26 Thithis

Introduction to 26 Thithi’s

26 Thithis is one of the most acclaimed Sui Generis Laws developed in Nepal by King Ram Shah of Gorkha. It was also known as Dhog Bhet Thithis and was primarily used to regulate Royal Meetings and Court Procedures.

However, its largest scope was seen in the Judicial Proficiency and Fairness it promoted throughout Gorkha. Because of 26 Thithi’s and other Provisions, the Legal System of Gorkha was strengthened beyond the limit.

The Saying “Shastra Haraya Kashi Janu, Nyaya Haraye Gorkha Janu” was also popularized.

He also established Valid Principles of Criminal Justice, Collection of Evidence, and the continuation of Fair Trials in Nepal based on the Principles of Equality, Justice, and Peace. It is often compared and contrasted with Nyayabikashini and Muluki Ain.

Major Features of 26 Thithis

Standardization of weights and measures: The law established specific measurements for various commodities, such as bamboo, stones, pots, and scales. It standardized units like mana, pathi, lal, tola, etc.

Regulation of loans and interest rates: The law addressed the issue of debt repayment and set regulations for loans. It stated that loans would triple in 10 years, including the interest on grain. After 10 years, the borrower could pay back the loan at a rate of 50 percent without additional annual interest.

Settlement of small disputes: The law stated that minor disputes involving landlords, laborers, and water channels should be settled within the village and not brought to court.

Land distribution and ownership: The law outlined rules regarding the distribution of land. It mentioned designating specific areas for Brahmins and establishing a consultation with Chautarias when giving Guthi religious endowment to deities and Birta (land grant) to Brahmins.

Appointment of officials: The law assigned responsibilities to various individuals from different castes, including Pande, Panth, Arjyal, Khanal, Rana, and Bohra. They were given roles such as Kazi, Sardar, and Chautaria and were authorized to plead to the king on behalf of their respective positions.

Protection of forests: The law included provisions for the conservation of forests. It mandated the planting of trees on roads for specific periods, imposed fines for cutting trees without permission, and emphasized maintaining forests in Padhyara.

Punishment for certain crimes: The law specified punishments for crimes against different castes. It mentioned severe consequences for killing a Woman, Child, Brahmin, and ascetic, emphasizing that failing to punish the guilty would be a sin for the king.

Regulation of gold ornamentation: The law provided guidelines for wearing gold ornaments based on caste and status. It stated that only certain individuals, like Maharani (queen) and Chautariya, could wear gold ornaments on their feet.

Distribution of agricultural produce: The law introduced the concept of “vihauta,” which designated a share of the agricultural produce for those who worked the land. It specified that after three years of work, the produce would be given to the wealthy, particularly Brahmin.

Succession of the throne: The law addressed the issue of succession to the throne. It stated that the descendants of the king would hold the throne until their children were capable of assuming the role. This provision aimed to ensure a smooth transition of power within the royal lineage.

Provisions of 26 Thithi’s

On Royal Meetings

  1. The King must be addressed as Lord Majesty.
  2. If Chautara calls someone, they must start by claiming that they are Poor.
  3. King’s Officers and Relatives must be addressed as Respected Sire.
  4. If the King is seated on the throne, then one or two salutes are to be given.
  5. The Chautara must salute the King before expressing any form of request. The Brother of the King was made Chautara.
  6. A Brahminic Teacher must be addressed by the King himself.
  7. In the Kachahari or Bhardari Sabha, one cannot flaunt their mustache, and one cannot fold their legs.
  8. The King should have Chautara beside him, his teacher on the right, and the Kaji or Minister seated with respect on the right side.
  9. Brahmins, Khas Kshetriya, Magar, and other elderly individuals should request permission to be seated and seat accordingly in their respective areas of the Assembly.

On Measurement

The Official Means of Measurement are:

  • 10 Muthi = 1 Mana
  • 8 Mana = 1 Pathi
  • 20 Pathi = 1 Muri
  • 10 Lal = 1 Masa
  • 10 Masa = 1 Tola
  • 18 Laal = 1 Pal
  • 27 Tola = 1 Bodi
  • 108 Tola = 1 Bisauli
  • 2 Bisauli = 1 Dharni

On Loan and Interest

  1. Interest cannot be received after 10 years.
  2. The interest rate should be fixed at 20% for Food Borrowing.
  3. This rule is applicable for Food Consumption Loans only.
  4. Simply put, after 10 years, one can only take thrice the amount they provided.
  5. For Money Loans, the interest for 10 years was 10%. Hence, the limitation was to double the amount of what had been provided.

On Minor Rules and Regulations

  1. First-come, first-served regulations apply for Water and Oil.
  2. These matters should be solved by the Local Panchayats, not the Royal Court.
  3. Irrigation Tunnels could be constructed according to the Land Topography.
  4. Water for Irrigation Purposes should be divided systematically and in turns.

On The Six Houses of Gorkha

House Pandey, House Panta, House Aryal, House Khanal, House Rana Magar, and House Bohara formed the Six Houses of Gorkha.

  1. Ram Shah provisioned that among these six houses, Chautara, Kaji, and Sardar should be elected or selected.
  2. If any one of them plots against the crown or is disloyal to the crown in any form, then the King should be informed as quickly as possible.
  3. The Shahs should never demote them without any compromise and always provide them with the highest ranks among these six houses.
  4. The Six Houses are granted the right to exercise Justice, which is equal for all.
  5. Pandey, Panta, and Aryal were treasurers. Three Magars were Kapardari’s. Dharmadikari, Sardar, and Bhanse were also Aryal’s.
  6. House Mishra was appointed as the Royal Teacher or Priests by Ram Shah. They taught politics, Dharma Shastras, and so on.
  7. House Aryal was assigned as the Enforcers of Dharma or Laws known as Dharmadhikari.

On Forest Conservation

  1. Cows should be grazed in Farmlands only.
  2. Trees should be afforested on both sides of the road for resting and environmental purposes.
  3. If trees do not exist, then landslides may occur, and houses without trees have no importance.
  4. Those who cut trees near houses should be fined Rs. 5.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the 26 Thithis, also known as Dhog Bhet Thithis, was developed by King Ram Shah of Gorkha. It was a Sui Generis Legislation concerned with devising Royal Palace Decorums and other Laws to regulate Gorkha. It covered multiple aspects such as Weight and Measures Law, Loan and Interest Law, Conflict Law, Conflicts, Ownership and Property Law, Environment Law etc.

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