A Land Deed of Pathing 1904

The Deed of 1904 
 Documents are the ladders from where we can chirp our yester years with a closer analysis. It not only gives us information about our past but also drags the pen of a Historian towards the facts. It is only with the help of the old papers one can differentiate between facts and fictions which is an important ingredient to reach to a conclusion of the murky precedent. The document which I have secured from my teacher Mr. Keshav Gautam is related to a land agreement that belongs to a place called Pathing. Due to the lack of proper address in the document, one cannot assert whether the said Pathing is of East Sikkim or some other Pathing(s) which are strewn in different parts of our State. But, it is interesting to know that apart from the Royal Decrees passed by the Royal Courts, a small number of commoners in Sikkim even used to have their own seal. In this document a private Seal Shree Kali has been used and it is a common concurrence between two people of the same village that was related to the sale of land. It is also exciting to know from this document that without the help of a mediator (like Kazi, Mandal, Mukhtiyar etc.) the agreement was made.  
The English translation of the Document is as under:-
I Kashinath, a resident of Pathing, am selling my Land and orchard along with my house to Dev Sharma Upadhyay Khatiwara of the same village. I have received Rs. 33 from him as the cost of the land and house. I have put my signature in this agreement at my own wish. The Signatures of other three people during the agreement Parmananda Upadhyay, Purnananda Upadhyay Dahal, Hiralal Upadhyay Adhikari.
Signature- Kashinath Upadhyay Khatiwara
Samvat 1961 Date 9th Pausha Roj (week) 2
1904 AD 15th January.
The agreement was made between two Brahmins of Pathing and therefore, the initial of the document is started with two Sanskrit words SHREE i.e. in the honour of us and LIKHITAM i.e. we are writing. As stated above, for the credibility of the document a private Seal Shree Kali has been used. From the use of such private Seal it becomes clear that the selling of private land was also made in a mutual trust. Possibly, in order to keep themselves away from any future misunderstandings, they might use the Seal that bears name of some Gods and Goddesses. In this case, the persons involved in the agreement have used the Seal of Goddess Kali, who is regarded as the Goddess of anger and destroyer of the foes in Hindu mythology.
The Old Document in my Handwriting (one can notice the variation  of script  between the Old  and  New)
The Agreement is of Nine Lines (including Signatures and Date) and the only confusing thing about it is its date. To convert the Vikram Samvat era into AD we need to deduct 57 years from the existing Year mentioned in the Vikram Samavat. While adopting the same procedure, it is quite puzzling here to determine that it was signed in January 1904 AD.  If we have to accept the Vikram Samvat Paush 9th 1963 as the date of agreement then it should be December 15th 1903. But, we can consider the date on the ground that the agreement was made between the peasants who were not well acquainted with the English Date and Year.  

Lease Deed between Pathing Kazi Thondok and a Nepali Kazi Nandalall Upadhyay 1886

Documents are the small openings from where we can peep our former times with a closer comportment. It is indeed a greatest wealth to a lover of history and a fountain of information for the person who all are trying to restructure our past with a new stance. The key reason for the obscurity of the history of Sikkim before 1640 A D is due to the lack of historical documents. It is a universal fact that the foundation of History is based on the evidences. But, unfortunately due to the lack of such materials our history before 1640 A D has to hobble on the way towards its reconstruction.
To be in proximity of the old documents have now become a hobby for me. I love the contents inside which not only provides me information but also makes me to feel as a part of the times of yore. We have many documents which are scatter around all the nooks and bends of Sikkim. I am thankful to Mr. Keshav Gautam (My teacher during my Graduation days and presently a great friend) for sharing this incredible document with me. It dates back to Vikrama Samavat 1943 i.e. 1886 A.D which is a Deed for a land lease to the Kazi of Pathing named Thondok by a person (probably a Nepali Kazi) called Nandalall Upadhyay.
The document is related to the leasing of an estate to the said Kazi by Nandalall Upadhyay. The estate which was rented to the Pathing Kazi is situated presently in the North Bengal region of the Indian State of West Bengal. Written in old Nepali language the document has 14 lines. On the top of the document Maharaja 1 and Sarkar 2 is written which is later used in core of the document to designate them.  It bears a Nepali seal on the left corner and after the accomplishment of the deed it has another Seal which seems to have been the similar one. An abstract of this document is as under:-
Greetings to the Kazi of Pathing Thondok……
I have four forts North of Vardhaman River, East of Rangapani south of the Taklapani (???) River and West of Sintila you can set up villages of the Paharias wherever you find arable lands. You should cultivate the fields with your own cannel not from the existing one, wherever it is possible you should tell your settlers to terrace the lands. For three years you should not pay any rent to me but, from the fourth year you should pay me rent as 8 Muri (1 Muri is equal to 80 Kg) for 100 Muri as well as Rs. 1 as house rent from every house holders.  All the Paharias who belong to Char Jaat Chattish Varna, among them, whosoever comes should be given land for cultivation; they will be staying there according to their Dharma. If some disputes arise you have to settle them according to the customary rights prevalent among the territory of Shree 1. Further, if a Paharia stays at a house abandoned by a Bhutia, the fruits in his orchard like banana, orange can be picked by the latter. The Brahmins should be exempted from carrying loads; they should execute their religious duties and pay the taxes to Shree 2. The Paharias should not sell their cattle to the Bhutias. If certain disputes arise between them they should be brought to the Kuccheri (Court). We are granting you the freedom of practicing your own religion. Our people will never disturb you in practicing your beliefs”.
Nandalall Upadhyay Brahman along with the Mukhtiyars, Mandals of our four forts
Ashwin 10 Roj 5 1943 Vikrama Samavat
This document is an evidence to say that although the British had taken these regions from the Nepalese in 1816 (Segauli Treaty) many of such estates were still possessed by the politically connected Nepalese. Politically the region beyond Teesta which includes both the Hill and the plains of the erstwhile Sikkim were taken by the British East India Company with an agreement. But, the present document reveals the fact that few influential personalities of the neighbouring countries could even possess landed property in the Company Territories as a personal Zagir.  

Inside the Old Wooden Box of my Great Grandfather

Legal Notice sent by the Mandal 
I had seen that box since my childhood, but never had any curiosity to know what is hidden inside the locked old box. Probably, I did not have any interest in the history of Sikkim during all those years. As a Student of Pune University I was greatly interested in studying the Ancient Indian History which is a hallmark of the Aryan culture and Civilization. My ideas of studying the subject of my choice got smashed after I got a job as a Lecturer at Namchi Government College in September 2004. Now I could not go to other Universities to pursue a research on the subject of my choice due to the nature of my job. Even after knowing the base reality, I still was having a hallucination to go for the research in the said subject. I was trying everything to avail stipend from some Universities and the State Government of Sikkim, but could not succeed in securing them. Thus, my high dreams of studying Ancient Indian History were landed in the  erstwhile Himalayan Kingdom for the study of our own History.
Though, I am a Sikkimese but I never had any opportunity to study the History, Culture and Civilization of the Sangri-La during my student life. In the beginning it was very tough for me to cope up with the terminologies which were unsullied to me. But, after studying many books and journals the curiosity to know much about my own state got doubled. Therefore, I began to dream about the old and Independent Sikkim, where my forefathers had done so many things to make it a real one.
The Ration Card for Cloth
It was in October 2006, on the propitious occasion of Bada Dashain when I went to receive Tika from my elderly relatives at Tareythang (a typical Brahmin Village in East Sikkim) I again saw the old box after a long gap. With the help of my grandmother I thought of opening it. As I was assured, it contained few but important documents related to my Great Grandfather in particular and Independent Sikkim in general. The most amazing among them was a legal notice sent to my Great Grandfather by the then Mandal of Tarethang Village Late Brihaspati Upadhyay in 1945. It seems that there was a report made by one Vidhyapati Kafley of the same village against Late Ravi Lal Pyakurel (My Great Grandfather) who had allegedly cut down a tree of the former. Written in a bucolic Nepali, the document is very important for the study of legal system of Sikkim in the pre-independence period.
The oldest document among them is a tax receipt of 1928, followed by other receipts, letters and some personal documents. All these receipts have the signature of the village Mandals, who were then regarded as the Village Head Man in Sikkim. The system of Mandal was abolished in 1986 by Mr. N.B. Bhandari's Government. Another important document that was preserved by my Great Grandfather was a Ration Card for Cloth which was issued in 1948 from Gangtok.
Inside the Ration Card of 1948
The Ration Card has its own unique features. In order to get it an individual had to pay 25 Piase.  Further, the beneficiary had to show his Dhuri Ticket Number to avail the facility of a subsidized cloth. The card also reveals that 6 Gaj (1 ½) meter cloth was issued to an adult and 3 Gaj (75 Cms.) of cloth was given to a child in a family. In the card, the name of the Shop Keeper from where the recipient had to get his cloth is also given. It is clearly mentioned in Nepali that if somebody losses it the authority would not allow him to get another Card. Further, the beneficiary had to avail the facility of subsidized cloth in every three months.  It was issued from the Office of the Textile Commissioner, Gangtok and the Card was non transferable.  
Apart from the above documents, there are some other old receipts, letters and personal papers associated with my great grandfather. But, most unfortunately, I was unable to find any document or pamphlets related to the political development of Sikkim. Probably, Tareythang being a secluded place in those days those papers were not received by my great grandfather.