Monday, March 22, 2010

Tsirab

History has always ensnared me. Every place I go, I always look for its history. I thought I would use my blog to share pieces of information that I collected from people, books and other sources. It surely is a great way to enrich ourselves. I would appreciate if some people can send me the stories of the places they know or heard of so that it is published in this blog and hopefully as a book some day. As An appetizer for great course, I start with Tsirang because this place is very close to my heart. I have spent best part of my life in this place as a young boy looking for adventures.

Some centuries ago, the Wangduephodrang Dzongpon used to govern places as far as present day Gelephu. The Dzongpon used to appoint people to collect taxes from the people under his jurisdiction. He even appointed officials to administer and pass judgment in these area in times of disputes.

The name Tsirang is being derived from the word Tsi- Rab. Tsi means accounting and Rab means good or in simple words, “Good Accountant.” It is being said that there used to be an official working for Wangduephodrang Dzongpon. The official was not only very good in accounting but he had great memories. So he proved to be an asset for the Dzongpon, especially when there were people who could handle such work those days. His skills earned him good relation with the Dzongpon and he was fondly called as Tsirab.

Since the present day Tsirang was known for its fertility ever since, bulk of the taxes for Wangdiphodrang Dzongpon came from this area. Doubting people’s honesty, Wangdiphodrang Dzongpon sent Tsirab as an official representing him to collect the taxes. It is being said that Tsirab soon became rich and famous and the place he administered was known by his name. In fact, he became so rich that he invited trouble for himself. The Dzongpon became jealous and suspicious. So the Dzongpon sent bangchen garpas to the Tsirab’s house. Bangchen garpas were court officials working for the Dzongpons and Penlops those days. These officials were usually sent on a harassment mission to extort and demean the rivals of the dzongpons and penlops. While the bangchen garpas took the mission as opportunity to become rich themselves by extorting their victims, it was also an opportunity for them to gain favours from their bosses. In fact, Dzongpons and Penlops never allowed their subjects to rise or become prosperous. Leave aside the jewelries and treasures, they could not even bear to see people owning large number of cattle heads or even household items like copper and bronze pots and in some cases even mirror. The Dzongpons and Penlops found excuses and sent bangchen garpas to extort the wealth if they heard of such things.

As expected, it was Tsirab’s turn to be abused by the bangchen garpas sent by Wangdiphodrang Dzongpon. But before they arrived, he hid many important treasures in a cow hide and offered it to the local diety Za of the area for safe keeping in nearby temple. He knew that the bangchen garpas would not dare take anything from the temple and offend the deity.

The bangchen garpas took all the things that belonged to the Tsirab including the cattle. However, it is being said that one cow refused to move no matter how much the bangchen garpas tried to drag her. They gave up and left the cow. The cow was later offered to the deity as a gift.

What happened after that is not much known but many years after the death of Tsirab, the treasure that was offered to the deity for safe keeping was found in temple. However, the deity seemed to have taken possession of the treasures. It is believed that only the Keynor of the temple is allowed to touch it. Rituals had to be carried out even to move it to new place.

Interestingly, no one knows what lies inside the cowhide because no one dares to open it. Since it is believed to be heavy, the local people feel that it must be filled up with many precious stones or else there isn’t any reason why Tsirab would put in a cowhide and offer it to the deity for safe keeping in the temple. Many attempts were made to guess the contents of the hide. People also attempted to take the pictures of the treasures but pictures failed to form in the film.

The descendants of Tsirab continue to live even to this day

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