Sam.
The Peysap Mundhum is a written book about religion. It is divided into four parts. They are the Soksok Mundhum, Yehang Mundhum, Sapji Mundhum and Sap Mundhum. The Soksok Mundhum contains the stories of creation of the universe, the beginning of mankind, the cause and effect of the sins, the creation of evil spirits, such as the evil spirits of Envy, Jealousy and Anger and the cause and effect of death in childhood.
The Yehang Mundhum contains the story of the first leader of mankind who made laws for the sake of improvement of human beings from the stage of animal life to the enlightened life and ways to control them by giving philosophy on spiritualism. In this book, the leader has made rules for marriage, arbitration, purification and religion. The story of destruction of human beings by deluge and the cause of existence of many languages among the Kirat people, the social customs of seasonal worship to the worship of God, the rules of purification on child birth and death are mentioned in the Lepmuhang Mundhum.
As the Kirat people in the beginning were rationalistic idolaters, they neither had temples, altars nor images, conceiving that none of these was necessary, but that the God resided in light and fire. Hence, they worshipped spirits whom they believe to be the residents of fire and the sun. So according to Sapji Mundhum, the
spirits are if two classes: the Good Spirit and the Bad Spirit.38
The Good Spirit
Both the classes of spirit are powerful and invisible, yet they believe that the first class or Good spirit is the creator of the second class or Bad spirit. The first class spirit is the Good spirit, which is believed to be the Supreme and the most powerful spirit of knowledge and wisdom and whom the Mundhum addresses by the name of Ningwaphuma. It means the mine of knowledge and wisdom.
When the spirit comes down to earth the help mankind, people regard him as their grand mother and call her Yuma Sammang. Now the God Ningwaphuma loved human beings so much that he sent other good spirits to help them in their daily work. He sent Heem Sammang, a good spirit to look after the prosperity of the house of mankind; Thoklung Sammang to look after the health of mankind; Nehangma Sammang to give good energy and ambition to mankind; Theba Sammang to guide mankind at the time of war; Pung Sammang to look after the good production of the field; Khambhuling Sammang to guide the first class priest who does not kill and offer blood at the time worship and Okwanama Sammang to guide the second class priest who sacrifices birds and animals for the recovery of the sick person. Every time the priest or priestess recites Mundhum, the word, “ Sammang” means the spirit of God.
38 Kirat MSS, Hodgson collection, 1840
The Bad Spirit39
The second class spirit is the evil spirit which is less powerful than the good spirit of God. The head of the evil spirits is called the Tamphung` Sammang which means the spirit God of the forest. It has the freedom to move and work as it likes; but when he does injustice to mankind, the Good spirit God Ningwaphuma controls him. Because, the latter spirit is the Queen and creator of all the other spirits. Ningwaphuma or Yuma Sammang is the only spirit God, who is omnipresent, supreme and eternal. It was he, who created the rest of the spirits and other powers of fire, wind and water.
But Tambhung Sammang being the head of evil spirits causes a lot of trouble to mankind through the other subordinate evil spirits. All sorts of diseases are the results of the mischief of the evil spirits. They always dwell in bad and dirty places and trouble mankind. The spirits both good and bad are actually invisible, yet the Kirat people personify them and treat them as if they are living beings and try their best to pacify them by prayers and sacrificial offerings.
The Kirat priests never use medicine for the treatment of sick people unless they are directed by the Good spirit God in their dreams for its use. If the evil spirit does not get satisfaction from the humble prayers and sacrifices, the priests burn chillies rags and other dirty things in order to drive them away from their presence.
When a priest prepares an altar with a view to destroy such evil spirits, then no member of the house where such performance takes place, should work in the field for eight days. Neither should any member of the family go on journey within that period. The priest prepares a place of such function in a secular place and never allows anybody to go there. If anybody happens to go
39 Ibid
there by mistake, he is punished with double the amount spent in the performance of the function. If they do not do so, they believe that a worst type of epidemic will occur in the village. As the priest recites the Mundhum,he attracts such evil spirits in the place prepared for their welcome as gods and when they assemble, the priests uses such power over them that all of them are destroyed then and there only.
According to the Mundhum, the Kirat people believe that a sinful person never goes to heaven after death where their forefathers have already gone and where they enjoy happiness. The Mundhum describes that the place where the human soul has to go after death is very bright with thousands of sun's rays and the place is very blissful and it is the place where only the Gods o can stay. So, if a pious man dies, his soul is considered to be worthy of the life of heaven and worthy of enjoying a supernatural life as the other gods there.40
But a sinful soul is not allowed in heaven. The sinful work of a man causes him to meet his unnatural death through various ways of suicide such as falling from the tree trunk or into a lake to meeting death by flood or landslide or by being stabbed or at child birth if she be a woman or by accident or murder. When they meet their such accidental deaths, their ghosts also live in the same spot and become mischievous evil ghosts and trouble the living person. Yet, the Kirat priests who know the spiritualism can control them. The evil ghost of a man is called, “Sogha” and that of a woman is called, “Sugut” in Kirat language. The evil spirit which entangles mankind to evil work is called, “Epley” and the other evil spirit which makes fails a man from fulfilling his promise is called, “Songdo”. The evil spirit of envy, jealousy and anger is called, “Nahen.”
40 Kirat MSS, personal collection - 1930
The Inspiring Spirit
Besides the Mundhum of Good and Evil spirits, the Kirat people believe in oracles. They believe in the inspiration of God's spirit in human body. When a person is inspired by the good spirit of God, he or she will be senseless for a while and when the sense returns, he or she will begin to speak oracles. He or she prophecies the good or bad results of a sickness or of projects of any man or woman who consults him/her. He or she recites all the Mundhums of the past days in his/her oracles. These oracles encourage people to do good work for the benefit of the others. They give good advice to people who believe it and direct them how to proceed to good path. They instruct people to use medicine for the recovery of sicknesses. They do not advise blood sacrifice; on the contrary, they instruct them to be pure in spirit, body and in their work. When the God's spirit goes away from his or her body, he or she will fall asleep for a while, but cannot remember what they had said before. This culture can be compared with the Delphi oracles of the Greeks or Yavans in ancient Greece, where the priestess after chewing the sacred bay and drinking water from the sacred spring took her seat on the tripod and uttered oracles.41
The Tantric Feat in Kirat Mundhum
There is also another kind of Mundhum called the Phungwa Changma and Phungwa Lemma. In such Mundhum, an expert priestess sings or recites the whole story of the creation of flower, its uses and compares such
41History of Nations, the Greeks by Dr. J.P. Mahaffy, C.V.O.D.D.D.C.I., page 100
inanimate objects to human life in such a way that she particularizes the mentality of a certain man to that of the stage of that particular flower. She then diverts the stage of that flower from freshness to a withered condition. While she is doing this act of diverting, the particular man who is compared to that particular flower becomes slack and loses consciousness. Then finally when the priestess refreshes the flower, the man comes back to his senses and becomes fresh again.
The priestess, who knows such occultism, can also practise such magic to command a tree to drop down its leaves on the ground and again to put them back on the tree. This culture of animism of the Kirat people seems to have started a very long time back. Jack Finegan of Princeton University mentions in his book of the Archeology of World Religion that during the pre-Aryan period, the Indus Valley Civilization appeared to have much animism in the religion.42 All these points prove that the Kirat people had enjoyed the Indus Valley Civilization to some extent.
The Spirit of Envy and Jealousy
The Mundhum mentions that when the mankind was in the stage of animal life and there was no sense of family relation, at that time, a brother and a sister became consorts. When her husband died, she became the wife of her own son. The son also died. So, the ghosts of both the husbands became the evil spirits of Envy, Anger and Jealousy and is called, “Nahen”.
42 The Archeology of World Religion by Jack Finegan, Princeton University 1957, page 127
In the beginning the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. In the middle of such darkness a forceful power existed. He was the omnipresent God Almighty about whom nothing can be said.
The Creation of the Small Burning Fire
From the nothingness of the darkness, the earth came out. It came out in the shape of a wooden bowl and fixed up its position. The eternal God then created a small burning light like the face of a small baby. He then created the rays of that burning light. Now, the scenery of the blue colour of the hollow space looked very beautiful. There was solitary and solitary everywhere.
The Creation of the Great Light
In order to maintain light everywhere, He made the small burning fire move eastwards and westwards. So, from both the sides, the rays rose up in the shape of horns and grew greater till they mixed up to become a great light. This creation of the Great Light gave the creator immense pleasure. This great light spread in all the directions.
The Creation of Water
By the powerful mixture of the rays of the burning light, the heat increased and vapor came out and started accumulating. Thus, by the accumulation of such
43 Kirat Mundhum in old MSS, Hodgson collection - 1840
condensed water, the eastern and western seas were formed. They were called Mukkum-Semi-Warok and Mukkum-Lingphi-Warok, which means, “The Blue Seas of the Powerful Lamp.” Gradually, the accumulation of the water of both seas increased so much that they mixed up into one great ocean and filled up the depth of the wooden bowl like earth. In this way, in the beginning there was water here, there and everywhere.
The Creation of Wind
By the power of the great heat of the burning light, the eastern and western seas shook tremendously and there arose a strong wind in the shape of two trees and covered the whole space. The name of this wind is Sodhung Illammasing, which means, the powerful wind of trees which blows everywhere.
And here starts the spiritual knowledge of the Mundhum of Kirat people and thus it began thus for the use of mankind.
The First Bright God then created the universe and called it, “Choit Lungma” which means the heart of nature. He bound the universe by creating two powers called, “Pakuru” and “Makuru”. By the mixture of these two powers, nature could bring its new energy into use. The state of sleeping and awakening was formed by the active power of which one could also see and find the innermost element of knowledge, one could see and do anything and could appear everywhere. The name of this supreme power of knowledge is,"Tagera Ningwaphuma". It means the omnipresent God Almighty, who is the mine of knowledge. He is also called by the name of, "Sikkum Ningwaphuma" which means the God of Knowledge and Wisdom. He abides in great light.44
44 Kirat Mundhum in old MSS. Nirmal Limbu's collection - 1925
Yehang, the first religious leader of mankind made the following rules for marriage, birth and death ceremonies.45
1. (a) The matrimonial connection between father - daughter, mother - son, brother - sister should be prohibited.
(b) There should not be any marriage between a step-brother and a step-sister.
(c) The system of marrying cousins should also be stopped.
(d) No one should break the blood relation from the father’s side.
(e) The blood relation from mother’s side should be opened after the fourth generation only. He who violates the above rules will be killed by thunderbolt.
2. (a) Young girls of a different blood should be bought for wives and their marriage should be solemnized through their priest and his witness would legalize the girl’s status as a legal wife of a legal husband.
(b) The children born of an illegal wife or illegal husband will be illegal and they cannot have any rights to parental property. They will be under the disposal of their maternal uncle.
3. (a) When a woman delivers a male child, she should be purified on the fourth day and the child should be named on the same day.
(b) She should be purified on the third day if she bears a female child and the naming ceremony of the female child should be done on the same day.
45 Kirat Mundhum by I.S. Chemjong, 1961, page 25-26
4. (a) When a male member of a family dies, his corpse should be washed and wrapped with a white shroud and put into a wooden coffin, “ Khong” and should be covered with, “Khuk” in such a way that the face of the corpse can be seen from outside. The head of the corpse should be exposed and be sheltered with a kind of cap or hat or umbrella, “Saklip”.
(b) The coffin should then be buried within a stone box under a four feet deep pit. All the mourning members who attend the burial ceremony should offer a last handful of earth to show their last respect to the dead person and the following should be chanted, “God had made your body out of the earth and ashes and today your body is mixing with the earth again.” After covering the pit with earth and stones, the grave should be piled up with four steps of stones for the man and three steps for the woman. A stone pillar should be erected in the middle of the grave. If the man is of high regard, his stone monument should be raised to eight or nine steps high in his honour.
5. (a) The mourning should be observed for four days for men and three days for women.
(b) The living members of the house of deceased person should not take salt, oil, ginger and chilli within the mourning period.
(c) On the fourth day or third day, all the relatives and friends of the deceased person should assemble in his house and purify the living members of the house of the deceased person who remained impure because of the death of one of the members of their house.
(d) The priest should explain the assembly, the name and the address of the deceased person and the cause or disease and the treatment of the sickness
and the failure of recovering from it. He should request the people that it was due to the will of God Ningwaphuma that such and such person had died. He was no more among them. His death has made every member of his family very sad and impure. They had been forbidden from talking, working, mixing with other people and taking salt, oil, ginger and chili or any kind of spices. They were in great trouble and request the gentlemen present to kindly purify them from that day onwards so that they would be free to move or talk or work or eat or drink as usual.
The Priest should address and ask the assembly:
“Listen yea gentlemen! I hear that such and such person of your village is dead and gone from among you. Is this true or not ?”
The Assembly should answer:
“Yes, yes! He is dead and gone from among us. We know about his illness and we tried our best to cure him. But, it was by the will of God Ningwaphuma, his period of life is completed and therefore, he is dead and gone from among us. He has been separated from us forever.”
The Priest:
“Has he been put into the lap of his forefathers in heaven or not?”
The Assembly:
“Yes, yes! He has been accepted into the lap of his forefathers in heaven.”
The Priest:
“Has he not faced any kind of obstacles on his way to heaven by the evil spirits of hogs and fowls?”
The Assembly:
“No, no! He has not faced any obstacles of the evil spirits of hogs and fowls on his way to heaven. He was the son of God, the son of the Sun, and the son of Moon. So he directly went to heaven where God and his forefathers live.”
The Priest:
“Then he is dead and gone and is no more among us. When he has been accepted by his forefathers in heaven; then will you purify his living relatives and set them free from the bondage of impurity?”
The Assembly:
“Yes, yes! We will purify them! We will make them free from the bondage of impurity! From today onwards, his living relatives are all pure. They are no more in the bondage of impurity. From today, they are free to talk, work, to eat everything as usual. They are free to mix around with all. Their friends and relatives give them best wishes. Let God Ningwaphuma save them from any sort of distress and calamities in future!”
The Priest:
(Turning towards the impure members)
“From today onwards, you are free from all kinds of impurities. All the gentlemen who have assembled here today made you free and pure as they are. You can now
take salt, oil, ginger, chilli as usual. You are free to talk, move and work as usual. The practice of greeting which had been closed for many days and will be resumed from today.
(He will then ask them to bow down before all the gentlemen present for the function.)
The purified persons will bow down before the priest and all the people of the assembly.
They will then serve meals to all the people present and thus the living relatives of the deceased person will be purified. They however, are prohibited from attending celebrations like singing or dancing or rejoicing in any function for one full year.
At the start of human life, there lived a brother and a sister in one house. They were called Suhampheba and Lahadongna. Their maid-servant was a Bitch (a she-dog). When they reached puberty, they were victimized by the evil power of Cupid and so they were compelled to have a sexual intercourse. They did so and produced many children.
The Bitch, their maid-servant, knew that this sort of sexual intercourse between a brother and a sister was illegal. It was the violation of the rule of not breaking blood relation. Although, the Bitch had an antagonistic view in such matters, she did not express her view to anybody, but kept the matter in her own heart.
One day, Lahadongna, her mistress being disgusted with the mischievousness of her children, rebuked the Bitch. But, being wise and matured, she just
46 Translated from Limbu MSS, Hodgson collection 1840, No.84 by I.S. Chemjong 1965
tolerated and kept quiet. But the next time, Lahadongna again became angry with the Bitch, she beat her with a broom. It really hit her hard on the head and so she cried out saying, “I have done nothing wrong, why should I be beaten? I am your maid-servant and have been looking after your children, though they are not legal issues.” Hearing such a daring response, she got furious and kicked her out and said, “You may go before the sun and the moon and lodge a complaint against us.”
The Bitch felt very sad and so she left the house and went up to the abode of the Eight Spirits, who were dwelling in the midst of the shining light. She went up and at last reached the door of that shining light. She barked and requested the Eight Spirits to allow her to live at the gate of heaven.
The Eight Spirits asked her who she was and why she had approached them. The Bitch explained that she was a maid-servant of a couple of mankind. They were called Suhampheba and Lahadongna. She had been serving them obediently. She told them that were not really a married couple. In fact, they were a brother and a sister of the same blood. But they had committed a great crime by violating the human rule of not breaking the blood relation. By means of such an illicit process, they had produced many children. There was no one among mankind to try their case of such crime. She added that in spite of everything, she had been serving them well. But Lahadongna had ill-treated her, rebuked her and struck her with a broom though she had done nothing wrong. When she retaliated, Lahadongna had got very annoyed and kicked her saying that she could lay a complaint before the Sun and the Moon for their crime. She said that since there was no justice on earth, Lahadongna had oppressed her. She had therefore, approached them with the request to allow her to dwell at the gate of heaven, so that she might be able to stop their souls as well as the souls of their children from entering heaven.
The Eight Spirits told the Bitch that the judgement for such sinful crime could be made by the supreme spirit God, Ningwaphuma only. So it would be better for her to return to her mistress's house and serve her patiently as before. Her mistress would give her food to eat and would take care of her. They told her that if her mistress still behaved arrogantly as before, then she could approach God Ningwaphuma for judgement.
Hearing such words of consolation of the Eight Spirits the Bitch returned from the door of shining light to the house of Suhampheba and Lahadongna. When she reached her mistress's house, she found her sitting by the fireside surrounded by her numerous children. As soon as Lahadongna saw the Bitch, she reproached her and asked her about her missing from the house. The Bitch also related that she had approached the Eight Spirits for the cause of her ill-treatment towards her. She further told her mistress that she has been advised by the Eight Spirits to approach the supreme spirit God Ningwaphuma if she would be ill-treated again.
Hearing this, Lahadongna was so full of wrath at the Bitch’s menace that she jumped over her and kicked her again saying that she could immediately approach God Ningwaphuma with her complaint. The Bitch felt very sad and cried and cried. She approached God Ningwaphuma in the galaxy of bright lights where he resided and pleaded before him, saying that she had been gifted as a servant of mankind and she was maid-servant of Suhampheba and Lahadongna. She had been giving them a loyal service, though their treatment towards her was not favorable. She had been tolerating all the reproaches of her mistress. But, Lahadongna, her proud mistress had struck her on her head with a broom. When she said that she had done nothing wrong to be beaten like that with a broom, Lahadongna had jumped over her and had kicked her again, saying that she could immediately approach God Ningwaphuma for justice. The Bitch pleaded to the God, “I
have come up before Thee, 'O' holy God' to complain about the illicit relationship between she and her brother and how through such a relationship, they had produced many illegal issues. But inspite of committing such crime, her mistress Lahadongna did not care less about God and her sinful acts.” She further added that, “Since there is no justice on earth to punish such crime. I, therefore, request Thee, 'O' God Ningwaphuma to be kind enough to allow me to dwell at the gate of heaven so that I may be able to punish them by not allowing their souls as well as the souls of their children to enter heaven.”
Hearing the complaint of the Bitch against the sinful act of Suhampheba and Lahadongna and her request for the punishment of such crime, God Ningwaphuma consoled her and said, "So long you are living and lives of mankind remain on earth, you should live together and help each other. There is happiness in it. But for the justice of such crime, you should return to your native village, collect all the elderly men and put your grievances before them, and request them for a true judgement. They will attend to your statement, discuss and decide what kind of punishment should be given for such a crime committed".
He also said,”As regards to yourself, live with mankind and serve them loyally till you die. After your death your soul may dwell at the gate of heaven from where you may be able to refuse any soul who commits such crime from entering heaven.”
The Bitch then returned to her native land and called a meeting of the elderly men of her village. All the wise men assembled in the meeting. The sun cast its bright rays and the moon threw down its noble beams. Thus it became a luminous and delightful meeting.
In the House of Opinion, the Bitch laid down her grievances against Suhampheba and Lahadongna for their violation of human rule of not breaking blood relation and the ill-treatment of Lahadongna towards her in spite of her
loyal service to them. She then requested the House for Justice for an appropriate punishment for such crime.
The members of the council listened to the statement of the Bitch, discussed and decided the following resolutions:
1. That, no member of a family of the same blood relation should be allowed to keep a matrimonial relation with the member of the same family of the same blood.
2. That, Suhampheba and Lahadongna should not live as a consort. They should be separated from each other.
3. That, their children should be given to each of them separately.
4. That, let the electric current and thunderbolt perish those members who violate the set of rules of matrimony.
5. That, after the death of Suhampheba and Lahadongna, their souls should be converted into electric current (Lorang) and Thunderbolt (Seri) and the culprits should be killed.
According to the above resolutions, the above council members separated Suhampheba and Lahadongna. They asked one man to bring a sieve and some amount of linseed and shake it before the meeting. When the man shook the sieve, some of the linseed passed through the hole down to the ground. The members then counted the number of linseed that were in the sieve and counted an equal number of children and gave them in charge of Suhampheba. They again counted the number of linseed that were on the ground and equally counted the number of children and gave them in charge of Lahadongna.
Since Suhampheba, Lahadongna and their children were moving in different directions, the wise warned them of the possibility of encountering enemies, so they asked them to be very careful. They explained how jealously
leads to enemity, enemity to crime and crime to endless troubles in life. They were advised to worship God Ningwaphuma for His blessings, cultivate land, grow crops and give their children good food and drink (Thi) and multiply the numbers. But before taking the food, it first had to be offered to God Ningwaphuma and then their children would be blessed. If they did not observe those rules and committed a crime again, they would be killed by the electric current (Lorang) and the thunderbolt (Seri) and their dead souls would be destroyed by the dead soul of the Bitch.
But if they abided by the rules given by the Council, the descendants of Suhampheba would come out as famous religious priest and the descendants of Lahadongna would come out as famous kings. The honour for both the positions would be regarded equally.
The names of the members of the First Council of human beings were Nawara Samba, Sumona Samba, Samsingbung Samba, Muktubung Samba, Tappeso Samba, Yengaso Samba, Chonuso Samba and Khesewa Samba. They were the wise men of those days and were experts in spiritual as well as temporal knowledge.
Thus, Suhampheba went to a mountainous country and settled there with his children. Lahadongna also went to a country in the plains and lived there with her children. From that time, the children of Suhampheba and Lahadongna began to observe the above rules till this day and do not break the blood relations. The womenfolk also don’t beat dogs with brooms nor kick them.
The Strength of the Panchayat Meeting
Although, the children of Suhampheba and Lahadongna observed the rules of the Panchayat or Council, many of them began to believe in various kinds of superstitions. They began to give more weight to blind
beliefs and soothsaying than to the strength of the Panchayat or Council or Chumlung. After many years, a man, Chukmiba by name, came out among mankind, and proved practically that the strength of the Panchayat or Council meeting carries more value than the superstitious beliefs.
The story of his personal experiment in this connection runs as follows:
Because by nature, Chumbika was a strict follower of the strength of Panchayat or Chumlung, he was a staunch opponent of the followers of superstition or astrology.
When he entered into married life, he was compelled by his relatives to consult an astrologer just before taking his newly married wife to her parent's house as a rule. They said that if he went to his father-in-law's house without consulting astrology, he would be put into great trouble. But, he blindly denied it and said that blind-beliefs would only lead a man astray. He was of the opinion that one should not follow such superstitious beliefs. He was a practical man who believed in facts and thought that the victims of such supernatural beliefs would have to fall into the pit of sorrow, if their expectations or prophecies were not fulfilled. He, thus, beat his relatives down in discussion and decided to go to his father-in-law's house with his wife, without consulting any astrologers.
The astrologers became very disappointed for their negligence, and so they devised ways and means to put Chukmiba into great trouble. When the man was proceeding with his new bride, one of the astrologers played such a trick that, he by his magical power dried all the water of the stream on his way and made the new bride feel very thirsty. She began to pant for thirst and Chukmiba became very sad because he could not get water anywhere near. When the bride fainted for want of water, Chukmiba hesitated and ran in search of water. After walking a good deal, he came to a grove of plantain.
He began to squeeze the juice of the bark of plantain into a leafy cup. It took him a very long time to fill it up to its brim.
Meanwhile, the astrologer changed himself into a Chukmiba look-alike by his magical powers and went before the new bride and quenched her thirst by his jugglery. When the bride’s thirst, was quenched, the strange man asked her to proceed further. She took him to be her own husband and proceeded on her way.
When Chukmiba came to the spot where his bride was lying in half sense with a handful of water, her marveled at the absence of his wife.
He wept and cried for his wife but no trace of her could be found. Various kinds of wild thoughts came to his anxious mind. First, he thought of her committing a suicide death by falling jumping down the precipice, but he did not find any sign of unnatural death. Secondly, he thought that someone might have come and taken her away in his absence. With such suspicion, he climbed up a hill and looked round the villages. On the other side of the hill, he saw a couple-a man and woman walking up a steep path. His suspicion grew stronger and he ran after them. Within a couple of minutes, he caught up with them. He realized to his horror that his wife was being taken away by some strange man who looked exactly like him. For an instant, he couldn’t believe his own eyes and so tested his own sense by smelling the young leaves of a lavender plant and some marshy grass having a bitter smell. He found himself in his senses and gathered that his wife was certainly kidnapped by some person who looked exactly like him. He then resolved to free his wife from the clutches of that strange man. But by that time, the couple had reached a good destination.
However, Chukmiba ran as quickly as he could. Within twenty minutes, he caught up with them again. He pulled his wife’s hand and questioned her about the stranger she had been walking with. When the bride saw Chukmiba, she turned her head towards the strange man.
She saw a man who exactly looked like her husband. She was so confused that she could not utter a single word. She could not recognize her real husband. At this stage, Chukmiba dragged his wife towards him and began to walk ahead.
The strange man got very annoyed and rebuked Chukmiba saying that he had no right to drag somebody’s wife like that. Chukmiba answered him and said that she was his married wife. On the way she had been very thirsty, and so he had gone out in search of water, and that his man had taken the opportunity of his being away and had kidnapped her. The strange man was so furious that he gave a good blow to Chukmiba and said that he had no right to take away his wife from him.
Chukmiba returned the strange man’s blow in such a way that his nose started bleeding. In this manner, two men started a duel.
At the very moment, a spirit appeared before them all of a sudden in the form of a man and tried to stop them from fighting. The spirit man asked both of them the cause of their quarrel.
The strange man now smeared with blood complained that he was walking with his wife when all of a sudden this man started following them, caught the hand of his wife and tried to kidnap her. Further, he smashed him on my face with such a blow that his nose started bleeding. He blamed Chukmiba for his malicious act.
Chukmiba told the spirit man with a louder voice that the woman was his newly married wife. On the way, she had felt so thirsty and faint that she had fallen unconscious. Seeing the condition of his wife, he had gone in search of water and it was during this time that this strange man had taken the opportunity to kidnap her.
The spirit man then said that as both of them looked exactly alike, he would not be able to decide who the real husband of the woman was. He would, therefore,
test their intellect and hand over the woman to one with more intellect.
He then brought a small water pot with a little hole through which a tube could pass through. He then asked both of them to enter the water pot from its hole turn by turn and to come out through the tube. No sooner the spirit man spoken these words, the strange man immediately made his body very small and entered the water pot from the hole and came out through its tube.
Chukmiba got absolutely and wondered how such an act could be done by an ordinary man. He thought that it was some kind of magical trick. This strange man seemed to be an expert in occultism, and that was why he could show such magic. But, "I am still not going to believe in such occultism or superstition", he thought.
Chukmiba told the spirit man that he was a real man who did not want to be tested by such magical tricks. He said that his case should be tried before the Panchayat or Council or Chumlung. He would certainly agree to any decision the Panchayat or Council or Chumlung members would give.
The spirit man agreed to the proposal put across by Chukmiba and led the party to a near village. He asked the headman of the village to try and decide the case of the two men quarrelling over the same wife.
The headman called a meeting of the noblemen of his village. But the spirit man and the strange man consulted one another and as agreed upon, the headman of the village would test the mentality of the Council members by asking questions. If they gave the correct answer, he would agree to their decision. If not, all of them would meet a death punishment.
Having heard such a condition of the spirit man, all the members of the Council united together in one voice and agreed unanimously to support the point of any member of the Council who would first propose the answer.
The spirit man then brought three earthen pots containing blood, a turban and water respectively to the meeting. He pointed the first vessel and asked the Council members to name the content. One of the members stood up and answered that the vessel contained water. This proposal was unanimously supported and tested. When the spirit man removed the cork of the vessel and turned the mouth of the vessel downwards, it was found that the blood in it changed into water and came out flowing. The spirit man was beaten.
He then showed the second vessel and asked them what was there. Another member of the Council stood up and answered, “snake.” The same proposal was supported by all the members. When the spirit man opened the mouth of the vessel, a long snake came out coiling. The spirit man was again defeated.
Lastly, he questioned them what was in the third vessel. One member proposed milk. This proposal was also unanimously supported and tested. When the spirit man removed the cork of the vessel and poured out the liquid, they found pure milk came out flowing.
The spirit man was defeated and thus permitted the Council members to try the case of Chukmiba and the strange man.
The Council members then recorded the statements of both the plaintiff and the defendant, compared the statements, discussed them and finally decided that the point of the strange man in of entering the small water pot and coming out through its tube with such ease was sheer jugglery. The points in the statement of Chukmiba proved to be real facts. Thus, they resolved that Chukmiba must be the real husband of the woman and therefore, they gave the woman to Chukmiba. The spirit man and the strange man being ashamed of their failure disappeared then and there.
This example of the strength of the voice of Panchayat or Council or Chumlung members is followed
by the children of Suhampheba and Lahadongna till this day and is recited at every function of their purification of death ceremony.
The Limbu tribe of the great Kirat nationality has made the phrase, "Majority votes should be granted," so popular that they even unto this day believe and practice such catechism in their religious functions.
Thus, the Kirat people observe the marriage rules very strictly. They fear the suffering of double punishment of temporal as well as spiritual life.
Thus, when the Aryans first saw the Kirat-Ashur people in India, they found them as enlightened like themselves and called them Devas or Gods or civilized people. In the religion of Veda, it is mentioned that the deities are in the main conceived as humans. The names for the gods appear in Sanskrit as Deva, meaning enlightened one. Another designation used for deity in the Rig Veda is Ashur or Assura. But, in the Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda and subsequent Vedic literature, the Ashur-Kirat people fought against the Aryans and therefore, they were thought of as evil, as demons.47
But the Biblical Atlas and Scripture Gazetteer of the Religious Tract Society of London proves that the ancient land of Ashur or Assura people was situated on the east bank of river Tigris, bounded on the south by Susa, the capital town of Elam or Southern Persia. As a kingdom, it is often said to have been founded by Ashur or Assura, the second son of Shem and the second grandson of Noah, who on leaving Shinar or Babylon travelled northwards and founded Ninebeh, the capital town of Ashur Land or Assyria. (2400 - 2300 BC).48
The history of the Ashur people mentions that, they originated from Babylonia, but later on, received a Semitic
47 The Religion and Philosophy of Veda and Upanishad by Keith, page 231
48 The New Biblical Atlas by Religious Tract Society of London, page 7
population and became one nation with them and they were called the Kiratite or Kirat people.
Regarding Yakshas or Yakkhas, the Archeology of World Religion mentions that the Archeological Museum of Mathura has a statue of Yaksha or Yakka. It is said that it is the oldest known Indian stone sculpture and is eight feet, eight inches high. The Sanskrit word, “Yaksha” or, “Yakkha” was perhaps originally a non-Aryan or at any rate a popular designation signifying practically the same as the Aryan Deva.49
The ancient account of Ninebeh, the capital town of Kirat-Ashur people in Assyria or Ashur Land, as mentioned by some writers is said to have been "forty eight or even sixty miles in circumference. It was built on the bank of river Tigris. In the book of Jonah, it is described as an exceeding great city of three days journey". It was surrounded by a wall of one hundred feet high and was so broad that three carriages could be driven on it. Fifteen hundred towers, each two hundred feet high, at intervals, protected the city. In the days of Jonah, there were 120,000 children in it and they did not know how to distinguish the left hand from the right hand which would lead to the calculation that it possessed 2,000,000 inhabitants. Her merchants are said by the prophet Nahum -16) to have been more in number than the stars of heaven.50
The Greek historian, Herodotus records that the fate of Ninebeh and indicates the spot where it stood; but
49 The Archeology of World Religion by J. Finegan, page 145 -146
50 Biblical Atlas and Gazetteer by the Religious Tract Society of London, page 8
after his time, the site of the renowned city was rapidly forgotten and for the ages, was a matter of conjecture. In the second century of the Christian era, Lucian, who was a native of a city on the bank of river Euphrates said that no vestiges of it remain at present and it can easily be ascertained where formerly it stood. Subsequently, writers considered the knowledge of its locality as entirely lost. But in the present century, however, researchers Rich, Botta and especially Layard, have not only ascertained the site but have also uncovered the treasures of antiquity concealed for centuries beneath the extensive mounds of earth which has thrown light on the customs and religious rites of the inhabitants of this famous place. Mr. Layard commenced in 1845 AD, the excavation of the great mound, long known to the natives of the region by the name Nimroud, situated near river Tigris. The singularly details of his progress and success are found in his valuable work, "Ninebeh and its Remains". Many of the massive sculptures, brass-relics, instruments of war and domestic articles, in a good state of preservation, recovered from the ruins, now enrich the treasures of the British Museum. Several of these striking monuments throw a new and valuable light on various portions of the prophetical writings of Ezekiel, Nahum and Zephaniah and confirm the truth of the sacred writings.
The first mention in the old testament of the Assyrian Empire is upon the mission of Jonah to Ninebeh in about 1750 BC. For a long period, it was very small, but there arose a succession of warlike kings such as Pul, Tiglethpillesser, Shalmaneser, Sargon, Sennacherib and Esarhaddon, who carried their conquest over Media, Persia, Babylon, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt, India and other eastern countries and ruled all the states by making their capital at Babel or Babylon.51
51 Biblical Atlas and Scripture Gazetteer, page 8
The Bharat ka Brihat Itihas(History of India) by Pandit Bhagava Datta mentions that the kings of China, of the Turks,52 of the Zana and all the other kings of the earth, looked up to the king of Babel or Babylon with great respect for he was the first king on the earth.53 Assyrian also informs us that in ancient times, the Assyrian or Ashur kings ruled the Indian tribes. This fact is proved by Rigveda (10/99/10) that in ancient times the Ashur kings had their colonies in the Indus valley and Surastra. Their ruler was called Danavendra Aruru. They had a good connection with Mohenjo-daro and the Harapp civilization.54 This colonization of the Ashur kings in India existed a thousand years before the Vedic age.
In ancient times, the Kirat-Ashur kings had formed one of the mightiest sovereignties of the earth.55 Bhagava Datta says in his Brihat Itihas that after King Prithu's long rule, the Ashur kings prevailed all over the earth.56
In the year 668 BC, the kings of the Ashur land called Ashur Banipal reconquered Egypt, sacked away the Thebes, and led an expedition to Arabia. But at the same time a new race, the Scythians began to invade Western Asia. It was King Ashur Banipal who organized the famous library in Ninebeh. In 626 BC, during the reign of King Ashur Itil-Ilani, the Scythians invaded the Kirat-Ashur Empire and broke it into pieces.57
Pandit Bhagava Datta mentions that the downfall of Kirat-Ashur kings began from the time when the war between Deva and Ashur people started. He says that
52 The Turks were Mongolians of Central Asia
53 Bharat ka Brihat Itihas by Vagava Datta, page 46
54 Ibid page 73
55 Biblical Atlas and Scripture Gazetteer, page 8
56 Bharat ka Brihat Itihas by Bhagava Datta, page 44
57 Assyrian History by Leonard F. King, pages 196,262
during the reign of Chakravarti Sagar, he had a great war with Ashuras, who were a composite race of Haihayas, Sakas, Yavanas, Khambos or Khambojas, Kiratas, Pallavas and the Paradas. Bur by the superior power of king Sagar, the Ashuras were defeated.58
In 606 BC, the last king of the Kirat-Ashur people of Assyria, Sin-Shar-Ishkun, by name perished in the flames of his palace. Thus, from this time, the Kirat-Ashur people as a nation disappeared and their territories were divided by the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Persians, Turks and Indians.59 After many years, the Indian Kirat-Ashur people were converted into Rajput Hindus for a political reason.
According to Richard Temple, the population now known as the Rajputs, are not of Aryan origin, but of various descents, generally foreign, though sometimes aboriginal; for during the many invasions, a great number of miscellaneous tribes from the north and west had settled in India, each with its ruling family and its people, and thus, were set up as clans held together by a highly developed sense of chivalry. The same process had taken place in the case of the more closely knit and more powerful of the aboriginal tribes."
By the seventh centuary AD, all these had become thoroughly Hinduised and had adopted Hindu Law of " Right Conduct"(Dharma). So the ruling families were taken into Aryan Hindu fold and became Kshatriyas."60 But those Kirat-Ashur people who made their permanent settlement in the mountain region abided by their original culture and civilization.
58 Bharat ka Brihat Itihas by Bhagava Datta, page 106
59 The New Biblical Atlas, page 8
60 History of Nations Prehistoric India by Sir Richard Temple Bart, CIE, pages 146,152,154
Chapter II
A Spectacular Phase
Before the coming of the Limbus to the east Nepal, this Kirat land was ruled by eight feudal chiefs. They were called Honden Hang, Yaketet Hang, Chesbi Hang, Laraso Pangbo Hang, Khesiwa Hang, Ekangso Hand, Khadi Hang and Eme Hang.
The chief Eme Hang was the Leader of the Lapcha Tribe, who had spread from river Deo Mai to river Teesta in the east. Later on, they spread to Tam Sang, Daling and other places of Kalimpong and Bhutan. Those who spread towards the north reached Sangut Lyang and Mayel Lyang which are now called Darjeeling and Sikkim. The other chiefs except Khadi Hang were the chiefs of the Khambongba or Khambo or Khamboja people who had spread to the far-west till river Dudkoshi.
The other chief Khadi Hang was the leader of the Bodo Kirat people who had spread from the Mechi hill of Illam district to the terai lands of Jhapa, Siliguri, Mainaguri and Mahakalguri of West Bengal.
Now, the Tai Shan people who had migrated from Nam Naw, North Burma towards the north-west direction made their settlement on a land between river Chindwin and Mt. Patkoi. They lived there for many years. A branch which spread from Mung Maw to the south-west, settled on a place called Monkwan and started calling themselves the Shan-Mokwan family. From there a group had migrated to the Sittang valley.
Probably, in the beginning of the 6th century AD, a more powerful Kirat tribe, Kachin or Chingpho by name invaded their land from the northern direction. A great battle was fought by the Shan Mokwan people to resist their enemies from occupying their land. But the enemies
turned out to be stronger than the Shan Mokwan people. In the battle that took place on the bank of river Sittang, the Chingphos or Kachins killed thousands of Shan Mokwan people. When the Kachins saw a lot of corpses of the Shan Mokwan people, they called the battle field by the name of Hukkang,61 which means the place where thousands of corpses were seen.
The survivors of the Shan Mokwan people of Sittang valley then left the place and came to Assam after crossing Mt. Patkoi. These Shan Mokwan people originated from the Tai class of the Chinese nationality, who in the beginning had come from the Suchuwang province of Unan state of China. They had immigrated to North Burma and had settled in a place called Monkwan. From Monkwan, a group had migrated to Sittang valley where they had to encounter the Kachin invasion. The Kachin Kirat people who had migrated from Himalayan terai land had consolidated their land from Eastern Assam to all the lands of North Burma.62
The Shan people moved southwards and established a federal state of the Shan people in the middle of Burma. Their headman was called Showbwa from which the word Shubba or Subba is derived.
The Karen people, also a branch of the Shan nationality, moved southwards and made their permanent home in the Arakan mountain ranges. J.D. Hooker, M.D.R.N.F.F.S., in his book Himalayan Journal, compares the Lamchas and the Limbus of the Himalayan country with Karen, the natives of Arakan and says that their
61 The Hill People of Burma by F. Davision, page 38
62 The Kirat Mundhum mentions that the Kachins in the origin were migrated from Simangarh of Nepal Terai. The Lapchas settled in East Nepal or Sikkim and the Kachins settled in the East Assam and North Burma. This fact is also mentioned in the introduction of my Dictionary of Limbu, Nepali and English Languages - 1961, page 4, I. S. Chemjong
culture, dress and military tactics of these tribes are the same.63
The Mong, the ruling race of Burma had also migrated from the Suchuwang province of China. Thus, the whole land of Burma was ruled by the Kirat people of Kachin, Karin, Shan and Mong tribes.
According to the ancient history of China by Prof. H.A. Giles, M.A., LL. D., page 67 of the History of Nations, the Chinese established their kingdom in 2692 BC on the bank of river Hwang Ho.64 By the year 2200 BC, their nation increased and had separated into eight villages of the names of Yung Chao, Ke Chao, Sun Chaom Yen Chao, Chin Chao, Yuwa Chao, Yang Chao and Tai Chao. The meaning of Chao was province and the former names were the names of the families who ruled the above noted provinces. As time passed, a strong and wise king of Sun Chao belonging to the Scia family, Yu, controlled all the villages except the Tai Chao of the south and ruled over them according to feudal system.
The chief of Tai Chao remained independent. He consolidated his kingdom from Suchuwang upto the Unan province. After the reign of Yu Scia, the Chao family came into prominence in China. There arose a great tribal antagonism in his time. The Tai nationality of the Unan state, therefore, left their native place and migrated to other places. Those who came to the south made their settlement in a dense forest and called it Tai Lungma. Another branch spread further to the south and called themselves Tai Shan and settled in a place called Nam Maw in north Burma. The name of their leader was Pongbo Hang.65 When their number multiplied, they spread to the east, west and south, a branch of which spread from Mung Maw to the south west, settled in a place called Mokwan, and called themselves Shan Mokwan family. These Shan
63 Himalayan Journal by Sir Joseph Hooker, M.D.R.N.F.F.S., page 96
64 The Chinese History by Prof. H.A. Giles, page 67
65 Kirat Itihas by I. S. Chemjong 1948, page 9
Mokwan tribes had to fight against the Kachin people on the bank of river Sittang.
Thus, these Shan Mokwan people of Sittang Valley of north Burma came to Assam under the following ten leaders:
1. Thosoing Kanglaing Hang
2. Thindang Sawaro Hang
3. Thosoding Hamleba Sawaro Hang
4. Thoding Tangsak Sawaro Hang
5. Yokoding Sawaro Hang
6. Moguplungma khambek Sawaro Hang
7. Yokphoding Sawaro Hang
8. Moguplungma Langsoding Sawaro Hang
9. Yokphoding Ighang Laing bo Hang
10. Totoli Toingbo Hang
Besides these ten leaders, there were three classes of priests among them. They were Phejikum Phedangma, Sambahang Iplihang and Sammundhum Yepmundhum. These Shan Mokwan people and their leaders were guided by these priests.
When they came to Assam, they found that the land was already occupied by people of their own stock. So they came further west to the terai lands of North Bengal and from there, they came up to the hilly parts of east Nepal which were under eight Kirat chiefs. They approached them for permission to settle there under their sovereignties. They, therefore, settled in the Kirat land under the eight Kirat chiefs.
When their families multiplied, they became so crowded that their chiefs began to feel some evil against them. The Kirat chiefs oppressed them so much so that the children of these Shan-Mokwan people could not tolerate them any longer. So, they began to conspire against their rulers.
They held meetings in places called Ambe Pojoma, Kamket Lungma and Sumhet Lungma, discussed and
finally decided to revolt against their rulers. They came together to Ambepo joma, built a place of worship by erecting three red stones and planted three mango trees round the stones. After sprinkling holy water upon it, each and every fighting soldier took an oath before the holy place, saying that, they would fight or die and that they would not return home from the battle field until the kings were driven away from the country, and that, he would die sooner than run away from the battle field.
Emergence of the name “Limbuwan”
After the final resolution for the revolution, the leaders of Shan Monkwan people challenged their rulers in the battle field. The eight Kirat chiefs raised their troops and ordered them to massacre all the people of the villages occupied by the children of Shan Mokwan people and annihilate them. Thus, they declared war with the Shan Mokwan people of their own land. A great war broke out and the Shan Mokwan people also fought very bravely. In every village, the Shan Mokwan people gained victory over their kings and drove them away from their lands. Some of the kings were slain in the battle and some left their native place and fled away to other countries. The Shan Mokwan people then seized the country as their own.
After their victory, then assembled at their holy place, consulted and fixed the boundaries of the conquered land. They fixed the northern boundary in Tibet; the southern boundary in the Indian plain at Jalal Garh near Purnea; the eastern boundary at river Teesta and the western boundary at river Dudkoshi. They further held a
meeting at the holy place of Ambe pojoma, discussed, consulted and decided to name the Kirat land by the name of, “Limbuwan.” They further discussed whether the Kirat land of Limbuwan should be ruled by one or more elected kings of the children of Shan-Mokwan people. They decided that since the land was conquered by the unity of the children of Ten Leaders of Shan-Mokwan people, the Ten Chiefs be elected from among the children of the Ten separate Leaders. They also decided to divide the conquered land into ten districts with each Chief as the ruler of his district.
Thus, according to the resolution of their meeting, they elected Ten Chiefs or Hangs, divided the Kirat land of Limbuwan into ten districts and placed each Chief or Hang in each district in the following manner. Each of the Chiefs or Hangs also built his fort and fixed the boundaries of his district.
They divided the land in the following ways:
1. Samlupi Samba Hang was elected King of Tambar district who built the Tambar fort. He ruled his district occupied by Phenduwa, Patlungwa, Potangwa, Tawa, Bantawa, Paksongwa, Labung, Samsingbung, and other tribes.
2. Sisiyen Shering Hang was elected King of Mewa and Maiwa districts. Formerly the Maiwa state was a separate district, but after the war it was combined with the Mewa district. The king of this district built his fort at Meringden and these districts were occupied with people belonging to the Shering Chongbang, Libang, Fago, Nugo, Nalbo, Tholong, Samba and other tribes.
3. Thoktokso Angbo Hang was elected King of Athrai district. Formerly this district was a part of Phedap district. But because it was a very big district, it was made separate from Phedap district and placed under a separate King. He built his fort at Poma
Jong and ruled Angbo Hang, Kondongwa, Ingnamphen, Yokshoba, Sendang, Poma, Loktam and Iwa and other tribes.
4. Thindolung Khokya Hang was elected King of the Yangwarok district. He built his fort at Hastapur and ruled Mabo, Thebe, Loksom, Setling, Tamling, Saling, Kambang and other tribes.
5. Yengaso Papo Hang was elected King of Panchthar district. He built his fort at Yashok and Pheden. This district was occupied with people belonging to the Tumbapo, Tumrok, Angdembe, Shermali, Songbangphe, Kurungbang, Nembang, Thegim, Makhim, Lauti, Miyong and other tribes. He fixed his southern boundary at river Samba wa and not as the present Na wa.
6. Shengsengum Phedap Hang was elected King of Phedap district, who built his fort at Poklabang and ruled Pongyangu, Ningleku, Songbangphe, Pangen Hang, Kawepung, Phombo, Chongbang and other tribes.
7. Mung Tai Chi Emey Hang was elected King of Elam(Ilam) Phakphok or CharKhola district who ruled Rong or Lapcha, Lingdom, Loktam, Photro, Patrey, Songmi, Rongong, Kabo, Taknel, Mechi, Guling, Sangpheng, Sangut, Yongyahang and other tribes. He built his fort at Angdang and Ilam.
8. Soiyak Lado Hang was elected King of Chaubis or Bodhey district who ruled over Chemjong, Songyok, Vaji or Waji, Tharu, Dhimal, Koche and other tribes. He built his fort at Shanguri and fixed his northern and southern boundaries in Samba wa and Jalal Garh near Purnea.
9. Tappeso Perung Hang was elected King of Terah Thum district. This district was also included in Phedap district in former days. But after the third revolution of the Kirat People, this district was separated and placed under a separate King who
built his fort at Thala and ruled Tumbangphe, Sodemba, Teyungba, Phedop, Kobyak and other tribes.
10. Taklung Khewa Hang was elected King of the Chhethar district. The western boundary of this district in those days extended till the river Dud Koshi. He built his Chamling Chimling fort at Khotang and ruled Maden, Tumba, Chongbang, Tegla, Mangyak, Anglabang, Chamling and other Khambongba Kirat tribes.
Birth of the proud name Limbu
After the partition of this Kirat Land of Limbuwan into ten districts, the representatives of the Ten Leaders of Shan Mokwan people again assembled in a meeting at their holy place Ambe pojoma, discussed and decided to name their nationality. Accordingly, they resolved and changed the Name of Shan Mokwan into Yakha-Thumba or Limbu. The Ten Leaders or Chiefs became Ten Limbus and the word Yakhathumba was retained as the new name for the race. Thus, the Ten Limbus became the administrators of the entire Yakhathumba race. They further resolved to convert all the old Kirat people into this new race of Yakhathumbas.66 Thus, the old Kirat people adopted this new name and became Yakhathumbas. Later on, when the Ten Limbus lost their power of administration, all the Yakhathumbas began to call themselves Limbus.
The Ten Limbus ruled their districts according to the law they made in their assembly, the centre place of which was at Ambepo joma of the Pheden fort of Panchthar district, of which Ye-Nga-So Papo Hang was the King.
66 Yakhathumba means more stronger people than Yakha Kirat people.
The Administrative Policy
1. That, no chief is liable to take any initiative in the matter of external affairs of the federal government without the consultation of the Ten Limbus.
2. In order to make the country stronger by strengthening manpower, the Ten Limbus decided to convert any caste or creed of their subject into the Limbu race and to treat them equally as their own brothers. This rule of conversion is called the Chokphung Thim.
3. When the Ten Limbus conquer any land either in Tibet or in India, all the war prisoners of such conquered land should be deported to Limbuwan and should be converted into the Limbu race according to the Limbu rule of Chokphung Thim.
4. The land, thus vacated by deportation should be occupied by the children of the Ten Limbus.
5. If a member of a Limbu family commits an offense which separates from the rest of his family, then he should be accepted again in his family by performing a function of purification of Samyok Lung Thim.
6. The children of a Limbu either from a Tibetan woman or an Indian woman should be reckoned as the legal issue and should be allowed to inherit his father's property, provided the children of such connection be recognized by a body of meeting represented by members of the Ten Limbus.
7. The sons of a Limbu family when reach the age of 12 years must learn the art of archery.
67 Kirat Itihas by I. S. Chemjong, 1948, page 32
8. Every house of a Limbu must give one of his sons to serve the State as a soldier when he reaches the age of 18. His name should be enlisted as Thoksuba.
9. When the number of Thoksubas in a village reaches 300, it must have a Thokpeba or a leader to command the Thoksubas.
10. There should be one Thoktumba to command over five Thokpebas. They should always be ready for any kind of emergency.
11. A Thoktumba is liable to get a big plot of land from the king for the maintenance of all the military officers and soldiers.
12. The Thoktumba should keep a piece of land for his requirement and distribute the rest to his junior officers and soldiers.
13. The Thoktumba is empowered to keep or remove any officer or soldier from such military service.
14. One tenth part of the income of a land should be paid to the king as land revenue.
15. A Hang-Chumlung or King Council should be composed of the Hang, the Tumyang, the Thoktumba and two elderly men known as Pasing and Padang to represent the layman.
16. A murderer should be given a death penalty.
17. A thief's hand should be dipped into boiling water.
18. A mischievous person should be asked to confess his fault before the place of worship.
19. A man who breaks his blood relation should be enslaved and sold.
20. A man who breaks his mother's relation should be expelled from the village and kept in a cave.
Birth Celebration
1. The fourth day for the male child and third day for the female child should be observed as the day of purification of the woman who bears a child. The child's naming ceremony should be performed on the same day.
Death Rites
2. Four days for the man and three days for the woman should be observed as the number of days of condolence when they die. During this period, the living relatives of the deceased person should not take salt, oil, chilli, onion and ginger. On the fourth day or the third day, they should be purified by the voice of all the members who had joined the funeral ceremony and should allow the living members of the deceased person to resume normal life as usual.69
3. The members of the house of deceased person should not rejoice or join any kind of festival or function for one complete year. After the completion of one full year, they should invite all their relatives and friends in a meeting and request them to purify and allow them to move and work like themselves.
Marriage Rules
4. A girl should always be bought for the sake of marriage of a Limbu. A marriage ceremony should
68 Kirat Itihas by I. S. Chemjong, 1948, page 33
69 This rule of purification seems to have copied from the old kirat culture.
be done in two ways. First, by making a payment of the girl's price before the marriage which should not exceed Rs.55/-. Secondly, by making payment of the girl's price after the marriage which should not exceed Rs.44/-.
5. A legal marriage should always be recognized by the Headman of the village on payment of Rs.2/- as a marriage tax. It should be called the Pharsut Yang.
6. The recognition of a marriage should always be given evidence by the second Headman of the village for which a tax of Rs.1/- should be paid. It should be called the Singchem Yang.
7. A sum of Rs.2/- should always be paid to the girl's father for the separation of his daughter's family title from him to that of his daughter's husband's family title. It should be called the Semui Yang.
8. A marriage, violating the above rules would be announced as illegal and the children from such illegal marriages would be called Khosa or Bastard. They will have no right to inherit their father's property.
9. They can be legalised by following the rule of Samyok Lung thim of the Ten Limbus.
Rules of Divorce
10. A divorce from the husband’s side is called, “Khemjong” and a divorce from wife’s side is called, “Najong”.
11. When a man divorces his wife by his own will and if he has not paid the price of his wife in full, the man will have no power to take his children with him.
Rules for Status of Children between Wife and Husband
12. His children born from his divorced wife will be called Khosa. The maternal uncle will be their guardian and they will be under his disposal. It is called the rule of, “Kwajani”.
13. But if the man does not want his wife and yet wants his children, then he can do so by legalizing the children under the rule of Samyok Lung Thim of the Ten Limbus.
14. The divorced wife will be treated as an unmarried girl and will be allowed to marry again.
15. But if the man has paid the full amount of his wife's price and yet divorces her, then he will have no claim for the refund of his wife's price from his father-in-law. He can take away his children with him.
16. If a divorced wife is married again and first man wants to refund his wife's price from the new husband of the divorced wife, he can do so according to the Tengo-Henchhing Thim70 rule of the Ten Limbus.
Rules for Unchaste Woman
17. When a man's wife lives with her parents and goes away with another man other than her own married husband, then the parents of that woman hold responsible for her.
70 Kirat MSS (uppublished)
18. But, if a woman quits her husband's house and goes away with other husband, then in such case the husband himself will be responsible for her.
19. If a wife divorces her husband, she should refund her price to her husband in front of the court. Then she will be declared an unmarried girl and will be allowed to marry again.
The Chokphung Thim
Adoption of Nationality
If a person desired to be a member of Kirat race by giving up his old relatives and expressed his sincere desire of being so, then he should choose a faithful man of a certain caste of the Kirat race. He should then talk to that particular man and express his view of wanting to be a member of his own blood and request him to accept him as one of the members of his family. Having heard the sincere desire of that man, if that particular man of the Kirat race wishes to accept him as his own brother of the same blood, then he should inform the same news to all the Ten Limbus, who would send their representatives to their assembly. The assembly would be held in the house of that particular man who makes every arrangement for the meeting. An arrangement of a feast in honour of the conversion of such person should also be made. The tribal priest should attend the function.
When all the representatives from ten different districts have assembled, the man who has come from different class but now would want to be a Kirati, having washed and worn a new costume should sit by the side of
71 Translation from an Old Limbu MSS
his would be father or brother with folded hands, just in front of the assembly.
The Priest addresses the assembly and says in a loud voice, "Listen yea gentlemen! In the olden days our forefathers had blessed us saying, you children will be increased and multiplied more than the stars of the sky and more than the sand of the sea. They will grow and prosper like, ’samyok’ grass which remains green throughout the whole year in every part of the earth. If a member of your children disappears, let ten more members grow in number. If anyone of your members is separated from the rest, let him be allowed to rejoin his group. If any member of any other nationality or race or tribe or family or cast or creed desires to join your family, let him be accepted among your children as members of the same fold. Because, it is better to gain than to lose; it is better to be more than few in number; it is better to increase children than to decrease."
"Therefore, today also, in accordance with the old system of the adoption of nationality of the Ten Limbus, this man of such and such name of such and such nationality or race or tribe or caste or family of such and such country or district or village is requesting you, that, he is going to make such and such person of such and such name and nationality or race or tribe or caste or family of such and such country or district or village? Will you accept this new member in your community?"
The Assembly (replies in a loud voice) :
“Yes! yes! We will agree to this decision. We will accept this new man in our community and treat him as one of us. We all follow the customs and rules adopted by our forefathers.”
“Therefore, from today onwards, this new man of such and such name and nationality or race or tribe or caste or family of such and such country or district or village, though a stranger to us, has become a member of
the family of such and such man of such and such caste or tribe or race of Limbu nationality of such and such country or district or village. Now, this man has become a member of the Limbu community of such and such clan of Kirat nationality of such and such village of such and such district of the Limbuwan State of the Kirat country. Henceforth, this new man will not be counted as stranger. He should be called a relative of such and such man of Limbu caste of the great Kirat nation of such and such village of such and such district of Kirat land. We have accepted him in our Limbu community.”
The Priest: (addressing to the newly converted person)
"If it is so, then you, though belonged to such and such caste or tribe or race or nationality of such and such village or district or country have been accepted in Limbu community of such and such clan of such and such family of such and such village or district or country by the gentlemen present here today."
"Therefore, from today, you have become a member of the Limbu community and a relative of such and such person. You have become his blood brother. You should not think ill of your blood brother. You no longer belong to your old caste or race or tribe."
The Priest then orders him to bow down before all the members of the assembly. The newly adopted brother also bows down to his new father or brother and his families. Depending on the age factor, he bows before the people who are elder to him.
The assembly then keeps the record of the decision of such conversion under the signature of the gentlemen present as witnesses. They resolved and fixed a certain amount of fine to those who talk ill against such converted person.
(Confession and Reception)
When the members of the representatives of the Ten Limbus or Ten Districts Assembly, the priest should recite the Mundhum saying that in the beginning, the Kirat family used to be called the Devas or the Enlightened family. When they were living in a place called Muna Temple, they multiplied and increased to such a great number that their leader ordered them that their number should be put into census. He further ordered them that; every member of their family should bring forth a stone for the counting of their numbers and out of the deposition of the stones they brought, and a memorial tower would be built. Accordingly, the task of census was completed and in commemoration of the census, they built a high tower. But the heap of stones was so big that the construction of that tower reached a height so high in the sky that its top could not be seen from the ground, neither could the bottom of the tower could be seen from its top. But the construction work went on.
But all of a sudden their language got confused. Nobody understood the language of each other. They got annoyed and began to quarrel with one another. The tower fell and most of them perished under the debris of the falling tower. The survivors also could not live in peace. They went on fighting. So one of the leaders, Papa Hang by name separated his group from the rest and brought them towards the east. His group reached the Himalayan terai in six months.
After the death of Papo Hang, Nam dyu and Nam di Hang became the leaders. These two leaders called a meeting of their people and said, "You belong to the Deva family, but on account of the quarrel between brothers, you had to be separated from them and you have come to such a far away country. Now, you should not fight any longer. You should unite together and go on increasing
number of your family like countless numbers of sand and pebbles or the numerous stars of the sky. You should prosper and grow like samyok grass which grows everywhere on earth. If any member of your family appears to be lost, let ten more members be increased. If anyone of you have to be separated from your fold for the cause of some bad conduct or ill behavior among yourselves, let him be given a chance for repentance, confession and your acceptance in your fold again. You should receive them by making the culprits touch Samyok grass and stone three times and confess their misdeeds before the assembly because it is better to have a larger number than a smaller and union is better than separation. If any one of you, therefore, is found doing mischief in the villages, he should be punished according to the law by keeping him aloof from his family fold for many days. If he repents and confesses his fault before the assembly then a meeting should be held. A long stone should be erected; the man's name should be inscribed on it; a handful of green samyok grass should be kept at the top of the erected stone along with a coin worth one rupee. At the bottom of the erected stone, a sum of rupees thirty as a fine for his misdeeds should be kept. The culprit should be made to stand by the side of the stone and the samyok grass in front of the assembly.
The Priest (addressing the gentlemen present):
"Listen yea gentlemen! This man of such and such name, son of such and such person, a resident of such and such village, has committed such and such crime in this village and therefore, he has been kept under custody for so many days. Now, he wants to repent and confess his fault before you gentlemen, in front of this stone and samyok grass erected in his name. He has deposited thirty rupees as a general fine for his mischief. Will you then pardon him? (In a loud voice)
The Assembly (In a loud voice):
"Yes! Yes!! We will pardon him if he repents for his misdeeds and confesses his fault before us. If he takes an oath before the erected stone and the samyok grass, saying that he will never commit such a crime again, we will, certainly accept him in our circle again."
The Culprit then touches the erected stone and the samyok grass three times and turning towards the assembly, confesses his fault and begs a pardon promising that he will never commit such offense again.
The Priest:
"Now, gentlemen! This man of such and such name, son of such and such person, a resident of such and such village has repented for his misdeeds, confessed his fault before you by touching the erected stone and the samyok grass three times. Now, has he been pardoned by you"?
The Assembly (in one voice):
“Yes! Yes! We have seen him touching the stone and samyok grass, repenting, confessing and requesting a pardon for his fault, so we are pleased to pardon him. He has been pardoned now; he is free to do work and eat and drink with us as usual. As we have pardoned him, in front of the gods and goddesses today, he has been pardoned by them as well.”
The Priest asks the man to bow down before all the gentlemen present. First of all, he bows down before the priest and then to all the members of the assembly. A written record of all these functions is kept by the headman of the village. After that, the man serves the meal to all the people after the completion of the feast, the function is over. The fine of rupees thirty is divided among the members of the assembly and the priest.
1. Yuma Sammang being the main God of the Ten Limbus should be worshipped twice a year- first in the month of November and secondly in the month of April.
2. Ya-wama or the season of sowing seed should be worshipped in the month of March. Chasok Mangkhoma or the season of harvest should be worshipped in the month of September.
3. When a woman becomes pregnant, God should be worshipped for the safeguard of the child of the womb. It is called the Sappok-Chomen.
4. Once a year, the headman of a family must fix a day for the worship of God for His blessings for the good health and the prosperity of his family members. It is called the Manggenna.
5. Once in three years, the headman of a family must observe a day for the worship of God especially for his health. It is called the Nehangma.
House Building Construction Ceremony
When the site of a house is being dug, no matter, whether it be a big or small building, its centre portion should be dug, a deep hole should be made and a very big, strong and high wooden pillar should be fixed there. This main pillar of the house should be called, “Hang Sitlang". Before the plantation of this main pillar, the top, the middle and the bottom of it should be bound with a cotton thread and some grains of rice should be sprinkled over them. When the hole digging function is completed, a copper piece should be dropped into the hole. After that, the main post of the house should be fixed straight
72 Kirat Itihas, 1948 by I. S. Chemjong, page 34
upwards. A pig should be killed and its blood should be sprinkled at the bottom of the post as an offering to the deity Okwanama. The priest should then address the deity Okwanama, the supporter of the earth and pray to him to protect the members who would reside in the new house for the protection of kind of disease and troubles. After the completion of the function of the main post erecting ceremony, the workers should be fed with meat and drinks.
Though the house building may be of various dimensions, it should be of a storied building and there should be a big hall room at the centre on the ground floor where religious rites should be performed. A storied building is called, "Jong Heem" in Limbu language, a small and temporary hut is called, “Yaksha" and an ordinary house is called, “Heem.”
After the completion of the construction of the house, a special puja ceremony should be performed. It is called the, "Heem-gey" ceremony. The family concerned should enter the new house and invite all the relatives and friends to attend the Heem-gey ceremony. They should assemble with contributions of coins or rice or Thi or wine. The owner of the house receives such contribution by the name of Pong-yang73 and keeps the record.
The priest then invokes God for his blessings and for the safeguard and good prosperity of the inmates.
After the feast, the guests drink and rejoice by singing and dancing throughout the whole night.
In the evening the priest should perform a puja at the bottom of the main post of the new house. He should pray to the, "Heem Sammang", the spirit God who is in charge of the house property for the safeguard of all the members of the family who will live there.
After the completion of the puja, the dancers should enter the room through the main door with their drums and
73 "Pong-yang" is the name of cash or kind contribution given to the owner of the new house.
dance round the main post of the house building three times. They should then come out and dance on the house yard throughout the whole night. Early in the morning, the drum dancers should dance round the new house three times and after that they should be dispersed.
After giving some amount of fees, the priest should be bidden farewell.
1. After the clearing of a forest, one day should be observed as the day of worship to God for His blessing. No one should work in the new field. Any person violating this rule will suffer a heavy loss when he goes to work in the fields.
2. The Kirat system of the counting year begins from the month of February, so the first roar of Thunder in that month should be regarded as the sign of the beginning of rainy season, No cultivator, therefore, should work for four days in the field. They should sacrifice birds and animals to God and pray to Him for His blessings for the timely rain and sun for the good production or harvest in their fields.
3. When the first storm blows, no cultivator should work in the field for four days. They should fast and pray to God for the good protection of their lives and crops from the bad storms.
4. The first rainfall in the year should also be observed for four days. No cultivator should work in the field. They should fast and pray to God for His good guidance in giving rain according to their needs of the cultivation.
5. A special day of worship should be observed for the hailstorm; because the accumulation of the
74 Kirat MSS (unpublished)
hailstorm makes the field very damp and if a cultivator works in such a condition his crops will not be fruitful. All the cultivators should pray to God for the protection of their crops from the damages of hailstorm.
6. The first fog which covers the ground should also be observed for one day. No cultivator should work on that day.
7. The first thunderbolt should also be observed; a failure to do so will result in great damages. God should be prayed for His protection from the harmful thunderbolt.
8. When a man buys a slave or a horse, he should not work in the fields on that day. If he does not observe it, then either his slave's or his horse's leg will be broken.
9. The day of marriage should be observed. No one should work in the field on that day. They should join the marriage party and bless the new couple for their long lives and good prosperity in their new house.
10. When there is a birth of a child, one day should be observed for fastings and prayers should be offered to God for his safety. No one should work in the fields on that day.
11. When a domestic animal bears a calf or kid or pig, one day should be observed and no work should be done in the fields.
Thus, with these rules and regulations, the descendents of the Ten Limbus ruled their districts for many years. Their trade connections with India were at Rungpur and Dinajpur of North Bengal and those with Tibet were at Sigarchi and Pharijong. Their exports included Chirayta, Majito, Musk hide and Medicine herbs.
Likewise, they imported salt, coral beads, kerosene oil, glass ornaments and woolen clothes.75
The Kirat Drum Dance of Limbuwan
The Limbu dances are always group dances. There are two classes of dances among the Kirat people of Limbuwan. The first class of dance is called Ke-Lang. It is generally practiced at religious functions and marriage ceremonies. The second class of dance is called the Ya-Rakma. This kind of dance is done for the purpose of threshing corn. In this dance, musical instruments are not required.
But at religious functions, the dance is always accompanied by musical instruments. Some of which are the Ke or wooden drum, Perigey or the kettle-drum, Ta or cymbal, Muphro or Mephrama or flute, Kom or harp, Sanai or trumpet, Siripongey or small bell and Yak-tail.
Ke-Lang is known by three names. It is called Thok-tham-gey or Heem-gey at the time of performing a housewarming puja ceremony. At the time of worshipping gods, it is called Dung-Dung-gey. Again at the time of a marriage ceremony it is called the Lam-gey and Mekkam-gey.
The Invention of Ke-drum
The Kirat Mundhum gives a description on how the Ke-drum was invented. Once, when a traveler was passing through a dense forest, he had to spend the night in that forest under the bottom of a hollow tree.
75 Kirat MSS of trade treaty collected by Subha Prem Bahadur Chemjong.
When he woke in the morning, the sun had risen up high in the sky. Suddenly, his attention was disturbed by a peculiar sound. He got up and looked in search of the sound. Then, he saw a swarm of bees humming inside the hollow space of the tree under which he was sleeping. A new idea struck him all of a sudden. He thought that if a piece of log of a hollow tree is cut and its bark is thinned and if both ends are closed with goat skin, it might certainly produce some kind of sound when struck by hand or a small stick.
With this idea, he went home and tried his best to make a wooden drum out of a hollow tree. After trying for several times, he was successful. He realized that the beating of the drum produced two kinds of sounds. The sound which came out from its right side was shrill and sharp and the sound from the left side had a flat note. Thus, he invented a wooden drum for his people.
As he was the first man to handle the wooden drum, he was called Ke-demba by his people. Later on, his descendants remembered the name of their ancestor as the inventor of the Ke-drum. So in memory of his name, they kept their family title as Ke-demba Limbu. Since Ke means a wooden drum and temma means to hold, Kedemba means the holder of wooden drum.
In the beginning, when people saw pigeons, turkeys and peacocks dancing, they imitated them and started dancing likewise. Thus, Ke-Lang dance is classified into various dances like the Cock dance, Turkey dance, Pigeon dance, Peacock dance, Dove dance, Sparrow dance, Quail dance, Snake dance, Butterfly dance, Fish dance, Porcupine dance, Deer dance, Monkey dance, Spindle dance, Bison dance and Elephant dance.
During marriage ceremonies, the women folk join the men folk in the dance. Besides dancing, the men also beat the drums. The women stand one by one after each man and follow their movements of their hands and feet. They shake their hands and feet together turning right and
left according to the sound of the Ke-drum and the small bells. In the district of Khombuwan, the instruments played while dancing are the cymbals and Yak-tails. The Kirat people do not sing at the time of dancing Ke-drum, but give a shrill slogan of rejoice like the Highlanders of Scotland.
After the solemnization of the marriage ceremony in the hall of a Limbu house, the drum-beaters enter the hall yelling and dancing step-by-step. They dance round the main post of the hall room leading the bride, bride-groom, maids in waiting and the best-man for three rounds of dancing. This process of the of the beating of the drum and the special dancing is called, “Mekamgey.” After the completion of the three rounds of dancing, they stop and sit silently round the particular main post of the hall. After that, one elderly man comes forward, sprinkles flowers before them as a offering of gratitude and expresses his gratitude on behalf of the head member of that house for their taking trouble in obliging to his invitation at his son's marriage ceremony, for blessing the new couple for their prosperous future and for pleasing God as well as all the men present through their entertaining dance. He then keeps a copper coin before them, as a sign of promise for their remuneration and requests them to continue dancing the whole night and to bless the house.
After that, they stand up again and go out dancing, beating the drums and giving slogans of marriage cry in one voice. This continues all through the night in the house yard. They change their rhythms of the dance according to the beating of the drums.
Meanwhile, the singing party composed of the elderly men sit round the main post along with bride and bride-groom and their friends. They sing the Mundhum’s chapters that talk about the creation of flowers and mankind and compare their lives with those of the flowers and bless the new couple for a prosperous and happy life.
Early in the morning at day break, the dancing party dances round the house for three more times and stop dancing. The owner of the house offers them some refreshments with Rs.5/- or five half rupees and bid them farewell. They depart from there, beating their drum in a different fashion now which they call the, “Lamgey.”
The Kirat Paddy Dance of Limbuwan
The Agricultural dance of Limbuwan is called the Ya-Rakma or Paddy dance or Dhannach in the Nepali language. Ya means paddy and rakma means to trample. So Ya-Rakma means to trample paddy with a view to separate the grains or paddy from its ears.
Introduction of Paddy Dance
In the early times, people cultivated land and sowed crops and when the crops became ready for harvest, they cut them down into bundles and trampled the ears of the crops or threshed the hay and dried the paddy plants with their arms and brought the corn home. When they knew that one man was needed for threshing one bundle of crops, they experimented in threshing ten bundles of crops by ten men at the same time. When they were successful in threshing corn in a better and a quicker way, at that time, an old man Shorokpa proposed them to work in the field in a dancing manner. He first of all introduced the system of planting paddy in a dry field. He arranged a dozen young boys to stand in a line at one corner of a prepared flat field holding cross sticks making opposite angles of about 20 degrees in their hands. He then asked a dozen young girls to stand behind the boys with a bag of corn seed to be dropped into the holes made by the young boys. Now, when the old man started singing and marching before them, the whole line of boys and girls
marched after him singing, making holes and dropping seeds into the holes according to the rhythm of the song. In such manner, the young boys and girls were also encouraged to work in the fields.
When the paddy became ready for harvest, the old man instructed them to cut and dry the paddy in the sun for some days. He then, instructed them to hold their hands side by side and tread over the hay three times and raise their left feet together. He again instructed them to trample the hay three times and raise their right feet together. Thus, they turned back and forth together for four or five times and threshed the entire bundle of paddy with their feet. Later on, the same system of threshing paddy with their feet became the famous Paddy-dance or Ya-rakma. After the death of that old man, people named this Paddy-dance the, “(Ku)Shorokpa-dance.”
As the Ke-Lang, the Paddy-dance differs from district to district. There are all together ten districts in Limbuwan, so there are at least ten different kinds of Paddy-Dance. The famous dances are known by the name of Panchtharey, Tamrangey, Siridhakpey, Phedappey, Chhotharey, Chaobisey, Athabrey, Lapchey and Tambarkholey.
This agricultural dance is practised in the winter season when the paddy becomes ready for harvest. A small round flat land in some part of the paddy field is chosen, the sods are removed, washed, plastered with cow-dung and made smooth and clear. Then paddy with its hay will be heaped in one corner of the prepared floor. After some days when it is time for threshing, the owner of the paddy field invites men and women to work and dance.
During the day time, they thresh the bundles of paddy with their arms and deposit the hay with the remaining paddy in one corner of the floor. At night when the dancers assemble, the workers spread some amount of hay in the middle of the floor and allow them to dance over the hay. They dance in a circle holding one another's
hand. The workers will keep on changing the old hay for the new one as the dance continues.
Rules for Paddy dance
1. The brothers and sisters of the same parents and cousins are not allowed to hold one another’s hands and dance together. It is taken as a sin to touch each other's hand or feet among the members of the own relatives.
2. The female members of a different family of a separate blood relation are allowed to hold the hands of the male members of a different family of a separate blood relation and dance together.
3. No one is allowed to touch the tip of the toes at the time of dancing. If someone does so by mistake, both the dancers must stop dancing and come out and beg a pardon by bowing down with folded hands.
4. The line of dancers should not consist of only boys or only girls. The line as a rule should consist of a boy and a girl alternatively. They must hold their hands.
5. There should always be a leader in the dance group who starts dancing from the right side and goes on to make a circle.
6. At every movement of 13 steps from the right to the left (5 steps to the right side and 5 steps to the left side and again 3 steps at the same spot) the whole line should turn back from the right hand side and dance like before.
One of the ways of dancing (in five steps) is as follows:
1. The boys and girls should make a circle by holding their hands with the dancers on both their sides.
2. They should march together with right foot first towards the right side in five steps.
3. The left foot which follows the right step should be raised in a straight line towards their front side in five steps.
4. Now the marching starts from the left foot in five steps towards the left side.
5. In the next step which follows the left, one should raise the foot in a curved line towards the back side, after the five steps to the left.
6. Now, at the same spot the marching should be done in two steps and the whole circle should turn their bodies from the right side to the back raising76 their feet on the third and the fourth steps in the air in a straight line towards the front and dance as before.
The timing of steps in dancing is given by the sound ha-ha, chhai-ya-ha, du-ri-ha, etc. The leader of the dancing party starts to sing it when he knows the step-dance has progressed.
7. The leader should take the lead in singing the song. The rest of the dancers repeat the same in one tune. The dancers should dance according to the rhythm of the song.
8. There should be no musical instruments at the time of such a group dance. The song sung is generally about love affairs.
9. The workers in the middle of the dancing ground should be active with their long bamboo sticks and should remove the threshed hay and supply fresh hay before the dancers.
Thus, the Limbu dance serves two purposes: one, for threshing the corn and the other for pleasure. They
76 The raising of steps high in the air forward and backward means to separate grain from the hay.
dance throughout the night. The owner of the field gives them refreshments at the interval. When the threshing of corn is completed, the dancers will be disbursed. Generally young boys and girls take part in such dances.
n example of the lyrics of Paddy-dance:
Anjima, anji angdeng-se
Anjima, anji angdeng-se ! ha-ha-ha !
Sekmari phungo segiro
Sekmari phungo segiro ! ha-ha-ha !
Ya-rakma allo pegiro
Ya-rakma allo pegiro ! ha-ha-ha !
Na-phonji hoyong nisumlo
Na-phonji hoyong nisumlo ! ha-ha-ha !
Kon hekke allo chogumlo
Kon hekke allo chogumlo ! ha-ha-ha !
Setlosang hochhe sherero
Setlosang hochhe sherero ! ha-ha-ha !
Ya-rakpa kerek kerero
Ya-rakpa kerek kerero ! ha-ha-ha !
Sirago thanglo pheriro
Sirago thanglo pheriro ! ha-ha-ha !
Lakhiang yangsi seriro
Lakhiang yangsi seriro ! ha-ha-ha !
The two of us and everybody present here are friends. Let’s pick the flowers of sekmari and let’s go and dance the paddy-dance. We will dance like the young fish that move and dance gracefully. The dancers have gathered and spread in a circle like the Setlo-sang flower. We happily came to dance and will disperse happily after the dance.
The Tong-sum Tong-nam Festival of Limbuwan
These days, the Tong-sum Tong-nam festival of the Limbuwan is called the Tri-sala Puja in the Nepali language. This puja is generally held during the month of April. This puja festival is performed in memory of the successful campaign of the powerful Kirat king Uba Hang, who under the guidance of the powerful spirit Yuma-sam had conquered all the countries lying between southern Tibet and the Mithila provice of north India in the middle of 9th century AD. King Uba Hang had instructed his people to observe this day as the day of the Tong-sum Tong-nam festival.
During this festival, all the Ten Limbu chiefs and their followers assemble in Yashok Jong at Kummayok and offer thanks by offering an oblation to their guiding spirit Yuma-sam who is addressed by her other name of Yshokeni Maharani. As this powerful spirit is regarded as, people do not offer blood sacrifices. They burn incense, offer fruits and flowers and pray for Her guidance forever. If anybody wishes to offer a blood sacrifice, they will never be allowed to kill any bird or animal within an area of about two miles of that place of worship. However, they will be allowed to go to another place of worship called Kusayok, situated at a distance of about two miles south from Kummayok to offer blood sacrifice. Those people who do not wish to kill and offer blood sacrifice will fly pigeons in the air in honour of the day of the triumph of the Kirat King Uba Hang.
After the completion of the puja ceremony, the Ten Limbus or their representatives hold a meeting for discussion and decision- making. They propose ideas for the development of their country. They recite the Uba Hang Mundhum and sing praise of his heroism of the past days. The people then enjoy a grand feast and dance through the whole night.
Sometimes, the young men come forward in the field and display a duel fight by using their khukuris and sticks. They do not kill each other, though sometime they cut each other's limbs accidentally. They take this duel in a sporting manner and the village headmen or Shubhas, will compromise the case amicably.
The Chemjong tribe of Syabrungba, the Lawoti tribe of Yashok and the Songbangphe tribe of RaniGaon villages, living round the hillocks of Yashok Jong, are the permanent members of the executive committee of this Tong-sum Tong-nam festival. Their duty is to fix the date of this special puja ceremony, circulate invitations to all the chiefs of ten districts for their representations and to make necessary arrangements for the Tong-sum Tong-nam festival. Those who are interested in hawking will also be allowed a separate place situated below the Kusa-Yok where the meeting and dancing take place.
The Tong-sum Tong-nam festival or the Trisala puja of the Limbuwan is held in Yashok Jong of Panchthar once in three years.
Historical Background
Ku-wang-ti was a very famous king among the Nembang tribes of Limbuwan. When he died, his soul was deified by the name of Theba-Sam. His ancestors had originated from China. When their descendents migrated to Tibet, they did not stay there, but came further south and settled in a village called Doromba of Yangwarok district of Limbuwan. Their children multiplied into many numbers and were divided into ten different families. They were Sardappe, Yangsoba, Phejongba, Namlakpa, Yangdemba, Mapeyjong, Phyak, Makkhim, Loringden and Picchowa.
Later on, they made their permanent settlement in the district of Panchthar in the Limbuwan. The names of villages settled by them are Phejong, Lungruppa, Yambung, Sardap, Pauwa, Hellang, Phaktep, Arubote and Hangsari. One of the famous children of Ku-wang-ti was called Pathong Hang who in turn had two famous sons named Chukmiba and Latiba. Both of them were great devotees of the Goddess Yumasam and by the merciful grace of Yumasam they had acquired flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. In those days, the number of people was less and the forests were dense. The wild beasts gave a lot of trouble to these two brothers by attacking the flocks of sheep and the herds of cattle.
Both of them were badly harassed and so they prayed to Yumasam for Her blessings of the powerful spirit, Muksam. Then they laid traps and snares for the wild beasts. But they were marvelously dumbfounded when they saw their traps and snares had been disbanded and destroyed. They again tried their best to lay traps and snares in different places in a better and stronger way, yet they failed in catching a single prey. They got very annoyed and went to see the cause of such failure. In one of the snares, they found an old man entangled. They both angrily inquired him who he was. He very calmly answered them that he was their ancestor. As they had totally forgotten to regard their ancestors, he appeared there to instruct them how to regard him. He told them that he had been a great hero in his time and he told them that he had not disappeared. He had become powerful and he could do anything and fight very bravely through those men who regarded, worshipped him and asked help from him. He had to be worshipped first in the forest, then in the house yard and on the third day he had to be worshipped inside the house.
His alter had to be decorated with a sword, a shield, a lance, bows and arrows accompanied by red colored flags. The man who worshipped him had to put on
the warrior cap and amour or Yasapippu and Tagaba. He had to hold a lance and act like a true warrior and worship him as their war deity and he would certainly help him. After the completion of the puja ceremony people had to be fed on the fourth day in honour of his visit to his worshippers.
Both Chuk-miba and Latiba were very much pleased to hear and receive such instructions and decided to carry the old man back home. They untied him from the snare and carried him home. When they reached the hill top of Khamhetla, a mountain peak in Panchthar district of Limbuwan, the old man vanished. The two brothers were astonished and went home feeling satisfied that they would certainly be guided by the heroic spirit of their ancestor Ku-wang-ti.
They took a bath, fasted for three days and three nights, went into the forest to worship the spirit of their ancestor, came back and worshipped him in their house yard by making an altar as suggested. On the third day, they worshipped their ancestor's spirit inside their house and fed people in his honour on the fourth day.
After the war deity or Thebasam inspired them, both of them became very brave soldiers. They carried their bows and arrows, swords, shields and spears and entered the forest without any fear and attacked all the wild beasts and killed them.
The news of this new gust of inspiration of such spirit of the war deity or Thebasam in the body of Chukmiba and Latiba spread far and wide. The local Lapcha chief of Ilam district asked for their help to fight against his enemy. They helped him and won the battle for him who in respect of their friendly help gave his two daughters Tong Kung Ramit and Rummit Nurrap’s hands in marriage to Chukmiba and Latiba.
This cult of ancestor worship or Thebasam worship is still in practice in Limbuwan. In Limbu "Theba" means Grand Father and "Sam" means Spirit.
During the Thebasam puja performance, an altar should be decorated with a sword and a shield, bows and arrows, guns and spears accompanied by red-colored flags. A small red cloth has to be spread on the middle of altar. A big bull buffalo has to be bound in front of the altar. The priest has to be dressed in a Kirat warrior cap and amour or Yasa-pippu and Tagaba. He has to hold a long spear in his hand and stand before the altar. He then has to burn incense, sprinkle some grains and flowers. He has to sanctify the altar by sprinkling holy water called Chungnawa by means of a hyssop or chungna. He then has to start chanting Mundhum of his ancestor Kuwang-ti and has to praise his brave deeds of the past days. He has to offer prayers to the dead spirit of his ancestor and sing songs of praise and call him to be present to receive the blood sacrifice which would be offered in his presence.
When the priest feels that his body is shivering, he will suppose that the spirit of Thebasam has come. He, therefore, has to dart the standing bull buffalo with such a force that it will suddenly fall down and die. He will let all the blood flow before the altar as a blood offering. Then he prays for his guidance in times of need and ends the puja function.
All the invitees will be fed after the completion of the puja performance.
PART – 2
In compiling the Second Part of History and Culture of the Kirat People, I have tried my best to create interest to all readers by describing the past pomp and majesty of the Kirat Kings of Nepal hills and North India in general and Assam in particular, the adoption of the name Morong for the Eastern Terai land of Nepal, the invention of Kirat scripts called Rong script, the Shrijunga script and the Munlom Faith of the Rong Kirat people; the Yumasam faith of the Limbu Kirat people. The discussion that ensued between the Kirat King Hangsu Deva with his Chief minister Karthak Wookday in the King's Council of Kathmandu Valley for the conversion of the king into Buddhism reveals a remarkable insight on the civilization of the Kirat People of ancient Nepal.
The long campaign of King Uba Hang from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet to the Mithila province of North India; the preaching of King Mabo Hang and King Shrijunga Hang's religious instructions in the 9th century AD in Eastern Nepal contributes significantly in studying the history and culture of the era.
The two important historical milestones for the modern history students and enthusiasts which throw light on how the Modern Kingdom Of Nepal was established are the successful campaign of King Lohang Sen from West Nepal to East Nepal in the 15th century AD and the diplomatic campaign of King Prithvi Narayan Shah from West Nepal to East Nepal in the 18th century AD. The rise and fall of the Koch Empire in North Bengal and Assam prove how the Kirat people even as far back as in the 17th
and 18th century AD could manifest abilities to consolidate power and suffer its loss.
Beside this, I have attempted to document every military tribe in Nepal and a detailed account of the Tamang tribe and the legendary Gurung tribes are given in the following pages.
The Tamang Tribe
The Tamang tribe of Nepal was brought to Kathmandu Valley by King Srong-sen Gampo of Tibet in the 7th century AD as a cavalry division. Their own tradition also says that their original habitat was in Southern Tibet in a place called Uichang.
Tamang folk tales reveal that during the early days of resettling in the Kathmandu valley, a public sport to prove the physical as well as spiritual might of the Twelve Tamang leaders was held to prove themselves worthy as military officers. Moktan, the chief of them all, took the initiative and brought a heavy iron beam and twisted it. Seeing this, the Bal leader brought a long pole and drove it against a precipice and pierced the innermost part of the precipice with so much force that water oozed out in a current. Bomzan then weaved a golden basket and collected this magical water without allowing even a single drop to leak from the basket. Ghising by the dint of his magic vaporized a lake and transformed it into a massive cloud. Pakhrin then brought a bronze plate and stared at it so hard that the strength of the glare broke the plate into pieces. Yonzon in turn suddenly produced a raging hailstorm while Syangdan created fire and the Thing leader extinguished the fire by pouring rain over it. Not daunted by such magical prowess Goley revealed a skyful of stars in broad daylight and Giaba spread a thick blanket of haze over it. Then Mikchan transformed a stick into a poisonous viper and Bozu made a vulture swallow it. Although, these folk tales now sound highly fictitious, it proved that the twelve vying Tamang leaders were skilled occultists and qualified as worthy Tibetan military officers.
Now, the Twelve Tamang officers made Central Nepal their permanent settlement and settled around the Kathmandu valley and renamed villages after their names. Their villages were respectively called Moktan kipat, Bal kipat, Bomzan kipat, Ghising kipat, Pakhrin kipat, Yonzon kipat, Syangdan kipat, Thing kipat, Goley kipat, Giaba kipat, Mikchan kipat and Bozu kipat in the Chatara and Dhading districts. They ruled these villages till the Gurkha invasion in the west. Their kipat lands were annexed to the Gorkha Kingdom during the reign of King Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1768 AD.
Adoption of Nationality
All offspring from a Brahmin, Kshetri and Thakuri with a Tamang woman would be included in the Tamang tribe with the family title of Gothar or Godar Tamang of the Atharah jat. In the olden days, prior to the Gorkha conquest the progeny of a Tamang woman with a Khas used to be called Gothar or Godar Tamang. However since the Gorkha conquest, they have been called Khattris*.
The Ngarba Tamang was the term used for the progeny born of a Newar with a Tamang woman. Similarly, Sangri Tamang for progenies of either Gurung, Magar, Limbu, Rai or Sunwar through a Tamang woman. Although this was a good policy for nation building, the tradition of its usage came to an end since the children retained the family titles of their father.
Tamangs as Soldiers
All the Tamangs belong to the Kirat tribe and were recruited along with the other Kirat tribes of Limbu, Rai and Sunwar, Surung and Magars in the 10th and 7th Gurkha
* Gurkhas by E. Vanasitart, page 142 85
Rifles and were identified as being a part of the the brave Gurkhas of Nepalese nationality.
Their Language
Tamang language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman or Kirat group of the Himalayan region, and has a close affinity with the Gurung or Tamu, Thakali or Tamang and Yolmo or Kagatey Tamang languages. Buddhism is their main religion The Sherpas, the Walungeys and the Shingsabas also belong to the Kirat group.
Tamang Classes
Barah Tamangs are divided into Bal, Baju, Baltong, Blan, Bomjan, Chepenkor, Chumi, Dong, Dongba, Dumjan, Glan, Gomden, Ghising, Gaiba, Goley, Gongba, Grangdan, Hopthen Jimba, Jongan, Jumi, Khani khor, Khiungba, Kitung, Kulden, Lama, Gongju, Lamakhor, Loho, Lopchan, Lungba, Marnumba, Mikchan, Moktan, Neki nesur, Pakhrin, Palchokey, Rumba, Sherba, Khor, Syangden, Singar, Syangbo, Suktel, Toishin, Thing, Thokor, Titung, Tungba, Waiba and Yonjan classes.
The Atharah Tamangs are divided into Gothar or Godar, Ngarba and Sangri classes.
The Gurung Legend
Ghyabring lama, a priest of the Gurung Kirat people in his songs laments the loss of Gurung literature and recounts that in the beginning when the creator distributed literature to various tribes of mankind, he was invited to be a part of this great congregation. The messenger however did not give him the stipulated date and time for the receipt of such a boon and failed to receive the distribution of literature from God. On enquiring, other priests participants of the assembly informed him that there had been one
independent script for Ghyabring Lama which had been thrown into a corner since he was absent during the distribution. The literature on being found thrown on the ground was burned into ashes, pounded he was then shown the place where the ashes of the burned Literature was deposited. Ghyabring Lama wept for the loss of his Literature and he took the ashes pounded it into powder and drank it with water invoking prayers to the Gods beseeching for the gift of good memory so that he would be able to remember all the contents of the burnt Literature. Folklore has it that special powers were granted to him by the spirits and thus the Ghyabring lama even today can recite all the legends of the Gurung tribe without reading from the pages of a scripture.
This often mentioned and much believed folklore of the Gurung tribe bears striking similarities with the folklore of the Limbu tribe who before the invention of their script by King Shirijunga believe in the remembrance of cosmogony after drinking the sacred powder made from the Ashes of Literature given to them. These interesting highlights prove the close affinity of oneness shared by the two Kiratis the Limbus and Gurungs.
Though I have not been able to touch upon the colourful and more interesting history of the Khasi, Naga, Kukie, Mikir, Mismi, Mijo and Mithie Kirat people inhabitants of Assam. I should like to say that by a thorough study of this book, a reader will certainly have the pleasure of enjoying intimate glimpses of the vibrant and chequered history of Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet and Assam .
Iman Singh Chemjong
In the beginning of the 7th century AD, a second batch of Shan Mokwan people under the leadership of Mung Maw Rong came to East Nepal from Nam Maw, Tai Tembe and Namgam Tembe of Mokwan locality of Unan province of South China via North Burma. It is said that there were only 700 families in that group77. They crossed Assam and reached North Bengal. They cleared the dense forests of the Himalayan Terai and made their permanent settlement there and named the locality after the name of their Leader Maw Rong, which later on became the famous Morong Terai. In the Tai language, Mung Maw Rong means the chief of the Maw country. Mung = country; Maw = name of place; Rong = chief or king.
The first fort or palace which Mung Maw Rong built in the Maw Rong Terai was called Rongli, which means the palace of Rang or king. After many years the same word Rongli became Rongli which is found situated in the east of Biratnagar of East Nepal.
But, in those days, the forest land which he cleared and established his kingdom was under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government of Limbuwan. Therefore, as soon as the establishment of a new kingdom in their territory was heard by the Ten Limbus, they sent a composite force of ten different districts to drive away the new invader. Mung Maw Rong could not endure the might of such a powerful force and fled away towards Tibet and took refuge in Khampa Jong, blending in with the natives of Khampa Jong and becoming one of them However,
77 Kirat Itihas by I. S. Chemjong, 1948 page 7
continued to keep a close watch and was waiting for an opportunity to strike back and invade Limbuwan.
This was the time when his contemporary Srong-Tsen Gampo of Tibet was consolidating his kingdom in the east, west, north and south. Assisted by the clever tact of Mung Maw Rong, he managed to gain the confidence of all the Bhutia tribes of Khampa Jong; ultimately, he was elected the Phipon or Headman of the Khampa Jong village under King Srong-Tsen Gampo of Tibet.
During this period, Senje Lungma or Kathmandu Valley was under the rule of a Kirat King called Hangsu Deva who ruled from the fortress at Koli78 or Kori Drang. Kirat MSS indicates that while he led a self indulgent life and spent a major part of his time hunting, he reigned a peaceful kingdom with happy subjects and had embraced Hinduism although he did not attach much significance to religious instructions. King Hangsu Deva had a council of ten ministers who were called Karthaks, his chief minister Karthak Wookdey was himself a Buddhist. When Karthak Wookdey observed the king's habit of ignoring religious instructions, he made an effort to convert the king into Buddhism. Convinced by his Chief Minister and his council of ministers King Hang-su Deva permitted the teaching of Buddhism in the kingdom and Karthak Wookdey successfully converted him into a Buddhist.
Some of the king's arguments given in the Kirat MSS are translated thus:
Hangsu Deva79: Is it proper that you, being a chief minister, always desire to enjoy happiness?
78 Koli Drang or Dang or Palace was situated on the spot where Babar Mahal stands at present.
79 Hangsu Deva of Kirat MSS is supposed to be the famous Angshu Varma of Nepalese history. 89
Karthak Wookdey : Yes my Lord! There are various interpretations to understand the meaning of enjoying happiness. For example, the cattle enjoy happiness when they find a grassy land. When a king's glory is revealed, his subjects enjoy happiness. If Your Majesty will walk on the path of religion, all the subjects of Your Majesty will enjoy happiness.
Hangsu Deva: What you have said is wholly profound.
Karthak Wookdey: Yes my Lord! There are different meanings to your words "great things” for instance, parents are a great thing. To be a learned man is also a great thing. The religious book is also a great thing. Education is also a great thing. The question of Your Majesty's sin is also a great thing.
Hangsu Deva: You have uttered a proud word!
Karthak Wookdey: Yes my Lord! If we think deeply enough we will find many layers of meaning in the word "proud". For example, if a foe becomes too proud and arrogant, he will die soon. If a soldier shoots his arrow proudly, he will not be able to hit the target. If a rider rides proudly, he will fall down from the horseback. If Your Majesty continues to commit sin with much pride then the outcome is death for you, Your Majesty. Your Majesty will be dragged into the gates of hell by evil spirits and put into a great flame of fire. If Your Majesty is not ready to mend your ways and walk in the path of righteousness during Your Majesty's life-time, then Your Majesty's soul will never attain the highest place of immortal peace.
Hangsu Deva : Now I am tired of your words. I have committed a sin and that makes you ever prepared to respond to any question I put before you.
Karthak Wookdey : Yes my Lord! If one dares to search for a fish in one’s own mind it will be found in one’s brain. If one seeks the true meanings of religious books, he will find it among saints. If the bad consequence of the sins committed by Your Majesty is sought it will be found inside your head, Your Majesty.
Therefore, O King! A man lives in a mortal world and has to suffer untold misery and death. However, the cause and effect of birth and death is written in religious scriptures and there are religious instructions in the holy religious book. So, if one pays heed to such instructions and repents his sins committed in the past and walks in the path of righteousness and righteous work, then he will certainly be redeemed from sin and attain eternal peace of mind80.
Subsequently Kirat King Hangsu Deva of Kathmandu Valley became a Buddhist king, his name, fame and glory extended far and wide such was his grandeur that even the Tibetan King Srong Tsen Gampo asked his daughter Dichum81 to become his queen and allied himself with the great and noble Kirat king.
The year 640 AD saw the death of Kirat King Hangsu Deva and the ascension of his son-in-law, King Srong-Tsen Gampo of Tibet on the throne of Koli or Kathmandu since the king had no male heir to the throne. Srong-Tsen Gampo ruled Nepal valley for a year82 and it is during his reign that he brought twelve divisions of Tamang force and kept them round the Kathmandu Valley for its protection. Tamang force means the cavalry division of Tibet. Ta = horse; mang = war (pronounces mak) and mangmi = soldier; mang = war; mi = man; man of war. Similarly Tamang means for war i.e. a man who fights from a horseback.
80 Rong Kirat MSS
81 Dichun is called Tara or Bhrikuti in Nepalese history.
82 Nepal by Perceval Landon, Vol. 1, page 30
The period that proceeded the death of King Harsha Vardan of North India saw one of his ministers Arjun usurp his kingdom with Kanauj as its capital. He insulted a Chinese Ambassador Wang-Heuen-Tse by attacking his mission to Kanauj. The Chinese Ambassador Wang-Heuen-Tse set to retaliate assisted by King Srong -Tsen Gampo of Nepal and Tibet and the Kirat King Bhaskar Varma or Kumara of Assam. King Srong Tsen Gampo dispatched a powerful military force of six Tamang divisions from Nepal for his aid and king Kumara joined forces with the Chinese Ambassador Wang Heuen-Tse waging a war against Arjun, the adversary was defeated in the battle that ensued and was taken as a prisoner of war to Peking.
King Srong-Tsen Gampo, then ordered his vassal Maw Rong of Khampa Jong to invade India through Limbuwan. Maw Rong of Khampa Jong restructured a gigantic army of the fearless Bhutia soldiers and invaded the Federal state of Limbuwan entering through Hatia, Walungsum and Tokpey passes and defeated the Ten Limbu forces in fierce battles that waged on. The Ten Limbu Chiefs sued for peace and surrendered on condition that they would accept King Maw Rong as Over Lord and contribute forces during wars and begged to rule their own districts.
Their terms of peace was accepted by the King bringing an end to the period conflict between the Ten Limbu chiefs and King Maw Rong. This was followed by the formation of a powerful military force comprising of Tibetan as well as Kirat soldiers and the subsequent invasion of the Mithila province of North India and which they also occupied83.
Mung Maw Rong went on to become a revered and celebrated ruler and Hang of Kirat land soon encompassed the areas between Khampajong of Southern Tibet to
83 Decline of the Kingdom of Maghada by B.P. Sinha, page 277
Mithila province of Northern India. Pandit Rahul Sankrityayan mentions in his book called "Kumao", page 35 that Tibetan history has recorded that all the chiefs of Himalayan country were under the Tibetan King Srong-Tsen-Gampo in the 7th century84. A record of Shasinath Chaudhary of Mithila in his book called " Maithili Sahitya," claims that Mithila was under the administration of Tibet during the 7th century AD,.
B.P. Sinha also supports and writes in his book,"The Decline of the Kingdom of Magadha", page 277 that Tirhut or North Bihar or Mithila province of North India had been under Tibetan sovereignty for a certain period of time in the 7th century AD85.
After the successful conquest of all the Kirat land of the Eastern Himalayan region, King Maw Rong Hang divided his country into four major provinces namely the Khombuwan, Limbuwan, Lapchan and Mawrong and ruled this state in accordance with the feudal system of the times. The land between the Kathmandu valley and river Dud Koshi was called Khombuwan. The Libhuwan state extended from the river Dudh Koshi in the west to river Mechi in the east. The district of Khampajong was situated in the Libuwan state and became the capital. The Lapchan province lay between river Mechi and river Teesta in the east. Mawrong was the name assigned to identify all the plain lands that he had invaded and subjugated.
The town of Radok near Khampajong became the capital and Shanguri or Jhamaguri near Bijaypur of East Nepal was named as the Winter capital He divided his army into four divisions and was commanded by the four Karthaks. The lower military officers were called Kabos and were responsible for the appointment and removal of common soldiers, whom they called Veeks. Tasos were appointed to govern the Provinces and the Phipons looked
84 Kumao by Pandit Rahul Sankrityayan, page 37
85 Decline of the Kingdom of Maghada by B.P. Sinha, page 277
after the village welfare. He even allotted small plot land sans revenue for the use of palace servants, these were called Nongzen.
The council comprised of Hang or king, Tummyang or minister, Karthaks or military officers and Tasos or governors. He introduced writing among the Kirat people and called it the Rong Chhyo86. It was during this era that Rong or Lapcha class of the Kirat people asserted their right of residence in Eastern Nepal87. The two castes intermingled and fused to such a degree that Limbu tradition mentions that the Ten Limbus or Tsong kati and Ten Lapchas or Rong kati are progeny of a common ancestor.
Being a Buddhist king Maw Rong Hang translated many Buddhist scriptures into Rong Kirat language. Karthak Wookdey Sung, the Timi Kanden Sung, the Lingebu Sung, the Guru Chhyo Ong Namthar, the Tasey Sung Namthar and Nangshe Sung Namthar are translations of Tibetan literature. Almost ten percent of the Tibetan language was amalgamated in the Rong Kirat language Although king Maw Rong Hang preached and practiced Buddhism to his subjects he did not discourage them from following their own Kirat culture of Munlom faith.
It was king Maw Rong Hang who introduced a festival among the Kirat people called "Namband" meaning New Year which literally meant Nam = year; band = to carry; i.e. to carry a new year. It was an occasion when people throughout the province rejoiced the end of a successful harvest and worshiped the good spirit God, “Tukbo Thing Rum," by offering libations in the form of new crops and was accompanied by exhibitions of archery, tug-of-war, stone throw and dance. The festival generally took place in the last week of December, presently it is observed by the Kirat people of Dhankuta, Ilam, Darjeeling,
86 Himalayan Journal by Sir Joseph Hooker, page 95
87 Ibid, page 57
Kalimpong and Sikkim. (Here Kirat people include the Athabrey Rais and Lapchas as well ) and is referred to as "Losung" in Bhutia language and observed by Bhutias of southern Tibet and Sikkim.
The Rong or Lapcha Kirat people originated from three sources. The first group who claimed its origin from the west or Elam of Southern Persia to Eastern Nepal was called the Elammu or Elamite family. Arammu were residents of Aram land, or Syria. The second group of Khamba Lapchas, migrated from Kham of Eastern Tibet or Suchuwang province of China. The third group, Rong Lapchas who belonged to Nam Maw and Tai Tembe, Nam Gam Tembe of Mokwan locality of Unan province of Southern China, had entered Nepal via North Burma with their leader Mung Maw Rong. All three groups settled and intermingled in East Nepal and claimed themselves to be Rong or Mutan Chi Rong- a distorted version of Mung Tai Chi Rong. The term Lapcha was coined by their close neighbors the Bahing Rai tribe of Khombuwan for their residence was situated in the eastern corner of Kirat land of modern Nepal.
King Maw Rong Hang had no male issue and he bequeathed the kinship to one of his able Tumyangs or ministers called Mokwan Shan after his demise88. The latter ruled the country for a brief period and was overpowered by the invasion of king Uba Hang of the Lasa dynasty.
88 Gurkhas by Col. Vansitart, page 101
The Mun or the female priest of the Rong Kirat populace instructs her people about the existence of Rum God or Tukbo Thing, one of the most powerful and celebrated good spirit. Her abode is Bo-inda or heaven and she dwells in the midst of a bright light and Moong or Chhuge-Moong-Pano the malignant king of evil spirits or who permanently dwells in Nyok or hell. They are the two powerful spirits of protection and preservation and the deity of destruction. Folklore has it that the human beings who dwelled on earth were distressed by Moongs or the evil spirits and God Tukbo Thing Rum came to their rescue by sending forth a Bung-Thing or male priest to protect and wrench them away from the harmful clutches of evil spirits. When Bung-Thing, the heavenly priest stepped on earth he saw innumerable evil spirits had taken refuge in the trees, caves, streams, hills, valleys, water and marshy lands from where they troubled mankind. He informed all of them that he had been sent by God for mankind’s protection but there were so many evil spirits that he would be unable to save mankind. He would go back to heaven and report on the trouble and misery that evil spirits had wreaked upon the earth dwellers. The evil spirits requested Bung-Thing not to return to heaven, and instead asked him to agree upon a convenient arrangement. They told him that if they started troubling humans Bung-Thing, they would be offered blood sacrifices of birds and animals and they would stop troubling humans victims. They would take the breath of life of birds and animals and leave the carcass for Bung-Thing to eat assuring that humans suffering from the possession of evil spirits would be cured. Bung-Thing made them pledge a promise and thus taken
under oath the malignant spirits vowed by spitting on the surrounding hills, water and trees. After which the hills slipped down and the water and trees dried away. Bung Thing was finally convinced and therefore, agreed to live on earth and started to appease the evil spirits by offering blood sacrifices for the deliverance of earth dwellers however he never taught people about righteousness. God Tukbo Thing Rum was not satisfied with the turn of events and decided to send forth a Mun, the female priest to spread among mankind the message of righteousness as the only path to a heavenly after life Mun, therefore, came and spread the word of righteousness and the religion that she preached became to be known as Mun-Lom. Mun = the priestess and Lom = the way. The religion preached about God, the way to heaven, the dwelling place of God Tukbo Thing Rum. everybody was asked to worship and believe in the God of righteousness, the wonderful king and protector of all animate and inanimate objects saying that man was after all mortal and should follow the holy religious rules as laid down by their priest or priestess. He must think of an everlasting life after death.
There are some people believed in righteousness while some did not and the latter who fail to understand the consequence of righteousness may be compared to birds of feather and animals of fur, creatures who never realize the difference between the good and evil. Therefore, man must study and truly realize righteousness he must read books of religion and closely adhere to instructions imparted in them and listen carefully to the instruction of righteousness. Feed a hungry and thirsty person, help the helpless deal kindly with neighbours. The Mun says that, a mortal never heeds religious instruction and when death arrives man's mortal remains becomes a corpse and the soul craves for righteousness hovering above the corpse. The spirit thinks of the world he has left behind his wife, husband, children, domestic birds and animals. Although his spirit can be incarnated into his child or grand-child he
himself will never come back to life again since death is eternal.
Therefore, one should practice abstinence from sin and abide by the religious instructions this will help man walk towards the path of God or Tukbo Thing Rum. He can meditate to reach the dwelling place of God or Tukbo Thing Rum. A good and religious, man will never be born again and even if he does he would not be condemned to roam earth in a lowly birth. Sinners have to dwell on earth as swines and fowls however if a good and pious man dies he will be able to meditate and reach the holy abode of God Tukbo Thing Rum, and will never want to come back to earth again. He will find a place in the highest place of righteousness where his soul will reunite with the souls of his ancestors. In this land of the blessed or Bo-Inda, or the place of infinite peace and happiness there is eternal life and no pain
Bo-Inda is divided into four parts of bright light, bright dark, bright yellow and bright blue, colours of the rays of God Tukbo Thing's power. Words cannot describe the degree of joy and happiness in Bo-Inda. It is the dwelling of all righteous souls, abode of God Tukbo Thing Rum and his saints89.
KING UBA HANG (849 - 865 AD)
After the death of King Maw Rong Hang, Uba Hang rose to prominence in East Nepal. The Sikkim gazetteer mentions Uba Hang as one of the most powerful king of the Limbus who introduced a new faith among them.
The Kirat Mundhum mentions that King Uba Hang's ancestors came from the province of Muna Khamna, now known as Suchuwang in China, Tibetan history calls it the Kham and is referred as Kham-Minyang in Sikkimese
89From an Old Lapcha MSS
history and in the ancient days was known as Shin-yuk. Long before the times of king Uba Hang, there was a great Queen who supremely reigned over Shin-yuk and was known as Su-yen-no-su-nu-Hangma. One day she ordered a congregation of all her military officers and ordered the consolidation of her empire by a series of invasions in the east, west, north and south and asked them to rule the invaded districts and spread the faith of Yumaism or the worship of the most powerful spirit, Yuma Sam among the conquered subjects. Thus a successful series of invasions in all four direction of the Shin-yuk country was initiated. "Towards the close of the second century BC, major campaigns were carried on by successful generals.Chinese arms were carried far into Central Asia, Khotan, Kokand and Pamir became part of Chinese Empire90. Military leader Su-wang-Hang advanced in the south-westerly direction while his son Mu-na-phen-Hang invaded the country of Hor or Horu people of Northern Tibet or Mongolia and taught them Yumaism91. The Hor, Horpa or Horu people of Kirat Mundhum or Northern Tibet or Mongolia were descendants of the Tyurk or Turk race whose patriarch was Japhet, the eldest son of Noah92. Being of a bigger physical structure than the people of Southern and Eastern Tibet, they were called "Khachhe" which literally meant a man of big face while the Chinese called them "Kawche93.
Tibetan mythology has it that there were no human beings in Tibet. Only, animals and birds inhabited the land and among them was a massive giantess. One day an ape attacked her and mixed its blood with that of the giantess leading to the conception of a race of humans who lived
90 History of Nations - The Chinese by Prof. H.A. Giles, M.A. LL.D.P., page 77
91 Kirat Mundhum by I.S. Chemjong, page 86
92 The History of Central Asia by Tahul Sankrityayan, page 248
93 Journal of the Tribhuwan University; "The Origin of Thakuri" by I.S. Chemjong, 1961, page 56
and eventually spread all over Tibet and became followers of the faith imported from foreign countries.
Tibetan history claims that the first Tibetan king descended from the Sakya family of the Lichhavi race of Northern India and his name was Nathi-champo. Sikkimese history also mentions that, "Although there are several different stories to the identity the name and caste of the prince, who came upto Tibet from India, yet all invariably agreed that a prince of the Sakya family of Lichhavi race of India actually went upto Tibet and became the First King of Tibet94. He was called Nathi-Chanpo which means enthroned on the shoulders". It was he who built a palace and named it Wumbu-Land-Khar.
The 27th king in descent from him was Lha-Tho-Tho-Ri, Nyen shal who reigned for eight years. The fourth king in descent from Lha Tho Tho Ri Nyen shal was Namri Rong Shan. During his reign astrology and medicinal science were introduced into Tibet from China. Salt mines were discovered in the north. His son was Srong-Tsen Gampo, born in 629 AD. He consolidated the Tibetan Empire and helped the Chinese ambassador Wang Huen Tse with his Tamang cavalry force to fight against Arjun, the usurper of the kingdom of Harsha Burdhan of North India. King Srong-Tsen Gampo ordered his vassals to invade and conquer as much land as they could and the Himalayan as well Mithila province of North India regarded him as the sole monarch95. He established friendly and diplomatic ties with the Kirat king Hangsu Deva or Angsu Varma of Li-Yul or Koli or Kathmandu Valley and married his daughter Balzah Lha-Ching-Khri- Tsun or Bhri-kuti according to Nepalese history. As king Hangsu Deva did not have a male heir to ascend the throne, king Srong- Tsen Gampo of Tibet succeeded him on the throne of
94 Unpublished Sikkim History by H.H. the Maharaja Thutob Namgyal, page 2
95 Kumao by Rahul Sankrityayan, page 35
Kathmandu and kept Tamang soldiers around the Kathmandu valley to defend the capital city96.
Although King Srong Tsen Gampo’s reign lasted for a year he did not take his Tamang cavalry force back to Tibet which led to the permanent settlement of the tamang soldiers in and around the valley. The Tamangs soon intermingled with the old Kirat nation and spread from Central to Eastern and Western Nepal. They were under 12 chief officers namely Baju, Bal, Bomjan, Ghising, Giaba, Goley, Mikchan, Moktan, Pakhrin, Syangden, Thing and Yonjan. Five generations after king Srong-Tsen Gampo, king Khri -Srong- Deus- Tsan was born and it was in his reign that Guru Padma Sama Bhawa, Shanta Rakhita and Bimala Mitra were invited to Tibet approximately in the year 749 AD.
King Khri-Srong-Deus-Tsan had three sons called Mune-Changpo, Murung-Changpo and Mu-Khri-Changpo. Four generations after Khri-Srong-Deus-Tsan, Mngahb-Dag-Khri-Ral-Chen (Na-Dag-Thi-Ral-Chen) king of Tibet was renowned as a religious and pious leader he regarded all Buddhist priests as gods a policy that continually offended his ministers. So great was his religious zeal and fervor that to express his veneration and esteem for the buddhisst priests it is said that he divided his hair into plaits and having spread them on the ground let the priests sit on them to show that he held priesthood in the highest esteem as high as the crown itself97.
Although southern Tibet was influenced by Buddhism, northern Tibet still retained the original faith of Yumanism. The apostate ministers of king Na-Dag-Thi-Ral-Chen of Southern Tibet and the king of Northern Tibet conspired an assasination. King Muna Phen Hang of North Tibet had grown old and his son Lasa Hang ruled Northern
96 Late General Lobzang Dhondup of Tibetan army mentioned that king Srong Tsen Gampo came to Nepal with Tamang force, but while returning he did not take them back to Tibet.
97 Tibetan History in Tibetan MSS by H.H.T 101
Tibet he instigated the apostate ministers of Southern Tibet to murder the Buddhist king Na-Dag-Thi-Ral-Chen. Accordingly the year 833 AD saw the assasination of the king and Lasa Hang of North Tibet was placed on the throne of Southern Tibet and came to be known as Lang-Darma in Tibetan history.98 Lasa Hang became the monarch of Northern and Southern Tibet and the land under his rule was called "The Phey". the word Tibet owes its origin to The+Phey=The+Bey; Ti + Bey = Tibet. Lasa Hang made Upajong (meaning the fort of the residents of Northern Tibet ) the capital of his state and ruled Tibet for six years.
Some scholars believe that Tibetans believed in Bonism. But, Lama Lobzang Jivaka refutes this belief by saying that Bonism was not the faith of the of the Tibetans and was Animist-Shamanism and had made its way from either China or Central Asia.99 Tibet had no faith of its own and did not believe in the existence of God and they were taught to believe in the faith after the advent of foreigners from northern and eastern directions and the intermingling that took place with the tribes of Tibet. King Lasa Hang of Tibet was a devout Yumaist and made an effort to propagate the faith to Tibetans, although Buddhism has already been introduced in Tibet by Thonmi Sambota, who had widely travelled from Tibet to India and reached Kashi Banaras studied Buddhism extensively and had learned Indian scripts of Hlencha and Wartu and on his return to Upajong had started preaching Buddhism. However, king Lasa Hang, was not in favour of this foreign culture.
Lalung Paldor, one of the followers of Thonmi Sambota began to preach Buddhism actively in Upajong. But was soon ordered by king Lasa Hang called to his Jong
98 Tibetan History in MSS by HH the Maharaja Thutob Namgyal of Sikkim
99 The Indo Asian Culture, October 1961; Introduction of the Vazrayana by Lobzang Jivaka, page 259 102
(palace) where he was told that it was good to study a foreign religion, but to disregard one's own faith was worse, adding that religion is the study of one's own civilization and to study other's religion and to reform one's own existing culture is the greatest progress and improvement. Lalung Paldor disagreed with the king,s theory and began preaching Buddhism with much more fervour than before.
King Lasa Hang expressed his displeasure by the suppression of Buddhism in Upajong100. The Tibetan Lamas instigated by Lalung Paldor opposed the king leading to the murder of the ruler and the naming of king lasa hang as "Lang Darma" or the Bull headed man. Queen Yum was given the royal seat of Upajong and they began to administer the land by holding the second office in the state the word Upajong became Lhasa, the land of Gods.
The assassination of Kirat King Lasa Hang of Tibet in Lhasa in the year 839 AD101 was followed by the disintegration of the Tibetan sovereignty and every hamlet and province claimed their own king.
Uba Hang and Changba Hang sons and rightful heirs of King Lasa Hang referred as U-Sung and Yum-Ten in Tibetan contended for the throne and after a bitter dispute between the two the Lamas of Lhasa decision to elect the youngest Prince Changba Hang as monarch prevailed. Sikkimese history mentions that although Yumten or Changba Hang was the older of the two he was not the son of King Langdarma or Lasa Hang102.
The Kirat Mundhum mentions that, some time between 841-854 AD, the senior Prince Uba Hang disheartened and disgraced by the partiality of the Lamas, launched a succession of attacks on all the Jongs or forts
100 Tibetan MSS
101 Kirat Mundhum by I. S. Chemjong 1961, page 86
102Sikkim History in MSS by HH the Maharaja of Sikkim Tashi Namgyal
of Southern Tibet and occupied Changpa jong, Pao jong, Samye jong, Tanak jong, Tingkyejong and Khampa jong of southern Tibet103.
Under the spiritual guidance of his familiar powerful spirit, Yumasam, Prince Uba Hang was inspired in the last week of April and led his campaign southwards. This practice is still observed by the Kirats (Limbu, Rai and Yakkha) today and is accompanied by paying homage to goddess Yumasam or Lasa Hangma( Udhauli in Nepali language).
Uba Hang led his Tibetan force towards southern Tibet and invaded several forts of Kirat land of Mt. Himalaya which was under the sovereignty of Kirat king Mokwan-Shan, the successor of the famed King Mawarong Hang.
The Kirat soldiers fought bravely but were subdued and the Kirat forts of Taplijong, Agyajong, Pomejong, Mapejong, Yashokjong, Miklajong and Chhempowa of Kirat land were overtaken and the victorious conqueror marked the boundaries of his empire on the borders of Mithila provice of North Bihar which was then under king Vigrah Pal of Pal dynasty104. As Dharma Pal, the king of Magadha had taken back the administration of Mithila from the hand of Tibetan or Kirat king in 770-815 AD. Uba Hang became the second Kirat king who ruled a kirat land that encompassed Southern Tibet. He fixed his Northern boundary at Changpajong in Tibet and Southern boundary near Mithila province of North India105. He followed a policy that encouraged fraternising with aborigines and adopted Kirat nationality.
He constructed Chhempo Jong106 or big fort or castle an enormous fortress at the foothills of Ilam district of East Nepal. He introduced a script and taught subjects
103 Kirat Mundhum by I. S. Chemjong 1961, page 87
104 Kumao by Rahul Sankrityayan, page 35
105 Kirat MSS
106 Kirat Itihas by I. S. Chemjong, 1941,
the faith of Yuma-Sam or the incarnated spirit and ruled for sixteen years (849-865 AD). Buddhism which was introduced by introduced by king Mawrong Hang was supressed during his reign which resulted in the migration Kirat Buddhists, the Lapchas and Doyas, famous Kirat Buddhists immigrated to Sikkim and Bhutan and the Monpas went further east and settled in Ta wang of Thak-yul107.
It was King Uba Hang who introduced a festival for Kirat people called Tong-Sum-Tong-Nam. held in the last week of April after every three years. It celebrated King Uba Hang's successful campaign over Upa Jong or Lasa Jong of Tibet to Mithila province of North Bihar. After the conquest of Southern Tibet, Kirat land Terai land of Himalayan reign, King Uba Hang gave a great feast to his ministers and officials in the fortress palace of Chhempo Jong and decreed that that since it took him three years to conquer the territories from Tibet to India a celebration should take place once in every three years to mark the day and event of this triumphant victory. The literal translation of the term Tong-Sum-Tong-Nam is the three years festival, Tong –Sum meant three years while Tong-Nam means festival. He taught the worship of his guardian deity and the powerful spirit of Yumasam and asked his subjects to venerate the spirit by offering fruits and flowers since this unique spirit did not eat flesh and alcohol blood sacrifices were taboo. Yumasam or Tagera Ningwa Phuma meaning the Omnipresent God of Knowledge, creator of the universe and spiritual guide of all who revered and believed in his sacred power. This festival is currently observed in Pancthar district of Limbuwan and is called the Trisala puja.
107 The present NEFA district used to be called Tahk-yul in those days
Uba Hang was succeeded by his worthy son Mabo Hang in 865 AD he ruled Kirat land for fifteen years with the title of Thakthakkum Mabo Hang. An able ruler who was widely respected and celebrated as an incarnation of God Yumasam, the great kings name is evoked in prayers even today in the Yuma Sam festival of Kirat land in East Nepal and addressed by the name of Hangba Raja in Nepalese.
Light has been thrown in his significant place in the annals of Kirat history as an incarnate of god Yumasam, the creator of the universe. It is said that when king Mabo hang moved his capital from Chhempo Jong to Yashok Jong, although a great devotee of Yumasam he was tempted to hunt the musk-deer. The Kirat Mundhum mentions that Khojum a minister in his court counseled the king to hunt the elusive musk-deer in Namphu Kokma(yok) a high mountain range The king set forth on a massive hunt accompanied by four ferocious hunting dogs, Chijingna, Takadong, Takedong and Paraden. On reaching the high dwelling place of the deer the dogs spotted a deer and pursued it closely followed by the band of royal hunters accompanying the king a short while later the deer as well as the dogs disappeared.
The band of hunters exhausted after the pursuit rested on a glade minister Khojum108 then chanced upon the sight of a beautiful lady, weaving a silken cloth, telling the king of the good fortune of finding such a beautiful lady in the midst of such solitary and wild surrounding suggesting that she should be taken as booty to the king's palace.
The god-fearing king Mabo Hang answered"The dogs and the deer have disappeared and at the same time
108 Kirat Mundhum by I. S. Chemjong, 1961 page 88
an extraordinary sight has been revealed today, certainly there is a significance in this No one should think ill of her. I will approach the lady and inquire.”
Picking up some flowers and leaves as offering for the celestial being, kneeling before her with folded hands and offering prayers he asked her of her identity saying that human beings could not discern truth and her appearance in the midst of wilderness had brought wonderment and puzzlement at the truth that lay hidden behind this, asking her whether she was a goddess or a human.
The beautiful being replied that she was the spirit of Yumasam and had appeared there in the form of a weaving girl saying that she had appeared to test the king. Adding that she was pleased to receive the king's daily devotion saying that the great king himself would in time come to know who she actually was uttering these words she vanished from the king's sight. As he was pondering on this marvelous spiritual experience his followers heard the dogs barking and saw them chasing the deer in hot pursuit the band of royal hunters and killed it.
Upon his return to the palace of Yashok Jong king Mabo Hang found himself puzzling over the true identity of the lady in the vision he continued praying and begging Yumasam to give him the meaning of the vision of the forest.
After his regular prayer and a fasting that lasted for seven days, one evening, the same apparition appeared before the king in the shape of an old lady and vanished without talking to the king. The king greatly confused and bewildered and so he meditated thinking deeply on the significance of this vision t and then miraculously the spirit of Yumasam possessed him and he was inspired to narrate oracles. He began to recite Mundhum he cited the beginnings of the universe and the existence of God. He recited Yumasam's guidance to his ancestors in the past days. The oracle said that the spirit Yumasam would help
everybody who worshipped her she would gift him strength, knowledge, wisdom, power and wealth. She said she was Ningwaphuma, the power that creator preserves and destroyer the universe. She had the power to make a man wise and make fool out of him and that everyone should worship her.
Amazed at this remarkable and marvelous spiritual blessings, his subjects regarded him as the incarnation of spirit Yumasam. The spirit left his body of the king but he continued to preach the faith of Yumasam to subjects.
Since this time of the first inspiration of the spirit of God Ningwaphuma in the form of Yumasam from the palace of Yashok Jong, all people began to address Yumasam by the name of "Yashokyeni". Indo-Aryan languages influenced the Kirat people, they began to address Yumasam by the name of Yashokyeni Maharani.
Even unto this day Kirat people and other Nepalese worship Yumasam by the name of Yashokyeni, Maharani, Buri Boju or Thakthakkumma Mabohangma, Hangba Raja Hangma Rani. And otherwise called the Limbu Deota or the Limbu God - a belief currently prevalent in Eastern Nepal.
Yakthung sase khepsamme, O !
Heni choitangba masam
Tagerago Ningwa Phuma
Siwadinggo khahun allo
Mettungba kak husingma ro.
“Listen and Learn yea children of Kirat people. I am he, who is the Principal spirit of God Yumasam, the
Omnipresent Ningwaphuma, who is imparting sacred instructions."
Aphne laji pokma den-go
Kelerummang tha tha Laji
Kepherisang kima menlo !
Yongma sima chokma men-lo !
Theang- phelle tho Lajisang
Yo Lajisang Ingain lo
Heni kerek Ingain lo
“Although you have come to a far away land forsaking your original dwelling place, fear not, or have no doubts in your mind for all the land, the upper or lower belong to me and you are all my people.”
Anden anden torokdinggo
Tangsang hopte,iksadinggo
Kambek hopte, khahopsanggo
Mushop nesse, misumdinggo
Mirak lumnu, khasumdinggo
Khasang lumnu inga tyang- ro
Amuk samnu nawa choit
Chogunganggo, asikkumle
aningwale menchham yapmi
chogung-anggo, iksa khambek,
Mikki phungwa chogung-anggo
Asasephang nanurung –lo.
“In the beginning of creation, there was no sky, no earth and not even light solitary darkness prevailed.
Appearing from the flames of fire and rays of light, I created and through my sacred power of knowledge and wisdom, I created human beings who dwelled on earth like flowers and I bestowed love on them as I would to children of my own.”
Anden thikleng menchham saha
Layo lasot mejogulle
Huneha kak meksung desung
Menchham saha Choitangban
Mellesun go, Choitangbal
Kak amek-lo
Samjik mundhum kesabaha
Siwadinggo Khahun piru
Kekhembaha mehinge ro
Mengkhembaha memasing-lo
“In ancient times humans committed a great and unpardonable sin and I destroyed them. If human beings do not care for the master creator, he is sure to be doomed, people who listened to their religious instructors were saved. However those who did not abide by them were condemned to doom and destruction.”
Yamye yamye menchham saha,
Siwadinggo khahun pima
Tagerago Ningwaphuma,
Muhigumgo ongsi lengsing,
Chapa yapmi lengsing-anggo,
Yapmi lummo meda meyung,
Siwadinggo khahun huru,
Menchham saha kusingnipma,
Kunasama husingmaang,
Okhedinggo tacheng khemma,
Singsing pongma, yek yek pongma
Chappa pongma, Ningwaphuma,
Sewa chokma, chedo chokma,
Samyo yambok chokmalego,
Menchham saha kak mehing-ro,
Layo yambok chokmalego,
Menchham saha mesi memek-lo.
“From time to time God Ningwaphuma appears among mankind in the guise of wise men who preach religious instructions. The Humans should listen, understand and believe in them you are advised to be wise, clever and ambitious. Humans should worship and believe in God for those that are righteous will be saved and those who commit sin will perish.”
Shinyuknugo inga tarung,
Amuk sammlle thong-o pharung,
Shinyuk Muden Lochha chogung,
Mudennugo koyo tarung,
Suyennugo Sunu Hangma
Inga pokkhang kon samyoin,
Shema chogung , siwadinggo
Khahun pima mura mettung.
“I delivered your people from Shinyuk and assisted you in the battle.It was I who made Shinyuk and Muden into one country and led you from Muden to this place. I
took the form of the great queen Su yen no, Suno Hangma and ordered you to preach this faith among your people.”
Upajongnu Changpajong tarung,
Tama lammo lamlo chogung,
Yokkha kerek nandung desung,
Temen laji indok yukhung,
Amukkille chyasang chogung,
Chyasang chokma kak suktung-lo.
“I delivered you from Upajong to Changpajong in Tibet and during the course of your long journey became the leader who conquered forts and marked the boundaries of your land in the plains. It is with this power that I attained the unattainable. I did whatever I thought best for your people and I am capable of achieving anything that I wish.”
Heni inga tarungsing -lo,
Heni inga hingkhungsing -lo,
Heni kerek ingain lo,
Kima okma theang men-lo,
A-sewago nurik chogo,
A-pan kerek khepsamme o,
Yumasamgo inga-a ro,
Ningwa Phuma inga-a ro,
A-muk tagang hasang thesang,
Chokma metma menchhuktun-lo.
“I have led you and I will save you for you are mine, fear not and do not hesitate. Be devout and worship
me well and obey my instructions for I am the God Ningwaphuma. No force in the world can subdue and face the strength of my divine power.”
Mukkum samgo inga-a ro,
Numa tama inga pine,
Sikkum ningwa yapmi muee,
Hangsam mangsam pinening-lo.
Inga aming mebotemme
Kesingdinggo manu mangphang,
A-phoktang yo yungemme o,
Hekkeanggo inga missung,
Hangwa phungwa pinening-lo,
Kheni mitma mebongnen-lo,
Sa-menchhahanang mebo mebek-lo.
“I am an indomitable and powerful spirit. I will bestow prosperity and happiness on you and gift the spirit of knowledge, wisdom, leadership and bless you with longevity. However do not forsake and forget me. .Regard me as your parent and abide by my religious doctrines. You will enjoy happiness and love and be blessed. You shall not repent, your sons and descendants shall be great among all people.”
Neha tappa neha nappa,
Thong kejokpa thong kesakpa,
Hang kepiba hang keteba,
Samyo layo kak keippa,
Yumasamgo inga-a ro,
Layo lasot inga chittung,
Samyo ningwa inga missung
Ningwa nurik ittemme o !
Ningwa sangsang chogemme o !
Shey shey sangsang pokhemme o!
Tumba mangsam phoba mangsam,
Togang mangsam egang mangsam,
Yuma sammang inga-a ro,
Sikkum ningwa, kegottumgo,
Inga sorik wayemme o !
Yangsa-yechha me-eptenno,
Wesma hingkho wesma pharo !
Wesma hingma wesma phama,
Aphe hingma aphe phama,
Nuba lamphang kusingnitto,
Kusingnipma yomba muk lo.
“I am the principal spirit of Yumasam, the cardinal force that ushers in and drives enemies away, makes and stops war; ordains and expels kings; who considers right and wrong. Sins make me sad and I love those who are blessed with good mind. So pay heed and keep your mind pure and enlightened. I am Yumasam, the superior spirit of all spirits. If anyone desires knowledge, he shall receive it, by being beneficial and saving others you will safeguard yourself To acquire understanding of this great power is to attain great and deep knowledge109.”
Amendment of the Religious Rites of
1. King Mabo Hang encouraged his subjects to worship Yumasam with offerings of flowers and in
109 Kirat Mundhum by I. S. Chemjong, 1961, page 91-95
the absence of natural flowers her ordered them to spread a piece of red cloth on the altar decorated with artificial flowers of reeds called Muktuphung on a leaf of Banana asking them to refrain from blood sacrifice of all kinds even Toto110 was not permitted in the altar asking the faithful to worship Yumasam with Totophung111 in place of Toto.
2. The bride and bridegroom were recognized as blossoming human flowers and during the marital ceremony they were not allowed to adorn their body with any kind of flower except a particular kind called Chomenaphung112 and Sesephung113 flowers used to make the garlands of the bridegroom given by the bride during the marriage ceremony.
3. Mikjiriphung, a wild flower was used to adorn dead body and in the absence of thse special flowers, its leaves could be used.
4. In the absence of Phedangba or shaman of the Kirat people, king Mabo Hang decreed that womanfolk were allowed to conduct religious function as male priest. She was given the authority to perform any sort of religious rites during ceremonies and a female priest was called Yema.
5. In the absence of any male or female priests while undertaking a religious or social function any member of the community who was well versed
110 Toto means a fried meat of any bird or animal including the pieces of their heart, liver, lung and kidney.
111 Toto Phung means flowers of various colours and size.
112 A flower garland of small pieces of the top of wild bamboo of high altitude called Pokmik and Jasmin is called Chomena Phung.
113 Sese Phung is a wild plant from the fruit of which a red powder is produced. After receiving the flower garland from the bride, the bridegroom makes a red mark on the forehead of bride.
with religious rules and regulations and social custom was allowed to conduct the function.
6. A priest or priestess was to be assisted by assistants during religious ceremonies and they were called Yakapsiba and Yakapsima.
Feudal Antagonism
The king ordered all subjects of kirat land to pay their land revenue in kind instead of cash. He ordered as by way of revenue one pound of fish brain was to be paid to the king's court. An order that caused widespread unrest in the country and the Chilikchom people refused to pay the tax to the king. The king punished the Chilikchoms, they left the kingdom choosing to migrate to the land of another feudal king called Nahang. His kingdom was situated to the east of King Mabo Hang's country and was called Daramden, presently in Western Sikkim.
The Chilikchom people incited king Na Hang of Daramden against their old king Mabo Hang of Kirat land. A firece battle ensued between the two kings along Mabung(Mabu) situated to the east of present Ilam town the region that formed the boundary between the two kingdoms. A war was fought and the feudal king Na Hang brought his Lapcha military force. King Nahang was defeated and driven back from his country and the Chilikchom tribes were forbidden to reside within his kingdom for many generations.
The king ordered all subjects of kirat land to pay their revenue in kind instead of cash. As by way of revenue he demanded a pound of fish brain to be offered to the king's court. A decree that caused widespread unrest in the country with the result that the Chilikchom people refused to pay the taxes. The king punished the Chilikchoms and they left the kingdom choosing to migrate
to the land of another feudal king called Nahang. His kingdom was situated to the east of King Mabo Hang's country and was called Daramden, presently in Western Sikkim.
The Chilikchom people incited king Nahang of Daramden against their old king Mabo Hang of Kirat land. A fierce battle ensued between the two kings along Mabung situated to the east of present Ilam town the region that formed the boundary between the two kingdoms. A war was fought and the feudal king Nahang brought his Lapcha military force. King Na Hang was defeated and driven back from his country and the Chilikchom tribes were forbidden to reside within his kingdom for many generations.
All the descendents of King Mabo Hang and his followers claimed Lasagotra.
The Anarchical period
King Mabo Hang of Kirat land was succeeded by his son Muda Hang. Being a weak ruler his feudal chiefs revolted against him. All the ten Limbu chiefs declared independence in their own districts and began ruling independently.
The Khambo chiefs also stood against King Muda Hang and began to struggle for their independence. The Khewa Limbus who consisted of Maden, Tumba, Tegla, Chong bang, Anglabang and Mangyak among whom Tumba hang was the leader. The Naga chief Chhyongden Hang of Tokmiden, called Hati Kharka in the district of Dhankuta also fought for independence from Tumba Hang.
In the battle that took place Naga chief Chhyongden Hang was defeated and left his native land
and migrated to Assam. Descendants of his tribe are found even today in the district of Dhankuta in Limbuwan. Some old historians believe that the Athaprey tribes, the Tamkul or Agengmi tribes are descendants of the Naga Kirat people. Many old graves unearthed in limbhuwan contained a kind of earthen beads claimed by the Naga people of Assam as their tribal relics and called Manimala and referred to as Ma-icchi by Limbus.
Tumba Hang, Chhotharia chief of the Khewa tribe occupied the land, formerly occupied by Naga chief Chhyongden Hang and known as Kipat land of Chhyongden Hang is still under them.
A contemporary of the same era Khokya Hang ruled from Hastapur fort of Yangwarok and hailed from the Angbo Hang tribe. During the same period Kirat chief of Li Yong Khong village, Yongyahang, raised a force and led an aggression on Hastapur. In the battle the Angbo Hang chief was defeated and fled to Athrai Thum and established a small kingdom there. They were altogether eight tribes called Angbohang, Ingnamphe, Kondongwa, Loktamba, Yokshoba, Sendang, Ewa and Waji.
Khombowan itself was divided and ruled by five chieftains. Chief Mapey Hang's followers were Khalings, chief Kortap Hang was the chief of Nachereng, Dumi and Kulung tribes, Dyortap Hang was the king of Thulung, Sotang and Bahing tribes, Chepta Hang was king of the Chamling tribe and lastly Namdung Hang was the king of the Bantawa and Sangpang tribes.
History states that these chieftains fought against each other for the boundaries of their districts.114
The country of Lapcha Kirat people was divided into four districts. The four districts were Ilam lyang, San gut lyang, and Tamsang lyang and Mayel lyang. Each
114 Subedar Bir Bahadur Rai's information.
district was ruled by chiefs called Karthaks 115 involved in a long and continuos fight for their frontiers.
Likewise, the Panchtharia Limbus comprising of Mabo Hang116, Papo Hang, Thegim Hang, Nembang Hang117 and Makkhim Hang tribes were battling against each other. The Pap song tribe revolted against the Papo Hang, Nembang Hang fought with Mabo Hang and Thegim Hang fought the Thamsuhang tribe. The latter originated from Sikkim chief in fact Sikkimese history documented by HH the Maharaja Thutop Namgyal mentions that at the arrival of his forefather Kye-Bum-sa in Gangtok, the land was largely inhabited by Lapcha Kirat people. The name of the Lapcha village was Tashi-Tengka and was ruled by chief Sambar Kye Bum-sa had three sons, Kyao-rap, Langmo-rap and Mipon-rap. One day, Kye-Bum-sa summoned the princes and questioned them in turn about their ambition. Kyao-rap had promised to become the ruler of a foreign land and had migrated from Gangtok having settled in Paryangbung in Panchthar district. He fought against Hangdip Hang of Thegim Limbus. Thamsuhang was defeated, so Thegim Hang occupied Paryangbung village.
Similarly, Phedapia Limbus consisted of six chiefs. They were Tumbangphe, Sodemba, Pongyanggo, Ninglekhu, Pongyangbo and Songbangphe. They fought the aged chief Phedop Hang and overthrew him.
In Panchthar district Nembang Hang fought King Muda Hang. The latter had a son called Wedo Hang, the Mundhum claims that he had been gifted with extraordinary strength and blessed by the power of a spirit called Muksam and when under its influence no human could confront him in battle.
115 Ilam is in East Nepal; Sangut is in Darjeeling; Tam sang is in Kalimpong and Mayel is in Sikkim.
116 The Chemjongs are descendents of Mabo Hang tribe.
117 Tumbapo, Tumrok Angdembe, Laoti, Sherma, Kurumbang, Songbangphe are Papo Hang tribe.
When Nembang Hang failed to defeat him in battle, he plotted an intrigue, offering the hand of Dalima his sister to Wedo Hang in marriage. The extraordinary Wedo Hang had his palace at Hellang and the new bride was asked to find out means by which the inspiring spirit of Wedo Hang could be removed from him. Wedo Hang accepted her as his wife and did not care for the conspiracy of his enemy.
King Wedo Hang besotted with love for princess Dalima, on one such occasion when embracing Dalima she asked him about the powerful spirit entreating him to reveal the secret of the spirit, how it entered, possessed and how it left him. Wedo Hang deeply intoxicated with love for Dalima revealed that if the tip of his long hair were to be cut and his naval pierced by a bamboo spear called yen pha, then the powerful spirit would be unable to inspire him and he would be rendered powerless.
One night while king Wedo Hang lay in a deep slumber his enemies entered the palace and enquired Dalima about the removal of the powerful spirit, dalima disclosed the secret and the king was murdered by clipping away the tip of his hair and piercing his naval by the wild bamboo spear.
Chief Pathong Hang was elected and placed on the throne of Hellang. Lady Dalima was pregnant; Wedo Hangs’s foes asked her to inform them as soon as she delivers a male child threatening to murder the male child of King Wedo Hang.
Lady Dalima left for Chemphujong, the ancestral quarters of the late king in the district of Ilam situated near the Terai. She soon delivered a male child and dreading the murder of her new born, informed the enemies of King Wedo Hang the birth of a female child, successfully deceiving them by showing a neighbour’s female child.
His mother kept him in disguise by shaving his moustache and beard and dressing him up as a girl. When the young prince perplexed at his guise enquired the reason to such deception he was told that his father’s
enemy would destroy him if they were to discover his true identity. Informing him that his father’s followers hailed from northern countries and the old residents of the land ruled the district.
The young boy matured to be a wise and strong individual and under the guise of a girl secretly met the followers of his late father. He studied the strength of his people and the strength of the aboriginal chief of the district and decided to attack them by camouflage. And in a marvelously clever plot decided to marry the son of the district chief. Endowed with a fair complexion and a pleasing appearance the chief’s son happily accepted the young disguised prince as his wife.
In accordance with the matrimonial ceremony of the times the young girl was taken to Hellang palace, while a retinue of disguised soldiers were kept outside the palace for four or five days who then secretly concealed weapons underground in the palace premises. After the solemnization of the wedding ceremony and an aftermath of revelry and merry making that lasted for four days when the entire kingdom was immersed in jubilation the disguised bride signaled her followers to battle. Though taken unaware, soldiers of the aboriginal king put up a brave fight whoever they were soon overcome and the aboriginal chief perished in the hands of his foes The aborigines orphaned and left without a ruler conceded to live under the rule of the of the disguised bride. Hellang Palace was reoccupied by the disguised bride its rightful lord. After winning the confidence of the villagers the disguised bride made known her true identity, however having spent a lifetime without a name and in disguise his followers assembled in the palace and declared that a Hang or king had been born in the old fort of Chemphujong and unanimously assigned him the name of Chemjong
Hang.118 He extended his kingdom from Panchthar to Choubis and Terai districts of Limbuwan.
During this period, the Buddhist Kirat King of Thak-yul who had migrated there from Limbuwan was Chonajong and his capital was called Tawang in the east and Tamba Lama.119 was his religious priest
At a time marred by conflict and feuding feudal lords of Kirat land for boundaries of their own, an able feudal chief, Shrijunga of Yangwrok district proved himself powerful enough to subdue all the Feudal chiefs under his control. Belonging to an illustrious lineage of Kirat kings who had ruled Kathmandu, he influenced all the chiefs of kirat land to regard him as they’re Over Lord and eventually got elected as their king. Chief, Shirijunga constructed two big forts in Phedap and Chainpur and named them Shrijunga Fort. The structures still stands today bearing testimony to the greatness of Chief Shrijunga who was known by the name of Shrijong in Phedap and Chainpur Valley thousands of years ago, he was the grandson of King Galijunga of Yangwarok district. A pious and religious man he depended upon one powerful God whom he believed to be the root of all knowledge and wisdom. The Mundhum mentions that once he was asked by Nisammang (goddess of learning) to accompany her to the base of Mt. Phoktanglungma (one of the five peaks of Mt. Kinchinjunga) and enter a big cave. He followed the goddess to the innermost regions of the cave was offered a slab of stone with writing on its surface. It is said that at the base of this mountain and in this particular cave he was granted the boon of knowledge and was taught how to read and write the script and was asked to take the knowledge and instruct his people. On learning the art of reading scriptures, King Shrijunga Hang returned to his people and palace accompanied by goddess Nisammang,
118 Kirat Mundhum by I.S. Chemjong, 1969 page 101
119 Language and Religion of Nepal by F. Hudgson, page 66-67
the goddess of learning. The Kirat Mundhum relates that it took three months for Shrijunga to study the Kirat script. On reaching his palace he called forth a congregation of his able ministers and noblemen and recounted his spiritual journey with the goddess and the way in which he had been gifted with the knowledge of science of Kirat culture and entreating them to devote themselves to the all powerful God Ningwaphuma who roamed the earth as Yumasam and who would be instrumental in enlightening all humans through the blessing of Nisammang. He encouraged learning and wisdom among his subjects guiding them towards a disciplined life. Calling upon all scholars and learned men to study existing ancient literature of the time of King Mawrong Hang and to refine them.
His major achievements include the book “Kirat Khahun Sapla" or the book of instruction and "Kirat Samlo Sapla" or the book of Song.
The Land Reformation of King Shrijunga Hang
King Shrijunga Hang divided his country into districts according to the number of feudal chiefs. Each feudal chief exercised full power over his land or Kipat and was expected to extend absolute military allegiance to the sovereign during his reign no feudal chief or subjects were allowed to buy or sell their land to any other Kipat landholders. Their judicial power was also limited to their own kipat. A chief’s orders were executed within the boundaries of his own kipat and did not extend to subjects of another feudal chief. The system of the partition of parental properties was also revised and refined imparting every male member of a family the right to claim equal parental property among brothers. An unmarried female member of a family would also enjoy the right to claim equal share of parental property even among brothers.
A council called Chumlung, which consisted of four members called Pasisng Padang, assisted the chief to rule the villages and the Feudal chief presided over meetings as the chairman of the council and his decision was considered final.
King Sirijunga Hang introduced a title of Muhigum Ongsi to a learned priest who lived a life of celebacy and devoted his life to God and served the needy unlike the Phedangma or Yaba. The Muhigum Ongsi did not offer blood sacrifices during religious ceremonies.
An example of his religious instruction is as follows:
King Shrijunga Hang's Instruction
1< clTg' g'u clTt]Ig]
2< jfg'g'u jfg]g]
3< jfof]g'u xof] yfI
4< ;lI oDg'u ;af, yfI
5< o'Sm'I g'u o'Sgf nf]
6< o'Sm'I m[+Ddf dlGb] yfI
7< vfDwS g'u tS;l nf]
8< n[IxI g'u ofIjf nf]
9< d+]TtlG g'u xfIu[T nf]
10< d+]TTtlG m[+Gdf of ofS nf]
11< kfGafT g'df n'IyfS nf]
12< kfGafT m[+Ddf v[df nf]
13< clIdl g'u kFG sfDnf]
14< clIdl m[+Ddf t'/f nf]
15< dlSrf] g'u yf],/'/f]
16< nfIa[G g'u jfo[D nf]
17< mStfI tIu\ ;lI kInf]
18< clItI g'u r'Dn'I nf]
19< x[gf g'u gfDg' nf]
20< cLTt'Da[Iu tfn,n,nf]
21< rf]u'Da[Iu g'/f] n,nf]
22< t[D;'Da[Iu gFGb'' n,nf]
23< kFTtDa[Iu v[K;'n,nf]
24< xS;'Da[Iu vf];' n,nf]
25< ;ldf nf]df vf];' n,nf]
26< gfu'Da[Iu kl/' n,f]
1. It nu nugo ittengne
2. Wanu nugo wanene
3. Wayo nugo Hoyo thang
4. Sing yom nugo saba thang
5. Yukphung nugo yukna lo
6. Yukphung phenma minde thang
7. Khambek nugo tokshi lo
8. Leng-hong nugo yang wa lo
9. Metten nugo hanget lo
10. Metten phenma ya yak lo
11. Panbat numa lungthak lo
12. Panbat phemma khema lo
13. Ingmi nugo pan kam lo
14. Ingmi phenma tura lo
15. Mikcho nugo thoru ro
16. Langben nugo wayem lo
17. Phoktang tonggo singbong lo
18. Ingtong nugo chumlung lo
19. Hena nugo namnu lo
20. Ittumbenggo talo lo ro
21. Chogumbenggo nu ro lo ro
22. Temsumbenggo nandu lo ro
23. Pattumbenggo khepsu lo ro
24. Hoksumbenggo khosu lo ro
25. Sima loma khosu lo ro
26. Nagumbenggo piru lo ro
If the family is good, friendship becomes all right. If the river is broad, its shallowness becomes good. If the waterfall is short the fish jumps over it. If a tree is spacious enough monkeys make it their dwelling place. Good sanitation makes a village worth living and if the village is dirty, epidemic will surely break out. If the soil is fertile and
rich it is apt to yield a good harvest. When the trade is good, income improves. If a wife is wise, her husband prospers however if she is vile and wicked she becomes a witch. Crude talk gives way to quarrels while kind words lead to a good and sound relation. A good mediator compromises a quarrel while a bad one adds fuel to fire. An upright and virtuous man enlightens other people. If the legs are strong one can cross a running river and if shoulders are of equal height, it shoulders the weight of logs on them. In the same way if opinions in a meeting is one, the resolution and its outcome becomes strong one similarly service towards mankind always yields a good reputation.
So, may desired objectives be fulfilled. Let tasks undertaken be successful. Let responsible work be victorious. Allow the words spoken thus be heard by all. Let things sought for be received. Let the gift of knowledge of life and death be obtained by all and may aspirations be rewarded.
�� 128
Origin of Gurung and Magar Tribes
The Kirat vangsawali mentions that after the coming of the Ten Limbus in Eastern Nepal, a thrid group of Shan Mokwan people under the leadership of Sa-ik-Shan and Segop Shan went as far west as Beni and Shyangja districts of West Nepal. In the seventh century AD when the king Mung Maw Rong was establishing his kingdom in the Eastern Nepal that time Sa-ik-Shan and Segop Shan and their horde towards Western nepal under the guidance of Khiba, a traitor of Western Kirat kingdom. It is mentioned that Khiba, a minister of king Pung Chan of Beni quarrelled with his king; so he adopted a stratagem to destroy his king by bringing an external enemy from the Eastern country. He, therefore, came to Eastern nepal and instigated the Shan leaders of Shanput to invade the kingdom of Beni. Thus, the Shan leaders invaded the land of Beni raja and conquered it.120 They fortified at Shyangja and Tena Hang. From Shyangja they spread towards Kaski and Pokhara. They built many forts in Western nepal and called them Garahang, Mosihang, Balihang, Satahang and Bajahang121. The children of these people spread from Dang-Salyang122 to Bajahang. The above mentioned villages are now called Garhung, Malihung, Mosihung,
120 Kirat Itihas by I.S. Chemjong, 1948, page
121 Even at present most of the Gurung tribes are found in the above mentioned villages.
122 In Rong language, the meaning of Dang Salyang means the land of lower valley. 129
Balhung, Tanahung, Satahung and Bajhang by the tongues of Khas tribe who conquered them later on.
There were many Gyarung soldiers in the army of Sa-ik-Sahn and Segop Shan. The Gyarung tribes were one of the seven tribes of Northern Tibet who had migrated from there to Kham province of Eastern Tibet and from there to Unan province of Southern China where they mixed up with Tai Shan tribes ans spread towards southern and western directions under their leaders Sa-ik-Shan and Segop Shan. Mr. Hodgson mentions in his book called "Essays on languages of Northern Tibet", that a branch of Gyarung tribe also migrated from Kham Provice of Eastern Tibet to North Eastern Frontier Province of Assam and lived there. They called their dwelling place by the name of Thakyul.123 So after the demise of Segop Shan nine officers of the Gyarung regiment made a league and settled separately in Bhundi, Tenahang, Ghandrung, Siklis, Kaski, Milung, Pokhara and Parvat in West nepal and ruled their villages independently. They called the federala state by the name of Gu-rong or nine chiefs which later on became Gurung State and the residents Gyarungs became the Gurung tribe. All the feudal chiefs agreed to regard Nuchni Rong, the chief of Kaski as their Overlord.124 It appears that during seventh century AD, this Rong class of Shan nationality beame prominent and spread from East Nepal to West nepal with the title of Mu Tanchi Rong, Loho Rong125 and Gu-Rong which later on became Lapcha tribe, Lohorung Rai tribe and Gurung tribe.
At present these Rong class of Kirat people talk different languages and claim of separate origin, though their tribal name, the affinity of their languages and their physiognomy are the same; not only that, but their legend is also the same. As the lapcha tribe claim Maw Rong to
123 Essays on Languages of Northern Tibet by Hodgson, page
124 Gurung Vansawali
125 At present the Lohorong Rai tribes' residence is in Sovaya Uttar district of Limbuwan or Pallo Kirat in East Nepal.
be their first leader so the Gurung and Lohorung tribes claim Muh Rong to be their first leader, which same is supposed to be the corruption of the word Maw Rong or Morong. At present the Gurung tribe pronounces the word Muhrung for Morong which means king. In their culture of Ghato dance the Gurung songsters recite their traditional song and say that from the time of king Morong they have been taught to sing and dance Ghato. They sing such song and dance at least for three days and three nights. The Sasi Mundhum of Khaling Rai tribe agrees with that of Gurung tribe.
The children of these nine chiefs or Gurungs, do not follow Buddhism. They have their own tradition and culture which they call kep and he who knows such Kep are called Kepring. It is from this original word kepring, the modern word Giyabring or Ghyabring has been derived. Ghyabrings are priests of the Gurung tribe. When the Lamaism of Tibet spread in the neighbourhood of Gurung districts, they also preferred to address their priest by the name of Ghyabring Lama.
The central government of these Gurung confederacy was at Kaski and Nuchni Rong was the Overlord pf a;; ptjer Hrongs pr Rongs or Chiefs. In Gurung language the children of these nine chiefs or Gurongs or Gurungs are called Kugyi which means the children of nine families.
Relation of Gurung People with Ghaley Tribe
When the influence of these nine chiefs spread northwards, the old Kirat king of Chan dynasty made friendship with the Gurung chiefs and mixed with them. The Gurung legend describes that in the beginning the Gurung chief Nuchni by name was unknown to the aboriginal Kirat king who was known by the name of Ghaley king. Gha or Kha means face and Ley means
good; which comes to the meaning of man of food face. Really, they used to boast themselves for good family or Royal family of their own Ghaley tribe.
One day when the Gurung chief Nuchni Rong crossed the boundary of Ghaley king, the latter's soldiers surrounded him, but could do nothing because Nuchni was a man of very big size and soldiers of Ghaley king reported him that a man of very big size has intruded their boundary. His language was strange. His face was so fearful that nobody could go near him. He simply shows his big thumb to them.126
The Ghaley king sent interpreters and tried to know him who he was and what did he want ? Through his interpreters the Ghaley king came to know that he was a Gurung chief and wanted to make friendship with him. The former agreed to his proposal and kept friendly relation with him and all his Gurung people.127
In those there was a Khas tribe settled to the south east of Lamjung. The name of their ruler was Kharga. Once he invaded the district of Lamjung. The Ghaley king of Lamjung asked help from the Gurung chief of Kaski against the Khas king Kharga. Nuchni Rong, the Gurung chief helped the Ghaley king of Lamjung and so the Khas king Kharga was defeated in the battle and fled away to his country. From that day, the Ghaley king loved the Gurung chief and offered his daughter in marriage to him. By such matrimonial connection between Ghaley chief and Gurung chief, they lived as allied tribes though inter-marriage between these two tribes was not free.
Now the Gurung legend describes that Ghaley were one of the groups of Kirat nationality of Simang garh and their leader was called Lochan. He led his horde towards north west direction and settled in Pieuthan. The name of his priest was Bali. As time passed on Lochan
126 To whow thumb was the sign of peace.
127 Gurung Vansawali 132
begot three sons whom he named Ghaley, Ghondey and Lama. The priest Bali had also two sons called Lem and Ploney. The children of the priest Bali settled in a place called Lamichhan, hence their descendents were known by the name of Lamichhaney.As in those days people were very few in number. They decided to open matrimonial relation between the children of Lochan and Bali and accordingly they did so, and from that day they became a separate group of Pligyi which means the children of four families. They kep themselves aloof from Gurung tribes for a long time until Nuchni Rong, the chief of Kaski opened friendly relation between these two tribes about whom I have mentioned in the previous pages.
When their children multiplied one of them called Rili Ghaley became their ruler of Pieuthan. He had seven sons, but by ill luck, five of them had died. The surviving two sons also when suffered from worst type of epidemic, their father, Rili Ghaley sent men to Tibet to find some medicine for them. The men who had gone to Tibet met a Lama or Buddhist priest and who at their request gave them some medicine for their princes. Rili Ghaley became very pleased when he found that his sons were made whole by the medicine given by the Tibetan Lama and therefore, he invited him to his palace and honoured him with great respect. Seeing the faith of Rili Ghaley that Tibetan Lama converted him into a Buddhist. From that time, the Ghaleys or men of Pligyi tribe followed the Buddhism of Tibet.128
After the death of King Rili Ghaley, his wife made her youngest son, Maachan, King of Pieuthan. The eldest son Pung Chan being very much annoyed with such favouritism of his mother and left Pieuthan and migrated to Beni and established a small kingdom there, where later, on the Shan Mokwan kings of the eastern country invaded and conquered it.
128 Sher Bahadur Gurung's version
Pachyu Lama was the chief priest of the Ghaley tribe who performed all the religious functions according to the way of Buddhism of Tibet. But Ghyabring Lama was the chief priest of Gurung tribe who conducted all the religious rites according to the rules of Gurung culture. In fact, the Gurung tribe has no independent script of its own, so the Gurungs recite their traditions orally and teach their children to do so. The Ghyabring priest recites the story of their forefather who took trouble and suffered much for the safeguard of their children. They worshipped God and asked help from Him to drive away their enemies, and according to their belief God listened to their prayers and saved their forefather who was entangled in the middle of a very big precipice by his enemies. When he was shut in a cave of the precipice, a big monkey became his guide and brought him back to his house.129 When his enemies came to know about his family members, he left the place and crossed a big lake by means of a boat. His enemies followed them up to the shore of that lake. But by the spiritual power of their forefather, his enemies failed to cross the lake so they were saved. This is the gist of the Ghyabringism from which the Gurung tribe extracts good lesson of tolerance and its consequences.
The Pligyi Tribe
The Ghaley class is divided into twelve families. The Ghondey class is divided into thirty three families. The Lama class is divided into twenty three clans and Lamichhane castes are divided into forty family groups.
129 Ibid
The Kugyi Tribe
The Gurungs of Kugya tribe is divided into hundred families. The Rilli, Rilten, Gerlen, Samari, Samunder, Kialdung, Khagi and Parja clans are famous among the Ghaley tribes. They have their own “vansawali.”
The Adungrong, Chebirong, Chomrong, Gholrong, Hojrong, Kalirong, Kelonrong, Kongrong, Kudlarong, Longrong, Mazurong, Megirong, Mlogrong, Nagirong, Pachrong, Pochkirong, Rijorong, Singorong, Tagrong, Thakurong, Tengrong are also famous clans among the Gurong or Gurung tribes.
The Pachyu Lama, Tongi Lama, Pungi Lama, Korungi Lama and Ghyabring Lama are also famous clan among the lama class of Gurung tribe. But Ghyabring Lama is generally the main priest of Gurung tribe and Pachyu Lama is the chief priest of the Ghaley tribe who follows the Lamaism of Tibet.
The descendents of Lem and Ploney who are famous by the name of Lamichhaney Gurung are divided into Adi, Chen, Chenwari, Chopling, Chingi, Dungli, Kahrey, Kiwali, Krigi, Kroko, Kumi, Kurbu, Lengra, Lunam, Maili, Marenu, Nachha, Nizani, Pachhen, Paji, Pangi,Plitti, Purani, Silangi, Tamme, Toson and Twidian clans.
The descendents of Nuchni Rong are divided into Baindi, Chagli, Charlang, Dial, Durial, Ghoren, Jelting, Jimiel, Kepchen, Kinju, Koke, Korbu, Kubchen, Kromjai, Lagai, Telai, Mapchi, Morong, Mobjai, Mormai, Nanra, Palja, Palanja, Parjun, Phiwali, Plopo, Pomal, Ponju, Remni, Rilah, Tahin, Tamain, Thimian, Torjai, Tormaid, Yoje and Yojali clans.
Downfall of Ghaley Chiefs
The Ghaleys generally elect their king for their tribe. Every year they elect their King for the throne of Liglig by
making a competition in tribal race. The competition of race was open to all youngmen and old men of their own tribe and the period of kingship for the throne was only one year. Thus the system of their election of King was annual. As soon as the term of kingship ended, the elected king used to be automatically layman and was allowed to stand for next election. Thus, before the coming of the Gurkha King in Liglig, one able Ghaley king had held the throne successively for five years.
When the spies of Gurkha king, Dravya Shah studied their nature of election of the kind by vacating the throne for the general competition outside the palace, they informed and advised the Gurkha King, Dravya Shah to enter the palace of Liglig silently and occupy the empty throne and be ready to fight them if they come after the election of their king. King Dravya Shah did so and occupied it. When the Ghaleys elected their king and came to place him on the throne, they were dumbfounded when they saw the Gurkha king had already occupied their palace. On the contrary, they were told that it was their mistake to leave their throne vacant, for a throne should never be left vacant and if any one who ococupies the vacant throne, he will automatically be the master of it. If they do not believe this, they would be ready to fight for the throne. Hearing such words from the Gurkhas, the Ghaleys returned home. Next morning, all the Ghaleys again assembled at the palace of Liglig and asked the Gurkha king that they, after all, must regard a King, so if the Gurungs be considered well by the Gurkha king, they would try their best to consolidate his kingdom. The Gurkha king then promised that if they remain loyal to him and try to consolidate his kingdom, he would certainly consider their case and give them high post in his military. The Gurungs then obeyed him and fought for the Gurkha
king against other Gurung chiefs and consolidated the Gurkha Kingdom in the western Nepal.130
In this way, the Gurung chiefs lost their power and remained loyal subjects to the Gurkha king. The Gurkha King also made a regiment of exclusively Gurung tribes and gave them high post in the military of Gurkha kingdom.
According to Ghaley Vansawali written by Narhari Nath Yogi and Krishna Bahadur Gurung, it is mentioned that Paichan Ghaley was the King of Lamjung and his capital was at Pojo. But six tribes of Punwar, Bhandari, Rahul, Shuinyal, Dura and Khimcha family preferred to bring a king of Shahi dynasty of Nuwakot to Lamjung. They, therefore, went straight to Nuwakot of Barah Magrant and brought Kalu Shahi, one of the seven sons of Kulmardan Shahi and made him King of Lamjung. It was quite natural for the Ghaley King to take action against such activity of treason and therefore, he suddenly passed order to his soldiers named Torde, Parda, Bali, Tami, Chimi to murder the newly appointed King of Lamjung. They also executed his order and assassinated the king Kalu Shahi at a place called Sisi Dhunga. The above mentioned six persons again went to Nuwakot and brought the second brother of late Kalu Shahi called Malvo Shahi and made him king of Lamjung against the intention of Phaichan Ghaley, king of Lamjung. But Malvo Shahi was very clever and invited the four sons of Gurung chief, Kubi kyal, Shava kyal, Puru kyal and Kyong kyal and requested them to help him to take revenge of the death of his brother Kalu Shahi.131
They also agreed to help him and asked him to be present on the bank of river Marshyangdi with his soldiers without weapons, and start the talk of friendly relation between the Shahi king and the Ghaley King; his soldiers should bring out their hidden weapons and attack them
130 Dravya Shah ko Itihas by Surya Bikram Gyawali
131 Shri Gurung Magar Vansawali by Narhari Nath Yogi and Krishna Bahadur Gurung, BS 2020 page 6,7
and massacre them. Having decided such conspiracy, the four sons of the Gurung chief of Chan family went before the Ghaley king at Pojo, talked about the goodwill mission of Shahi chief and made him believe perfectly about the sincerity of Shahi chief for his friendship with him and so he agreed to come down on the bank of river Marshyangdi with his men without weapons. But as soon as the Ghaley King arrived on the bank of river Marshyangdi, the soldiers of Shahi chief took out their hidden weapons and attacked the Ghaley King and his party and massacred them. In this way the power of Ghaley king of Lamjung was snatched away by the Shahi king. King Malvo Shahi of Lamjung then awarded the descendents of Gurung chief called Noho chan, the autonomy if Sikles district and all the army of Ghaley king began to serve the Shahi king.
Narhari Nath Yogi has also proved that during the second half of the 8th century AD, when Jayapid, the King of Kashmir tried to invade Nepal, he was routed back by a Gurung chief of Kaski called King Aramudi about whom learned man like S. K. Chatterjee has also proposed that the word Aramudi does not sound Sanskrit. It could, however, be a local or an Indo-Mongoloid name of Nepal.132
The Mangar Tribe
The origin of Mangar tribe as mentioned in Kirat chronology is a place in the north called Shin. From there, a group of people under the leadership of two leaders came to the south. The names of the leaders were Shing Mangar and Chitu Mangar. The people of the southern country called them Tangsang Thapa which means the people came from the far away north. Later on, these Mangar tribes multiplied and were divided into 12 groups
132 Kirat Janakriti by S. K. Chatterjee, page 40
under twelve leaders and called themselves Barah Mangars.
The names of the twelve Mangars were Shinjali133 Thapa, Hongjali Thapa, Hungchun Thapa, Chhodey Thapa, Pudkey Thapa, Mundey Thapa, Udhro Thapa, Bairong Thapa, Ishar Thapa, Barahi Thapa, Hangyung Thapa and Hangshe Thapa.134
When they came to Sikkim they settled there permanently. They built Jongs or Forts or castles, wherever they settled and called them Mangar Jong or the fort of Mangars or the castle of Mangars.
Pandit Sarad Chandra Das proves the existence of Mangars in Sikkim and Eastern Nepal.
"The legend which he heard of the Mangar tribe and the ruins of their forts and towns in the valley of Kangbachhan river in the East Nepal is very interesting; people said that the account is correct and true."
"The upper valley of Kangbachhan river was occupied by the people of Tibetan stock and the lower valley was occupied by the Mangar tribe whose king was called Sintusati Sen. The Mangar king attacked the Tibetan people and ruled over them. He extracted a heavy tax from them."
"His deputies always oppressed the people to squeeze out money from them, so the Tibetan people started to conspire against the Mangar king. One day when the Mangar chief had gone to visit the Tibetan village with many followers, they were surrounded and killed by the Bhutias. When the Mangar queen heard this sad news of her husband, she planned to take revenge on the Bhutia subjects.
"She, therefore, ordered for a grand funeral in the honour of the departed soul. The funeral was fixed to take place six miles up the river, midway between the two great
133 The Limbus of Shinjali Thapa clan and Mangars of Shinjali Thapa clan claim to be the children of the same forefathers. Limbu MSS
134 MSS Subedar Buddhiraj Limbu's collection, 1930 AD
villages of the Kangbachhan valley, so that all the villagers might assemble there.
After the queen's followers had finished drinking, poisoned wine was given plentifully to the Bhutia villagers, who suspecting nothing, drank freely and all died. In this way, nearly one thousand men and women died. The infants in arms were taken away by the queen's followers. The place where this foul deed was committed was now called 'Tongsong Phug' or the place which witnessed one thousand corpses. As a result of this, a Tibetan army invaded several Jongs belonging to the Mangar queen. She had no preparation to fight the enemy, so she shut herself in one of her castles or Jongs and her soldiers defended the castle for three months.
"This Tibetan soldiers then tried to compel the Mangars to surrender by depriving them of water. At last, the queen, aware of this intention, threw all the water she had in store towards the camp. The Tibetan soldiers thinking that she had abundence of water inside the castle raised the seize and went to a distance to watch the movement of the Mangar people. She immediately collected her soldiers and pursued the enemy. When a skirmish took place, she fell fighting nobly.135 The rest of Mangars left their place of Kangbachhan valley and migrated towards south west direction and reached as far west as Simang Garh situated about six miles east of present Birganj of central Nepal. When their number multiplied they were divided into two groups under the leadership of Phalemi Khan and Yomchhammi Khan and spread towards eastern and western directions.136 Phalemi Khan led his horde towards West Nepal and settled in Palpa. Yomchhammi Khan returned to Limbuwan in the east and settled in Shanpur of Chainpur and intermingled with Limbu nationals and became Limbus of Sinjali Thapa,
135 Gurkhas by E. Vansitart, page 83
136 Phago Rai Limbu's vansawali possessed by Subedar Buddhiraj Limbu of Sinjali Thapa clan.
Rana, Aley and Pun clans. Those who settled in Palpa of West Nepal were divided into Thapa, Akey, Pun, Burathoki, Rana, Gharti, Bohra, Roka, Chaohan, Konwar, Uchai and Roho tribes and called themselves Magar, instead of the original name Mangar.
In the East Nepal and Sikkim, the Mangars are so called because they were the children of Mang or Mong or Mongol people. The Chinese and Burmese people people call Mang or Mong for Mongolians; and ar or arui means children. So, Mangar means the children of Mongols. Most probably, it can be correct interpretation, because their complexion proves that they are no other than scattered Mongolians although before the 12th century AD there were no tribes in Central Asia called the Mongolians. There were many nomadic tribes called Kin, Kir, Kirait, Karatai,, Karakhitai, Khitai, Uigur or Hor, Monchu, Mongku, Tungut, Seljuk, Karluk, Turk, Burun, Sak, Kushan, Hun, Abar, Uichi, Kajak, Chin, Khas, Thak, Gyarung and Mangyak.137 They were all nomads except China. They used to live in tents and had no permanent inhabitants. Frequent antagonism and plundering among themselves were their main object. There was no such name as Mongol in the world upto the 12th century AD.
It was in the 12th century AD, when Chengiz Khan called a meeting of all the above mentioned tribes and when all the tribes unanimously elected him to be their Gurkhan or the Khan of Khans or the King of Kings, he proposed that a common name for all the separate tribes of Central Asia should be Mongol. Then all the tribes unanimously agreed and from that time only the people of Central Asia began to call themselves Mongol. Chengiz Khan himself belonged to the Mong Ku tribe and Chinese people used to call them Mong Ku Tata.138 A branch of this
137 The Mangyaks are the Limbus of Chhotharia clan who had also migrated from Mongolia.
138 Madhya Asia ka itihas by Pandit R. Sanskrityayan 141
race settled in Hungary in Europe and called themselves Magiar tribe.139
It appears that long before the adoption of such name of Mongol in Asia, a branch of Manchu and Tungut migrated to Korea and Japan and made their permanent home there, Similarly, a branch of Kirait, Uigur and Mongku tribes also spread towards Suchuwang or Kham, Unam, Burma, East India and Nepal. They did neither hear the name Mongol nor they claim it to be their origin.
Therefore, the Mangar tribe of Nepal must be from the composite group of Kirait and Mongku, who came to Sikkim and bacame Mangar. There are certain Lapcha tribes called Mongormu. It appears that some of the Mangar tribes might have mixed with the Lapcha tribe of Sikkim and became a Lapcha Kirat people. Further, there is a folklore among Nepalese that Mangars are a sect of Kirat people who brought sweet potatoes into Sikkim and Nepal. Specially, the Lapcha tribe called it Mangorbook or the potatoes introduced by Mangar tribe.
There is another proof of the affinity of the Mangar and Lapcha tribe in counting numbers. The Mangar tribe counts one, two,three, four,five as kat, net or nis, sam,buli,banga and the Lapcha tribe says kat,net,sam,fali,fungu. These are the evidences of the residence of Mangar Kirat people in Sikkim. Not only that, but the Mangar chiefs were so active in Sikkim that they kept on fighting with the Sikkimese chiefs upto the 18th century AD. Sikkim history mentions that the Sikkimese chiefs tried their best to bring the Mangar chief under their power by keeping matrimonial connection with them. Chhangzat Karwang, the Chief Minister of Sikkim married the daughter of one of the Mangar chiefs of Sikkim and wanted to keep friendly relation with them, but the Mangars were never influenced by the Buddhist Kings and Ministers of Sikkim. When the Mangar Chief of Sikkim understood
139 Rev. Father Donald's version.
that nothing could be expected from the Buddhist King of Sikkim they totally neglected the Sikkimese relation and the Sikkimese also dropped all the records of Mangar people from the history of Sikkim. Still there are many places in Sikkim and East Nepal called Mangar jong or the Fort of Mangar tribe.
On the contrary, the Mangars of West Nepal prospered so much so that they formed a league of twelve Khans and established a state and called it Barah Mangrat, the central government of which was at Bhirkot. Khan means king in Magar language. Now, I write the word Magar as pronounced by Nepalese people.
According to Brian Hodgson and Captain T. Smith the league of Twelve Magars consisted of Satahung, Payahung, Bhirkot, Dhor, Garahung, Rising, Ghiring, Gulmi, Argha, Khachi, Musikot and Isma.140
Each of these twelve districts had its own Khan or King, though they had agreed by common consent to regard the Khan of Bhirkot as their Overlord.
But in later period, this system of government was ceased as the Kings of Palpa, Rising, Ghiring and Rajarkot claimed independent Kings with the title of Shan Hang. Thus, they were broken into two prominent Kings of Khan dynasty and Shan dynasty. They had their own language and culture. Dhami was their religious priest. Long before the coming of the Hindu influence into their kingdoms, there was a Kirat King called Bali Hang, who had an extensive Kingdom from Pokhra to Gorakhpur and the Magars had spread from the hilly region to the Terai region.141 The Mundhum mentions that it was this Kirat King Bali Hang who introduced the festival of Deepawali. The translation of the Mundhum runs as follows:
“In ancient time the Kirat King Bali Hang of West Nepal had become very famous for his extra ordinary
140 Gurkhas by Lt. Vansitart, page 84
141 Account of the Kingdom of Nepal by Hamilton, page 171
knowledge of foretelling about one's life and death.142 He was loved by all his chiefs and their subjects of that time. But when he himself came to know about his own time of death, he held a meeting of the chiefs and told them that at the coming dark night of the new moon of Mangsir or the end of the month of October of that year, the God of Death would come and take away his life. He told them that there would be no any possible way to escape from that dreadful night. The Kirat Chiefs requested him to direct them any scheme to retain his lfe from that dreadful night and that they would obey him and try their best to carry out his order to save his life. Bali Hang told them that there is only one way by which if the God of Death would be pleased, he may retain his life. The way is that, he added. "Before the coming of that night of the new moon of that Mangsir, all the chiefs and their subjects should take their bath, remain pure in body and mind and light thousands and thousands of lights both inside and outside of their houses and when the night falls all of them should keep on praying to God for the increase of King Bali Hang's day and save him from that dreadful night. They should not sleep that night but keep on praying and watch the arrival of the God of Death who would appear in the midst of light in the shape of the shadow of a man. As soon as people see such sight of the shadow of a man in the midst of light, all the people including men and women, old and young, boys and girls should fold their hands and pray to him with sincere faith and with one voice for the increase of King Bali Hang's day and save him from that dreadful night. If the God of Death would be pleased to hear their prayer as well as their subjects' sincere devotion and prayer for King Bali Hang's life, he may increase his life and save him from that dreadful night. If not, he said that his days are completed and he would be bound to go."
142 Bali Hang Mundhum - Kirat MSS 144
When the Chiefs heard this scheme they became very much pleased and immediately circulated this scheme to all their subjects and ordered them to observe the dark night of that coming new moon of that Mungsir by keeping their body and soul pure and fast with prayer sincerely for the sake of King Bali Hang's safety. When the time of that new moon of that Mungsir came, all the people including men and women, old and young, boys and girls and all the Chiefs took their bath and when the evening started, they lit the lights both inside and outside their house and began to fast and pray to God for the sake of King Bali Hang's safety. King Bali Hang was hopelessly lying in the middle of his Chiefs and all the people outside and inside his palace were singing songs of prayer. There was light every where, outside and inside the palace and all people were praying very sincerely for their King. That time, just after midnight all of a sudden, the God of Death appeared in the middle of light and in the shape of the shadow of a man. All people saw it and all of them cried out with one voice of prayer and with sincere faith and requested him to increase the day of their King Bali Hang. They wept and cried before him saying that if King Bali hang would die, the earth would be in chaos of darkness and the people would be in great confusion. All of them requested the God of Death with sincere mind to increase the day of King Bali hang and save him from that dreadful night. Seeing such profound love of the people towards their King Bali Hang, the God of Death answered them and said that although he was not the owner of life and death of a person yet he would try to save him. As soon as he said this the sahdow disappeared and the King Bali Hang also breathed his last.
All people kept on weeping and crying and praying the same prayer of increasing the day of King Bali Hang. Early in the morning, a little after the cock crow and when the dawn started, King Bali Hang breathed again and came back to life. When he came to full sense, he looked towards his Chiefs and started talking. He said, "By the
sincere fast and prayer of good faith of yours as well as that of your subjects, I am saved." He became very much pleased with such of his subjects towards him and therefore, he gave a big feast to his feasts and subjects. He ordered his chiefs to inform his subjects to observe one day as the day of rejoice for the best news of the revival of their King Bali Hang from his death. They should eat, drink and make merriment on that day. He further ordered his subjects through his Chiefs that in rememberance of this event, every new moon of the month of Mungsir should be observed as their festival day every year. They should illuminate their houses, both outside and inside with lights and remember their King Bali Hang. His Chiefs informed all their subjects as ordered by their King Bali Hang or Bali Raja. The people also began to regard Bali Raja as their Priest King. They composed a song and sang only in the annual festival of Deepawali with the chorus, "Phailo and Deusire" which means we helped the Priest King, which at the later stage became "Bhailo and Deusire". Pha-I-lo means let us help, and Dewsi = priest, Rey = king.
From that time all the inhabitants of Kirat country (modern Nepal) began to observe Deepawali in every new moon of the month of Mungsir or the last week of October every year which they call Tiwar. As a matter of fact, even at present, every Nepali knows the above mentioned chorus specially meant for that dark night of the new moon of Mungsir and remembers the name of Bali Raja which is the translation of Bali Hang and says that he was ordered by Bali Raja to observe such festival.
It is, therefore, quite proper to say that the festival of Deepawali of the month of Mungsir or the last week of the month of October is a real contribution of the Kirat King Bali Hang143 or Bali Raja to all lthe present Nepali people.
As time passed on, the Shan Kings extended their Kingdom towards south and east of Palpa and the Khan
143 An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal by Hamilton, page 171
Kings extended their kingdom towards north and east of Bhirkot.
When the Hindu missionaries began to spread Hinuism in the Western Nepal, the Shah King of Palpa was the first to be converted into Hinduism and became a Hindu Rajput King and claimed his descent from Sen family of India. His name was Chilla Rai. Similarly, when Hindu missionaries approached the Chief of Bhirkot, who was of Khan family, for conversion, he refused them and remained a pure Magar King. His name was Khan Chha Khan which means the King's Son King. The Hindu missionaries then approached the second prince whose name was Mechha Khan or the youngest son king. The missionaries assured that he would also be a king like his elder brother if he would accept Hinduism. So, he gave his consent to them to convert him into Hinduism. Thus, the second prince of Bhirkot also became a Hindu Rajput and his religious priests made him the King of Nuwakot of Barah Mangrat. He was succeeded by Jaya Khan, Micha Khan, Bichitra Khan, Jagdeo Khan and Kulmandan Khan. From the time of this king, he changed his family title from Khan to Shah which carries the same meaning as king. The descendants of King Khanchha Khan of Bhirkot, though refused to accept Hinduism and agreed to abide by their own tribal culture, yet he with all his subjects were so much influenced by Hinduism that all the Magar tribes ceased to follow the teaching of their own tribal priest and followed the doctrine of Hindu priests with respect to birth, marriage and death ceremonies and those officials of the courts of Shan Kings and Khan Kings of Palpa and Bhirkot who could afford for conversion into Hinduism became Hindu Rajputs and called themselves Kshatris. In this way, the Magar Kings and their officials were converted into Hindu civilization.144 Yet in the middle of 18th century AD, King Prithvi Narayan Shah was very proud of calling
144 Account of the Kingdom of Nepal 1819 by Hamilton, page 240
himself the King of Mangrat. He has said in his Divya Updesh, "Mangrat of Raja mai hun", "I am the King of Mangrat".145 Lt. Col. E. Vansitart has also mentioned in his book called Gurkhas, that "the famous Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa was the descendant of Magar Thapa family, as was also General Amar Singh Thapa".146 It is a known fact that the late Great King Prithvi Narayan Shan of Gurkha State had extended his Kingdom east and west by the strength of these Magar army.
The Magars or Mangars are divided into twelve tribes called Thapa, Rana, Ale, Pun, Burathoki, Gharti, Bohra, Roka, Chauhan, Konwar, Uchai and Jhakri and each tribe is subdivided into many clans. Among them Thapa tribes are more in number. The Rana class of Magar tribes belonged to the same stock of Thapa but, when they were separated from their original group and lost for three generations, they settled in a place called Gurkha and called themselves by the name of Rana which mens chief. Thus, the habitants of Rana Magar became the Gurkha village. Later on, the Khas people came from Kumaon and Garhwal and mixed with the Magars and became one with them till they were not converted into Hinduism.
Although all Magars follow Hinduism, the Pun Magars of Tibetan frontier are still practice Buddhist religion and follow their tribal rites at their birth, marriage and death ceremonies.
Some of the Magar clans are as follows:
Thapa Magars
Baral, Balami, Baraghari, Sinjali, Bagale, Thapa consists of Atghari, Satgahari, Palungi, Darlam, Punwar, Setu, Singe, Roshala and Kala.
145 Divya Upadesh - Prithwi ko by Yogi Narhari, page 13.
146 Gurkhas by Lt. Col E. Vansitart, page 67
Gaha Thapa consists of Badchha, Chidi, Gora, Khan and Malangi.
Reshmi Thapa consists of Dangale, Gore and Thapa.
Saru Thapa consists of Jaurup, Japarluk, Jhenri and Paneti. Besides these, Gurbachan, Purbachan, Tangbachhan, Simai, Pithakote, Singali, Uchai, Pulami, Marunchan, Ramjali, Lamchhaney and Kalikotey.
Rana Magars
Assami, Arsami, Aslami, Bangling, Chumi, Charmi, Gharmi, Gyangmi, Kharka, Eyapchaki, Lungeli, Makkim, Pali, Panti, Rilami, Ruchal, Chitorey are famous.
Pun Magars
Birkali, Baijali, Phungali, Namjali, Balali, Tajali, Thakali, Sain, Sanangi, Sothi are famous.
Burathoki Magars
Balkoti, Deobal, Gamal, Karal, Ulange, Karmani, Pahari, Jujali, Pojonge, Thami, Ranju are famous.
Ale Magars
Argheli, Bili, Changi, Hiski, Hungchen, Lamjel, Limial, Roho, Rimal, Rakhal, Suyal, Sirpali, Sarangi are famous.
Gharti Magars
Baima, Banjali, Bulami, Dagami, Galami, Gamal, Kalikote, Masrangi, Pahari or Panre, Para, Phagami, Rangu, Rawal, Rijal, Same, Sawangi, Sene, Surai, Sinjapati, Talaji, There, Tirukia, Ulange and Wale are famous.
In my opinion the Magars had advanced much and had divided into two groups of higher and lower social standing and those who were of higher circle followed Hinduism and became themselves Thakurs or Kshetris and
observed the strict formalities of Brahmanism whereas the people of lower circle were quite satisfied with their own familiar culture and did not mind to follow such strict rules of Hinduism and remained Magars, such as the Koch Kirat of Assam and North Bengal who were also converted into Hinduism and became themselves Rajbansi Kshetri and the people of lower circle remained Mech and Koch tribes.147
Sunwar Tribe
The above mentioned tribes though claim their origin from various sources, the modern scholars have proved that they belong to the great Kirat nation. They are also called by the name of Tibeto-Burman family. In comparative words of all the Tibeto-Burman family prepared by F. Hodgson in his book called "Languages of Northern Tibet", it has been proved that all the Kirat people of Himalayan countries belong to the same stock of Tibeto-Burman group.
The Sunwar tribe claims that they belong to three groups who migrated from Tibet in three batches to Himalayan countries and reached there via Kashmir, Indo Gangetic valley and Brahmaputra valley. The first group who travelled from Tibet to Kashmir, Punjab and Bihar, reached the famous fort called Simang Garh and from there they migrated to places in Central Nepal called Jiri khola and Siri khola and settled there. They are, therefore, called Jirel and Sirel classes of the Sunwar tribe. They are divided into ten clans called Jetha, Jiriel, Krelu, Mohira,
147 It is intersting to note that so many clans of Magar tribe are similar to the clans of Brahman amd Khas people e.g. Rijal, Rimal, Panre or Pandey classes are found among Brahman caste also and Punwar, Khadka and Kalikote clans are found among Khas caste. 150
Pahari, Suinu, Suname, Surel, Thanu and Wangdi families. They are Buddhists by religion.
The second group migrated from Tibet following the route of river Changpo or Brahmaputra and Simang Garh and spread towards the Himalayan countries of East Nepal and settled themselves by the side of river Sunkosi and called themselves by the name of Sunwar tribe. They are classified into twelve clans called Bujuwar, Chiaba, Jujukha, Mekephite, Nakasojphite Jenti, Jobo, Linhochha, yata, Lawa, Polo and Khasa. The Barah thari Sunwars are very much akin to Gurung and Mangar tribes. They are Hindus by religion. They have no intermarriage with Sunwars of Das Thari.
The third group migrated from Simang Garh to East Nepal and settled in the lands of Khambos or Rai tribe and intermingled with them and became Rai tribe. From my research work, I found that the languages of Sunwar, Rumdali Rai, Bahing Rai and Nechali Rai tribes are the same. All of them reside in the district numbers 2 and 3 of East Nepal.
(1584 - 1609 AD)
In the beginning of the 15th century, the low land of Limbuwan State was ruled by a Kirat king whose name was Sangla Ing. His ancestors had come from Kamrup. His kingdom was limited in the East by river Kankai, in the West by river Koshi, in the North by Shangori Fort and in the South by Jalal garh. His capital town was at Varatappa situated to the east of modern Bijaypur. His son was Pungla Ing who succeeded him on the throne and adopted Hinduism and called himself by the name of Amar Rai which means the immortal king.
After King Amar Rai, there followed a number of Hinduised Kirat Kings who were called Kirti Narayan Rai, Ap Narayan Rai, Jarai Narayan Rai, Ing din Narayan Rai and Bijay Narayan Rai who ruled the Morong land respectively for seven generations.148 He made friendship with another Kirat chief of Phedap hill whose name was Murey Hang. It was by his advice king Bijay Narayan Rai built a new town in the middle of Varatappa and Shangori fort and named it after his name called it Bijaypur.149
148 Kirat Vansawali by Subba Ratna Bahadur Limbu of Limbuwan, Panthar, Syapurumba village
149 An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal by Hamilton Buchanan, page 133
Ancient Bijaypur Town in Ruined Condition
The upper Bijaypur town remained capital of Limbuwan and Morong upto 1774 AD. It was founded by Kirat King Bijay Narayan Rai of Sanglaing family in 1584 AD. It was captured by another Kirat King Lo Hang Sen of Shan Mokwan dynasty in 1609 AD. His descendents ruled it for seven generations. In 1769 AD, Dewan Buddhi Karna Rai, the chief minister of Bijaypur succeeded King Kama Datta Sen and ruled Morong State from 1769 to 1773 AD. From this time fell into the hand of Gurkha King Prithwi Narayan Singh.
He influenced the Phedap King Murey Hang Khebang so much so that he consented to stay with King Bijay Narayan Rai in the new town of Bijaypur and work as the chief minister of Morong land. King Bijay Narayan Rai also took such a covenant with him that the post of chief minister of the Kingdom of Morong will be hereditary to him and his descendents only. Although the King could have the right of taking the life of his minister, yet he will never have the right of removing him or his successors from this post.
King Bijay Narayan Rai being a Hindu king did not care for the prejudice of Hindu law and kept a beef eater Kirat chief in his Ministry of Bijaypur to act as the Prime Minister in his kingdom. He further decorated him with the Hindu title of "Rai", which means “The King” in those days. Thus, Murey Hang Khebang Limbu became the first hill Kirat chief to have such a title of "Rai" in the 16th century.
But after some days King Bijay Narayan Rai made a plea and alleged his Chief Minister for the case of defiling his daughter, Maiya by name and gave him death punishment. Hearing such sad news of Murey Hang Rai, his son Bajahang Rai decided to punish the King Bajay Narayan Rai.
He collected a strong Kirat force of hill area and went to Mokwanput to ask help from Lo Hang Sen, another Kirat king of western direction. The latter also consented to help him against King Bijay Narayan Rai of Bijaypur.
In those days every village between Bijaypur and Mokwanpur had their own king. King Lo Hang Sen of Mokwanpur led a big army of Kirat force and subdued all the petty chiefs and formed two big districts of Mahotari and Saptari in the Terai land.150 Bajahang Rai also joined him with his Kirat force of the east in a place called Korani near Saptari and conquered all the Terai land upto river Mahanadi of Siliguri. They conquered a Lapcha Kirat king of Kurseong hill. In the battle field of Gidde hill, Tarbe Pano, the Lapcha chief was slain. But before his death, the Kirat chief Bajahang Rai who had invited king Lo Hang
150 Kirat Itihas by I.S. Chemjong, Kalimpong, 1948. The kings of villages conquered by Kirat king Lo Hang Sen were Oinwar, Magar king, Makardhoj and Mohan Thakuri of Mahottari district. Bhawar a Tharu King of Korani village. Lankeswar king of Khesra village, Mazal king of Rampur village, Karavandar king of Pokheri village, Roza king of Jamuna village, Udigir king of Jagoda village, KarnaDev king of Dhapar, Kalisa and Belkhakot villages and Daulat Dev king of Kargen village.
Sen of Mokwanpur to invade Bijaypur town was also killed in the same battle field in 1608 AD.
King Lo Hang Sen, therefore, fixed his eatern boundary at Mahanadi near Gidde hill and returned to Bijaypur. He occupied the town without any opposition. Because, a little time before the occupation of the town, King Bijay Narayan Rai had died a natural death and had no issue to succeed him, neither had Bajahang Rai. The successor of the late Chief Minister Murey Hang Rai was lalive.
King Lo Hang Sen, therefore, appointed the son of Bajahang Rai, Prime Minister of Bijaypur government and asked him to follow Hinduism. But he denied to follow his advice as he was proud of his Lineage of Hang family. However, King Lo Hang Sen gave him Hindu name and called him Bidya Chandra Rai. He gave him full autonomy over his kingdom of hill area and returned to Mokwanpur.
Kirat Chief Bidya Chandra Rai having got the power of administration over Morang and hill area, went to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet with a view to request the then Dalai Lama for his recognisition over his appointment as Chief of Kirat people. The latter also received him with great honour and gave him a Royal Document sealed with red seal of Dalai Lama. The following is the translation of the same.
All the lamaa and subjects, civil and military officers of Tibet and the children of Chong people or Kirat people that Bajahang, the Chief Ruler of Phedap land has given the charge of administration of his country to his son and is dead now. Beside this country of Phedap, he has full right to rule over all the seven districts including Nuhangma, Bhagasum and other plain lands of Terai. These are his properties owned and enjoyed by him from the time of his ancestors.
All of you, therefore, should know that this country is a friend of my country. If you do not listen to this and go against this announcement then you should bear alwlays in your mind, I will never be on your side.151
Black Seal of Red Seal of Dalai Lama
Lo Hang Sen The year of Fire and
Thus, after a rule of seven generations the Kirat kings of Rai dynasty of Bijaypur, Morong was ended and the Kirat kings of Shan Mokwan dynasty became the monarch of Kirat people.
( 1609 - 1641 AD )
King Lo Hang Sen was the youngest son of Kirat king Mukkunda Sen of Western Nepal whose capital town was at Palpa. He was Hinduised Kirat King. He had four sons called Manik Sen, Arjun Sen, Bi Hang Sen and Lo Hang Sen who extended his kingdom up to river Mahanadi in the East. He was ordained king on Bijaypur throne by the Sanyasis in 1609 AD. He built a temple in the name of Baraha or wild boar which they believed to be the symbol of God Vishnu, in Chatara on the eastern bank of river Kosi and placed a Sannyasi saint to manage it. He became the Maharajadhiraj or King of Kings of all the Kirat Land.
151 The Document : Rang shyapsu serkya chhyidag Kalen, Jongpen, Makpen, Kuchhap, Dimdul, Chongrik tyeme Goyungegogyur. Phedap sa Bajahang dipa phasyul Phuzyak kozyak chhyesi. Thena Khorangi phajyo dyi ki thopkhung. Nuhangma Bhagasum Langphel dun chhye zyakne phenda chhyena mithu thak chhyala delu sosone ghepa gi.
Black Seal Red Seal
Hamiltan Buchanan mentions in his book called, "An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal" that king Lo Hang Sen appointed three Kirat ministers of Sering, Chongbang and Libang Limbu families of Limbuwan for the administratin of his country and placed them in the court of Mokwanpur.152
It was from this time that he began to administer his country by keeping Subhas, Kajis and Dewans in his court. First of all, he appointed only five Subhas and gave them power of administration of five districts of his Kingdom and as well as to discharge the duty of ministers in his court. The Subhas used to come in the capital town of Mokwanpur in turn to run the court of minister for six months only. Their permanent offices were in Mokwanpur, Morong, Chainpur, Saptari and Mahotari. Thus, the Subhas used to get one fourth of the total income of their districts as their annual commission.
The Kajis were the second grade officers in the state. They used to be in charge of all the judiciaries of the district. Their annual commission was one sixth part of the total income of their districts.
The Dewans were the third grade officers. They were the revenue officers of the state. Their annual commission was one tenth part of the total income of their districts.
The military arrangement was divided into two classes. The Kirat regiment was managed according to the fuedal system. But, the non-Kirat force was small, yet they were paid soldiers.
The judicial power was vested to the Panchayat members. One fourth of the income of Panchayat was the share of the King. The rest three fourth used to be divided among the Panchayat members.
The annual government taxes for the Feudal Lords and their subjects were Rs.3/- and Rs.1/- per head man of
152 An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal by Hamiltan Buchanan, page 148
the family. These taxes were meant for the site of their houses only. The lands were given free for their rendering military service to the state.
Thus, the total strength of Kirat Army in his time is said to have been about 96,000 strong. The soldiers were expert in making gun powder from the ashes of cowdung, “bhakimlo” and “kaphal” trees, yet the main weapons they used in the war were poisonous arrows, sling, lance, sword, shield, “chepsa,” pellet, bow and a kind of rough gun called Timmok.
( 1706 AD )
When Harihar Sen, the grandson of King Lo Hang Sen of Mokwanpur ascended the throne in 1661 AD, he extended his kingdom upto Gondwara of North Bihar and decorated himself with the title of "Hindupati" or the Lord of the Hindus. When he desired to give his throne to Subha Sen, the eldest son of his youngest queen Maheswari, his three elder sons Chhatrapati, Padma and Pratap from his first queen Mahisi quarelled with him.153 He, therefore, decided that the first heir of his throne should inherit the land of Morong. He built a palace in the lower Morong and named it Chanjitpur and placed Bidhata Indra Sen on the throne, his first grand son from his first son Chhatrapati as King of Morong. His sons were not satisfied with such action of their father, so after the death of Harihar Sen Hindupati, the above mentioned three sons fought against their half-brother Subha Sen. But in the battle they were defeated and fled away to a place called Phulbari situated on the left bank of river Kamala. So Subha Sen ruled Morong for 22 years (1684 -1706 AD). King Subha Sen
153 Kirat Itihas by I. S. Chemjong, 1948, Kalimpong, page 42
appointed a Brahmin minister called Pradi Yamuna Padhyay and a Kayastha minister named Prabodh Das of Terai for Mokwanpur court and King Bidhata Indra Sen appointed a Kirat minister named Boajit Rai for the court of Chanjitpur. The Royal order of King Bidhata Indra Sen given to his minister Boajit Rai is as follows:
Swasti Sri rup narayane tyadi bibida birudhawali birajman mannonatta Maharajadhiraja Rajeswar Sri Sri Sri Bidhata Indra dewanam sada samara bijayi nam:
Boajit Rai ke apna jiju ka jagir jani basa. Abaek sarah sau saman sewa darbar karai. Bes jagir batai-iti sambat 1741 sal ma Asar badi roj 3 Mokam Chanjitpur shuvam.
That is, Boajit Rai may continue to enjoy the Jagir land of his forefathers and serve the government as usual.
The above Royal Order proves that King Bidhata Indra Sen started to rule Morong from the year 1684 AD. But the conspiracy of the enemies of King Subha Sen of Mokwanpur grew worse and therefore, they (Chhatrapati, Padma and Pratap) instigated Pradi Yamuna Padhyay, a minister of Raja Subha Sen of Mokwanpur to stand against the king. The latter also in consultation with one of the military officers Parshuram Thapa by name conspired against their king, put him into arrest and handed him over to Nawab Ishphundiyar Khan of Purnea state.
But as soon as this sad news reached the King of Morong, he led a Kirat force to Purnea, fought against the Nawab, defeated his force in the battle field and rescued his uncle Subha Sen and brought him back to Mokwanpur. But later on, the Nawab of Purnea played such a trick that the entrapped both the kings of Morong and Mokwanpur and sent them to Delhi for the disposal of the then Mughal Emperor Muhammad Azim. He gave them such punishment that they never returned to their native land.154
154 An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal by Hamilton Buchanan, page 138-136
The Kayastha minister Prabodh Das saved the two princes of late king Subha Sen by bringing them under the protection of Kirat chiefs.
Queen Padmidhata Induraj Rajeswari, the widow queen of Bidhata Indra Sen of Chanjitpur suddenly asked help from the hill rajas of Limbuwan state, who regarded the Sen kings of Mokwanpur and Morong as their Overlord.155
The following is the translation of the Royal document given to the Feudal Chiefs for their help in war against the Nawab Ishphudiyar Khan of Purnea.
From the Great Queen Padmidhata Induraj Rajeswari of Chanjitpur.
The Hill Rajas, Chemjong Rai, Pasenama Rai, Lingdom Rai, Khewa Rai, Sukmi Rai, Makkhim Rai, Vaji Rai, Gava Rai and Shah Hang Sai.
Let it be gratious to you; that from today onward there is no power in my possession. Now we should fight heavily. A small force under the command of Ramkrishna Thapa has been sent there for your help.
I have seen the copper plate possessed by Shamo Rai Subba, (Chemjong Rai) according to which he is bound to fight for this case.
155 The Royal document runs as follows:
Swasti sri rupanarayane tyadi birudhawali birajman mannonata Maharajadhiraj Hindupati raj rejeswar Sri Sri Padmidhata Induraj Rajeswari Sri Sri Maharani jew debi nam sada shobhagyawati shiwa nam:
Chemjong Rai, Pasenama Rai, Lingdom Rai, Khewa Rai, Makhim Rai, Vaji Rai, Gabha Rai, Shah Hang Rai aur sabke asikh. Purba patram idam. Ajse agey purba maha nimak hamara maha nahi. Dhum uthawa bhawet. Ramkrishna Thapa ke bhejala hai. Tohare ba tamra patra darshan to kee. Toha Shamo Rai subha bapat jarur kar lagala hu. Bairi ke hanai chahi.Moha tohare sab ke jas ho. Iti sambat 1763 sal Aswin badi 4 din Chanjitpur shubham.
I wish the enemy should be attacked immediately. Let yours as well as mine victory be gained. Dated, Chanjitpur the 4th Aswin 1763 or the 1st week of September 1706 AD.
A composite force of Kirat chiefs under the command of a Chemjong Rai led to Morong and a big battle took place at Jula Garh or Jalal Garh near Purnea, between the Kirat force and the Nawab's force. In the battle, the Kirat soldiers used a weapon of war of the nature of catapult which threw big stones at good distance. It was called "Ordo" in those days. The other weapons were Koryali or Kolyali, Timmok, Tong-Li or bow and arrow, lance, sword and shield. With such arms, the Kirat fighters defeated their enemies and expelled them from the boundary line which they had encroached. They fixed up the boundary of their Morong state at Jula Garh or Jalal Garh and returned to Bijaypur.
The Kirat chiefs then proposed and selected the seat of Queen Padmidhata Induraj Rajeswari at Bijaypur instead of Chanjitpur. They placed her on the throne and held the post of second office in the state by themselves and discharged the duties of ministers and Prime Minister with the title of Subhas and Chautaria. In this manner they ruled Morong Terai extending from river Teesta in the east to Betia in the west from 1706 - 1725 AD.
(1641 - 1670 AD)
By the time when King Raghav Sen, the eldest son of King Lo Hang Sen had ascending the throne of Mokwanpur in 1641 AD, a new power suddenly burst in Sikkim where the Lapcha, the Limbu and the Magar tribes were ruling independently in different villages. King Phunchho Namgyal of Gangtok Tashi Tengka village who had been ordained king of Sikkim in a place in Western Sikkim called Yoksam Norbungang by the Tibetan Lamas led by Lama Lhachhen Namkha Zigmed of Tibet. As the Lapcha and the Limbu tribes were the followers of Gautam Buddha, the Tibetan Lamas adopted a plan to establish a Buddhist Kingdom there in Sikkim by making a Lhopa King of Tibetan origin. Accordingly they found out a worthy man in Gangtok Tashi Tengka village and ordainded King of Sikkim in 1641 AD. He was successful in bringing up all the Lapcha chiefs of Tashi Tengka, Sangdyang, Ringchom and Barfog villages. But the Magar chief and Limbu chief made war against him for which he had to bring Tibetan soldiers and through their help he won the victories over the Magar and Limbu chiefs. As a result of this, Phunchho Namgyal became the King of all Sikkim including the Northern part of Limbuwan State where lies Tambar, Yangwarok, Northern Panchthar, Ilam, Phakphok and Darjeeling districts.
The Kirat chiefs of the above mentioned districts also agreed to regard Phunchho Namgyal of Sikkim as their King and paid him a nominal tribute. He also summoned all the Kirat chiefs in a meeting and proclaimed that Sikkim Bhutias or Lhopas, Mempas or Lapchas and the Chongs or the Limbus are of one family.
The King should be considered as the father, Lapchas should be regarded as mother and Limbus or Chongs should be thought of as sons of the same family. They should unite together and rule the country by making a council called "Lo-Men-Chong" which should be represented by Lhopa or Bhutia community, Mempa or Lapcha community and Chong or Limbu community. They should not fight among themselves, if any one of the three communities thinks ill of others they shall be cursed by the oath and will suffer distress.
But Magar a branch of Kirat community did not come in good terms with the Bhutias and fought against them and when defeated in the battle they left Sikkim for good. King Phunchho Namgyal gave full autonomy to the Limbu chiefs for their districts and remained himself their nominal king. The Royal proclamation which he gave to Limbu chiefs are as follows:
The Chong156 Subhas or Limbu chiefs are hereby authorized to rule their districts under the title of Subhas with all the facilities of enjoying their tribal rites in social and religious functions by beating the Royal drum called Negara or Cattle-drum157.
156 In Sikkim history the word Chong is given to Limbu and Magar communities.
157 Royal Proclamation:
Rang shapshu khepai serkya lenjong thagsen chhangma ngegye:- Chong Akyen thalmi Chung Tshering Lung Hang Khar sang tyene dipe kyeden shimn shingtha shapden shugosla Khase mepa thang nazim chhyung Subha chyithal tar Sathel sachhyang chhyebul thigisong shung dyen ghal chhiring thusyog mepa thichhang chhyung chhin. Subha ghoney dhang lachhyo phaktyen Kapaga chhyen ka ngin kyawas khoi ghong khyei chhangme newal doring michhyokpa the dhenge chhye.
By order of the King of Sikkim, from Yarsa Palace, dated, earth and sheep years.
In this way, by the rising of the Sikkimese King Phunchho Namgyal, the Kirat land was divided into three divisions. The Northern Limbuwan consisting of Tambar, Yangwarok, Northern Panchthar, Ilam, Phakphok and Darjeeling including Siliguri, the habitat of Mech and Dhimal Kirat people came under the sovereignty of Sikkim.
Southern Limbuwan consisting of Phedap, Athrai, Mewa, Maiwa, Chhetther, Southern Panchthar or Bodhey pargana, Chaubis, Das Majhiya, Panch Majhiya, Panch Khapwan, Sowa, Sankhuwa, Barah, Amchok, Khotang, Morong, Saptari, Mahotari, Rautahat, Bijaypur, Mokwanpur districts remained unde the Kirat Kings of Shan Mokwan dynasty. The Kirat chiefs of Arun Kosi, Tamba Kosi, Rawa Kosi, Namdophalu and Dhulikhel districts remained independent rulers.
After the death of King Phunchho Namgyal, his son Tensong namgyal became the King of Sikkim State in 1670 AD. He married three queens from Bhutan, Tibet and Independent Kirat State. His youngest queen was the daughter of a Limbu Kirat King Yong-ya Hang of Arun Kosi district whose name was called Thungwamukma.
King Tensong Namgyal built a new palace near the famous Pemayontse Monastery in the name of his Chong or Limbu Queen and asked her to name it according to her own choice. She also named it "Song Khim", which later on became Sukkim and Sikkim. In Limbu language, “Song” means new and “Khim” means palace; so "Song Khim" meant New Palace. It is from the name this palace, originated the name of the country, that is “Sikkim.” The original name of Sikkim was "Mayel" in Lapcha, "Chungjung" in Limbu and "Deyjyong" in Lhopa or Bhutia languages.
Sa Luk Dawa Dun Chhe 27 yarsa
Red Seal of Sikkim King
From the first Queen of King Tensong Namgyal, he had only one daughter named Pendo Wangmo. From the second Queen, he had one son called Chhyagdor Namgyal. From the third Queen, he had one son and one daughter called Guru Namgyal and Pande Tshering Gyalmo. From such connection of Royal families of Sikkim State and Kirat State, many Kiratese migrated to Sikkim and King Tensong Namgyal also built the SangaCholin Monastery for the sake of Kirat Buddhist people in Western Sikkim.
The third King of Sikkim was Chhyagdor Namgyal. He succeeded his father King Tensong Namgyal in 1700 AD. While he was still young, a Bhutanese King, Dev Zidar invaded and took possession of Eastern Sikkim. King Chhyagdor Namgyal fled away to Lhasa via Ilam and Walungsum after handing over Sikkim Durbar to his Chief Minister Yuk Thing Arup. As the Sikkim force was not well prepared to encounter the external enemy, they captured the Sikkim Palace and took the king's regent Yuk Thing Arup as a captive to the Bhutan Palace. The Bhutan Government ruled Sikkim for eight years but did not bother to learn about the boundaries of Sikkim and so the territory of Limbu Chiefs remained unknown to them.
When the Sikkimese King Chhyagdor Namgyal then grew up to be a young man, he presented the case before the then Dalai Lama and pleaded him for his assistance. As a result of it, the Dalai Lama wrote a letter to the Bhutanese King requesting him to withdraw his Bhutanese force from Sikkim because Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim being the lands of same nationality, there should be a friendly feeling among them. Tibet should be like father, Bhutan the mother and Sikkim should be loved by both as their child. As soon the letter reached the Bhutan Palace,
the King sent an immediate order to his military officers to withdraw the Bhutanese soldiers from Sikkim. When all of them withdrew from Sikkim, King Chhyagdor Namgyal returned to his native land and took charge of his Kingdom.158
But he was not allowed to rule his country peacefully as his own step sister, Pende Wangmo conspired against him, assassinated him and tried to usurp his property in 1716 AD. But she also could not enjoy her step-brother’s property for she was also murdered by the king's men soon after the king’s assassination. At the time of such conflict in the Sikkim Palace, one of the Bhutia ministers called Shengo Achyok who had sided with the Bhutanese force against the King of his own country also left Sikkim for good and lived in Damsang or Kalimpong under the protection of the Bhutanese king. He was called Gabu Achyok by the Lapchas of Kalimpong. He built a fort at Daling and ruled the Lapcha Kirat people of Kalimpong. But later on he was betrayed by the Bhutanese king and was killed at Ambiyok near Daling fort and the Bhutanese king annexed Kalimpong district to Bhutan State in 1718 AD.
King Chhyagdor Namgyal’s son, Gyurmi Namgyal succeeded the throne of Sikkim in 1716 AD. He ruled for 17 years. During his reign, in 1725 AD a Lapcha chief Tasso Bidur, of the Chyakung estate conspired against the king with a Magar Chief and tried to stop the revenue of Siliguri district. He collected many Lapcha and Magar soldiers to revolt against the Bhutia King of Sikkim. But he was timely checked and put to death by the king at a place called Garat below Badamtam of the Darjeeling district. From that time, the Lapcha subjects of Sikkim were not too loyal to the Bhutia King of Sikkim.
In 1733 AD, the King Gyurmi Namgyal died issueless. So his Lapcha minister Chhangzat Karwang
158 Sikkim History by HH T. Namgyal, page 18
Barphong, tried to place an infant king called Namgyal Phunchho on the throne of Rabdentse but the Tibetan minister, Tamding Sechuethar did not recognise the legitimacy and he declared himself as the King of Sikkim under the title, “Tamding Gyalpo” and sat on the throne of Rabdentse. He ruled for three years (1738-1741 AD).
In 1741 AD, a learned Limbu man of the Yangwarok district of Northern Limbuwan known as Srijunga Dewangsi revived the Kirat Literature and taught the Mundhum religion to all the Kirat people of Limbuwan as well as to those in Western Sikkim. The Tibetan Lamas or Tachhang Lamas of the Pemayangtse monastery stood against this activity of the Limbu learned man. They put him under arrest, bounded him on a tree and shot him to death.159 At the cruel action of the Tachhang Lamas, all the Limbus of Northern Limbuwan rose against the Sikkimese ruler and prepared to fight them to the last.
The Lapcha minister, Chhangzat Karwang Barphong also raised the Lapcha soldiers who very willingly joined him for the action against the Bhutia king. He built a small fort at Singchel in Darjeeling district and kept the infant king in that fort called Fara Dee.160
The Lapcha chief and the Limbu chief consulted one another and declared war against the Bhutia force of Tamding Gyalpo. The Bhutia force fought very bravely but could not stand before the combined force of the Lapcha and Limbu Kirat people. They were defeated in every battle and therefore, the Bhutia King Tamding Gyalpo left the Rabdentse palace and fled away towards Tibet.161 The Lapcha minister, Chhangzat Karwang placed the infant
159 Kirat Itihas by I. S. Chemjong, 1948, page 55
160 Takchha Karthak's Rong MSS
161 Sikkim Gazetteer 167
King Namgyal Phunchho on the throne of Rabdentse palace in 1741 AD and acted as his regent till the infant matured.162 From that time onwards, all the Lapcha Kirat people began to regard Chhangzat Karwang of the Barphongmu family of the Barmek Estate as their tribal chief with the title of Denshobu in Lapcha or Densappa in Lhopa language. He was famous by the name of Barmek Athing or the as the Raja of Barmek Estate.
The Limbu chiefs of Northern Limbuwan ceased to regard the Sikkim King as their overlord and stopped paying tribute to him and declared themselves independent Kirat States from 1741 AD.
Fifteen years after the reign of Queen Padmidhata Induraj Rajeswari Sabitri of Bijaypur, Morong, a new Nawab called Shaolat Ahmad Khan Abdullah succeeded the old Nawab, Ishphundiyar Khan of the Purnea State. During the time of Nawab Shaolat Ahmad Khan Abdullah, a friendly relation between the Kirat State and the Purnea State was revived. In the year 1721 AD, the Kirat minister Paseynama Rai of Bijaypur went to Purniya and established a friendly relation between the two states and was successful in making a trade pact between them. The trade agreement runs as follows:
"Shaolat Ahmad Khan Abdullah Morong Balke Pasenama ke zalwar shama gharra no azke kwahar kemarye Yakkabake zurahan hama yak na kese nurma almarb khyan ke navi zale ahuhut name mulkda jahan mahekkar wa ghurra ayamma ainda vare mahekkar wa
162 Unpublished Sikkim History by HH the Maharaja Thutob namgyal of Sikkim, translated by Kaji Dawa Samdup.
gairahke nausadar ke kurre wahit na karda bake az nawab mulk az kharid arzake farmayet vake az andesheko zan darvar na kardar saraul mamur mulk anan.
Ravi aul 4 tarik 1158"
The trade agreement between Paseynama Rai of Morong and Nawab Shaolat Ahmad Khan Abdullah of Purnea reads as follows:
"That, all the commodities produced from the Purnea State can be sold to any market of Morong State as well as hilly country. Similarly, all the products such as yak tail or Chauwar, musk, wood and medicinal herbs of mountainous country can be sold to any market of Purnea State at a general rate.163
Date: Ravi aul 4-1158"
In 1722 AD when Ghanjit Rai, the son of Chanjitpur married the daughter of a Chemjong minister of the Mabo Hang family of Bijaypur illegally, Ghanjit Rai was punished according to the Kirat marriage law. The document reads as follows:
" Swasti Sri Rajbhar samartha Sri Dewan Chokha Rai jiu:
Boajit Rai ka beta Ghanjit Rai aguhi sau Chemjong mantri ka chhori sath bira bol yek chhora pawal. Tehu par rai chai ka neti samkannya dam mahi majkurke mahi majkurke mahi dihal. Tehipar Boajit Rai ka beta ke mana kai ghara basi-na nasti kai. Tab kannya Raja Ram Rai ke dihal. Tehi khabari par Ghanjit Rai kannya majkurke chori uthari laijata pakara lagaila. Hamara hajura pahunchala par, sarba banch ke chhyan bichar sau chor badi
163 Subba Prem Bahadur Chemjong Mabo Hang's collection.
gunahgari dandalai dawa nasti ke pharhigat dihal iti sambat 1779 sal mah kartik sudi 14 roj mokam Bijaypur. "
It appears that the judgement in those days for such cases was very strict and bribery in the court was strictly prohibited.
The above documents prove that the Kirat Kings of Bijaypur and Mokwanpur had adopted the Maithali languages in their court with the kaitey script for general use.
KING KAMA DATTA SEN (1761 - 1769 AD)
After the death of Queen Padmidhata Induraj Rajeswari, the Kirat chiefs elected Mahipati or Mandhata Sen, the eldest son of the late King Subha Sen, the King of Morong and placed him on the throne of Bijaypur. He was a very weak king. He lived as a nominal king of Kirat people from 1725-1750 AD and spent his life in pomp and pleasure. He had no male issue from his married queen. He had kept many concubines through whom he had eighteen illegitimate sons. Kama Datta Sen was the eldest of all. During his reign, he also issued an order in the name of one of his Kirat ministers called Ish Rai for the grant of a Jagir land of Sukh Rai in Morong. He also requested to serve his government in the court of his Prime Minister at Bijaypur in 1725 AD.164
164 The Royal Order of King Mahipati Sen of Bijaypur:
Swasti Sri Rupanarayane tyadi bibida birudhawali birajman mannnonatta Maharaja dhiraj Hindupati Chhatrapati Raj Rajeswor Mahipati Senji dewanam sada samara bijayinam:
Ish Raike Sukh Rai ka ee Khayan praja gaon pargana bahal rakhi chhihal. Apna khatir jama sau praja gaon bhar kai raha. Sri Dewan samil raj kaj khraha. Iti sambat 1882 sal mah Magh badi roj 8 mokam Bijaypur shuvam.
At that time, Bichitra Chandra Rai was the Prime Minister of Bijaypur. He was all in all in the administration. He never allowed Kama Datta Sen to be the King of Bijaypur because he knew that Kama Datta was only an illegitimate son of the former king. When King Mahipati Sen died, Prime Minister Bichitra Chandra Rai brought Jagat Sen from Mokwanpur and made him the King of Bijaypur. But he consented him to rule only half the portion of the Bijaypur State and left the other half to Kama Datta Sen. He changed his name and called himself Biswambhar Sen and ruled the state west of river Koshi for eleven years (1750 - 1761 AD). In the year 1750 AD, he renewed the order for the grant of Jagir lands of Ramhila, Damak, Harduwa, Kachhudaha, Jhurkia, Boya, Panbara and Guwabari in the name of a Kirat chief named Sathaba Rai of Chainpur district for his military service to the central government of Bijaypur. It appears that the King Biswambhar Sen might have given most of the big lands of Morong to the Limbu chief with the hope that they would not revolt against their Overlord of Bijaypur.165
Kama Datta Sen tried his best to gain back his father's property from the hand of Bichitra Chandra Rai. He approached the Tibetan government, the Gurkha king and even the Governor General of East India Company. But he could not succeed in getting help from any source.
165 The Royal Order of the Kirat King Biswamber Sen of Bijaypur dated 1750 AD:
Swasti Sri Rupanarayane tyadi bibida birudabali birjaman mannonatta Maharajadhiraj Hindupati Raj Rajeswar chhatrapati Aridal ganjana bhupadal manjana Maharaja Sri Sri Sri Biswambher Senji dewa nam sada samar bijayai nam:
Sathaba Rai ke khayan Ramhila madhye mauje Damak, mauje Harduwa, mauje Kachhudaha, mauje Jhurkia, mauje Boya Panbara, mauje Guwabari jagir bhar dhara sabek bahali kai chhihal. Apna Khatirjama sau sama sarjam saha sewa maha ruju raha. Asal ghar dhara sarba anka betalab jani bhogya karaha. Iti smabat 1807 sal Aswin sudi 2 roj mokam Bijaypur.
During his absence from Bijaypur, the Prime Minister Bichitra Chandra Rai died and his son Buddhi Karna Rai succeeded him. He also did not allow Kama Datta Sen to sit on the throne of Bijaypur. When Kama Datta Sen did not find any way to secure his father's property, he collected some soldiers in lower Morong and attacked the patrol post commanded by one of the brothers of Buddhi Karna Rai and killed him. He came to Bijaypur and forcibly occupied it. When he learnt that Buddhi Karna Rai was making some plot against him, he expelled him from Bijaypur. The latter went to the Rabdenchi palace of Sikkim and asked for help from the Sikkim king to murder Kama Datta Sen. In this connection, the Sikkim history also mentions that during the time of the Regency of Nalung Ding Kharwa in Sikkim palace, Buddhi Karna Rai had come to Rabdentse palace.166
King Kama Datta Sen's Home Policy
Now, Kama Datta Sen became the King of Morong and ruled the Kirat land from 1761 to 1769 AD. In his administration, he adopted the policy of treating all the Kirat chiefs equal to his own lineage and treated them as members of his own family.
A Royal document167, dated 1761 AD of Bikram Sambat 1818 given by him to one of the Kirat chiefs,Chemjong Rai proves that he was very familiar and dependent on the Kirat chiefs for the administration of his Kingdom.
166 Sikkim History by HH T. Namgyal, page 28
167 Royal Document: Chemjong Rai hamarey kam khatir jieu dhan misai sanga bhaila. Raj mamila desh ka dhawo. Apna hath bhaila. Rakchhya hamarey uchchoti khatir karih; monasib rakhi dehab. Chetan rakhi dehi. Apna bhiri parlo. Bhar karahi. Iti Sambat 1818 sal Jestha sudi 15 roj, mokam Bijaypur
The document mentions that he, for the sake of his own interest in the administrative work of his Kingdom mixed up his life and property with that of Chemjong Rai then Raja of Bodhey Pargana or Choubis thum and requested the Raja to attend his court for the execution of the administrative work of the Kingdom. He gave Chemjong Rai full power to manage and rule his country and requested him to protect his life and property from his enemy (Buddhi Karna Rai).
Secondly, he gave autonomy to another Kirat chief called Phago Rai on the condition that he should render military service to the Central Government of Bijaypur.
Thirdly, he married Thangsama, the sister of one of the Kirat chiefs of the Athrai district. His name was Muhangkep and he belonged to the Angbo Hang family. Thus, he intermingled with the Kirat chiefs and gained their confidence for his protection.
Lastly, he gave autonomy to all the chiefs of the hill areas as well as to those in the terai extending from Bhutan to Nepal valley in the north and river Mahanadi to Betiya in the south. K. N. Chowdhary mentions in his book called, "Anglo Nepali Relation" that even Bhadgaon or Bhaktapur of Nepal valley was under his sovereignty but after his assassination all the feudal lords of his kingdom declared independence.168
His Foreign Policy
In order to maintain friendly relations with Sikkim and Bhutan, King Kama Datta Sen invited the kings of the above mentioned states to grace his coronation by their attendance at Bijaypur in 1761 AD.
King Dev Zudur of Bhutan sent his representatives in the coronation of King Kama Datta Sen at Bijaypur and
168 Anglo Nepali Relation by K. S. Chaudhary, page 49
recognized it as one of the biggest States of Eastern Himalayan region.
King Kama Datta Sen was very pleased by such act of recognition of his State by the Bhutanese King. He made friendly relations with the Bhutanese king and the Bhutanese people. As a gesture the friendship between the Kirat State and the Bhutan State, he sent an elephant, a rhinoceros and some gold and silver to the Bhutan King.169
The Sikkim state in those days was under the Regency of the Tibetan Government. As the Sikkimese king was an infant only the Tibetan Government had appointed Nalunding Kharwa to act as the Regent of Sikkim Durbar. Buddhi Karna Rai, the banished Prime Minister of Bijaypur had gone there to ask for help against King Kama Datta Sen. Thus, under the influence of Buddhi Karna Rai, the Sikkim Regent Nalungding Kharwa did not send his representative in the coronation of King Kama Datta Sen.
Kirat King Kama Datta Sen was disappointed at this and tried his best to wage a war against Sikkim. He instigated Bhutan to conquer Sikkim and rule it. He wrote to the Bhutan king saying that he would certainly help him by making an attack upon the territory of Sikkim from its western boundary. But he was murdered long before the Bhutan-Sikkim war took place.170
His Social Policy
King Kama Dutta Sen renovated the temple of the Barah Chhetra in Chatara built by his ancestor King Lo Hang Sen and kept a copper image of Mahadev, discovered by his nephews on the bank of river Sardu near
169 Sikkim History by HH Maharaja Thutob Namgyal, page 28 (unpublished)
170 Ibid
Bijaypur town. He also renovated the temples of Pindeswari and Kalika. It was from his time the temple of Kalika was called Danta Kali in Bijaypur.
He also dug a well in Phedap, Tehrathum in memory of his Limbu Queen Thangsama Rani of Athrai which is still famous by the name of Rani Pokhari.
He respected Buddhism though he claimed to be a Hindupati and invited a Buddhist priest called Ngadag Sempa Chempo Phunsog of South West Tibet to Bijaypur. This priest was a follower of the Bajrakali sect of Buddhism and had come to Nepal valley on a pilgrimage. While he had been a guest of King Ranjit Malla of Bhaktapur, he had learnt about the greatness of King Kama Datta Sen of Bijaypur. At that time King Kama Datta Sen also had learnt about the visit of a high priest of Buddhism of the Bajrayana sect in the Nepal valley. The Buddhist high priest Ngadag Sempa Chempo Phunsog was a royal descent of Tibet.
When King Kama Datta Sen came to know about the visit of the high priest, he invited him to Bijaypur. He built a temple in Bijaypur in the name of Bajrakali and requested the Buddhist priest to manage it. He also allotted a piece of land cultivated by 100 Kokadhari subjects in Morong for the upkeep of the Buddhist temple.171
His Assassination
By the year 1769 AD, King Kama Datta Sen was very much engaged in his social and religious duties in Bijaypur and was gaining confidence of his subjects, too. Meanwhile, Buddhi Karna Rai in consultation with his colleague Ajit Singh was conspiring in lower Morong to murder King Kama Datta Sen. Buddhi Karna Rai had brought ten Bhutia soldiers from Sikkim and had instructed
171 Sikkim History by HH Maharaja Thutob Namgyal (unpublished)
them to attack and murder Kama Datta Sen as soon as they came to know him.
Buddha Karna Rai and Ajit Singh conspired to hold a meeting in lower Morong and to invite King Kama Datta Sen to that meeting with a plea to settle Kama Datta Sen’s dispute with the former Prime Minister Buddhi Karna Rai in front of all the representatives of neighboring states of Sikkim and Bhutan. They arranged everything for the assassination of King Kama Datta Sen and went away to their hiding places.
When King Kama Datta Sen received the invitation for attending a meeting represented by noblemen of Sikkim and Bhutan States in lower Morong, he went there without any hesitation. He never thought of his ill fate. When he reached lower Morong and as he was entering this house fixed up by the conspirators, he was attacked all of a sudden by the Bhutia soldiers who slew him without uttering a single word.
In this way King Kama Datta Sen of Bijaypur was assassinated in Morong Terai in 1769 AD.172
Soon the sad news of the murder of King Kama Datta Sen of Bijaypur spread far and wide. And all his feudal chiefs declared themselves independent and did not keep any connection with the capital town of Bijaypur. Shamo Rai or Shun Rai, the Chemjong minister of Bijaypur, Morong also left Bijaypur and went away to Panchthar thum and lived in a village called Syaprungba. The Buddhist priest Ngadag Sempa Chempo Phunsog also left Bijaypur and went away to Western Sikkim and lived in a village called Tashiding.
Raghunath Sen, a distant relative of King Kama Datta Sen tried his best to be the King of Bijaypur, Morong, but Buddhi Karna Rai came out from his hiding place and usurped the power of Bijaypur. He expelled Raghunath Sen and began to rule Morong. In this way, after a rule of
172 Anglo Nepal Relation by K. C. Chaudhary, page 50
seven generations, the Kirat Kings of Shan Mokwan dynasty of Morong also came to an end.
(1769 - 1773 AD)
Buddhi Karna Rai belonged to the Hang family of the Phedap hill. It was King Bijay Narayan Rai who had brought Murey Hang, one of the chiefs of Limbuwan to Bijaypur to discharge the duty of a Prime Minister in 1584 AD. He was famous by the name of Dewan Buddhi Karna Rai in history. But there was a twist in his political career and he was made the King of Bijaypur. He ruled Morong for four years. He could not do anything to his country and his people. His ambition was limited to the name of Kingship only; he could never get an opportunity to fulfill the duties as a wise king. There are reasons why he could not develop his country. The main reason was that he was left alone by all the Kirat chiefs of the hill and terai areas. His military strength was almost nil. Secondly, the new rising power of the Gorkha Kingdom of Western Nepal became his main obstacle. Although Buddhi Karna Rai became a king, the area of his Kingdom was limited to the Morong plains only, where he could not rule for more than four years.
When he did not find a single able minister to administer his kingdom, he sent men to find Shamo Rai and Ahum Rai who were the able ministers of late King Kama Datta Sen. His letter dated 8th Aswin 1826 or the last week of September 1769 AD proves that he was greatly in need of their services. It is mentioned that he has no any personal grudge against them, neither had he any ill feeling in his mind. It is added that they were appointed to discharge the duty of ministers in the court of Bijaypur and they had also taken oath before the temple of Sogam
ban173 for their loyal service to the state. According to the oath, if they went against the state and did not come to their service, they would be cursed by the oath and would never prosper in life174.
At the receipt of this letter, Shamo Rai and Ahum Rai returned to Bijaypur and resumed their office. But immediately after their resumption of the state office, Shamo Rai received another letter from Subba Jai Rudra Padhyay from Harichand Gurh asking him not to serve Kaji Buddhi Karna Rai. He had been instructed to go back to his district of Bodhey Pargana or Chaubis thum and to rule it independently instead of serving Kaji Buddhi Karna Rai.
It appears that the writer of this letter, viz. Jai Rudra Padhyay was an unknown person to this minister. Probably, he could be one of the assistants of King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Nepal, who had brought 2000 Brahmins from Gurkha to Kathmandu not as fighting soldiers but to play a political clique among the Newar ministers of Bhatgaon, Patan and Kathmandu kingdoms against their own Malla Kings.175 The Kirat King Dikbandan Sen of
173 1. A Royal temple in Bijaypur
2 Raja Buddhi Karna Rai's letter:
Swasti Sri Raj bharak samartha Sri Shamo Rai Sri Ahum Rai Subha doneke ashik. Idama kushala hai. rawo rasaba ka kushala mangala sada iswaro chahen.
Agey samachar hai, hijo hamaika bap koth desh raj muluk basawey rakhe khatir ai. Hamara mana maha pap nahi. Tohaee sab jani pashim gaila hu. Au Raja Buddhi Karna pash khat patra is agawai bhejala hai.
Hamake hukuma desh rajmuluka shukh shabe Jaise rahai shekaila chahi. Aishana hukuma bhaila hai. Toha sab raj muluka kau jane nase mana bhaile tesne likhala jai. Nahi raj muluka shukh shai rakhahu to taishane likhala jai. Ise akin janala jai mukh jabani se janab. au Sogam ban maha Sri Sri Jiew pash tohara ye sab kriya sapat khail ho. Ab tohara ye sab pap mana kalle tohake bhala na hoi. Iwtara shitavi likhala jai. Iti sambat 1826 sal tarikh 8 Aswin shudi Mokam Bijaypur shuvam.
175 An Account of Nepal by Fr. Joseph, Vol.II, page 315 178
Mokwanpur fort had already been imprisioned by the Gurkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1761 AD. Thus, before the establishment of Nepalese Empire, the mountainous country of the Central Himalaya was divided into Baisi, Choubisi, Newari and Kirat Kingdoms. In fact, these Baisi, Choubisi and Newari Kings were also of Kirat origin though they had adopted Hinduism and claimed their descent from Kshetri or Rajput family of Northern India.
After the death of Kirat King Kama Datta Sen, anarchy prevailed all over the Kirat States and every district claimed independence and had its own king. This certainly paved the way for the more able and ambitious Gurkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Nuwakot to establish a Nepalese Empire. According to K. N. Chaudhary, King Ranjit Malla became an independent king in the Nepal valley. Mahendra Rai became another Kirat King in Dhulikhel. Uling Hang Rai and Waling Hang Rai became Kings of the Tamba Kosi district. Atal Rai and Chatmey Rai became Kings of Pamakham and Rawa Khoala districts. Karna Sen was the King of Bhojpur, Khotang and Saptari districts. In Limbuwan, Sridev Phago Rai, Raina Sing Sering Rai, Ata Hang Phedap Rai and Subhawanta Libang Rai were the Kings of the Maiwa, Mewa, Phedap and the Tambar districts. Yongya Hang Rai, Thegim Rai, Papo Rai and Nembang Rai were the rulers of the Yangwarok and the Northern Panchthar districts. Lingdom Rai, Eme Hang and some Lapcha King were the rulers of Ilam and Phakphok districts. The Chemjong Rai was the ruler of Bodhey Pargana which included Bijaypur, Chaubis, Southern Panchthar and the Miklung districts. Khewa Hang Rai was the ruler of the Chhethar, Dasmajhiya, Jalhara and the Belhara districts. The Putlung Hang Rai, Eyok Hang Rai were the rulers of Das Lohorung, Thulung Sing Majhiya, Pawa Majhiya, Malta Maghiya, Angla Majhiya, Hidangna Majhiya, Pathak Majhiya, Savajit Majhiya and Buddhi Karna Rai was the Raja of the Morong plains where he managed to appoint Shamo Rai or Shun Rai as
his Prime Minister and who in absence of Raja Buddhi Karna Rai from Bijaypur, Morong, had made a treaty with the Gurkha Raja in 1774 AD.
In the year 1760 AD, Warren Hastings, the Governor General of East India Company wrote a letter to the Kirat King Karna Sen of Chaowdandi, Bijaypur176. But at that time, Buddhi Karna Rai was the King of Chaowdandi, Bijaypur. So, it is not known whether that letter was forwarded to King Karna Sen of Majhkirat in Hatuwa Chaowdandi or not. The letter runs as follows:
" November 13-1769 AD
Karna Sen Raja of Chaowdandi, Bijaypur
"Has heard a good deal about His Excellency's qualities and is convinced that he will attend to what the writer tells him. This will be a great profit to him. Mr. James Logan, a person of great intelligence and an eminent position is going to that part of the country to settle certain affairs there. He will probably visit the Raja. If he does so, it is hoped that the latter will assist him ungrudgingly in whatever matter he needs assistance. This will greatly please the writer and the Raja will gain the respect of the English Sirdars."
If the Kirat King Karna Sen of Majhkirat had received the above letter, he would have certainly made friendly relations between the Kirat State and the East India Company. But from the correspondence of Karna Sen with the East India Company of a later date proves that the above mentioned letter was never received by him. It appears that since the Raja Buddhi Karna Rai had very recently snatched away the power of Morong from the
176 Records of the British Correspondence with the Rajas of Himalayan Country.
hands of the Sen family, it was quite natural that he did not like to show the supremacy of Sen Kings over Morong State any longer. In my opinion King Buddhi Karna Sen might have destroyed the letter.
The Gorkhas fought for six months with the Kirat people in Dhulikhel. First, the Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah built a fort at the top of a mountain south of Chowkot and collected a large number of troops. On consulting his followers, he was told that the small villages could easily be taken, as the people would flee away, when they hear the shouts of the war cry. But the village of Chowkot would require some military skill to take it.177 After this consultation, the Gorkha troops blocked Chowkot. Some of the inhabitants fled away to Pieuthan via Basdol. Nam Singh Rai, his assistant approached Mahendra Singh Rai, the chief of Dhulikhel district and said, "We are unable to cope with the Gorkhas with the help of just about fifty houses, as the rest of the inhabitants have fled away and I have come to report you about such an event. It would be better to run away as soon as possible to save our lives". Mahendra Rai, the brave Kirat soldier got very annoyed to hear such words of timidity and reproached Nam Singh Rai and charged him with cowardice saying, "Do not stay for me but escape to save your life.” “As for myself,” he said,” I will repulse the whole force of the Gorkha King and having earned great name and I will enjoy the great name and happiness. If I do not succeed, I shall leave my body in the battle field and earn an abode in heaven by the merit of which my descendents will obtain happiness". He then collected his faithful followers and encouraged them to
177 History of Nepal by Wright, 1877, page 154-155
fight for their native land till the very end. So, when the Gorkha soldiers attacked their village at midnight they fought very bravely and repulsed the enemy after killing 131 men of their enemy. The Gorkhas kept on attacking the village every night for fifteen days, yet they could not defeat them. The Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah and his counselors were very disheartened.
On the 6th Jeth or the 19th of May 1768 AD at midnight, the Gorkhas again attacked the village of Chowkot. A very fierce battle took place. The Kirat soldiers fought very courageously. It was very dark and it was very difficult to see the movements of the enemies. At that very time, a Gorkha soldier pierced the body of Mahendra Rai from behind and as soon as he fell down, another Gorkha soldier cut his body with a big sword and killed him. When Nam Singh Rai was attacking the enemies, he was also cut with a sword which left him heavily wounded. He,too fell down senseless. Seeing their leaders falling down senseless, the chief Mahendra Rai's followers left the battle field and fled away. Thus, the Gorkha king won the battle of Chowkot after losing 332 soldiers of his army.
Early in the morning Nam Singh Rai came back to his senses. He saw no Gorkha near him and so he got up, bound his wound with his shawl and fled away to Pieuthan via Basdol. He saw his Master Mahendra Rai lying on the ground lifeless, pierced from behind with a lance and with a wound in his body made with a big Gorkha sword, the Khunda. As there was very little time, he hurriedly ran away.
The next morning after the sun rose, the Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah inspected the battle field and seeing the lifeless, wounded body of Raja Mahendra Rai, he praised the later’s bravery and sent for his family whom he thought deserved proper protection. Thus, they were brought and fed every morning and evening from the Royal kitchen of the Gorkha Raja. Thus, all the villages of Dhulikhel district came under Gorkha Kingdom. The
Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah then returned to Nuwakot.
King Karna Sen of Majhkirat had claimed the above villages of Dhulikhel district to be under his jurisdiction and the chief Mahendra Rai to be his Feudal Lord. When he heard that the Gorkha King had annexed these villages to his kingdom, he communicated the matter to the East India Company just to prove the high-handedness of the Gorkha King over his Kirat State.178
Similarly, while the Raja Buddhi Karna Rai was ruling over the Morong State, the Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah was invading the Newar kingdoms of Kathmandu valley, the full information of which is given below. In the year 1770 AD, Raja Buddhi Karna Rai issued a Royal Order by which a Kirat chief called Phungma Rai of Choubis thum was given the right of collecting the custom at the custom office of Letang Gola on condition that he should render a military service to the Bijaypur Government.179
Invasion of the Newar Kingdom of Nepal Valley by the Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah
Extracted from Rev. Fr. Joseph’s Account of Nepal, Vol. II of Asiatic Researches.
"After the death of their sovereign, the nobles of Lalit Pattan nominated Gainprajahs as their king because he held a great sway over the Nepal Valley, but after some years they removed him from his government and
178 Anglo Nepali Ralation by K. N. Chaudhary, page 47-48
179 Royal Order: Raja Sri Sri Buddhi Karna Rai jiu: Phungma Rai Choubisya gairah ke Letang ka Gola jagir dihal. Apna khatir jamma sau parbat ka astabarga banga marja wagairah utari kharid pharokhat kai takar mahsul gol dhari dastur utpanyam param sukha bhogyam kari sama sareyjam sahit sewa maha ruju raha. Iti sambat 1827 sal mah Magh 15 mokam roj Bijaypur shubham.
conferred the title on the King of Bhadgaon. But, again after some time he was deposed and after putting him to death, another king succeeded him. They made an offer to the government to Prithvi Narayan Shah, who had already commenced a war. King Prithvi Narayan Shah was the actual head of government when I arrived in Nepal. But the nobles perceived that Prithvi Narayan Shah still continued to interrupt the tranquility of the kingdom, and so they disclaimed all subjection to him. Instead, they acknowledged Dalmardan Shah as their sovereign who continued the war against his brother Prithvi Narayan Shah. But some years later, they even deposed Dalm`ardan Shah and elected a poor man of Lalit Pattan who was of Royal origin."
"The King of Bhadgaon, in order to wage war with the other Kings of the Nepal Valley had demanded assistance from King Prithvi Narayan Shah, but seeing King Prithvi Narayan Shah, himself on a campaign of conquest, he was obliged to desist and to take measures for the defence of his own possessions. Although the King of Gorkha had formerly been a subject of Gainprajahs, he took advantage of the dissensions which prevailed among the other Kings of Nepal Valley and brought under control to his party many of the mountain chiefs promising to keep them in possession and also to augment their authority and importance. If any of them were found guilty of breach of faith, he would seize their country, as he had done in the case of the King of Mare Kajis, although his relatives."
"The King of Gorkha having already been successful in taking possession of all the mountains which surrounded the plains of Nepal, began to descend to the flat lands with the same facility and succeeded as had had on the hills. After having drawn up his army at a town called Kirtipur, he employed his utmost endeavors to get possession of it. The inhabitants of Kirtipur receiving no support from the King of Lalit Pattan whose subjects they were applied for assistance to Gainprajahs, who
immediately marched with the whole army to their relief. He battled with the army of the King of Gorkha and obtained a complete victory. A brother of the King of Gorkha was killed in the battle and the King himself with the assistance of good bearers narrowly escaped by fleeing into the mountains. After all this, the inhabitants of Kirtipur demanded Gainprajahs as their King and the nobles of the town went to confer with him on the business, but after they all assembled in the same apartment with the King, the nobles were surprisingly seized by the people. After the seizure, Gainprajahs perhaps to take revenge on those nobles, for having refused their concurrence to his nominations as the King, privately caused some of them to be put to death. Dhanawanta was led through the city in a woman's dress along with several others clothed in a ridiculous and whimsical manner at the expense of the nobles of Lalit Pattan. They were then kept in close confinement for a long time. At last, after making certain promises that interested all the principal men of the country on their behalf, Gainprajahs set them free.”
“The King of Gorkha got disappointed for his expectations of gaining his end by causing a famine in Nepal Valley did not work out. So he fomented dissensions among the nobles of the three Kingdoms of Nepal Valley and attached to his party many of the principal ones by holding forth to them liberal and enticing promises for which purpose, he had brought about 2000 Brahmins in his service. When he thought he had acquired a party sufficiently strong enough, he advanced for the second time with his army to Kirtipur and laid siege to it on the North West quarter, so that he might avoid exposing his army between the two cities of Kathmandu and Lalit Pattan. After a siege of several months, the King of Gurkha demanded the regency of the town of Kirtipur. But the commandant of the town seconded approbation of the inhabitants dispatched to him by an arrow, a very impertinent and exasperating answer which enraged the
King of Gurkha so much that he gave an immediate order to all his troops to storm the town on every side. But the inhabitants bravely defended it and all the efforts of his men were fruitless. And when he saw that his army had failed and that his brother Swarupa Ratna had fallen wounded by an arrow, he was to obliged to face the failure for the second time and retreated with his army from Kirtipur.”
After that, the King of Gorkha sent his army against the neighboring Kingdom of Lamjong180. After many desperate engagements, an understanding took place with the King of Lamjong and the then Gorkha King. The Gorkha King collected all his forces and sent them for the third time to siege the Kirtipur town of Nepal valley and the army on this expedition was commanded by his brother Swarupa Ratna. The inhabitants of Kirtipur defended themselves with their usual bravery. And after a siege of several months, the Kings of Nepal Valley assembled at Kathmandu to march a body of troops to the relief of Kirtipur. One day in the afternoon they attacked some of the thanas of the Gorkhas, but did not succeed in forcing them because the Gorkha party had been reinforced by many of the nobilities, who to ruin Gainprajahs were willing to sacrifice their own lives. The inhabitants of Kirtipur had already sustained six or seven months siege. Then a noble of Lalit Pattan called Dhanawanta fled to Gorkha and treacherously introduced their army in to the town. The inhabitants could still have defended themselves because they had any others fortresses in the upper parts of the town to retreat to. But the people of Gorkha published a
180 The proper pronunciation of Lamjung is Lamjong which means the castle of Great Lama
general amnesty and the inhabitants were very exhausted by the fatigue of the long siege. So, they surrendered believing in the general amnesity. In the mean time, the men of Gorkha seized all the gates and fortresses within the town. But after two days, King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who was at Nuwakot, issued an order to Swarupa Ratna to put to death some of the principal inhabitants of the town and to cut off the noses and lips of everyone, even of the infants who were in the arms of their mothers. He also ordered the cut noses and the lips to be preserved so that the number could be ascertained. He also ordered to change the name of the town into Naskattapur which means, “The town of cut noses.”
After the capture of Kirtipur town, King Prithvi Narayan Shah dispatched his army to lay siege on the great city of Lalit Pattan and occupy it. The army of the then Gorkha King thus laid siege in the Kathmandu town and captured it without any opposition. Gainprajahs who was then at Kathmandu was asking help from the East India Company against the Gorkhas. But when he came to know that the Gorkha army had entered the Kathmandu town without any opposition, he came to know that he had been betrayed by his own men so he escaped to Lalit Pattan.
In the beginning of the year 1769 AD, the Gorkha King acquired possession of the city of Bhadgaon by the same expediency by which he owed his former successors. As he was entering the city with his troops, Gainprajahs seeing that he had no resource left to save himself ran forward courageously with his attendants towards the King of Gorkha and at a short distance from his palanquin received a wound in his foot. After a few days he died of the same wound.
The King of Lalit Pattan was confined till his death. The King of Bhadgaon obtained leave to go and later died in Banaras. The King of Kathmandu was also allowed to die at his own will. In this way, the King Prithvi Narayan
Shah acquired the Newar Kingdoms of the Kathmandu valley.
When he fully occupied the Newar Kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley, he received a letter from the Governor General Warren Hastings of East India Company saying:
November 13th 1769
" To:
Raja Prithvi Narayan
"Has heard of His Excellency from independent sources. Has also learnt that he is desirous of forming a friendship with the English Company. The English on their part are ready to extend to him their friendship. Accordingly, Mr. James Logan is sent to confer with him. By the grace of God, he would shortly have the pleasure of seeing the Raja. Formerly as the English Sirdars were not fully acquainted with the Raja of Nepal, they rendered him assistance, but now as the praises of the addressee had been heard from every quarter, the English have ceased to assist the Raja of Nepal and are desirous of entering into friendship with the addressee.
"As the opening up of trade between his country and Bengal would be mutually beneficial, the above said gentleman has been deputed to arrange the matter. The addressee would open his heart to Mr. Logan who with equal frankness would communicate to him the views of the English Sirdars. As soon as agreement would be agreed upon, a commercial relation would be established between Bengal and the addressee's country".
Thus, it was the opening of the friendly relations between the East India Company and the Nepal Government who responded well in time. But at the same time, the Gorkha King was very engaged in pursuing his ambition of consolidating his Kingdom towards the Kirat
land of the East. So, in the year 1770 he sent a Gorkha force to invade the Kingdom of Uling Hang and Waling Hang of the Tamba Koshi district.
In this connection the Kirat MSS mentions as follows:
Invasion of the Majhkirat State by Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah In 1770 AD
The description found in Kirat MSS is as follows:-
"Pene Hang na namthanu phereang Nepala Newara Hang meksu ro, Khomphang go Tamba Kosi tho pe lo, Khombu na go Waling Hang, Uling Hang yungesi ro, Pene Hangnu thokte ro, Tamba Kosi kotnanu mephottu ro. Tuk tong thoktesi ro, Pene Hang le yapmi yorik seru pirusi ro. Arunnang hetna Putlung Hang Eyok Hang yungesi ro. Yakthungba laji hepmo Jai Karna, Chatur Bhadra meyunge ro, Hepmo Waling Hang, Uling Hang phama nakte su-sang hunchhi mempharun ro. Na tong kerelle go Khombu Hang meksu ro, Pene Hangle na tong methoktellesa chukpa hinjaha sumdang hepmo mehagu meserusi, Khunchhi sa keyakmaha mesendusi. sikinnang(Sigitna-ang-nu) Yembichha sai kak melottu meserusi. Pene Hang le ampha choguro. Khomphele thongmo Uling Hang seru piru ro. Waling Hang Khombuin kosi nathambi Suknakra (Sukna garh) khechhing laseang hetyo yunge ro. Akam Singh Chautariya-ang khechhing pe lo, Karna Sen hang- nang Khechhing pe lo.”
The Gorkha King came from the Western direction and conquered the land of the Newar Kings of the Nepal valley. After that, the Gorkha army advanced towards the Tamba Koshi district where the Kirat chiefs Waling Hang and Uling Hang were ruling. They encountered the invading Gorkhas. But the Gorkhas had a bigger military
strength and so they killed many soldiers of the Kirat chiefs. The Gorkha soldiers attacked their land from the right side of river Tamba Koshi. The Kirat force fought very bravely and drove them back from their boundary. The Gorkha reinforcements continued to increase. However, the Kirat force defended their land for five years. At that time, the Kirat chiefs of the other side of river Arun were Putlung Hang, Eyok Hang, Jai Karna and Chatur Bhadra. So Waling Hang and Uling Hang asked help from Putlung Hand, Eyok Hang and Chatur Bhadra. But they did not send any help.The Gurkha King pound all small kids in mortars to death in short span of five years of war. the Gurkha soldeirs segregated all pregnant women from other women and killed the sons in their womb (committed foeticide), thus leading to the death of the mothers as well. the Gurkha (Tagadhari, thread-wearing) King indulged in such inhuman and tyrannical acts.
The chief Uling Hang was slain in the battle field of the Tamba Koshi river. Waling Hang kept on resisting for five years. But after the arduous fight, his army got too exhausted so, he left the battle field and fled away to the Terai land on the other side of river Koshi and lived in a place called Phu Garh or Sukna Garh. He was the Kirat chief of the Namdung Hang family of the Bantawa Rai tribe. And finally the Tamba Kosi was annexed to the Gorkha Kingdom.”
At this time, the Bhojpur district was under King Karna Sen and his capital town was at Hatuwa Chowdandi. His minister was called Agam Singh Chamling Rai. Since the Kirat King Karna Sen was a Hindu, his Hindu priest was called Harinanda Brahmin and he belonged to a Pokhrial family.
When the Brahmin priest of the Kirat King Karna Sen of the Bhojpur district heard the news of the conquest of the Tamba Kosi district by the King of Gorkha, he tried his best to keep a close contact with the other Brahmin followers of the Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah.
Abhiman Singh Basnet was the commander-in-chief of the Gorkha army. So, the Kirat King's priest Harinanda Pokhrial began to correspond with him. The following letters are some of them:
First Letter181
Extract from the letter of Guokha officer Ram Krishna Kunwar to Harinanda Padhyay Pokhrial dated 13th Bhadra 1829 BS corresponding to the English calendar, first week of August 1772.
"………..By your help our army has crossed river Dud Kosi. Harinanda Padhyay! Please help us conquer the Kirat land as soon as possible. We shall help for your better future prospects.”
181 First Letter: "Timile garda Dudkosi phouj tareun". Harinanda Padhyay ! ajha Kirat chandai sai garau.Timro syahar hami garaula. Miti Bhadra sudi 10 shuvam. Sambat 1829 Bhadra 13 gate." Narhari Jogi
Second Letter182
From Abhiman Singh and Parath Bhandari to Harinanda Padhyay Pokhrail of Kharpa village.
Dated 15th Phagun
1830 Bikram Sambat
"Greetings to you!
"The King of Nuwakot was very pleased to get your letter and your requesting him to send an army troop to conquer the land of Naulakh Kirat including both the hill and the terai areas.
Please adopt a plan to conquer the lands of the hill and the terai areas owned by Dewan Buddhi Karna Rai of Bijaypur".
When Chautariya Agam Singh Chamling Rai of Majhkirat came to know about the conspiracy of King Karna Sen's priest Harinanda Padhyay Pokhrial with the Gorkha officers, he gave an order to arrest and kill him. But he left his Kharpa village of Majhkirat and fled away to the
182 Second Letter: "Purba Bijaypur Dewan Budhi Karna le Khayeko muluk Mades Pahar pani hamro ambal garaunya upai timi gardai gara".
Narhari Jogi
Terai lands of Saptari. He was followed by the Kirat soldiers upto the bank of river Koshi. So, he jumped into the river and swam across and fled away to Purnea where he bought many guns to fight against the Kirat soldiers.183 Harinanda Padhyay ,Pokhrial was in fact a very rich man of that locality. When he returned back to his Kharpa village in disguise with sufficient arms and ammunitions, he met the Gorkha soldiers sent by the Gorkha Raja under the command of Abhiman Singh, Parath Bhandari and Ram Krishna Kunwar. So, a composite force of Harinanda Pokhrial and the Gorkha soldiers made an attack on the capital town of Hatuwa Chaudandi of Majhkirat. The Kirat soldiers fought very bravely, but they could not withstand the fight, they, therefore, left the place and fled away. King Karna Sen with his family members and Chautaria Agam Singh Rai took refuge at Bijaypur and asked help from Raja Buddhi Karna Rai of Morong. The latter advised King Karna Sen to take charge of the Bijaypur throne, as he would be approaching Warren Hastings, Governor General of East India Company personally and requesting him for British help against the Gorkha invasion. But when Raja Buddhi Karna Rai left Bijaypur for Calcutta, Raja Karna Sen and his minister Agam Singh Rai no longer found Bijaypur safe so they went away to Purnea. The Bijaypur throne was left in charge of the chief minister Shamo Rai or Shun Rai.
Thus, Bhojpur and Saptari fell into the hands of the Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah. The fort of Hatuwa Chaudandi of Majhkirat was occupied by the Gorkha force on the 4th day of Srawan in the year 1830 Bikram Sambat which corresponds to 1773 AD.
The two other independent Kirat chiefs Atal Rai and Chatmey Rai of Pamakham and Rawa khola districts brought their forces and fought with the invading Gorkhas in the battle fields of Dingla, Pikhuwa ghat, Kuyel ghat and
183 Tej Prasad Pokhrel's version.
Sati ghat. But the Gorkha soldiers were in such a big number that the Kirat force under Atal Rai and Chatmey Rai was defeated. Both the Kirat Chiefs with their retenues left Majhkirat and fled away to the Indian territory and started living there. In this way, the whole of Majhkirat went into the hands of the Gorkha Raja.
Assassination of Kirat King Karna Sen
King Karna Sen of Majhkirat took refuge in Purnea where he had an English friend whose name was Mr. Peacock. The latter was a military officer of the East India Company. King Karna Sen met him in Purnea and told him about the fall of his kingdom into the hands of the Gorkha Raja and requested him to correspond with the Governor General Warren Hastings of East India Company in Calcutta for his help to regain his lost kingdom. He said that Jai Prakash Malla184, the Raja of Kathmandu was his cousin brother and the Gorkha King has also destroyed him and subdued his people. If East India Company would send his army to Kathmandu valley against the Gorkha King, he would also try to raise his Kirat force upto a number of 30,000 soldiers with a fifteen hundred cavalry force and send them to fight the invading Gorkhas.185But unfortunately, he never received any reply from the Governor General. As a result, he became so desperate and hopeless that he drafted a petition to the East India Company requesting the Governor General to take charge of his Kirat country on contract of 10 annas and 6 annas share of its income. He thought it would be good if he let the East India Company improve and develop the Kirat country by opening factories there and let them enjoy 10 annas share of the income and he, on the other hand
184 Anglo Nepali Relation by K. N. Chaudhary, page 47-48
185 Ibid
would receive 6 annas as commission for his proprietorship. He submitted this petition to Warren Hastings, the Governor General of East India Company through his friend, Mr. Peacock, the military officer of East India Company stationed at Purnea.186 At this, Mr. Peacock also gave some hope to Raja Karna Sen that he would take him personally to the Governor General in Calcutta and discuss the matter with the concerned authorities of the Company. Raja Karna Sen also kept on waiting with full hope that he would be going to Calcutta and that would be approaching the Governor General himself.
But little did he know about the number of spies of the Gorkha Raja who were after his life even in a foreign country or British India. His activities against the Gorkha Raja, even in Purnea would always be informed in Kathmandu because, the Gorkha Raja was also corresponding with the East India Company for the sake of Buddhi Karna Rai, the Raja of Morong who had also by that time left Bijaypur for Calcutta and was trying to influence the Governor General. Moreover, Karna Sen's representative and the Gorkha Raja's representative Bhuwaneswar and Dinanath were both Upadhyays who were of the same opinion of helping the Gorkha Raja against Raja Karna Sen who had already been driven away from his kingdom.
Raja Karna Sen waited patiently for even upto eighteen months for the reply of his petition. But on the contrary of his expectation of regaining his property, he was attacked one night in his room and was murdered by some unknown person who was in disguise.
After the death of Raja Karna Sen, Mr. Peacock who had wanted him to accompany him to Calcutta was informed that Raja Karna Sen was dead. He, therefore, wanted the Kirat prince, who was only five years old, for
186 An Account of Nepal by Fr. Joseph, vol. III, page 315
Mr. Peacock said that the Kirat land would be registered in the name of the Kirat Prince and East India Company would take the regency and manage the administration of Majhkirat. But, as soon as this proposal came to be known by the enemies of Raja Karna Sen, they suggested the vaccination of the small prince who was at Purnea. Accordingly, they vaccinated the small prince with the plea of precaution for smallpox and the same vaccination became poison and the young Kirat prince died after two or three days of his vaccination. Mr. Peacock was also reported about his sudden death by epidemic.187 Mr. Peacock suspected it very much yet he could do nothing, so everything regarding the correspondence of Raja Karna Sen was dropped for ever.
Description of the Kirat War with Gorkhas in Limbuwan
According to Kirat old MSS
After the conquest of Majhkirat by the Gorkhas, they invaded the Limbuwan in two phases; Chainpur and Bijaypur. Bijaypur was the capital of the Morong State where Raja Buddhi Karna Sen was ruling after King Kama Datta Sen. It was a very renowned town and it was not easy for the Gorkha Raja to attack it directly unless he got some help from the British whom Raja Buddhi Karna Rai of Morong had kept a contact with before the Gorkha Raja. So, before leading his Gorkha force to Bijaypur, the Gorkha Raja made many arrangements with the British East India Company, his Gorkha officer Abhiman Singh Basnet and also with Harinanda Pokhrial, the Brahmin priest of Kirat King Karna Sen of Hatuwa Chaudandi. At that time, Raja Buddhi Karna Rai was the cleverest among
187 An Account of Nepal by Sir Hamilton, page 141
the Kings of the hills who had friendly relations with Sikkim, Tibet, Bhutan and even the East India Company of Calcutta.
In the last week of February 1773 AD, the Gorkha Raja's officers Abhiman Singh Basnet and Parath Bhandari wrote a letter to Harinanda Pokhrial, the religious priest of Kirat King Karna Sen of Hatuwa Chowdandi to help them conquer the country which at that time, was under Raja Buddhi Karna Rai.188
When Raja Buddhi Karna Rai came to know that the land of Raja Karna Sen was annexed to the Gorkha kingdom, he was determined to bring British help from Calcutta to fight the Gorkhas. Meanwhile, King Karna Sen with all his family members accompanied by his old minister Agam Singh Rai appeared at Bijaypur and asked help from Raja Buddhi Karna Rai. But Raja Buddhi Karna Rai too, was also absolutely helpless regarding military strength. So, he asked King Karna Sen to take charge of the Bijaypur throne so that he could go to Calcutta. But King Karna Sen did not accept the offer made at the eleventh hour of invasion from outside. He also did not expect help from the British side, because he already had some experience earlier. His relative Kama Datta Sen had been offered no help when he had asked help from the British against his own chief minister Buddhi Karna Rai in 1760 AD. Since he did not see light from any side, he started feeling very hopeless and left Bijaypur for Purnea and took refuge there. He had also tried his best to acquire British help through Mr. Peacock, a British military officer about whom I have described in the former pages.
Raja Buddhi Karna Rai then gave charge of his state affairs to his Chief Minister Sri Sri Shun Rai and went
188 Extract of letter of Gurkha Raja's officer to Harinanda Pokhrial: "Purba Bijaypur Dewan Budhi Karna le Khayeko muluk madesh pahar pani hamro ambal garaunya upai timile gardai gara. Tamro syahar hami garaula. Khatirjama. Iti sambat 1830 sal Falgun sudi 25 roj mukam Ambarpur shuvam."
to Calcutta to ask military help from the British. But at that time, Warren Hastings, the Governor General of East India Company was in Murshidabad. So, in 1773 AD Raja Buddhi Karna Rai also approached him at Murshidabad and requested him for a military help which was agreed. He hoped that he would send a company of British soldiers for the protection of the Morong State from the hands of invading Gorkhas and also wrote a letter to the Gorkha Raja asking him not to invade the Morong State as he was on this side.189 On receipt of this letter from the Governor General, King Prithvi Narayan Shah replied him saying that Raja Buddhi Karna Rai was not the real Raja of Morong, but a Dewan of Raja Kama Datta Sen who had usurped the countries of Amirpur and Bijaypur. He further wrote that King Kama Datta Sen was his brother and so he wanted to send a force to punish the Dewan. King Prithvi Narayan Shah wanted to inform the British that King Kama Datta Sen was his own brother and therefore, he wanted to punish the usurper, Dewan Buddhi Karna Rai and recover the Morong State for himself and to pay whatever arrangement, the Governor General would decide upon.190
Accordingly the Gurkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah wrote the following letter:
May 27th 1773 AD
From: Prithvi Narayan Shah, Raja of Gorkha
To: The Governor General
"Is eager to establish cordial relations with the Governor. Buddhi Karna, a treacherous Dewan of his brother Kama Datta Sen, has usurped the countries of
189 Records of British Correspondence
190 Ibid 198
Amirpur and Bijaypur which were in the possession of his brother. Proposed to send a force to punish the Dewan, who, it is suspected might take refuge in Purnea, which is a neighboring district. Requests him to write a letter to the chief of Purnea asking him not to give any assistance to the Dewan. The Company has hitherto receive a tribute from Amirpur and Bijaypur as will appear from a copy of Pattah (lease) granted under the seal of the Naib of Azimabad which is transferred to the Governor through the writer's vakils, Prasad Pandit and Aka Misra. Adds that if he is successful in his attempt to punish the aforesaid Dewan and recover the countries, he will send the Governor merchandise and curios. An account of which will be given in writing by his vakil".
Deota Sahay, a Dewan of Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah wrote forwarding letter to the Governor General dated May 1773 AD.
“The Raja, who is very desirous of establishing a friendship with the company, now sends his vakils, Prasad Pandit and Aka Misra to pay their respect to the Governor and to represent some particulars to him. The Raja will send his "Nazrana" at the beginning of the year. Hopes the Governor will grant him a Pattah and a Sanad and put him in possession of the countries of Amirpur and Bijaypur".
It took five months to get a reply from the Governor General of East India Company, Calcutta, so within this period, the Gorkhas with a view of attacking the land of the Limbus, crossed the river Arun. When the Limbu Rajas learned this, they raised their forces and fought a decisive battle on the bank of rivers Sowa and Arun. The officers of the Limbu forces were Sangbot Rey, Tesakpa Rey, Kangka Rey and Kangso Rey. They made their defences on the bank of river Sowa and fought very bravely against the invading Gorkhas. Eight or nine soldiers of the enemy fell at each volley of the Limbu archers. The Gorkhas could not conquer the Limbu land. On the contrary, the Limbus drove back their enemies from their land and despite the
frequent arrivals of Gorkha reinforcement, the Limbus kept on fighting for three years. Within this period, the Limbus drove back their enemies to a distance of about eight or nine days journey from their country and killed many of them by guerilla warfare. They drove them back as far as Dumja. Thus, the places between Chainpur and Dumja became their battle field.
One of their fights is described as follows:
"Raghu Rana, the commander of the Gorkha force asked the commander of the Limbu force to fix a day for a combat between the commanders themselves only. He proposed that the rest of the fighting soldiers should keep their weapons at home and attend the duel fight of their two commanders as spectators only. And the officer who would win the combat would have the power of commander over both armies. If the Limbu officer should win, the whole army of the Gorkha officers would be under him. If the Gorkha officer should win, the whole army of the Limbu officers would be under him. These conditions of combat were agreed to by the commanders of both sides.
Kangso Rey, the Limbu officer was suddenly inspired by the war diety, Nehangma, cried out saying, "I will cut him into pieces immediately". He then drew his sword, put a red colour on it, picked up his shield with his left hand and ran upto to the fighting place prepared for combat. But Raghu Rana, the Gurkha officer having betrayed the other party, had ordered his soldiers the day before to hide their arms and ammunitions on the upper side of a road, where there the combat was to be held. This intrigue was unknown to the Limbu officers.
So, on the morning of the 25th day of the month of Baisakh of Bikram Sambat 1831 which according to the English calendar corresponds to the first week of May 1774 AD, all the soldiers of both sides stood on the upper and lower sides of the fighting ground situated in the southern side of the Chainpur town. The combat between
the Limbu officer Kangso Rey and the Gurkha officer Raghu Rana started. The soldiers stood watching. The two commanders fought from morning till afternoon. In the afternoon, Kangso Rey finally smote Raghu Rana in such a way that he died. Seeing the defeat of their officer, the Gorkha soldiers drew out their hidden arms and suddenly attacked Kangso Rey and soldiers. The latter, nevertheless surrounded their enemies on the way to Tambar and closing the way towards the river killed them all together.
After that, the Limbu picked up the dead bodies of those two heroes and buried them on the upper and lower sides of the fighting ground and erected stone monuments over their graves in their honour. The Limbus then returned to their respective villages."191
Although the Gorkhas failed in their second invasion, for the third time they sent an army to invade Limbuwan under the command of Ram Bhadra Thapa Magar. This time the officers of the Limbu force were Manjit Rey, Raja Mot Rey and Birjit Rey.
191 The Limbu MSS: "Raghu Rana go Kheluwara mu. Yakthungben Kangso Rey go mukkeguba ngipa lo. Khonba Thoktumbaha thong pangmasi. Ani kak mek tura lego kho phe him himmo chingma nema lo. Thok tumbaha chya chitti ke ta ben chitti metma lo.
Yakthung ben chitti ta go lo Yakthun Hang khene chiti keta lo. Pene Thoktumbain chittita; go lo Pene hang khene chitti ta metma lo. Ingtong mejogu lo. Turain go thohang yohang meyebe lo. Kangso Rey nu Raghu Rana si thoktesi. Pihandikkinnu yunnam hingsule go Yakthungbelle Peneban cheptudesu lo. Khomphelle go khunchhi kho phe timok mejiksuha melottuango chisum mesundusi ang Kangso Rey mephottu meseru ro. Khomphelle go Yakthungbaha Penebaha chepne setnesi hepmo. Yakthungbahale kak memeksu medesu lo. Khomphelle go lam thungdhang Raghu Ranale Kueene. Lamphosango Kangso Rey le Kuee ne. Khomphang Yakthungbaha khunchhi him himmo mebe lo."
When the Limbus heard about the arrival of the Gorkhas at Chainpur under Ram Bhadra Thapa Magar, they made traps by digging trenches along the paths and hid themselves under the bushes near the traps. When a platoon of Gorkha soldiers were steadily making their advance, they became entangled in the traps. The Limbus then attacked and killed them. While such warfare between the Limbus and Gorkhas was going on in Chainpur, news of it reached the Sikkim palace. The Sikkimese King then declared war against the Gorkhas. The Limbus of Yangwarok district of the Limbuwan having claimed their nationality as Sikkimese joined the Lapcha and Bhutia forces of Sikkim. But by this time, the Gorkhas had made a treaty with the Limbus and so for a time, the Limbu-Gorkha conflict came to an end.
The following paragraph describes how the treaty was made:
When the fighting was stopped on both sides, Ram Bhadra Thapa Magar began to study the old chronicles of the Limbus and Magar tribes. He discovered some family relation between them. From the chronicles of the old days, it was found that the Limbus and Magars were in fact the descendents of the same family so long as their great great grand father lived at Simang Garh.192 Later on, they separated and each went his own way and lost track of one another. Particularly, the Sinjali Thapa clan of the Limbu tribe and Sinjali Thapa clan of the Magar tribe proved to be of the same blood. This is proven by the fact that, both tribes observed the same funeral rites. When any member of the Sinjali Thapa clan of either tribe dies, his living relatives are barred from eating salted or oily foods for a certain number of days. But since they had fought against each other and shed blood of their own relatives without knowing their family history, they decided
192 Kirat MSS
not to practice these rites any longer. Yet each tribe keeps in mind the fact that they belong to the same family and should never fight in future. Because of this, the Limbu-Gorkha war of Chainpur district finally came to an end.
After that, the Gorkha Raja made a regiment of the Limbus and led them to Lamjong and Tanahun to fight against his enemies. The Limbu force fought very bravely in the battles of Lamjong and Tanahun and conquered the land for the Gorkha Raja. They captured many people there as war prisoners. They were the Sarkies, Damais, Kamies and Brahmins. The Limbu officers ordered the Sarki women to cook food for the war prisoners. But the Sarki women refused insisting that they could not do so as they belonged to a low caste. This annoyed the Limbus and they beat the women saying that Brahmin women and Khas women cook but that these Sarki women wanted to be queens and did not work. When the Gorkha Raja learned about this, he called for the Limbus and asked them what they would do if they were touched by people of low caste such as Kamis and Sarkis. The Limbus answered that they would cleanse themselves by bathing and drinking "Thi".193 They said that in their culture, they would make any one touched by Kamis or Sarkis take a bath and ask him to touch Dubo Dhungo194 to purify him/her and take meat and drink wine through his hand. The Gorkha Raja remarked, "These Kirat people are as vast as the sea", and thus he declared them purified.
Because the Limbus proved satisfactory warriors in the battles of Lamjong and Tanahun and demonstrated their valor, the Gorkha Raja conferred upon them a Jagir of land in West Nepal at Paraley Pani. In East Nepal, they got two pieces of land as Jagir near Bijaypur called Panambari and Guwabari moujas.
193 A kind of liquor prepared from millet or rice.
194 Cynodon grass and stone. A Kirat custom by which impure persons are purified by touching cynodon grass and stone n front of members present in a meeting. 203
In Chainpur, the Limbus were given full right to enjoy their kipat land with honour of Nagara Nishan (kettle drum and flag) and Lall Mohor (Royal Order).
The Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah so much pleased with the valor of the Limbus that he wrote a letter to his military officers instructing them not to fight with the Subbas of Limbuwan, but to handle them with great tact. If they disagreed, even bribery could be practised with them because he said that they would have to destroy only one Subha who was called Buddhi Karna Rai of Bijaypur. If they could destroy him everything else could be done with ease. Since Buddhi Karna's elephant was very good, the elephant driver should be given a bribe of four or five hundred rupees and asked him to steal his elephant. Further, if possible some soldiers should be asked to murder Buddhi Karna Rai on promise of giving them an amount of ten to twelve hundred rupees.195
The Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah was very much anxious to murder Buddhi Karna Rai because, he had usurped the kingdom of Kama Datta Sen. So, in the second week of January 1774 AD, he wrote the following letter to Warren Hastings, the Governor General of East India Company.
From: Prithvi Narayan Shah
To: The Governor General
"Agrees with the Governor, regarding the ungrateful conduct of Dewan Buddhi Karna Rai. He has now fled from Bijaypur. Will seize his place if the Governor assists him
195 Gurkha Raja's letter to Abhiman Singh Basnet
"Upranta - Budhi Karna ko hati ramro chha garey. Mahut lai sai char pan kaboli kana so hati chori lyauna pathaunya ho. Upranta - tes desh ma Budhi Karna Rai lai paya pachhi kal mari janye thiyo. Paiyena. kohi sepahi kamayera hajar barah sai kaboli hunya bhaya tes lai maraunya ho. Miti Srawan 5 gatey 1831or July 1774 AD."
and will pay whatever is decided as its revenues. Will send a vakil to convey his respect to the Governor".
When Raja Buddhi Karna Rai came to know that he would not get help from the British against the Gorkhas, he went to Tibet to ask help from the China Government. So, in his absence from Bijaypur, the Gorkha Raja sent his military officers to Bijaypur town to capture it. The Kirat ministers Sri Sri Shun Rai, Sri Kum (Phung) Rai and Sri Jung Rai peacefully surrendered themselves to the Gorkha Raja on the condition that they would be given full autonomy for their districts.
Thus, in the first week of August 1774 AD, the Gorkha Raja's representatives Abhiman Singh Basnet, Parath Bhandari, Kirti Singh Khawas and Bali Bania met the Kirat minister Sri Sri Shun Rai, Sri Kum (Phung) Rai and Sri Jung Rai of the Morong State at Bijaypur and agreed to come to good terms of regarding the Gorkha Raja as their Over Lord or Maharaja and that the Gorkha Raja would retain their right of self government for their districts as it was granted by Shan Mokwan Kings of former days.
Function of "Noon Pani"
The Gorkha Bhardars, Abhiman Singh Basnet, Parath Bhandari, Kirti Singh Khawas and Bali Bania, on behalf of Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah, agreed to take an oath and swear on "Noon Pani" (Salt - water) promising that the Gorkha Raja would never confiscate their kipat land nor destroy them. If he confiscated their kipat land and destroyed them, then the God, upon whom the Gorkha Raja had sworn upon, would also destroy him, his descendents and his kingdom.
Thus, a big copper cauldron (kharkunda) was brought in front of both parties, and one pathi (eight pounds) of salt was put into it. After that, water was poured
into the cauldron and stirred properly to mix the salt with water.
The Kirat ministers asked the Gorkha Bhardars to extract salt from the water. They answered that the salt had melted and become water and it had become impossible to bring out salt from the water.
The Kirat ministers then said,”Although the salt has melted and it is impossible to extract it from water, yet the water has become tasteful. You, Gorkhas, are like water and we, Kirat people, are like salt. You, Gorkha people want us to melt in you, but you will not remain as before. When we mix or amalgamate with you, then you Gorkhas will be more exalted than before. But, if you betray us by taking our right of kipat land, then what oath will you take for not violating this agreement?” The Gorkha Bhardars, on behalf of Gorkha Raja, took a handful of salt water in their hands and swore that the Gorkha Raja would never betray them by forfeiting the Kipat land. If he did so, his descendents would melt like the salt and disappear from the world. The Gorkha Bhardars, then questioned the Kirat ministers, saying if they will betray the Gorkha Raja by violating the “Noon Pani" agreement what oath would they take for never violating such agreement. The Kirat ministers also took a handful of salt water and swore that they would never go against their King. If they did so, their descendents would also melt like salt and disappear from the world.196
After making such agreement on salt - water, the Gorkha Bhardars on behalf of Gorkha Raja, gave the following Lal Mohor or Treaty Paper to the Kirat ministers of Bijaypur.
Tasali Patra ko Lal Mohor
"Swasti Sri giriraj chakra churamani nara narayaney tyadi bibida birudhawali birajman mannnonatta
196 Subba Bichar Singh Limbu's collection, 1925 AD
Sri man Maharaja Dhiraja Sri Sri Sri Maharajye Prithvi Narayan Shah Bahadur Shumshere Jung dewa nama sada samara bijayi nam:
Swasti Sri agey Rajbharak samartha Sri Sri Shun Rai, Sri Kum Rai, Sri Jung Rai aru sabai gairah Limbu Rai kai purna mohor ka patram yathochit.
Upranta mila milantam. Yahan ko lagi tahan lai kul chahiyo. Mero dharma man bhalo chha. Timiharu hijo pani piccha bakseka hau. Timra muluk hamro pratap le ………
…Timi Tutu Tumyang Yakhang santan hau. Au tyo muluk hamro bhayeta pani timiharu hamrai chhau.
Timra jahanka pichha hamile liyaon. Jas jasko je je timra khain pain ra Lungbang Garh, Singbang Garh ashuddha lai sab khat bat sabha shuddha gari khanama hijoko timra muluk bhitrako sabai thami baksyaun.
Timiharu hamra bhardar sanga shamel rahau ra madat saghai hijo apai ap apungi basi aye bamojim tyo muluk sambhar gari jimi bhumi rahinjyal shakha santan tak bhogya gara.
Aru nau lakh Rai ko pati timiharu hoina ke arthale ho bhane aru Raja massine hunda. timiharu Raja nai bhanne namassinne hau. Yo timiharuko niti hamile janeko chha. Tara kurako bistar timra navima basekole ............. tinle garyo.
Sukhim ko ra hamro gha na bhayeko ho. Hamro bhalo manis ra Chaudharile bol kura gari gayeko chha. Unai bata kura ko bistar bujhaula. Mili timiharuko apai ap apungi khain pain mathi lekhae bamojim jimi bhumi jani chalan gari khanu.
Hamile khose mase mani puji lyayeko deotale hamro Rajkaj bhanga garos bhannya Tamba Patra bachako Tassali Muluki Lal Mohor bandhi mathi lekhine Limbu Kul bhai lai diyaon.
Iti Sambat 1831 sal miti Srawan sudi 22 roj 2 mukam Kantipur Rajdhani Shubhaya shubham."
In this way the Morong State with its capital town Bijaypur went into the hands of the Gorkha Raja from August 1774 AD.
Translation of the Agreement between the Kirat ministers of Bijaypur and the Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1774 AD
From: Maharajadhiraj Prithvi Narayan Shah
To: Raj Bhar Samartha, Sri Sri Shun Rai, Sri Kum Rai and Sri Jung Rai
"Let this be our agreement that I want to have you as the members of my own family. My religious mind is good. You were under my protection from former days. By my power, your land and yourselves are now descendents of kings. Even if that land comes under my power, you will be my own men. I will take the responsibility of progress and protection of your families. I will retain your right to anything you possess. You keep in contact with my officers, help them and enjoy your land with full right as long as it exists. You are different from Nau Lakh Rai, because, other kings will be destroyed. You who call yourselves kings are not destroyable. I know your policy, but you do not explain it clearly."
“The Sikkim State has not come to terms with us. My officers have come to your land with full instructions. You will come to know everything through them. You agree with them and enjoy your land individually in a manner as mentioned above. I, hereby, agree to abide by the above mentioned Terms of Agreement of never taking your land by force and destroying you. I swear on the copper plate and say that if I violate the above mentioned promises, then let the God upon whom I and my family depend and worship, destroy my kingdom."
“I have written the above mentioned Agreement paper and have handed it over to the above mentioned Limbu family brothers on this day of Twenty Second Shrawan of Sambat Eighteen Hundred and Thirty One. “
This news of the occupation of Bijaypur, Morong by Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah spread far and wide. Raja Buddhi Karna Rai was at Lhasa when his property was going to his enemy's hand. When he returned from Lhasa he met Mr. Bogle at Gyangchi Jong, but he did not get opportunity to talk to him.197Yeshey Lama, the district officer of Gyangchi Jong told him all the news of the loss of his kingdom and instructed him not to go to Bijaypur, though the Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah was dead and his son Pratap Singh Shah had succeeded him. Raja Buddhi Karna Rai, therefore, returned to his native land and remained hiding in a place called Chinmari situated between Gauriganj and Jhapa. He had full hope that the China Government would certainly help him. When the same news of the occupation of Bijaypur Kingdom by Gurkha Raja reached Calcutta, the East India Company became very displeased and wrote a letter to the Gorkha Raja to remove his Gorkha troops from Bijaypur, because he claimed Bijaypur and Amirpur of the Morong plains to be a part of the Bengal Province.
Letter runs as follows:
August 10,1774 AD
To: Raja Prithvi Narayan Shumshere Jung
Ruler of Nepal
"Last year a letter was received from him where he had mentioned about his intention of seizing the members of the Raja of Morong,. A reply to that letter was handed to his vakil".
197 Bogle's Journey to Lhasa
"It now transpires that his troops have occupied Bijaypur and Amirpur, both of which are parts of the Province of Bengal. As it is desirable to preserve friendly relation between him and the Company, it is hoped that he will remove his troops from those places".
The Gorkha Raja Prithwi Narayan Shah replied to the above letter in the following way.
October 13th 1774 AD
From: Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah
“Informs the Governor that the countries of Mokwanpur together with Amirpur and Bijaypur were formerly under the authority of the Raja Kama Datta Sen (Singh). But they have now come into his possession.”
His vakil has already been sent with an arji requesting a sanad under the seal and signature of the Governor for those places. Will send a nazrana and always act agreeable to the Governor's order".
He again wrote to the East India Company saying that he would pay any amount of revenue for Bijaypur to the Company.
From: Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah
"Has received the Governor's letter desiring to give up Bijaypur and Amirpur which have been dependent on Bengal. Says that he is prepared to pay to the Company the revenues of Bijaypur in the same manner as he had paid that of other villages like Mokwanpur etc. and that the Company would not lose in any way. Hopes that the Governor General will not be prejudiced against him by the ill statements of his enemies. Has already sent a vakil who
is at Dinajpur and now sends another named Dinanath Rao. Trusts that the Governor General will listen to this representation".
When the Kirat chiefs of Mewa, Maiwa, Phedap and Tambar districts heard that the Kirat Ministers of Bijaypur, Morong had surrendered to the Gorkha Raja, they also under the leadership of Sering Limbu came to Bijaypur and surrendered to the Gorkha Raja on the same condition of self government of their respective districts. Papo Hang ,Thegim Hang and Nembang Hang under the leadership of Chemjong Hang or Shun Rai also came to Bijaypur and surrendered to the Gorkha Raja on the same condition as the other chiefs of the districts of Limbuwan.
But, the Kirat chief of Yangwarok district was not satisfied with such a condition of self government of their districts. Instead, he went to the Sikkim Palace and incited the Bhutia Raja to declare war against the Gorkhas. So Yong Ya Hang, the chief of Yangwarok district raised his Limbu force, combined with the Lapcha and Bhutia forces of Sikkim and declared war against the Gorkhas. So, one year after the occupation of Bijaypur by the Gorkha Raja a composite force of Limbu, Lapcha and Bhutia soldiers under their leader Tipu Taka attacked Chainpur and drove back a small Gorkha force from the Sidhipur Fort.
(1775 - 1815 AD)
Sikkim Invasion to Limbuwan
"The Sikkim Government was just resting from the Bhutanese invasion to its boundary, when it was informed about the occupation of Limbuwan including Bijaypur, Morong by the Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah. The fact was that in the year 1772 AD, a vast invading force from Bhutan came up as far as the eastern bank of river Teesta and their main body took possession of those portions of Sikkim, while the scouts, advanced patrols and skirmishing parties came up as far as Mangbrue and Barphong in Sikkim State. One platoon of the Bhutanese force penetrated as far as Ralang and Samdong. But these enemies were, however, entirely surrounded by the Sikkimese force and totally cut off from their main body. They tried their best to save themselves while trying to do so, they were entrapped at a place called Tama Byag at the foot of the Maphila hill where the Sikkimese force had driven sharp bamboo stakes at the foot of the precipice, below which they had hung ropes made up of twisted reeds called the Payum bamboos. Thus, most of them were perished in that trap and the rest who escaped from that catastrophe joined their main body and soon after that they sued for peace. The negotiation was carried out between Sikkim and Bhutan at Pob Chhyu, near the Rhincok hill spur in 1772 AD as the result of which the Sikkim State obtained the possession of a plot of big land of Bhutan territory situated near Rhinock".198
After taking a rest for nearly three years, the Sikkim State organized two battalions and kept them under Dep
198 Sikkim History by HH the Maharaja T. Namgyal
Chhang Rinzing of Yangthang and Athing Chhyok Thup of the Rhinock Estates. The battalion commanded by Dep Chhang Rinzing Thakarpa was exclusively composed of the Bhutia soldiers and Athing Chhyok Thup Barphong was the commander of the Lapcha force when the Limbu Chief Yong Ya Hang of the Yangwarok district of the Limbuwan joined them with a Limbu force. They became strong enough to invade the Gorkha occupied Limbuwan though the Yangwarok district of Limbuwan was not as yet under the Gorkha Raja.
Thus the Sikkim State invaded Limbuwan by through the Chainpur and the Morong plains. In the year 1775 AD, General Tipu Taka, who was also called Dep Chhang Rinzing or Dev Thakarpa led his army to the Chainpur Sidhipur fort, where a small Gorkha force under a Subedar was stationed for the safeguard of the Chainpur front. The Sikkimese force had determined to attack the Gurkha force by camouflage, but they failed in this tactic, as the rumor had already spread that the Sikkim Prince himself had come to fight the enemies and thus they started fighting.
The Sikkimese force besieged a small platoon of the Gorkha force who were kept in charge of the Sidhipur fort and taken as prisoners. They became the rulers of Chainpur for a while but suddenly a reinforcement of the Gorkha force arrived there with full war equipment. The Sikkimese force was resisting the enemies very bravely. But because of the shortage of rations, they left the battle field with their leader and fled to their own country. The Gorkha soldiers followed them and the Sikkimese again gave a decisive battle on the bank of river Tambar, but after being defeated, they again fled away from the battle field. The Gorkhas again pursued them as far as Ilam. From there, the Sikkimese went back to their own country. The Limbu chief of the Ilam district at that time was Hangsu Phuba of the Lingdom Rai family. Thereafter, surrendered to the Gorkha Raja conditionally. The Gorkha
Raja also gave him full autonomy of his district with the following Royal Order called the Lal Mohor.199
From: The Maharajadhiraja
To: Lingdom Rai, Hangsu Phuba
“The land situated between Khanduma (Jitpur) in the west and river Mechi in the east; Yum Yakma (Tumling) in the north and Maina Chuli (Chula Chuli) hill in the south is known to have been possessed and enjoyed by your forefathers from the beginning and for which a protection had been given by the Shan Kings with the right of enjoying the same by a document of the Royal Order accompanied by Nagara and Nishan (A Royal drum and flag). So, we also have the pleasure of retaining the same right and facility of your land as before.200
Now, therefore, believe this land bounded by above mentioned four boundaries to be your own property and enjoy the same facility as you had done before with good loyalty by making a good maintenance of the villages settled by you. Dated Baishak 2 Roj 3 Sambat 1869."
It appears that the administrative policy adopted by Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah was followed by his successors. Wherever and whenever the Gorkhas won the victory over their enemies, they never tried to subdue them but gave them right and facility of their own native land and allowed them to rule it under the Gorkha Raja. It is
199 Subha Puna Hang Limbu's Lall Mohor
200 Lall Mohor: Swasti Sri Maharajadhiraj kasya Rukka:
Agey Lingdom Rai Hangsu Phuba ke hijo tero babu barajule khai charchyaya ko jimin jagga ko sand Khanduma purba, Mechi paschim, Yum Yakma uttar, Maina Chuli Chandal ghat dakhin eti char killa bhitar hijo Shanka pala dekhi Nagara Nishan samet diyeko rahe chha. Aja hamile pani thani baksyaun. Rasti chalai basti basai nimak ko sojo chitai aphno jimin jani bhoggya gara. Iti sambat 1869 sal miti dutiya Baishak 2 roj 3 shubham.
because of this policy perhaps most of the petty chiefs of the Kirat land were pleased to receive the Gorkha Raja as their Over Lord.
Although, the Bhutia battalion under General Tipu Taka was routed back from Chainpur, the Lapcha and the Limbu forces under the command of General Chhyok Thuup and the Limbu chiefs Sunu hang, YongYa Hang, kept on fighting in the plains of Morong.
They defeated the Gorkhas in seventeen battlefields. So, the Sikkimese Lapcha General Chyok Thup Barphongpa was called “Satrajit’ by the Gorkhas and “Athing” by the Lapchas.
The Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah sent a big number of reinforcement to drive away the Sikkimese forces from Morong. This time, the Bhutia battalion under the command of General Tipu Taka joined the Lapcha and Limbu forces of General Chhyok Thup. So, a big battle took place near the Rangeli town. In this battle also, the Gorkhas were very badly defeated and therefore, the Gorkha officers sued for peace. Accordingly, a treaty was concluded at Bijaypur. By this time, the Gorkha Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah was dead and his son Pratap Singh had succeeded him on the throne. So, the Gorkha Raja Pratap Singh Shah deputed his representatives. The Sikkim representatives were Jomgyal, Tobjong, Wangchhen and a Pemayontse Lama called Galong Kunsal. The Tibetan Government on the request of the Sikkim Government deputed Yong Zin Tulku, Shalu Khandu, Depon Potsal and the State Secretary Tung Zatang for the Sikkim territory with the historical records as to how they had come to be obtained by Sikkim and with petition to the Tibetan Government praying that they should not be allowed to suffer any diminution. After a good deal of discussion and negotiation, the Gorkha representatives urged that they should have indemnities for the slaughter of the four Brahmins who had been deputed as messengers from the Gorkha Government to the Sikkim Durbar.
The Tibetan Government kindly acted the part of a friendly and a sincere mediator and well wisher by paying Rs.4000/- in cash to the Gorkhas as money for the slaughter of the four Brahmins upon which the Gorkhas understood to have refrained from future raids and annoyance. The present rupture having been due to the Bhutanese, they promised to abstain from all connections with the Bhutanese at least in the manner of armed assistance.
They fixed the boundary from river Shango Chhyu in the higher hills, Shangdi Jong and river Kankai in the Terai lands. Each of these boundaries was fixed and settled as Sikkim Territory. Any breach of the above treaty would entail the party who broke it, and would have to give an indemnity fine of one hundred dharnis of gold (250 sers of gold). This treaty was made on the 13th day of the 6th month of the Shing Lug year of the 13 century corresponding to 1775 AD.201
But, the same year the Gorkha Raja Pratap Singh Shah broke the treaty and invaded Sikkim through Tapling Jong and Ilam. They took possession of Tapling Jong and Ilam and through these two passes, the Gorkha entered Sikkim under the leadership of Purna Aley Magar. They conquered the Ralling, Karmi and Chyakung estates. The Sikkimese force under Dechhang Rinzing encountered them at Namchi and repulsed them by killing one hundred Gorkha soldiers. Another Gorkha force of 500 soldiers under a Subedar had crossed river Rangit and had penetrated as far as Chungthung near Darjeeling. But they were also encountered by the Lapcha force of Chhangzat Chhyok Thup and were driven back. When more than 100 enemies were killed, they fled away from the battle field.
The Sikkimese asked help from the Tibetan and Chinese governments against the Gorkhas. The Tibetan officials Nalungding Kharwa and Tashi Khangsarwa
201 Sikkim Gyarab by HH T. Namgyal
studied the situation of the Sikkim-Gorkha war and went back to Tibet.
After that, the two Sikkimese Generals Depchhang Rinzing and Chhangzat Chyok Thup determined to drive away the Gorkhas even from Limbuwan, they led their armies towards that country. They drove away all the Gorkha soldiers from Western Sikkim and expelled all the other Gorkha soldiers who had been stationed at Tapling Jong, Kota Jong and reached as far as Arun. They kept on fighting for many days in Chainpur. When the Gorkha Limbus saw the Sikkimese Limbus fighting for Sikkim, they challenged them at the Nigrum battle field, so a big battle took place between Limbus themselves. After the Gorkha Limbus were reinforced by other Magar Gorkhas, the Sikkimese Limbus were defeated in the battle and so they fled away.
Those Gurkhas who were fighting towards the Yangwarok district of Limbuwan were also encountered by the force of Singli Makpen and Yuk Ada. These people fought near the Hastapur fort, the capital town of Yangwarok district. The Sikkimese force won the battle of Yangwarok. Most of the Gorkha soldiers were slain and the survivors were taken as prisoners and confined to the fort of Yangwarok. The Gorkha commander whose Subedar was slain was buried on the bank of river Phugongwa.202
The Sikkimese force under Chhyok Thup then pursued the Gorkha soldiers as far as the Morong Terai again. A big battle took place at Phu and there too, the Gorkhas were defeated.
Mean while, the Bhutia soldiers under Depchhang Rinzin crossed river Arun and attacked the Dingla fort and the Phali fort of Majhkirat and occupied them.
After that, the Gorkha Raja again sent a big battalion of reinforcement who attacked the Sikkimese force stationed at the Phali and Dingla forts of Majhkirat.
202 Limbu MSS 217
The Sikkimese resisted as much as they could but could not stand before such fresh fighters, so they withdrew from the Phali and Dingla forts of Majhkirat and retreated back to Chainpur, Sidhipur fort of Pallot Kirat or Limbuwan. The Gorkhas again pursued the enemies there. During the battle, when the archers of both the sides were shooting arrows against each other on the either sides of river Sowa near Chainpur, a Limbu aimed at the Gorkha Commander. One Gorkha soldier saw this and shot the Limbu. When the Commander saw the Limbu hit by the arrow of the Gorkha soldier, he became glad and shouted saying, "La tesko babu Phakchya lai lagyo," Yes, his father that Limbu is hit. But as soon as he said this, he was also hit by the arrow shot by another Limbu and died instantly. When this terrible war was going on between the Gorkhas and the Sikkimese, at that time the Sikkimese Commanding Officer General Depchhang Rinzing Thakarpa also was hit by a bullet and he died instantly. Seeing the condition of their Commanding Officer, the Sikkimese force withdrew from the battle field and returned to their country. Thus, from 1776 AD, Chainpur fell into the hand of Gorkhas.
When the news of the death of General Depchhang Rinzing reached the Lapcha General Chhangzat Chhyok Thup, he began to fight ferociously than ever before in the battle of Dhawa Gurh in the Morong Terai. But the Sikkimese General Chhangzat Chhyok Thup was also hit by a bullet on his hand, so he could not fight with his wounded hand. He, therefore, left the battle field and went to Kalimpong and stayed there for his safety. Then the Lapcha soldiers were all scattered every where and they hid themselves in fear of the enemies. Thus, for some time the Sikkim-Gorkha war in Limbuwan stopped abruptly.
Migration of the Limbus
When the Sikkim-Gorkha war stopped at Limbuwan, some of the backbiters gave an ill report of
some of the Limbus who had sided with the Sikkimese force during the war. The Gorkha officers began to trace out the people who had really sided with the Sikkimese party and began to give them death punishment. Seeing this, all the Limbus who had fought against the Gorkhas by siding the Sikkimese King, assembled at a place called Ambe Pojoma, consulted one another and decided to quit Limbuwan forever and migrate to other countries. They were all together 32,000 in number and migrated in three groups. The first group who migrated to Sikkim and settled in the Rungpo, Rhinok and Mangsila villages. The second group, who migrated to Bhutan, settled in the Kuching, Tendu and Jumsa villages. The third batch who migrated to Assam, settled in Beni, Kalchini and other Mech and Koch villages and mingled with the Mech and Koch races.
Assassination of Raja Buddhi Karna Rai
1777 AD
Meanwhile the Gorkha Raja Pratap Singh Shah suspected the cause of such conflict arising from the intrigue of Raja Buddhi Karna Rai who was still hiding in the Terai land. He, therefore, ordered his military officers to search out Buddhi Karna Rai from the Terai land. So, a batch of Gorkha soldiers were ordered to trace out the whereabouts of Buddhi Karna Rai in the Morong Terai. They disguised as the Terai men and starting visiting every house in the guise of hawkers. After a laborious search, they traced out the house in Chinmari where Buddhi Karna Rai was hiding. When they were quite sure of his lodge, they changed their dress like that of robbers and one night went to plunder that house. They attacked the house and caught hold of Raja Buddhi Karna Rai and brought him to Bijaypur. He was charged with the crime of murder case of King Kama Datta Sen who had been murdered eight years back. So, in the year 1777 AD he was bound in a tree
outside Bijaypur town and tortured to death. Fr. Hamilton mentions in his book called, "An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal" that he was given such torture that it took three days for Raja Buddhi Karna Rai to breathe his last. He was buried at the same place where he was murdered. For many years his sepulchre was neglected, but according to the Kirat belief the spirit of such unnatural death always does something bad to the living men. But later on, when some spiritualist understood that the spirit coming from that sepulchre does something good to the local people, then they began to regard the old sepulchre of Raja Buddhi Karna Rai with the title of, "Burha Subha" and began to worship his dead spirit.203 (Burha = god; Subha = king.) It has now become a local belief in the village of Bijaypur that whoever loses anything in his house, he should consult the dead spirit of Burha Subha and the spirit will help to regain the loss.
Sepulchre of Burha Subha
Raja Buddhi Karna Rai of the Morong State was the scion of the Hang family of Limbuwan. There was a quarrel going
203 Subba Lallsor Sendang's collection 1925 AD
on between Buddhi Karna Rai and King Kama Datta Sen from the time of Buddhi Karna’s father, Bichitra Chandra Rai. During the his time, Dewan Buddhi Karna Rai also fought with his King and became the Raja of Morong State after killing him in 1769 AD. He ruled the Morong State making his capital at Bijaypur for four years (1769-1773 AD). In 1777 AD he was also assassinated in Bijaypur. Later on, his spirit was deified by the name of Burha Subha.
Occupation of Western Sikkim
Gorkha Raja (1780 -1815 AD)
When the Gorkha Raja Pratap Singh died in 1778 AD, he was succeeded by his son Ran Bahadur Shah who with a view to invade Sikkim collected a big number of soldiers and wrote to the Kirat Subbas to make war with Sikkim Raja in 1782 AD and 1783 AD.
From: Maharajadhiraj Ran Bahadur Shah
To: Rajbhara Samartha, Sri Phago Sridev Rai, Sri Shering Raina Singh Rai, Sri Libang Shubhawanta Rai, Sri Phedap Atahang Rai
“Though you have not clearly explained anything about yourselves, through our Bhardars or councilors, we have understood everything about you. We are prepared to offer any facilities of honour and prestige such as Nagara and Nishan to you as it was given by the Hindupati Rajas in former days. So, you should come before the king. Allowances for food etc. will be given. Some amount has already been handed over to your men. The rest of the money will be given after your arrival here. We shall also ask you to do some work here. So, come to the capital very soon.Dated Sambat 1839 Srawan badi 8 roj shuvam" corresponding to 1782 AD.
When the above mentioned Subbas arrived at the Kathmandu Durbar, they were given the following weapons and were asked to go to the battle field. They were told that when new land wiould be acquired by them in Sikkim then they should go back to their native districts.
The list of war materials given to Subhas of
Limbuwan in 1783 AD
Guns Swords Bows
1. Subha Raina Singh Sering
Rai Mewa district 32 300 228
2. Subha Sridev Phago Rai
Maiwa district 30 250 220
3. Subha Ata Hang Rai
Phedap district 25 225 227
4. Subha Shubhawanta Rai
Tambar district 20 160 150
Now the Gorkha Limbus joined the other Gorkha force under the command of Jahar Singh who invaded Sikkim from the Chiwa Bhanjyang (pass). Purna Ale attacked Sikkim from the Maney Bhanjyang (pass) and occupied the Laring, Karmi and Chyakung estates. Jung Khatri's forces attacked the fort of Nagri near Darjeeling and occupied it. Damodar Pandey was the commander of the Gorkha reinforcement then. The Gorkha soldiers searched for the Sikkimese soldiers and fought with them. The Sikkim history mentions that the Gorkha soldiers had spread all over the country of Sikkim, prying into every nook and corner of Sikkim. Jahar Singh entered Sikkim by the Singilila Road, crossed the Kalej River and proceeded upwards quickly by the bank and surprised and captured the Sikkim palace of Rabdentse. The Raja Tenzing
Namgyal, Rani and their son had scarcely any time to dress, when they had to take the flight. They plundered the Sangacholin monastry. All the Lamas fled from there and hid in the forest. The Gorkhas took out all the Buddhist books from inside the monastery and burned them. Another Gorkha force, more numerous and more powerful under the command of Damodar Pandey subsequently reinforced the Gorkhas which took possession of all the country beyond river Teesta. They sent out parties to pry and prowl about all the valleys of river Teesta and its tributaries. Settling down in the Southern and Western sides of river Teesta, they proceeded to take possession of every Jong or Fort and monastery. They stripped off the properties and administrative powers of every fort and monastery.
At that time, Kalimpong was under a Bhutan Raja and the Lapcha General Chhangzat Chhyok Thup was also hiding there. A party of the Gorkha force under Subedar Birey Pun, crossed river Teesta and attacked a Lapcha village at Parvung. After a fierce combat, the Lapcha fighters were defeated and they fled away and hid in the dense forest. The Gorkha Subedar built a fort at Rangkenpong and after placing some soldiers to guard the Gorkha fort, the Subedar returned to join his main party. The forests of Rangkenpong were very dense and one night a big black cobra was found inside that Gorkha fort. So, the soldiers who were in charge of Rangkenpong fort put the fort on fire and returned to join their main body.204 This incident was neither known by the Bhutan Government nor by the Sikkimese or the Gorkhas except the aboriginal Lapchas of Kalimpong who remembered the Gorkha attack on Kalimpong for a long time.
Thus, the Gorkha Raja remained the ruler of Sikkim beyond river Teesta or of Western Sikkim including Darjeeling, Kurseong and Siliguri for nearly seven years.
204 Kabo Lancha's version
The Sikkim Raja was very harassed by the frequent attacks of the Gorkhas so he shifted his capital from Rabdentse to Tumlong and kept on writing to the Tibetan government and the China government for help against the Gorkhas. Meanwhile, the Sikkim Raja's Bhardar wrote an official letter to the Gorkha Raja through a Kirati Subha Yudimma Rai of Limbuwan, to send a Royal order or Lal Mohor for the land of Western Sikkim or the land between river Teesta and the Singilila mountain ranges.
The letter runs thus:
Sri 5 Chin Mahachin
Sri Lhasa Pati
Sri Gurkha Raja
Seal of the Sikkim Raja
(Raj) Bharaka samartha Sri Yudimma Babu Chhora dunoke asikh. Iha naiko. Taha kushal chahiye agey iha ka samachar. bhalo chha. Timiko patra patra Chin ayala samma aya bat sab malum hai. Sukim Gantok Sirtok Kurama Subha ke binti bol gari mathi Singli danda Tala Sataun danda sau purba. Teesta sau paschim205 hijo amali sanga bando basta garyako sand aja subha lai thami diye ko chha. Sukhim ko sal basal ko man panphul ghora chanrai chanrai pathau bhani lekhnu bhaye chhha, so bata achha. Hamse kahnesa chahiye.
Hijo aune Subhaharu hamika kyapani haina. Aja Chenpur bharadar bhanya Sri Mamu Bandu Rana ko chhora Sri Dada Surbir Rana bheya hami pani khup khusi gayra ho. Mamule hijo ko Amalile rakhya ko sand nadeya kaso garnu. Se yo kaha hijo pani Mamuma bol gari binti
205 Present Darjeeling district, Laring. Karmi, Chyakung and Pemayontse Estates.
garya. Milap bhaya ko ramro ho. salak patra Chin gaunra (ma) pani pathaya chha. Bujhi ke bhatij ra timi mili Subha ke dakhil gara. Baki Sukim bhanya guru ko dhyan namati chhetra ho. Tes ko bharadar hamima Sri ……… le diya ho. Hamile pani Tin raja ko khut chakar ramro garde chha. Timile subha ma binti gariya Singli Sataun Danra dekhi puba Teesta dekhi paschim chhetra ke asiti pani baksya ko ho. Aja pani diya ho bhani Sri 5 Maharaja ko Lal Mohor magi dewo bhani Mamu ke sara binti gari Mohar chanrai pathai dinu. Jas Mohar iha aula taba salami pathaula. Teso gari binti garnu ho. So bahut kya likhab. Sarbatha iti miti Chet sudi roj 11 Sukim shubham.
“Blessings to Yudimma and son! Had your letter come after the receipt of letter from China, you could have understood the present situation very well. Regarding, the tribute of Sikkim to Gurkha Raja, tell the Subha that the land situated between Singilila mountain ranges and river Teesta has been ceded to Subha.(Gorkha Raja).”
“Regarding the annual tribute of horse from Sikkim to the Gurkha Raja it is informed that we have nothing to do with the original Subhas there. Yet I am glad to learn that in Chainpur, Dada Surbir Rana, the son of Mamu Bandu Rana has become the chief official. Tell him that it is good to make peace and the news of such peaceful treaty has also been sent to the China government for information. Please tell him that Sikkim is a place of worship and I have been entrusted for its supervision. I have been serving three Kings loyally. Tell the authority that the land situated between the Singilila range in the west and river Teesta in the east has already been ceded to the Gorkha Kingdom and even at present it has been given to them so kindly request the Gorkha Raja Sri 5 to confer upon us with a Royal Order or Lal Mohor for the same. The day the Lal Mohor reaches here we shall send
a tribute of horse for the same. Dated Chait 11th day from Sikkim".
The above letter is an official letter sealed with the red seal of the Sikkim Raja and proves the fact that Western Sikkim including Darjeeling, Kurseong and Siliguri were under the Gorkha Raja upto 1814 AD.
While the Gorkha Raja was engaged in conquering Sikkim, at that time Sumur Lama, the brother of Tashi Lama of Shirgarchi came to Kathmandu to take refuge there. When the Emperor of China had called him in Peking, he went there but died immediately. So, his brother Sumur Lama feared the Chinese government and fled away from Tashi Lumpo and came down to Kathmandu and took his refuge there. He reported to the Gorkha Raja about the great wealth of Tashi Lumpo in Tibet. The Gorkha Raja was tempted by the Tibetan wealth and led his army of 18000 strong men to Tashi Lumpo and plundered the monastery. When the Chinese government heard of such dispute, they sent a Chinese Wazir from Lhasa to compromise the dispute. But he was taken prisoner by the Gorkhas and was brought to Kathmandu.
The Chinese government deputed her representative to Kathmandu with the demand of the refund of 52 crores of rupees plundered at Tashi Lumpo. Secondly, to send back the Chinese Wazir of Lhasa. Thirdly, to send back Sumur Lama to Lhasa. But the Gorkha Raja did not care about the demands made by the China government. So the Chinese sent an army of 70,000 men under the command of Sun Pho to invade Gorkha. When they reached Lhasa, he divided his army into two divisions and sent a division of 30,000 soldiers to attack Kathmandu. When the Chinese force reached Trishuli Ganga, a Gorkha force under Perpera Thakuri encountered them. During the battle, many of the Gorkha soldiers were slain and the Gorkha force was defeated. The Chinese army repeatedly defeated the Gorkha army
and proceeded to Nuwakot which was about 26 miles from the capital town of Kathmandu.206
The China government had asked the Sikkim Leaders and Chong Leaders to bring their forces to join the Chinese force in the Gorkha land to fight against them. The circular was as follows:
"As we intend to proceed to the Gorkha Raja and lay it in ruins, so you the Sikkimese and Chongs must also render every assistance to the best of your abilities. You will have to come to the Gorkha country to join the troops under the Tung Thang".
This order was dated 57th year of the Emperor.207
Phari Jongpen Nalungding Kharwa and Tashi Khangshar were deputed to accompany the Sikkim forces as commandants with valuable presents. Chi Cha Loi, the Chinese Officer in his letter to the leaders of the Sikkimese force had reported that the Chong leaders had begged for an ample supply of ammunitions for they had encountered the Gurkhas and had advanced a considerable distance towards the foes. But being compelled to retreat on account of their ammunition being exhausted they had lost ground. Tung Thang was greatly pleased with their zeal and gave the presents to the messengers who had gone to his Headquarters via Tingkeyjong. He sent a supply of 1000 measures of gunpowder and 500 measures of lead for Chong force.208
Although the Gorkhas were engaged in resisting the Chinese invasion in Nepal, the Gorkha officers did not hesitate to administer Western Sikkim. However, a Sikkimese force under Jomgyal and Yuk Namchha tried to expel the Gorkha force under Jung Khatri from the Nagri Jong situated to the south of Darjeeling.
They attacked the Nagri Jong one night and a terrible fight started. The Gorkha soldiers fought so
206 An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal by Col. Kirk Patric
207 Sikkim History by HH the Maharaja Thutob Namgyal (unpublished)
208 Ibid page 33 (unpublished)
ferociously against the Sikkimese force which had combined with the Kirat force of Khambo Rai and Yakha Rai soldiers that they could not be dislodged from the fort of Nagri.
When the Gorkha Raja came to know that the Chinese army was arriving in Kathmandu, he shifted his treasury to Mokwanpur and tried to send Sumur Lama and the Chinese Wazir to Lhasa with an escort. But Sumur Lama poisoned himself to death and the Chinese Wazir was sent back to Lhasa. He was accepted but they did not stop the war. So the Gorkha Raja sued for peace, according to which a treaty was concluded and the following conditions were agreed upon and signed.
The Treaty was entitled as,” The Arbitration Treaty of Gurkha, Bhot and China 1792 AD".
"That, Gorkha and Bhot or Tibet should regard China as their father.
That, the Gorkha sufferers in Lhasa should be paid back by the Tibetan Authorities after the investigation by the Chinese Government. The value of articles would be fixed by the Chinese Government.
That, all the Gorkha subjects would be free to travel all over Bhot for the establishment of factories and for business purposes.
That, if Gorkha and Bhot would again quarrel for the possession of each other's land, both of them would represent the case to the court of Peking which would finally decide the dispute.
That, the China Government would be prepared to help the Gorkhas if they should be invaded by foreign power.
That, both Gorkha and Bhot would send a tribute in kind of the production of their lands to China every five years.
That, the Chinese government would in return send a friendly present to the Gorkha government and would
make necessary arrangements for the comfort of mission to and from."209
While the Chinese Imperial Representative Ho Shi Tung Thang was about to conclude a treaty with the Gorkhas and seeing no representatives from Sikkim or Chi Li as mentioned in the Inscription of Potala Durbar at Lhasa "that they were conquered and powerless", and about whom conference was going on from the time of King Thang Thai Tsung, said that the Royal family and his people of Sikkim seemed to have suffered much by your repeated raids. So, their original boundaries must be restored to them. The Gorkha represented to Tung Thang that the Sikkim's boundary comprised of Teesta below the Singilila above and they made it appear as if they had restored the Pemayontse and the lower part of Sikkim where they had once been master for a time.
Thung Thang also wrote a letter to the Sikkim Raja stating that the arrangement was settled according to which his original territory would be restored to him in a general way.210
But Sikkim Raja was not satisfied with this letter for the Gorkhas were still occupying Nagri Jong fort of Darjeeling. He, therefore, asked help from the British Government. The British Government sent a big force against the Gorkhas. Therefore, the Sikkimese force and the British force jointly attacked the Nagri Jong. The Gorkhas bravely resisted the joint attack and withstood for a time. But later on, by means of stratagem, the Gorkhas were dislodged from Nagri Jong fort for ever in 1814 AD.
Thus, from the Treaty of Sugouli signed on the 2nd September 1815 AD, the Sikkim-Nepal boundary in the east was fixed.
According to the 3rd Article Clause No. 4 and 5 of the Sugouli Treaty, all the low lands of river Mechi and
209 Itihas Prakashma Sandhi Patra Sangrah by Jogi Narhari Nath and Narendra Man Sing Basnet, page 2
210 Sikkim History by HH the Maharaja Thutob Namgyal (unpublished)
river Teesta and all the territories within the hills eastward of river Mechi including the Nagri fort and its locality and the pass of Nagarkot leading from Morong into the hills together with territory lying between that pass and Nagri fort, the aforesaid territory shall be evacuated by the Gurkha troops within forty days from this date. And thus, the Raja of Nepal ceded the above mentioned lands to the East India Company and the latter restored it to the Sikkim Raja.
The Article No. 6 mentions that the Raja of Nepal would never disturb the Raja of Sikkim in possession of his territories, but agrees that if any differences arose between the state of Nepal and the Raja of Sikkim or the subjects of either, such differences would be referred to the arbitration of the British Government by whose award the Raja of Nepal engages to abide by.211
Thus, the Sikkim-Gorkha war ended in 1815 AD.
The Rise and Fall of the Koch Kirat People
It is mentioned in the First Part that a branch of Kirat people under the leadership of Kochu Hang had migrated to North Bengal and had settled there in a place called Koch Bihar. From this place, they spread to Assam, Burma, Siam(Syam) and Vietnam. There are various tribal folklores as to how they spread from the west to the east. The Chingphos or Kachin people claim that they spread from Nepal Terai. The Nagas also claim that they migrated from Eastern Nepal.212 Similarly the Khasis say that they had migrated from the Khas land of Western Nepal. All these tribal folklores prove that the people of Assam and Burma are the children of the Himalayan Mountains. When
211 Sandhi Patra Sangrah by Jogi Narhari Nath and Narendra Man Singh Basnet, page 14
212 Sri Gambhir Dwaj Gurung's father's collelction from North Burma.
the other Mongolian and Chinese people migrated from North Eastern directions they intermingled with the people of Assam and constituted a big nation of various castes and creeds whom the Aryan people when acquainted with called them Kirats.
When they first came in contact with the Koch people of North Bengal, they were very surprised to hear their language which sounded peculiar to the ears of the Aryan people so they called their langauge Kubachya or bad speech instead of their good name Koch.
As these Indian Aryans had known them in the North West India specially in Sindh by the name of Mlechha Asur people, they composed the following poetry in sanskrit:
"Sarba bhakchhyata murha Mlechha go brahman gharaka
Kubach ka parey Mlechha .. kutta yonaya
Tesam paichiki bhasa loka charona bidyate"
That is to say that the Mlechha people eat everything. They do no hesitate to kill cows and Brahmins.
Their original residence is a mountainous country.213
The Mlechhas or Meches were a class of the Kirat Ashur people who had fought against the Aryans for many years so they never talked any good of them.
Thus, this Koch people are divided into Mech, Koch and Tharu classes. Their first settlement in India was Kamrup. In olden days, the jurisdiction of Kamrup was from the Eastern Nepal to Lahut and from the Bhutan hill to Dinajpur. So long they were pure Kirat people there was a good unity among them. But when Hinduism influenced them they lost their identity and disappeared.
213 Padma Puran quoted by N.N.Basu in his Social History of Kamarupa Vol. I page 71
But the records of their ancestors as Kirat monarchs are so great that modern historians cannot keep quiet without writing in praise of their triumph.
The Mech Tribe
During the time of the Mahabharata, King Bhaga Datta, son of Narakashur who had led his two battalians of the Kirat and Chinese forces to Kuruchhetra was the famous King of this Mlechha Kirat or Mech Kirat tribe. He had several sons and the descendents of each son also became famous Kings in Assam in different times at different places. For example, King Bhaskar Varma was the most famous Kirat King of Assam, Nepal and North Burma in the 7th century AD.214 It was he who had adopted a son called Bhumi Varma in his capital town of Subarnapuri or Deo Pattan of Kathmandu valley, for he had no male issue and gave his Kingdom of Kathmandu valley and returned to his main capital Kamrup and died there. The descendents of Bhumi Varma ruled Kathmandu valley for 30 generations.
From the 7th to the 9th century AD, another section of the same Bhaga Datta Mech King came out as famous rulers of the Sala Stamba dynasty in Assam.
After the reign of this Sala Stamba dynasty another lienage of the same Bhaga Datta Mech King came out in Assam by the name of Pralamba dynasty.
The last dynasty of the Mech King Bhaga Datta Kirat was the powerful Pal Kings of Assam who started to rule Assam from Brahma Pal to famous Timgya Dev in the
214 The glory of the Mech Kirat King Bhaskar Burma is written in Kirat Janakrit by S. K. Chatterjee on page 48-52. he had kept friendly relation with King Harsha Burdhan of North India and Chinese Emperor of Tang dynasty. He had introduced Taoism or the belief of Marga among his Kirat subject which is still in existence in Dhankuta in East Nepal.
11th century. These were the glorious Kings of Mech Kirat people of Assam.
The Tharu Tribe
Now comes the Tharu Kings of Khan dynasty. The word,”Khan” comes from a pure Mongolian language which means King. It proves that the Tharu chiefs had descended from the Khan family like the Magar tribe of Nepal who also claim that their kings had originated from two Khans- Khanchha Khan and Mechha Khan. Interestingly, there is no difference between the complexion of a pure Tharu and a pure Magar.
In the beginning of the 15th century AD, a Tharu King called Nildhwaj Khan fought against the Pal King of North Bengal and defeated him. He was the first Tharu chief who established his Kingdom in North Bengal. He built a big city of 19 miles in circumference on the bank of river Gharli in Kamatapur and made it the capital town of his kingdom. In his reign, he taught Hinduism to his subjects and converted all the Tharus into Hinduism. From that time, all the Tharus became Hindus and left their mother tongue and adopted the Indo-Aryan languages of Mithila and Bhojpuri dialects.
After the death of King Nildhwaj Khan, his son Chakradhwaj Khan succeeded him on the throne of Kamatapur. He was also very powerful and ruled North Bengal in peace.
After him, his son King Nilambar Khan ruled North Bengal in the last of the 15th century. But he could not get an opportunity to rule his country peacefully like his father as he was attacked by Muslim Sultan, Hussain Shah of West Bengal. He fought very bravely, but he could not stand before Muslim Sultan, so he was defeated and killed. So, from the year 1498 AD, the records of the Tharu King
of the Khan family came to an end.215The Tharu Kirat Kings of the Khan dynasty ruled North Bengal only for three generations.
It appears that these Tharu Kirat people in fear of their Muslim enemy left North Bengal and migrated towards the Nepal Terai, resided there and never tried to go towards the east. They claim that they originated from Chitor of West India. But their physiognomy proves that they are non other than the Koch Kirat people. The Tharus of Kochila family of Morong and Saptari districts of Nepal seem to be the survivors of Koch Kirat people of North Bengal who must have migrated from North Bengal to Morong and Saptari with the Khans, their Royal family members and spread all over the Terai districts of Nepal.
As mentioned before, the Tharus have different sub-castes like Khan, Rana, Kochila, Morongia, Dangauria, so they have different folklores as well. The Khans and Ranas are similar to the Magar Khans of the hilly country. The Morongia and Dangaurias are names given to them after their residence being in Morong and Dang districts. But, when they were influenced by Hinduism they compared their Ranas with the famous Rana family of Chittor which seems incorrect. Further, I have been told by Narhari Jogi, (a very learned man in Sanskrit and a research scholar) that the legend regarding the creation of Universe of the Tharu people is exactly like that of the legend of the Limbu Kirat people.
The Tharu Vansawali216 describes that the Tharus are akin to Donwar who are pure Kirat people of the Ramechhap district of Nepal, a branch of which is called Thamis who reside in the higher hills and Donwars217 reside in the lower valleys. It is owing to Hindu influence, Donwars put on Janai Thread like Hindus, but Thamis do not do so and follow their own Kirat culture. I have also
215 Kirat Janakriti by S. K. Chatterjee, page 62
216 Tharu Vansawali by Sri Jay Gopal Chaudhary, page 38-39
217 A big Donwar village is found in Kathmandu valley near Dakchinkali.
described in this book that the Thamis are akin to the Magar Kirat people and are classified among the Burathoki Magars, so it is now confirmed that the Tharus of the low lands and the Kirat people of the high lands of Nepal belong to the same stock of people.
The Koch or Rjbansi Tribe
After the fall of the Tharu Kings, there appeared a Koch King in the Dinajpur district of North Bengal in 1416-1418 AD and his name was Danuj Mardana Dev. He was also a Hindu King who had extended his power from Dinajpur to Dacca and had engraved his name in his coin by the name of Danuj Mardana Dev in a Bengali script.218 It is said that the name Dinajpur is named after the name of this Koch King Danuj Mardana Dev. But he was also disturbed by the attack of the Muslim invaders of a Turk family of a Mongolian descent and therefore, he could not fulfill his desire of preaching Hinduism in North Bengal. His son was converted into Mohammadism and was called Yadu or Jalaluddin.219
The rise of the Koch Kings220 in power in North Bengal and Assam and their disappearance is described thus:
In the beginning of the 16th century AD Assam was under the influence of anarchy and every village had their own king. At that time, the village King of Gowalpara was stronger than the others, so he conquered all the villages one after another and at last became a prominent ruler of the Koch villages of Assam and North Bengal. His name was Haria Koch who made his capital town at Gowalpara and ruled Assam.
218 Kirat Janakriti by S. K. Chatterjee, page 60
219 Ibid
220 Ibid, page 60
His son,Bishu Koch subdued all the unfriendly Koch chiefs and fought against the invading Muslim chiefs and expelled them from Assam. When he made the full settlement of his Kingdom, he adopted Hinduism and called himself Biswa Singh Koch. During his reign, he had to encounter the invasion of Tai Ahum Kings from the North Burmese side. He fixed the boundaries of his country and ruled it successfully for 44 years (1496-1540 AD). He repaired the temple of Kamakchya and encouraged Hindu priests to settle there.
He had 19 sons out of which Nar Narayan Koch and Sukladhwaj Koch were the elder ones. Sukladhwaj was famous by the name of Chilla Rai.
King Biswa Singh Koch was so enlightened in Hinduism that he wanted to make his two sons staunch Hindus by educating them in Banaras in Sanskrit. Accordingly, he sent his two elder sons to study Sanskrit in Banaras. But while they were studying in Benaras, their father King Biswa Singh Koch died in Gowalpara. In those days, the roads from Assam to Banaras was very rough so the news of their father's death reached them very late. During the absence of his elder sons, King Biswa Singh Koch's third son Nar Singh Koch succeeded him on the throne of Gowalpara.
When his elder sons, Nara Narayan Koch and Chilla Rai Koch returned from Banaras, they found their third brother ruling Assam without their consent. They, therefore, expelled him from the throne. The latter, followed by his retinues, migrated to Bhutan through the dense forests and established a Koch Kirat Kingdom there.221 At that time, Bhutan was full of dense forests and there was no proper ruler to rule the country. Hence, there was no any objection from anybody of his establishing a kingdom there. By that time, the chiefs of Tai Ahum, Tai Shan and Tai Rong had already established their
221 Ibid, page 65
kingdoms there. One Tibetan chief, the forefather of the present King of Bhutan had also established his kingdom there in a corner of the Bhutan hills. They say that Doya Kirat people were the aboriginal tribe of Bhutan. Later on, the Tibetan Lamas influenced all the village kings so all of them including the Koch King Nar Singh were also converted into Buddhistm.
Thus, a branch of the Koch Raja of Assam intermingled with other Rajas of Bhutan and became Dukpa Bhutias.
Now, the Koch Raja Nar Narayan became the King of Gowalpara and he made his second brother Sukladwaj or Chilla Rai, his Commanding General who formed a very strong regiment of Koch Kirat people and in consultation with the king decided to consolidate the Koch Kingdom.
Now, the Koch General Chilla Rai invaded the Kingdoms of Tai Ahum Raja, Jaintiya Raja and Tipera Raja, conquered them and extended the Koch Kingdom upto Silhet. King Nara Narayan Koch made his brother General Chilla Rai Koch, the Raja of Koch Bihar and ruled Assam for 40 years (1540-1580 AD). He repaired the temple of Kamakchya Devi in 1563 AD. The English traveler Ralph Fitch visited Koch country during King Nara Narayan's reign.222
Thus, the Koch King Nara Narayan established his Kingdom in North Bihar and Assam in the 16th century AD.
Now, King Nara Narayan Koch in consultation with his brother General Chilla Rai Koch decided to alter the name of Koch into Rajbansi. Accordingly, they proclaimed that the Hindu Koch of Assam and North Bengal should be called Rajbansis. The name Koch should be given to the non-hindu Koch people. This idea created a kind of hatred among the non-hindu Koch people because in those days the non-hindus were addressed as Mlechha, the
222 Ibid, page 65
interpretation of which means the Hindus of an impure low caste.
Thus, all those well-to-do Koch families spent money and converted themselves into Rajbansi who were regarded as the higher class of people. They began to look down upon the non-hindus of the Koch people. A great confusion was created with this conversion. There were about eight lakh Koch223 Kirat people in Assam and North Bengal and most of them were poor cultivators. They admired the differences of Koch by high caste and low caste.
All the poor assembled together in a place, called for Hindu priests and requested them to convert them to Hindus. But the Hindu priests demanded money for such performances which the poor people could not afford. On the other hand, they also could not tolerate the hatred of being low castes. So, they consulted the Muslim priests and requested them to convert them into Muhammaden religion which they did with great pleasure without charging money. As they did not want to be inferior to the Hindu Rajbansis, they also dropped the name of Koch forever and started calling themselves Rajbansis. Even then, when the Muslim Rajbansis found that they were still looked down upon by the Hindu Rajbansis, they incited the Muslim chiefs to fight and destroy all the Hindu Rajbansis from Assam. The same Koch people now the Muslim Rajbansis fought against the Hindu Rajbansis of the same country and destroyed their Kingdom.
All the Hindu Rajbansis in order to save their lives left Assam and migrated to the Terai of Morong. At present, these Rajbansis are found in the Morong and Jhapa districts of Nepal. The Rajbansis of Koch Bihar were, however, retained the same of their fore fathers. But in 1864 AD, the same Koch people under the name of Bhutanese, attacked Koch Bihar and conquered and
223 Here Koch includes Mech, Koch and Tharu tribes
captured two Rajbansi princes and carried them captives to the Bhutan palace for death punishment224. So, Koch Bihar was under the Bhutan government for sometime.
But at the same time at the request of Koch Bihar people, the British helped the Rajbansi chief by declaring war against Bhutan and saved the two Koch princes by defeating the Bhutanese in the battle and restored Koch Bihar to them under British protection.
But since the merging of Koch Bihar State into West Bengal, the Koch Kirat people, as a nation disappeared from the Kirat history who, once, were powerful monarchs in Assam and North Bengal. At present, they claim themselves to be of Bengali origin.
Now, the Nepali Rajbansis of Morong are divided into Tajpuria (people from Tejpur), Bonga (people from Bengal), Kolmarka, Khatta, Mulim and Palia or Pal classes and their local dialect is like a Bengali mixed Koch language.225 They claim that once they had established a Koch Kingdom in Morong under the chieftainship of Raja Dhan Pal. But no one knows how he disappeared. Though not much is known about their origin, they claim to be of Koch origin. It is a fact that the Muslim Rajbansis are more in number than the Hindu Rajbansis in Assam and Bengal.
The Khas-Kirat Tribes As Gorkhas Of
Nepal Or Nepalese Nation
The present Nepalese nation is a combination of two big races of the Himalayan country of Nepal who are known by the name of Kirat and Khas tribes. In the beginning, the Kirat tribes had occupied all the countries of the Himalayan mountains extending from Afghanistan to Assam and North Burma. Later on the Khas tribe came
224 Countries around Himalaya by Major Waddle
225 My own collection in Morang Terai in 1967 239
from the North and fought with the Kirat people and distributed the Himalayan countries into two big divisions. The land between Kashmir to river Trisuli was called Khas land and the residents were called Khasiyas or Khasis or Khas people. The land between river Trisuli and Assam was called the Kirat land and the people were called Kiratese or Kirat people. They were ally tribes from the time of Mahabharata. Both the tribes had represented their armies in the battle of Kuruchetra. During 317 BC, both tribes had jointly helped King Chandra Gupta against his enemy Nanda King of Magadha.
The Khas had many languages with a few dialects; the Kirat had also many languages with various dialects.
In the beginning the Vedic Aryans had no acquaintance with both the Kirat and Khas people. The latter also did not care to know about and study their culture. So the Vedic Aryans composed a poem in Sanskrit about the Kirat and Khas tribes ignoring them from their fold. They have called them, "Shudras" or foreigners.
"Shanakaistu kriye loped imah kshatriya jatayah, Brikhalatwam gata lokey Brahmana darshanena cha, Paudra Kaschou Dravidra Kamboja Yauwanah Sakah, Parada Palhawa Chinah Kiratah Daradah Khasah."226
Although the tribes called Tangan, Kulinda and Daradas were separate from the Khas tribes, Rahul Sankrityayan proves that they belonged to the same Khas people of the Punjab hills.227
The original habitat of the Khas tribe was on the basin of river Tarim in Central Asia. Their fort was called the Khas garh. When they were disturbed by a nomadic tribe called Laghu Uichi Kushan, they left their native land and migrated towards the Himalayan countries of Chitral, Gilgit, Kashmir, Kulu, Punjab hills or Kumaon, Garhwal and Nepal. The Tibetans had already known them by the name
226 Manu Smriti, Chapter X
227 Kumao by Rahul Sankrityayan, page 27 240
of Horpa with their ally tribe called Sokpa or Mongolian.When they intermingled with them, they were called the Horsok tribe. As the Horpa tribes were of bigger built and their faces were comparatively bigger than that of the Tibetan people, they called them Khachhe Khas tribe which means the Khas tribe of people who had bigger faces.
The Chinese people also remarked the Horsok or Khachhe Khas tribe to be of white colour, blue eyes, sharp noses and grey hair. They are not actually Aryans, but either Turks or Mongolians. Many people make a mistake of thinking Turks to be Muhammadans. But in fact, a Turk means the Western Mongolians who were descendents of the Tyurk of Japhetist race of the Western direction228, and Khan was their leader. The word Gurkhan means the King of Kings in their language. The word ourkha of Nepal appears to have been derived from the Gurkhan of Central Asia. The famous Gurkhan of Khas people in Tarim land was Yelu whose scion ruled there for three generations after which this Gurkhan dynasty was ousted by the enemies from there. So these Khas tribes with their Gurkhan left their native place and came towards the Himalayan countries of Chitral, Gilgit, Kashmir, Ladak, Kumaon, Kulu, Garhwal and Nepal and settled there permanently. Thus, those Khas people of Chiral and Gillgit called themselves to be of Kho tribe; the same Khasas of Kashmir and Ladaks were called Khachhey tribe. In the Kumaon province they called themselves Darad, Kunet or Kuninda and Tangan tribes. In Garhwal they were called Khasas or Monpas or Bhotias, though they are now proud of calling themselves Rajput Hindus. And in Nepal they are called Khas or Kshetri tribe.
As I mentioned before, they had to encounter the Kirat people in all the above mentioned places in the beginning, but later on came to good terms with them and
228 History of Central Asia by Rahul Sankrityayan
mixed with them and constituted a big race. When a good relationship was made among them, they divided the Himalayan region into two big divisions; the Eastern and the Western Himalayas. The Kirat people ruled the Eastern Himalayas and the Khas people ruled the Western Himalayas. River Trisuli was the boundary between these two divisions. In this way, the land between river Trisuli and Kashmir was called the Khas land and the land between river Trisuli and Assam was called the Kirat land. Gradually the Khas tribe and Kirat tribe mixed so much so that they began to claim the same family title for both tribes. For example, the family titles of Kharka, Thapa, Rana, Punwar, Konwar, Gharti Burathoki, Baral, Rimal, Rijal, Darlami, Khulal, Sinjali, Basnet, Karki, Bohora, Bista, Singh and Sen can be found in both Khas and Kirat tribes. The practice of Feudalism was common in both tribes and the system of election for common overlordship was also famous among them.
Thus, a league of Barah Thakuris ruled Jumla. A league of Barah Magar tribes ruled Mangrat. The Char Ghaley tribes ruled Lamjong. The Nau Gurungs tribes ruled Pokhara. The Ath Khas tribes ruled the Gorkha estates in West Nepal. The Naulakh Kirat ruled Majhkirat and Tem Limbus ruled the Pallo Kirat or Limbuwan in East Nepal.
The famous eight Khas tribes that I found in my MSS are Thapa, Bohora, Karki, Basnet, Rahut, Roka, Bista and Kharka in which Kharka was their Gurkhan or King and Bista was their priest. So long they were not converted into Hinduism, they had free matrimonial connection with the Kirat people of Magar tribe and so they had common family titles. But since the time of Khas people's conversion into Hinduism, they began to feel themselves high caste Hindus and so they themselves separated from their neighbors. They adopted the Devnagri script for Khas language and administered their lands.
But since the time of Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah all the Khas Kingdoms as well as Kirat Kingdoms were brought into one unity with common name of Gorkhas. So, the old feeling of relationship between the Kirat and Khas families began to revive and the national feeling grew stronger and the country of Nepal started adopting one language, one literature and one national name of brave Gurkhas alias Nepalese nation.
During 1845-46 AD, the Nepal Government formed a regiment of 6000 Kirat soldiers of Limbuwan in the Nepalese Army and stationed them in Patan with the name of Bhairab Nath.
In the year 1889, the Nepal Government permitted the British Government to form a Battalion of Kirat soldiers under the title of Gurkha Rifles. So they raised a Battalion and called it the 10th Gurkha Rifles. In the same manner in 1907, a 2nd Battalion of Kirat soldiers was formed and called it the 7th Gurkha Rifles.
Thus, the Khas Kirat tribes of Nepal became the world famous Gurkhas alias Nepalese nation.
Appendix A
1. Original Sources (Unpublished)
(a) The Kirat History in Kirat manuscript reserved in India Office Library, London, collected by late B. Hodgson in 1843 A.D.
(b) The Sikkim History written in Tibetan by late Maharaja Thutob Namgyal of Sikkim, in 19th century.
(c) The Tibetan Lal Mohar given by Dalai Lama of Tibet in the 14th century.
(d) The Gorkha Lal Mohar given by the Late King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Nepal in the 18th century.
(e) The Kirat King's Documents written in 15th to 19th century A.D.
(f) Lapcha MSS.
2. Original Sources (Published)
1. Hodgson, B. "Essays relating to Indian Subjects, 1880, about Kirat people and their languages". pp. 397.
2. Chatterjee Dr. S.K.,Kirat Jana-Krti, pp. 92, about the Kirat Civilization in North East India in olden days.
3. London Religious Tract Society, "New Biblical Atlas", pp.78, about the ancient towns of Moabite people in the Mediterranean region called Kiriat or Kirjath.
4. Leonard W. Kin, "The History of Nations, The Assyrian, about the immigration of the Semitic
people from Mediterranean coast to Mesopotamia or Ashur land probably in 2400 B.C., P. 271.
5. Nahar R.B. Singh, "Prachin Bharat ka Rajnitic aur Sanskritic Itihas", pp. 231, about the Kamboj or Khambos or Yavan people of Nisa of Northern Persia whom the ancient Indian people called Kirat.
6. Tholong Sub. Bajbir Limbu, "Kirat Vansavali."
7. Chemjong I.S, "Kirat Itihas" published in 1948 about the coming of Khamgbonbas, Tangsangthas or Mongols and the Munaphens or the Chinese people to Himalayan region. pp. 15.
8. Sankrityayan Rahul, - Spreading of Kirat people from the Himalayan region to India, Burma, Syam, Vietnam and Phillipine islands mentioned in his book called "Bouddha Sanskriti". pp. 47.
9. Hamerton, Sir John, "Early Paces of Mankind" Vol. I, pp. 434. About the ancient civilization of Babylonia or Euphretes valley and the immigration of Mongolian or Summerian people to the Eastern countries.
10. Kirkpatric, Lt. Col "An account of the Kingdom of Nepal", pp. 257, about the invasion of Kirat King Yalamba to Central Nepal Long before Mahabharat time.
11. Bhandari B.B, "Nepal ko Itihasic Bibechna", pp. 28,30, about the fight between a Kirat chief and Arjun of Northern India when the latter had gone to Eastern hills of Nepal.
12. Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, "The History and Culture of Indian People", pp. 57, about the military help of the Kirat King Parbatak or Parbate to King Chandragupta against Nanda King of Magadh in 317 B.C.
13. Datta Bisakha, ….Mudra Rakshasa wrote in the 8th Century A.D. about the division of the Kingdom of Magadh between King Chandragupta and Kirat King Parbatak according to the condition made before the war of Kusumpur in 317 B.C. by R.R. Desh Pandey M.A, pp.11.
14. Vansitart, Lt. Col. E., - About the Madhesia Kirat who returned back to their mountain home and revolted against the King of Bhaiphutta Hang dynasty. pp. 101 of the book Gurkhas.
15. Davision P., "The Hill people of Burma", pp. 39, about the war between the Kachin people and the Shan people of Northern Burma and immigration of Shan people towards Assam.
16. Levy Sylvan, "Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian" pp.237, about the Kirat King Bhaskar Vurma's diplomatic relation with the China Government in the middle of 7th century. A.D.
17. Wright, "The history of Nepal", pp. 57,58, about the fight between the Kirat king Mahendra Rai and the Gorkha king Prithvi Narayan Shah.
18. Raghab Rangheya, "Bharat ka Parampara aur Prachin Itihas", pp 96. About the acquaintance of Aryans with non Aryans in Persia.
19. Hooker, Sir John K.C.S.I., "Himalayan Journal". pp.94. He has written a comparative Account of Limbus and Lapchas of Himalayan country with Karen People of Arakan Yoma of Burma.
20. Landon Percival, "History of Nepal", Vol. I, pp. 30 relates about the ruling of Nepal by Srong Tshen Gampo of Tibet for one year.
21. Giles H.A., "History of China" about the immigration of Tai Chinese to North Burma and Assam. pp. 96.
22. "History of Greece" stating about Delphi oracle. pp. 400 by J.P. Mahaffy, C.V.O., D.D.
23. I. Samuel-30, 14. The book of Samuel mentions the name of Cheretite or Keretite people of Mediterranean region. They were military race and King David had kept a regiment of these Keretite people in his army. II Samuel pp. 248.
24. Choudhury K.N. "Anglo-Nepali Relation",-writes about the down fall of Kirat Kings of Sen dynasty. pp. 50.
25. Hodgson B.H., "Miscellaneous Essays relating to Indian Subjects", pp.108-109. Writes about the down fall of Koch People.
26. Hamilton F., "Account of the Kingdom of Nepal", pp. 139.
27. Fr. Joseph's "Account of the Kingdom of Nepal", pp. 317 writes about his first visit to Kathmandu during Malla period and the invasion of Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah to Newar Kings.
28. General F. Tuker,. "The Story of the Gurkhas of Nepal", pp. 53writes the Progress of Gurkha's invasion.
29. Sankrityayan, Rahul, "History of Central Asia", pp. 461-469. Re - the first council of Nomadic tribes of Central Asia and declaration of the name Mongol by the Emperor Chenghiz Khan in 12th Century. A.D.
(ii) Turks or Mongolians were descendents of Japhet, P. 248.
Appendix – B
A brief history of Mrung Kirat people of Tripura State of Assam
As Nepal is proud of calling itself the Ancient Country of Kirat people so the Tripura Sate of Assam is also a very famous Kirat Kingdom from the ancient time. The Chronology of the Royal family of this State is called the Rajmala where it mentions the origin of their dynasty descended from Moon god who were also called the Yayati Kirat tribe in Hindu epic.
In 1240 A.D. the Muhammadan Sultan King of East Bengal invaded the Kirat King Cheng-thum-pha of Tripura State encountered him and drove him away from his boundary. In 1350, King Dangur-pha a descendent of King Cheng-Thum-pha was revolted by his won son Ratan-pha and was successful in driving his father away from the throne and became King of Tripura State. He was helped by the Sultan King of Bengal, so he being pleased gave him the title of Manikya. So he established this new dynasty of Manikya family in Tripura State. He encouraged thousands of Bengali families to settle in his Kingdom who introduced the Indo-Aryan language and Culture among the Kirat people of Kukie of Mrung tribe.
His son Charma Manikya became a great-learned King in Sanskrit and Bengali literature in 14th Century. In the 15th Century his successor Dhannya Manikya became a powerful King by subduring all the feudatory Chiefs of Tripura State. He was very much helped by the Kukie Kirat Chief whom he had made his Chief general of his army. He extended his Kingdom upto Chittagong and Arakan province of Burma. He abolished the rite of human sacrifice before Shakti-goddess.
In the16th Century his eldest son Dhwaj Manikya succeeded him on the throne, but he was assassinated by
his Hindu-priest, a Maithili Brahman. So his youngest brother Bijay Manikya became the King of Tripura State. He gave death punishment to the assassin of his brother.
He also became famous Kirat King by conquering Sylhet, Jaintiya, Khasi and East Bengal States. Thus East Bengal and Middle Assam became a part of Tripura Kirat State.
But after his death, his son Ammar-Manikya became King of Tripura State. He was revolted by the Kirat people of Arakan and was defeated in the battle. So he committed suicide in 1611 A.D.
Although Tripura State was an independent State of Kirat people from the beginning, yet it has now been lined with the other feudatory States of India.
From :- Sri Rajmala of Tripura State.
Pratham Lahar
Appendix – C
An Account of Ahum Kirat Tribe
of Assam
The Ahums are the descendents of Shan people of North Burma, who under the leadership of Chu-ka-pha, crossed Mt. Patkoi in about 1228 A.D. and entered the upper portion of the land to which they gave their own name and called it the Ahum or Aham which the aboriginal Kirat people pronounced Assam.
They were as many as 9000 people with 300 horses and two elephants. With this force they took possession of upper Assam from the hand of Kachhari and Chutiya tribes. They were engaged for several hundred years in conflicts with Kachharis and Chutiyas and it was not till 1540 A.D. that they finally overthrew the latter and established their rule as far as Khallang. The power of the Chutiya tribe had been broken and their King slain some forty years earlier.
In 1562 A.D. the Koch King Nara Narayan, who was at the zenith of his power invaded the Ahum territory and in the following year he inflicted a decisive defeat on them and sacked their capital. Subsequently the Koch Kingdom was divided into two States so its power was declined and that of Ahum Kings increased and so the Rajas of Jaintiya, Dimmasa and others who had formerly been feudatories to Koch King, acknowledged the suzerainty of Ahums.
The Musalmans on several occasions invaded their country, but never succeeded in conquering their country. A Pathan named Turbuk led his army as far as Kollabar in 1506 A.D. and defeated the Ahums; but was in his return beaten back and chased as far as Kartoya. The next invasion was led by Saiyad Babakar in 1627 A.D.; but was equally unsuccessful. Their army was cut up and the Ahums established their sway as far as Gohati.
In 1663 A.D. Mir Jumla invaded their Country with a large army and after some fighting took the capital. The Ahum Raja fled eastwards and worried the Musalmans by a constant guerilla warfare during the rains. This together with the difficulty of obtaining supplies and the extreme unhealthiness of the climate, and the consequences of heavy mortality among his troops who threatened to mutiny made Mir Jumla glad to patch up a peace which he did and retreated rapidly to Bengal where he died shortly.
Afterwards, the Ahum King again took Gohati and made the Koch Kings of Mangaldai and Beltola his tributaries. He defeated another invasion led by Raja Ram Singh and extended his boundary up to river Monass.
The Ahums were then at the height of their power and all the minor rulers of Assam acknowledged their suzerainty.
After that, the Assam Kings of Tai Ahum Shan family were converted into Hinduism and claimed descent from Raiput family. King Chuk-rung-pha was very eager to become Hindu disciple of Krisna Ram Bhattacharja, in 1695 A.D.; but he died soon in 1714 A.D. So his son Sib Singh became Hindu King and occupied the temple of Kamakhya.
From :- Linguistic Survey of
India-Part III
Appendix D
A Letter of the Gorkha King Ran Bahadur Shah to the Subhas of Limbuwan; dated Bikram Sambat 1841 equivalent to 1784 A.D.
From : Maharajadhiraj Ran Bahadur Shah
To, Subhas Sri Bhartadhin Rai, Sridev Phago Rai; Sri Ata Hang Ponyangu Rai, Sri Subhawanta Libang Rai, Sri Samo Chemjong Rai and Sri Jai Karna Wanemba Rai.
Blessings to you. It is allright here and expect good of yours too. Letter came and understood well. You have given the news of Sikkim's strength, your power and the information of Gajdal Rai.
Manage to send men to that side and keep contact with important persons with whom necessary help could be taken in future. At present, Durbar is engaged in Bratabandha (Hinduisation) function. After the completion of this function, something should be done towards that side.
You have written that Sikkim, might attack, but I don't think, they can do so. Even if they attack, you Subhas may unite together, collect revenues and encounter them and destroy them. Further, repair all the forts if they are found collapsed. Utilise men and repair soon.
Finally, try to understand the intention of Subha Gajdal Rai and write me letter whether he really likes to return home. If he does so he will also be given the same facility of Lal Mohar of protection for his life and property.
Regarding your troubles and pains, your brothers and sons, wherever they be, will be treated equally with us.
Arrange everything in proper order and depending upon Hari, (God) try to send regular news of those places.
Dated, Magh 1841 Bikram Sambat, equivalent to January 1784 A.D.
letter :- "Upranta Sukhim tirako hakigat, Subha haruko hakigat, Gajdal Rai ko khabar bistar binti gari pathaya chhau. malum bhayo………….baki Sukhim bata katak garchha bhannya khabar lekhya chhau. mukhye katak garnu sakaina……………ai gaya katal garaula. Gaunra pani jahan bigrya ko chha manis jhara gari chanro banawa. Banki Gajdal Rai pani kha na kha aunchha bhane nischaya bujhi binti gari pathaye pichhako Mohor baksi pathaunla. Parantu timiharuka dukha dardako kuro, timra bhai chhoraharu jahan chhan samapakchhe banai baksaunla. Khatir jama sanga kam kuro banai Hari dhari teta tirako pathaunya gara. Sambat 1841 Sal Magh badi kantipur shubham."
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Part I-II
I.S. Chemjong
Kirat Yakthung Chumlung
Published By : Kirat Yakthung Chumlung, Central Office Mahalxmisthan, Lalitpur
Copy Right : Reserved
First Edition :
Third Edition : 1966-1967
Fourth Edition : 2003
Copies :
Price :
Cover Design :
Computer Typesetting :
Press :
ISBN :99933-809-1-1
The Limbu Martyr
Shirijunga Dewangsi
The Limbu Saint Shirijunga Dewangsi was born in 1704 A.D. on the full moon day of the month of Mangsir in a small village of Sinam in Yangwarok district of Limbuwan. He taught his Kirat people Mundhum religion by reviving the Kirat script in 1734 A.D. But he was shot to death by the Tibetan Lamas or Tachhang Lamas of Pemayontse monastery in 1741 A.D. near a village of Martam in Western Sikkim.
Late Iman Singh Chemjong
This book is dedicated
In Memory of my beloved father, late Megbar Sing Chemjong. Born, on 23rd April 1860 in Tumbung village of Angsarang Panchthar, Limbuwan of East Nepal.
Educated, in Scottish University Mission Institution, Calcutta in 1884. Encouraged me, to learn Kirat Script in 1916. Died on Sunday the 29th April 1923.
Iman Singh Chemjong
This book is an enlarged edition of my book "Kirat Itihas" written and Published in 1948 in Kalimpong. Its second edition was published in 1952 in Darjeeling. In compiling this book I have consulted the books of every authority, I have knowledge of, who has written on Kirat people ad their civilization.
The European authors like Col. Krikpatric, F. Hamilton, D. Hodgson, Father Guiseppe and Lieut. Col. E. Vansitart, who wrote about the Kirat people of Nepal in 18th and 19th century gave me much help. The Indian authors like late Pandit Rahul Sankrityayan, S.K. Chatterjee and Vagava Datta, who took much interest in publishing the ancient account of Kirat people of Nepal and India, gave me much idea about them.
Last of all, my own collection of the old Kirat MSS in Shrijunga or Limbu script and Lapcha or Rong script became the base of this work. In this connection, I thank Mr. R.K. Sprigg, Professor of the school of Oriental and African Studies, London, who very kindly helped me in acquiring the micro film photo of the old Kirat MSS from the India Office Library, London. I also thank to all my friends who very kindly helped me in collecting materials for the composition of this book.
Iman Singh Chemjong
Kirat Language and Literature
Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu,Nepal
Publisher's Note : Fourth Edition
In the process of celebrating the auspicious occasion of the centenary birth anniversary of the specialist in Kirat race, history, religion, language, script and culture; late Mr. Iman Singh Chemjong, we would like to throw some light on the publication of his work.
The first book "Kirat Itihas" written by late Mr. Iman Singh Chemjong, was published in 1948 A.D./2005 B. S. Then, after a gap of quite a number of years, " The History and Culture of Kirat People" written in English was published in 1966 A.D. which mainly dealt with history. In this connection, it can be mentioned that after 1966 a very valuable and significant historical book written in Nepali " Kiratkalin Bijaypur ko Itihas" was published in 1974 A.D./2031 B.S.
This year, being the centenary birth anniversary of late Iman Singh Chemjong, "Kirat Yakthung Chumlung" the only Limbu Indigenous peoples' social organization which is dedicated for the promotion and preservation of the Limbu language, script, literature, culture, religion, history and the upliftment of the socio-economic and educational condition of limbus, feels proud to bring out the third edition of "The History And Culture of Kirat People”.
Dedicated and persistently working lifelong on the history of existence of Kirats in Nepal which was known as "Kairat Desh" (Kirat Country) in the ancient times, carrying on research cum publication and in preparing manuscripts of about two dozen books related to "Kirats", late Mr. Iman Singh Chemjong has become an unforgettable and immortal like an ever shining bright star in the Kirat sky. In fact, no amount of praise will be enough.
"Kirat Yakthung Chumlung" has been celebrating late Mr. Iman Singh Chemjong's birth anniversary since its inception. On the views received from time to time during these anniversary celebrations and on the suggestions of
the meeting that took place on the 23rd of Magh, 2056 B.S. at Kirat Yakthung Chumlung Central Committee Office, Mahalaxmisthan, Lalitpur, in order to celebrate late Mr. Iman Singh Chemjong's centenary birth anniversary, "The Iman Singh Chemjong Centenary Birth Anniversary Celebration Central Committee" was formed on the 11th of Ashar 2057 B.S. consisting of 105 members under the convenership of President of KYC Central Committee, Mr. Manjul Yakthumba. The committee constituted of the officials and the members of the KYC Central Committee, National Council members, the Presidents of District Level Committee , Limbu scholars and intellectuals from different fields. In order to commemorate the centenary birth anniversary of late Iman Singh Chemjong, the first meeting of the above mentioned Committee held on the 27th Shrawan 2057 B.S. formed a "Souvenir Publishing Sub-Committee" under the chairmanship of the advisor of Kirat Yakthung Chumlung Central Committee, Mr. Til Bikram Nembang (Bairagi Kaila), to publish a souvenir. The sub-committee is also empowered to edit, write life-history, publish the unpublished work and refer for the publication of books and re- publish the books after the proper scrutiny of the books.
On the recommendation of the members of the afore mentioned celebration committee, taking into account of late Chemjong's immemorable contribution to Kirat community, it was decided to republish all his works during the centenary birth anniversary celebration to be held from Poush 17, 2059 B.S. to Poush 16, 2060 B.S. On this occasion only, we are happy to publish the fourth edition of his work "The History and Culture of Kirat People". It is expected that this book will prove very valuable to all those interested in anything to do with Kirats and doing research work on Kirat community.
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the KYC Special Patron Member and Central Committee President Mr. Manjul Yakthumba, KYC Special Patron
Member and Central Committee Member Mr. Bharat Singh Chabegu Limbu, KYC Special Patron Member and National Council Member Mr. Deu Man Bhokhim Limbu and KYC Special Patron Member Mr. Dhan Jit Yebheng Limbu for their financial support for making this publication a reality, without which the golden dream would have remained a mere dream only. KYC also extends its heartfelt thanks to Ms. Moheindu Chemjong, who herself is the granddaughter of late Mr. Chemjong for her commendable contribution in editing the grammar and language portion of the translation. Lastly, we pray to God for the eternal peace of the soul of respected late Mr. Iman Singh Chemjong on the gracious occasion of the centenary birth anniversary.
Kirat Yakthung Chumlung
Central Office, Mahalaxmisthan,Lalitpur Date: B.S.2059, Poush 17th
Part – I
Chapter – 1
1. The term Kirat and its origin 2 - 5
2. Time of Mahabharata,
First Kirat King of Central Nepal 5 - 8
3. King Narkashur of Assam 8 - 9
4. The First Revolution of Kirat people 9 - 10
5. King Parbate of Kirat Land 10 - 11
6. The second Revolution of Kirat people 12
7. Kirat war with the Susanian King of Persia
in early period of 4th century A.D. 12 - 15
8. Lichhavis and their origin 16 - 18
9. The Kirat Culture
(a) Mundhum : the scripture of Kirat people 18 - 20
(b) The Good spirit 20
(c) The Bad spirit 21 - 22
(d) The Inspiriting spirit 23
(e) The Tantric Feat in Kirat Mundhum 23 – 24
(f) The Spirit of Envy and Jealousy 24
10. Existence of God Ningwaphuma 25
(a) Creation of small burning fire 25
(b) Creation of great light 25
(c) Creation of water 25 - 26
(d) Creation of wind 26
11. (a)The First Marriage Law 27
(b) The Death rite 27 - 31
12. The First Council of Mankind 31 -36
13. The Strength of Council or Panchayat meeting 36 - 42
14. The comparative description about Ashur
people of Vedic age and the Biblical Ashur
people of Elam or Southern Persia 42 - 43
15. The Ancient Account of Ninebeh 43 – 46
Chapter – 2
Coming of the Limbus.
1. A spectacular phase 47 - 51
2. The Third Revolution of the Kirat people 51 - 54
3. Birth of Proud name Limbu 54
4. The Republic system of Kirat Government 55 - 56
5. Rules for Social Custom of the Limbus 57 - 59
(a) Rules for status of children between wife
and husband 59
(b) Rules for Unchaste woman 59 - 60
6. Kirat Culture
(a) The Chokphung Thim (Adoption of
Nationality) 60 - 61
(b) Samyok-Lung Thim (Confession and
Reception) 62 - 65
7. The Ecclesiastical Rules of the Limbus 66
8. House building (construction) 66 - 68
9. The Agrarian Law of the Limbus 68 - 70
10. The Kirat Drum-Dance of Limbuwan 70 - 73
11. The Kirat Paddy-Dance of Limbuwan 73 - 77
12. The Tongsum Tongnam Festival of Limbuwan 78 - 79
13. The Thebasam cult of Limbuwan 79 - 82
Part – II
Chapter – 3
1. Introduction 83 - 87
2. Mawrong Hang (7th Century A.D.) 88 - 95
3. Kirat Culture :The Munlom Faith
of Rong Kirat people 96 - 98
4. King Uba Hang (849-865 A.D.) 106 - 114
5. King Mabo Hang (865-880 A.D.)
(i) Amendment of the Religious Rite
of King Mabo Hang 114 - 116
(ii) Feudal Antagonism 116 - 117
6. King Shirijunga Hang (880-915 A.D.) 117 - 123
(i) The land Reformation of King
Shirijunga Hang 123 - 124
(ii) King Shirijunga Hang's Instruction 124 - 128
Chapter – 4
6. Kirat Kings' Achievement in West Nepal
(i) Origin of Gurung and Mangar tribes :
The Gurung tribe 129 - 131
(a) Relation of Gurung people with
Ghaley tribe 131 - 134
(b) The Pligyi tribe 134
(c) The Kugyi tribe 135
(d) Down fall of Ghaley chiefs 135 - 138
(ii) The Magar tribe 138 - 150
(iii) The Sunuwar tribe 150 - 151
(iv) The Tamang tribe – Introduction 84 - 86
(v) The Gurung Legend – Introduction 86 - 87
Chapter – 5
7. King Bijay Narayan Rai of Bijaypur
(1584-1609 A.D.) 152 - 156
8. King Lo Hang Sen (1609-1641 A.D.) 156 - 158
9. Battle of Morong (1706 A.D.) 158 - 161
10. Kirat King of Namgyal Dynasty
(i) King Phunchho Namgyal of Northern
Limbuwan (1641-1670 A.D.) 162 -165
11. Sikkim under Bhutanese King 165 - 167
12. The Fourth Revolution of the Kirat People 167 - 168
13. Queen Padmidhata Induraj Rajeswari Sabitri
(1706-1725 A.D.) 168 - 170
14. King Kamadatta Sen (1761-1769 A.D.) 171 - 172
(i) King Kamadatta Sen's Home Policy 172 - 173
(ii) His Foreign Policy 173 - 174
(iii) His Social Policy 174 - 175
(iv) His Assassination 175 - 177
15. Raja Buhhi Karna Rai of Morong
(1769-1773 A.D.) 177 - 180
16. Letter of Karna Sen Raja of Chowdandi,
Bijaypur 180 - 181
17. Progress of Gorkha Invasion 181 - 183
18. Invasion of Newar Kingdom of Nepal Valley
by Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah 183 - 186
(i) War with Lamjong King 186 - 188
(ii) Letter to Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah 188 - 189
19. Invasion of Majhkirat State by Gorkha
King Prithvi Narayan Shah 1770 A.D. 189 - 193
20. Assassination of Kirat King Karna Sen 193 - 195
21. Description of Kirat war with Gorkhas in
Limbuwan according to Kirat MSS. 196 - 198
(i) Letter from Prithvi Narayan Shah Raja
of Gorkha to the Governor General 198 - 200
(ii) Third Invasion of the Gorkhas to
Limbuwan 201 - 204
(iii) Letter from Prithvi Narayan Shah to the
Governor General 204 - 205
(iv) Function of Noon-Pani 205 - 206
(v) Tasali Patrako Lal Mohor 206 - 209
(vi) Letter to Raja Prithvi Narayan
Shamsher Jung, Ruller of Nepal 209
(vii) Letters from Gurkha Raja Prithvi
Narayan Shah 209 - 211
Chapter – 6
22. Sikkim-Gorkha War 1775-1815 A.D.
(i) Sikkim Invasion to Limbuwan 212 - 214
(ii) Letter from the Maharaja Dhiraj
to Lingdom Rai Hangsu Phuba 214 -218
(iii) Migration of Limbu Rai people
to foreign countries 218 -219
(iv) Assassination of Raja Budhi Karna Rai
(1777 A.D.) 219 - 221
(v) Occupation of Western Sikkim by
Gorkha Raja (1708-1815 A.D.) 221
(vi) Letter from Maharaja Dhiraj Ranbahadur
Shah to Shubhas of Limbuwan 221 - 222
(vii) List of War materials given to
Shubhas of Limbuwan 1783 222 - 224
(viii) Letter from Sikkim Government to
Gorkha Government through Shubha
Udimma Rai of Limbuwan 224 - 226
(ix) China-Gorkha War 226
(x) Letters from China Government to
Sikkim leaders and Chong Kirat leaders 227 - 228
(xi) The Arbitration Treaty of Gurkha-Bhot
and China 1792 A.D. 228 -230
23. The Rise and Fall of Koch Kirat People 230 - 232
(i) The Mech Tribe 232 - 233
(ii) Tharu Tribe 233 - 235
(iii) The Koch or Rajbansi Tribe 235 - 239
24. The Khas-Kirat tribes as Gorkhas or
Nepalese Nation 239 - 243
List of Illustrations
1. Memory, Sri Megbar Singh Chemjong
2. The Author
3. Ancient Biyaypur town in ruins 153
4. Epitaph of Limbu Martyr Shirijunga
5. Sepulchre of Burha Subha Budhi Karna Rai 220
1. Appendix A – Bibliography 244 - 247
2. Appendix B – A brief history of Mrung
Kirat people of Tripura
State of Assam 248 - 249
3. Appendix C – An Account of Ahum Kirat
tribe of Assam 250 - 251
4. Appendix D – A letter of Gurkha King Run
bahadur Shah to Subhas
of Limbuwan in 1784 A.D. 252 -253