A historical document showing madhes (Terai) as the sourcing center for saltpeter for gurkhali ammunition.
Supply of Saltpeter
(a) To the Umra of Sindhuli: “We have granted the monopoly for the supply of saltpeter (Soramahal) to Basudev Mehtari fromt the Vikrama year 1853. We have provided him with a sample of refined saltpeter, with instructions that 220 maunds of crude saltpeter be processed to produce 110 maunds of refined saltpeter. A sample has been sent to you also. Accept delivery of saltpeter according to that sample on the basis of the maund used in the plains (madhesh) and issue a receipt.”
Regmi Research Collection, Vo. 23, pp. 261-62.
(b) To the Subba, Fouzdars, Chaudharis, Kanugoyes, Mokaddams, birtaowners, and ijaradars of Mahottari district: “The Soramahal in the district has been granted to Basudev Mehtari from the Vikrama year 1853. Let his men open saltpeter depots at all places in the district where (saline) earth is available. You shall be punished if you create any obstruction in their work.”
Regmi Research Collection, Vol. 23, p. 262.
(c) The same day, an official receipt was issued under the royal seal for the following quantities of saltpeter delivered by Basudev Mehtari and Ganga Mehtari through Murali Mehtari to the Umras of Sindhuli against the total quantity stipulated for the Vikrama years 1851 and 1852:-
(1) Delivered on Baisakh Baisakh Badi 9, 1851
to Umra Ratna Singh … 124 maunds
(2) do. to Gurja Singh on … 43½ maunds
(3) do. 60¼ maunds on
less 7¾ maunds remitted … 52½ maunds
Total: 220 maunds
Regmi Research Collection, Vol. 23, p. 265.
(d) Basudev Mehtari was granted a five-year ijara for the collection of duties on salt (nimak-sair) and procurement of saltpeter (soramahal) from Baisakh Badi 1, 1853 to Chaitra Sudi 15, 1857 on lands of all tenure-categories, including birta and jagir, in t he pargannas of Mahottari, Kodari, Khesraha, Bahaura, and Barahaga. In addition, revenue from the moujas of Bardaha and Bilasharigama in Mahottari perganna, was assigned to him for the same period to finance saltpeter procurement. Basudev Mehtarii was granted authority to collect revenue from all existing sources (mal-jihat), sair-jihat, kul, hubutat, bahama, Jehati, and amilan levies) in these three moujas.
The order apportioned the saltpeter output in the areas placed under the jurisdiction of Basudev Mehtrai as follows:-
Vikrama Year Total Output Producers’ Share Government’s Share
(in mauds) (in mauds) (in maunds)
1853 220 110 110
1854 220 110 110
1855 220 110 110
1856 220 110 110
1857 220 110 110
Total 1,100 550 550
maunds maunds maunds
Basudev Mehtari was required to purchase the producers’ share of the saltpeter output, pack it in bags, and deliver it at Sindhuli. Procurement and porterage expenses were sanctioned at the rate of Rs. 3¼ a maund, thus making a total bill of Rs. 1,787½ for 550 maunds of saltpeter during the five-year period, or Rs. 357½ a year.
Particulars of revenue assessed from the above-mentioned moujas were as follows:-
Vikrama Year Bardaha Bilasharigama Total
1853 Rs. 101 Rs. 256½ Rs. 357½
1854 Rs. 101 Rs. 256½ Rs. 357½
1855 Rs. 101 Rs. 256½ Rs. 357½
1856 Rs. 101 Rs. 256½ Rs. 357½
1857 Rs. 101 Rs. 256½ Rs. 357½
The total crude saltpeter output, inclusive of the producers’ share, was 220 maunds year. Basudev Mehtari was ordered to process the crude saltpeter, produce 110 maunds of refined saltpeter every year, and deliver it at Sindhuli.
Regmi Resarch Collection, Vol. 23. pp. 266-67.