Land and social change in east Nepal In the latter half of the eighteen century that part of the Himalayas between Kumaom and Sikkim containing a number of tribal peoples of Mongolian racial stock was united, under a Hindu dynasty into what becomes a kingdom of Nepal. The creations of multi-ethnic society, relations between the tribal population and immigrants have been characterized by seemingly opposed tendencies: cleavage, on the one hand and inter dependence on the other. The Nepalese authorities have, over time, brought all tribal lands, with the exception of those belonging to the Limbus under a uniform system of tenure, akin to freehold and known as 'raikar'. Before the establishment of the kingdom and probably for some time afterwards all tribal groups held land under a customary form of tenure which has come to be known as 'kipat'. In limbuwan therefore the struggle for tribal land is not phenomenon of the past but an ongoing process which continues to effect social relation in the region. The expansion east wards of the Hindu Armies in the 1770s resulted in the series alliances with potentially troublesome limbu chief flanking them on all sides. Hindu settlers have benefited even more from government legislation reducing are under kipat tenure land correspondingly increasing the amount under raikar tenure and have successed in becoming ascendant section of the population in east Nepal. Brahmins were by virtue of their ability to read and write because of their high cast status best paced to take advantage of any administrative regulations designed to reduce the area under kipat tenure. The cleavage created by the land construction is expressed in and reinforced by attitudes of hostility by the absence of reciprocal, co-operative relations and marriage ties, the lack of participations by members of one group in the social or religious ceremonies of the other and by their overall cultural apartness. THE SETTINGS The settlements of Angbung, Bharapa, chatik and Daruma which for shoot land purposes to call the districts of Ilam in the east of Nepal. The hills of Ilam rise sharply from the terai to the south 20 mile wide belt of low lying flatlands continuation above the level. Ilam encompasses on area of 540sq miles. It is bounded on the east by Sikkim and Darjeeling of India, while to the west and north lie the districts of Dhankuta and Pachthar. Paddy, maize and millet are the principal crops grown in the districts. The districts of Ilam experiences a moderate climate, temperature seldom rising above 30 c during warm seasons from April to September or falling below 7 c during the cool months of January and February. From mid June to mid September the monsoon rain persists and leaves a precipitation of some 60 inches. The Indreni cluster settlements lie in a contiguous belt along the eastern slope of a 4500 foot ridge of in Ilam. Ilam Darna sub division contains a population of about 16,200 or roughly 13 percent of the districts total population. Limbuwan comprise an area of approximately 4500 sq.miles or about 8 percent of the total area of the present day of Nepal. The Limbus is generally regarded as among the first habitat of east Nepal. Together with Rai, they are thought to be the descendant of ancient 'Kirats'. The country inhabited mainly by Rais lies in the mid region of east Nepal between the Dudhkoshi and the Arun River and is termed 'Middle Kirat' where as the limbu country east of the Arun River, i.e; Limbuan is called 'Far Kirat'. By the end of the nineteenth century the civil authority had largely replaced the military in Ilam. The houses are constructed on unirrigated plots along the crest of the main ridge at the altitude between 3500-4500ft. The characterized residential pattern is one of dwelling, a pattern broken only occasionally by nucleated villages, we find dispersed settlements which merge into one another. Settlements are highly exogamous nor exogamous units. More are the inhabitants of any one settlement bound together by common rituals. Land and Kin groups The Limbus are divided into a number of named units which may be referred to as sub tribes, although they normally allude to these units as their, which is the same word they use for the The sub tribe Tomling is represented in the Indreni settlements by two clans, the Chongbung and the Kumbo. Members of these Tamling clans claims not to marry with several other Tamling clans, but they contradict one another about which ones. It can be assumed that the clan and not the sub tribe is the basic unit of exogamy. In much of Limbuan, certainly in Ilam, rights to occupy particular areas of land under Kipat tenure derive neither from direct royal grants nor from 'estates of holdings 'conferred by superior authority but by virtue of being' first shelter. The Chongbungs of the Indreni settlements express clan dispersion in a kinship idiom which designates each settlements clusters known to harbour some members of the clan as the place where one Chongbung sibuny founder settled after leaving the original clan. Since no other Kambo groups are known to exist outside the Indreni settlements, the Cambo's can't claim that they are part of a wider clan One suggests that the Kambos are in fact the descendents of the fifth Chongbung who came to the Indreni settlement with his eldest brother. This instant highlights the fact that clan membership is not a sufficient exdential for pressing a claim to Kipat land, it is membership at a localized clan which validates of Limbus rights to the land. When segmentation occurs within the local clan segment the unilineal descent groups which emerge can be called lineages. The Chongbung Subba was the first to receive a royal decree (Lal Mohar) in 1825. This was followed by similar decrees to the Nembeke Subba in 1832 and to the Kambo Subba in 1852. The oristence in the cluster of non kipat owing (NKO) Limbus has created a situation in which two spectious of the population enjoy unequal status on the basis of different tial rights to land. separation from the main household in generally in the sequence with the eldest son leaving the first followed by his younger brothers as they marry and bring their wives to join them. Although household partitions are most frequently attributed to disputing daughters in law, another, not uncommon, explanation is the tension arising out of the co residence of wives and married sisters. The Mitakshara rules proscribing the rights of a man to dispose of lands belonging to co-shares are reinforced among the Limbus by legal rules prohibiting the sale of kipat land. This requires that kipat owners to pay taxes according to the number of the household and not in relation to the amount of land owned or cultivated. The foregoing discussion of properly division has suggested not only a stress among Limbus on the patrilineal transmission of land but on the exclusive inheritance rights of males. On marriage, a women torteits all rights to the lands of her natal household. Unmarried daughters, however on reaching the age of 35 have to a claim to a share in the estate equal to one halt the inheritation of each male siblings. Some informants suggest that the division of a man's estate does not merely counter rights to a portion of his lands on the wife who separates but lives the remainder of the estate under the control of the other wife. The arrival of non limbu settlers was part of policy in situated by Kathmandu encouraging the immigration of Hindus into Limbuan. The government introduced legislation which in effect allowed non limbu settlers to convert into Raikar tenure all hands which had been or would in torture be granted to non Limbus by their limbu owners. For the Limbus, the land struggle has to aspects. 1. They must strive to preserve their lands under the kipat form of tenure and alternative keep them from being converted to Raikar. 2. It also demands from the Limbus a continous effort to prevent the usufruct of their remaining kipat lands from passing to members of other group. Cultural differences brahmins worship the universal hindu pantheon, limbus worship by means of blood sacrifice a host of deities which have no place in traditional hindu belief. The farmer are associated with women, men have no gods says limbus just as a man inherits his father's lands a women inherits he mothers gods. The limbus bury their dead body whereas the Brahmins cremate theirs. Limbus observe a period of three or four days to pollution (depending on whether the decreased is female or male while Brahamins consider pollution to extend for 13 days after death. The differences in the 'pleasure complex' of two groups: the Limbus are drinking and dancing constitute a integral part of limbu social life. Whereas Brahmins the festival's importance is in its scared content, ritual participation. Interdependence: The Political context The emergence of the Brahmins as the dominant economic section of the population has had important political consequences i.e. Brahmin leaders, once subordinates in a hierarchy based on land grants, have been, since the turn of the century. Limbu headmen have not only lost me bases of their traditional power but must rely, like their lineage followers, on the support of influential Brahmins. The absorption of Ilam into a natural polity in 1774, Kathmandu, first through the military and later through the civil administration, has exercised and monopoly of coercive force. In the leadership hierarchy Subbas gave grants of Kipat land to non Limbus immigrants into Limbuwan from areas to the west while the recipients of these grants were at the same time appointed by sub headman called Thari. Chief among the duties of the Subbas was fax collection from both the registered and unregistered households and appropriates the revenue for themselves after collection taxes from unregistered households. Tharis collected taxes from the dependents or their holdings or revenue units and passed these on to the Subbas for submission to the land revenue office in Ilam bazar. Subbas were instructed to arrest any person who crosses the border without government permission and were also held accountable for maintenance of the main roads through their territory. Another development followed from the regulation of 1886. Tharis began to rely directly on the government for their security of title. If a Thari died without sons or emigrated, leaving his holding without a headman, the government and not the Subbas would make appointment, usually after consulting the dependents .For a brief period, Tharis were even allowed to sell their holdings, subject only to the new Thari by the government. The respect accorded the Subbas by other Limbus is evident, especially during the autumn festival of Aswin, when tributary payments are made the Subbas discharges certain ritual functions. Disputes over compensation High rate almost 20% of marriages by abducting wives of other man called Jari precipitate crises on 3counts. 1. They give rise to the possibility of violence. 2. They involve the severance of existing links between affinal groups, which is potentially disruptive. 3. They require the settlements of compensation claims and so have an economic consequence which seriously affects the far tunes of the households involved. Neighborhood is another important consideration when gathering supports, since neighbours are first of all dependent on one another in a number of contexts and therefore thought to be reliable allies. Informal meditation of intra cluster disputes The Subba's statutory authority no longer extends to the maintenance of law and order. The council of Subbas (amal) which existed until about fifty years ago, is now defunct which in the Indreni Cluster are mediated informally by men are regarded as notables. Functions For most notables, the display of leadership qualities is confined to contexts of mediation. The immediate purpose for their recruitments is generally waging of a dispute, but the underlying goal is the pursuit or maintenance of power and influence by leaders. The aggregation formed in this way will be called faction. Factions in the Indreni settlements are based on a schism within a single Brahmins group. Faction leaders frequently seek to become involved in the disputes of others, and so make them their own. The Panchayat The first attempts to introduce statutory Panchayat in Nepal date back to 1926. During that year experiments in local government were carried out in the region of Kathmandu Valley in 1930 were expanded to include 4 districts in both the hill areas and the Terai. Panchayat Committee was formed of representatives from settlements in the Ilam Darna sub division of district, which was constituted as a single village. Although Limbus disapprove of the Panchayat system as a whole, they especially resent Brahmins control of the Committee. The intercalary position of Limbu Notables The Limbus accept their mediation in disputes, requires their assistance in litigation, and are increasingly bound by the decisions of the Panchayat Committee, which they dominate. Recently, Gurkha service has created wealth and status differences within the Limbus community which have begun to alter traditional ties between the two groups. Wealth and high military rank earned in Gurkha service also confer on Limbu Notables a high status within the wider society beyond the confines of the cluster. Land culture and politics Certain political attitude and activities within the Indreni cluster can only be understood against the wider background of the Limbus struggle to preserve their lands under the traditional system of tenure. Kipat is fused with and articulates culture. The system of land tenure is included under is included under the rubric of culture, any assault on Kipat is seen as a threat to very existence of the Limbus as a separate community within the society. Thus cultural identity becomes political identity in the context of the struggle to preserve the Kipat system. The Limbu Movement In the late nineteenth century there have been sporadic attempts to organize opposition among the Limbus to stem the tide of Kipat conversion to Raikar tenure. Disparities between the country's legal code and special regulations enacted to deal with the land problems of Limbuwan led to deal with the land problems of Limbuwan led to the formation of another adhoc committee of Subbas in 1946.