Abolition of 'Kipat' Land Tenure System: The Context and Consequences


  • Ram Kumar Ghimire Central Department of Education, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur




KIPAT, Land tenure, Eastern Nepal, Kirat Tiny


'Kipat' was tenure of land existing mainly in Eastern part of Nepal. Thiswas a communal land holding by the Kirats of the then Majh and Pallo Kiratarea. After the unification of the modern Nepal, late king Prithivi Narayan Shah also established the type of tenure in the same manner as it was in the control of the Kirat tiny state. The land tenure system of Kirat was communal. The land wasnot saleable to other persons who were not the progeny of the first user andmaker of the Pakho-Banjo to arable land. It might be given as Dan; theJ immawala might give it by Pajani. The land ultimately was the property of King,and King could make and change on the holding for social use. Kirat area was not the conquered part of Nepal but it was annexed in Nepal by negotiation between the Kirata and the ruler of Nepal. Limbu, Rai and Khumbu devoted land to the king to win mercy and obtain the ranks like Subba, Majhiya, Jimi etc. Mahesh Chandra Regmi claims that Tamang, Sherpa, Kumhal and  Lepcha had also this form of tenure. Similarly, Tamang of East No. 1 and 2and Majhi-Bote of Palpa and Achham had tiny Kipat land. But Sherpas of eastern Nepal had no such tenural land. The Rana rulers had also continued the Kipatland tenure system. After the dawn of democracy, the overall pattern of governance changed. In this context, different segments of people raised issues of political and social change. The change of land tenure system was also one among them. The UN agency FAO started to lead for positive changes on land issues. In the 60s, like most of others LDCs, Nepal had adopted the state-led land reform program. In this context, the Land Reforms Act, 1964 was proclaimed. The Land Act was amended many times; Kipat was abolished by the 2ndamendment of the Land Act. The consequences of the Kipat abolition did not show greater influence in social setting, national polity and economy. Some minor effects were shown in this context. Kipatias were from ethnic group. Their main occupation was traditional but after the first and second War, they joined British army in a large number. Some of the Kirat started to go to the India for extra earning. When the income rose, they started to migrate to Tarai. Kipatias could sell their parental land as they need not tie up with the parental land. The abolition of this tenure did not create any kind of problem in social setting. The political power was not centered on some handful persons due to the' Kipat' system. 'Kipat' was not like the Jimindari system, and there was no master servant relationship between peasants and Jimmawals. Generally, the decision wasmade in Kipatia society by social consensus, but not by any order of Jimmawal.

The land-holding pattern was not in big scale in 'Kipat' tenure, so there was less room for the distributional effect. The data were not proper so how muchland was changed to Raikar after the abolition of 'Kipat' is some how unknown. The overall effect was not substantially shown due to the abolition of 'Kipat' tenure. So, it can be said that due to the abolition of 'Kipat' tenure administrative reform was made but not economic reform. After the abolition of 'Kipat', land was not distributed or consolidated. Holding pattern was not changed. 'Kipat' land was not so highly productive land. Mostly 'Kipat' was in hilly region and the quality of the land was not so good. By this, it can be projected that extra revenue from 'Kipat' abolition is not significant.


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Author Biography

Ram Kumar Ghimire, Central Department of Education, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur

Associate Professor




How to Cite

Ghimire, R. K. (2010). Abolition of ’Kipat’ Land Tenure System: The Context and Consequences. Tribhuvan University Journal, 27(1-2), 113–120. https://doi.org/10.3126/tuj.v27i1-2.26394