Bise Nagarchi: A Hidden History

Tribhuvan Chandra wagle

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We have no sufficient historical evidences on Bise Nagarchi’s contribution to nation building process, however, Nepal’s unification history itself proves that Bise was a public pioneer figure of national unification campaigning. Bise and others such as Maniram Gaine, Bange Sarki played vital roles in the national unification process as “a citizen of Gorkha”. While reading the history books, it can be realized that most of the Nepalese historians ignored their contribution in their script. I think, it is mainly because they were the members of so-called ‘Achhut Community’ presently popularly known as Dalits and most of the histories undermined the contributions and role of such people.

Now it is proved that Bise was a citizen of the then Gorkha kingdom. He was belonged to Darji (tailor) community which is known as so-called untouchables. It is believed that he was more or less a contemporary personality to the then His Majesty’s King (Badha Maharaj) Prithivi Narayan Shah in term of his life spans. According to pioneer music historian of Nepal late Ramshran Darnal and historian Dr. Rajaram Paudyal, Bise was born in Pokharithok of Gorkha District around 1970 BS. Researcher Lok Prasad Sharma inscribed in his report (2054) that Dhanya (may be Dhana or Dhane) as the father of Bise Nagarchi. There is some little dilemma in the name of Bise as well. Some guessed that the word Bise has been derived from the words of Bishwo, Bisheshwor or Bishwas ect. He was a member of Darji \Damai community with the surname of Naubag. The word Naubag is related to musician community and Nagarchi as well. Actually, Nagarchi was\is not a caste or surname too. Nagarchi was an acquired portfolio which was given by Gorkha Royal palace to Bise’s family. The family was connected to Gorkha Royal palace either as Family tailor or musicians.

bise-nagarchi
Image: Gorkha patra

The greatest historian and social activist late Yogi Narahari Nath has focused on Bise Nagarchi in his Itihas Prakashan Sandhipatra Sangraha Bhag Ek ( A Collection of Historical  Evidences Parts-I). Though the account of Yogi is not able to make available sufficient information on Bise, like who was Bise, who was his ancestors, what was his special contribution in the campaigning of national unification, but the account of Yogi has proved the existence and contribution of Bise in the unification course of Nepal.

Some guessed that the word Bise has been derived from the words of Bishwo, Bisheshwor or Bishwas ect. He was a member of Darji \Damai community with the surname of Naubag. The word Naubag is related to musician community and Nagarchi as well. Actually, Nagarchi was\is not a caste or surname too. Nagarchi was an acquired portfolio which was given by Gorkha Royal palace to Bise’s family.

Similarly, late playwrights Bhim Nidhi Tiwari also marked the name of Bise in his Panch Aitihasik Ekanki (A Collection of Five Historical One- Act- Plays). Tiwari’s historical plays also abortive to carry out sufficient information on Bise and his contribution as well.  The play however incorporated some glimpses on the contribution of Bise in the national integration process. According to his play, Bise was 40 years of old and much elderly than King Prithivi Narayan Shaha when he started integration process of Nepal at the age of 21 years.

According to available evidences, we can conclude that Bise Nagarchi helped King PN Shah and his unification processes with two unique ways. First, when ‘Gorkha kingdom’ faced financial problem to manage military and war acts, Bise suggested King PN Shah to collect one rupee from each household of Gorkha kingdom to cover the unification expenses. King PN Shah agreed to Bise and worked accordingly. The advice of Bise helped king PN Shah to successfully gather / collect adequate money for purchasing weapons for the unification-centric wars. It clearly shows that Bise was a non-paid advisor to the king PN Shah. Secondly, Bise took part in the war of unification as a singer. He used to sing war-song having full emotion, devotion and commitment in front of the battle field. He used his songs to make the Gorkha soldiers vigorous and motivated in the war course.

Reciting the Lalmohar (order of king) historian Dr. Rajaram  Paudyal claimed that Bise was provided with an irrigated field (Khet) by Gorkha Royal Palaces. Some other historian guessed that Bise was honored as a public advisor of king PN Shah who advised to collect money for integration course. But other said that Bise’s family had connection with the Gorkha kingdom even before the regime of king PN Shah as well, therefore the then king Narabhupal Shah (Father of King PN Shah) provided the irrigated field. While looking all those and other historical documents, it is clearly reflected that that Besi Nagarchi was a pioneer contributor in the processes of national integration. So, we have to explore his contribution and dedication towards national building process.  New generation of history writer can correct the previous weakness of the account of Nepal’s history and will be able to highlight the role and contribution of several individuals such as Bise and more. ORIGINAL POST

Author is Sociologist/Anthropologist and Journalist from Nepal

 

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