Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Monday, April 07, 2014

Chisopani JHS and Ralap SS celebrates International Day of Sports for the Development of Peace.

SINGTAM, APRIL 7:  Ralap SS defeated Chisopani JHS five goals to one in an exhibition match played at Chisopani JHS today. Both the schools were observing International Day of Sports for the Development of Peace. Trophy, prizes and certificates were presented to the players by the Chief Guest. 
Bimal Lamichaney, Panchayat President, Sirwani Chisopnai GPU was the Chief Guest of the day while the other guest included Karma Jigme Bhutia and Michael Lepcha (Pandam Football Academy), Dorjee Sherpa, Headmaster, Ralap SS, Mahesh Dahal, Headmaster Chisopani JHS, his staff and the students and local villagers.  
Mahesh Dahal, Headmaster Chisopani JHS in his welcome speech welcomed the guests and spoked about the occasion, Football is the most popular sports in the world and it is sports that can spread peace everywhere. We all human should always unite and work for the progress of the society, said Dahal.
The team of Ralap SS was a better team on the day and they played better game. They went on to win Best Goalkeeper, Highest Scorer and Player of the day prizes. Karma Jigme Bhutia and Michael Lepcha (Manager and Coach of Pandam Football Academy) also interacted with the young players and share few guidelines about the game.
Bimal Lamichaney, Panchayat President, Sirwani Chisopnai GPU in his speech congratulated both the schools for the game and encouraged the players. He spoked about the beauty of the game and how it binds every individuals. The exhibition match was organized by Chisopani JHS. CM Chettri, PRT, Chiopani JHS was the host of the day.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Gardhaney Bhir, Motay Mangar and his Jhyampal

Couple of years back, I was on a visit to place called Mangsari Mangarzong in West Sikkim looking on the legend of Mangarzong. I then had heard several fascinating stories now more of a folk tales from old folks of the village.
Those oral traditions are now part of history that has been passed since generations. It was during those days, when the Mangars were repeatedly attacked by their enemies, the Mangar King was forced to hide his royal treasure on the nearby hills. The opposing enemies of the Mangars never found the treasure but the story of hidden treasure transformed from one generation to another gave birth to the name ‘Gardhaney Bhir’ that means ‘Valley of Hidden treasure’ to the place where people do believe of the Mangar King’s hidden wealth.
The battle field narration of Mangar Queen riding on horse with his baby tied on his back is still popular to this date and much loved fable story. Although her story coincides with that of Jhansi ki rani, but the Mangar Queen does share her fame of bravery, where she died fighting her enemies. It is said she was surrounded by enemies on the battlefield and there was no space for her to escape. She took her life jumping on the river nearby. The story tries to speak of sentiments and I too was caught hold of this narration when heard it for the first time.
The History of Sikkim (1908) compiled by Chogyal Thotob Namgyal and Gyamo Yeshay Dolma records the meeting of Phuntsog Namgyal, the first Chogyal of Sikkim with the Mangars and Limboos while on the way to Yoksum for his coronation. Interestingly, despite oral documentation of a supposed Palace at Mangsari Mangarzong, very little had been done to discover the prime time of the Mangars community in Sikkim. I had personally visited the place with Rajen Upadhaya, History Lecturer, Namchi Government College and his students; we had noticed some hollowness on the land while trekking through the area. We never knew more about it but people say that they had been hearing their foot-step sound on the mud since long time back.
Coming back to Gardhaney Bhir’, another fascinating incident is attached to it. Just between Budang and Mangsari Mangarzong from a road side, we were shown a small iron rod; a part of Jhyampal (digging bar) struck on the rock some 100 metres. Villagers say this particular digging bar was put into the rock by a man named Motay Mangar, a labourer by profession but known more for his power lifting ability.  It was during the digging of the Jorethang – Soreng Road in the 60s, Motay Mangar wanted to make a name for him to be remembered for a long time so he had strucked the Jhyampal into the rock to show his muscle supremacy. He was more like a Hercules, remembers an old folk. I feel the digging bar must be around 5ft long and more than 4 ft of the bar had been struck inside the rock. Definitely, he must have been a big name then. People had tried numerous instances to pull it off but the iron rod could not be pulled. Old folk does remember Motay Mangar to this day with pride and say…..’Water and weather of those days were different”.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The man with a golden heart: Ganesh Pradhan

 first published in SPARK magazine, edited by Shital Pradhan

“…..his hunger never stops.” This often repeated phrase echoed by many of his friends aptly suits the persona of Mr. Ganesh Kumar Pradhan. Known mostly among the associates as a humble and soft spoken gentleman, this grand father have so far successfully carved a niche of himself among the odds.
               His Ram Gauri Sangalaya, named after his parent’s name is a self made personal museum which has in short time capitulated him name and fame across the state and beyond. The three storey museum house has had visitors including the Governor of Sikkim Shri V. Rama Rao, numerous ministers and MLAs, Chief Secretaries, DGPs, High ranked officials from Army and others beyond the state too have been to his home. Some of the noted personalities of ‘who is who’ of nepali world that have commented on his Visitor’s Book include names like Padmashree Sanu Lama, Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri, Dr, Shanti Chettri, Late Kamal Ashu, Late Ganga Kaptan, Late R.P.Lama, Late Jagat Chettri, Moti Prasad Sharma, Late Bhai Chandra Pradhan, Dr. Kumar Pradhan, Tulshi Ghimeray, Bharma Deo Sharma “Bhaijee” (Rastriya Sangathan Mantri), Chunnilal Ghimeray, Padam Parajuli, M.S. Khan, Vidya Bharathi, Kedar Gurung and others.  The other dignitaries included

               Meet Ganesh Kumar Pradhan. At the age of 58, when most people would like to spend time resting at the home, he has not let his enthusiasm and his desire for more go down. He is the man who has tried to capture few moments of the past in his living room. It has been his source of inspiration for years and he still lives in pursuing his dreams and promises. He is passionate about his collection of stamps, coins, paper money, antiques, books and magazine, old documents, driftwood, river stones and above all his love for the indoor and bonsai plants. His personal museum Ram Gauri Sangalaya and his nursery Ever Green Nursery is among one of the tourist point for couple of years on the occasion on Aritar - Lampokhari Lake festival.

               Born and brought up in Rhenock, Ganesh Pradhan is the youngest son of Late Ramu Pradhan and Late Gauri Maya Pradhan. The former was a vendor and an honorary magistrate of the bench court at Rhenock. Pleased by the performance of Late Ramu Pradhan, Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal, King of Sikkim honoured him with an appreciation letter on King’s birthday. Late Ramu Pradhan had another achievement when he received a handwritten appreciation letter from the then Rai Sahab D.S. Pradhan. Known for his straightforwardness and hardworking Late Pradhan is still remembered by the old folks even to this day. Ganesh Pradhan inherited his interest in flowers and the collection of old documents from his father.
               His love for plants made him establish a nursery in 1986, thou his introductions to the floras were laid by his father. He called his nursery Ever Green Nursery. And to his floriculture collection he has diverse varieties of succulent ferns, perennial plants, ornamentals and a very rare pitcher plant (nepenthes khasiana). One of his bonsai of Azelia sp. (hosokawa japonica) is approaching half century mark and he is extremely proud of it. His other bonsai collections include Ficus variety i.e. f. benjomina, f. elastic, trengula, f. australian, f. mysorensis, f. remintacia. His bonsai sells from Rs 200 to Rs 5000. The bonsai plants included in his nursery are of flowering chaamp, guava, musleri, guava, peach and others fruits and flowers including magnolia pumila and magnolia fuscata. The formation of his nursery in far off Rhenock isn’t a new idea at all. The first nursery there – Chandra Nursery- was first set up in 1910 by Rai Sahib RP Pradhan and Late D.S. Pradhan. Ganesh Pradhan never forgets to mention they were his source of encouragement to set on his own nursery. His bonsai plant collection and stag horns was highly appreciated in recently concluded International Florishow held at Suramsa Garden. His Ever Green Nursery hold collection of three types of Stag Horns;  Platycerium alcicorne, wilheminaregina, and hybrid forms.
                He has a collection of over 600-odd driftwoods and artistic stones collected from the rivers beds of Reshi, Rangpo, Rorathang, Rongli and others. He believes this nature’s gift is the most beautiful decorative item for houses, instead of other costly antique available in the market and you believe me you don’t find any other decorative items in his house. Ganesh Pradhan has also exhibited his driftwood collection at Konark, Orissa in 1992 on the occasion of Craft Mela. Ganesh Pradhan is a most popular name in Sikkim Philately today. Philately is popularly known as stamp collection wherein Ganesh Pradhan has so far represented the Sikkim State in different state and national stamp exhibition.  Winner of State Level Philatelic exhibition in 2002 Ganesh Pradhan added another feather when under his guidance his talented son Ruben Pradhan was among the 18 students selected from India to participate in an International Philately Exhibition held at Tucson, Arizonia, United States.           

               Ganesh Pradhan has around 5,000 world wide commemorative stamps; couple of hundreds of first day covers, over 2000 coins and paper money from different part of the world.  His museum also has place for now rare two types of Sikkim coins - Chepte and Doli paisa. It is to be mentioned that Sikkim state had its individual coinage system that only lasted for couple of years. The year then was 1881-1883. We can find rare Mughal period, Gupta period coins, Tibet coins and many valuable more to be followed. His paper currencies include different old Indian paper notes, error notes. Polymer notes i.e. the plastic notes that are now commonly issued in different countries are the other highlight of his collection. Pradhan added it was an encouragement from Rajeev Shankar Shrestha, from Gangtok that has helped him divulge his interest in Stamps and coins.

               It is hard to believe how this gentleman manages his time for each of his hobby. And this is not yet end, his other collection include 400 to 500 books and magazines in nepali and English language, which included a few volumes of Sikkim’s first news magazine ‘’Kanchenjunga’’ and the first issue of Sikkim Herald (1959) where one of its issue dating 16th February 1967 was handwritten. He has documents as old as 1913s. His rich collection holds volumes of Nepali literary magazines that consist of Diyalo, Bharati, Dharti, Sarda, Nava Jyoti, Udai, Gorkha, Deepak, complete set of Sarstha and many more. Some of his rare documents include hand written copy of the original Ramayana written by Bhanu Bhakta. Age old nepali manuscripts on Chandi, Rudri, Bibah Pradati,Satyanarayan Katha and others,not common

               Documents of old khasra (1916), old khatian (1916), old land records (1913), notification of Sikkim State- both nepali and english (1916), price lists of Chandra Nursery exported flora (1937), old ration card (1952), bank receipts (1956), Durbar Gazettes (1966), letters of Rai Sahab Ratna Bhadhur Pradhan and Shri D.S. Pradhan and other old exceptional papers hold fascination among many peoples that does not find these resources else where. His nepali newspaper collection from the first issue is another item that people flock to watch. Those newspapers consist of Himalchuli, Himalayan Observer, Abh, Dainik Awaaz, Sunchgari, Aaja Bholi, Samay Danik, Hamro Prajashakti, Himalai Bela and others. His other obsession lies in collecting antiques, be they cooking utensils, locks, old cameras, telegraph machines, lanterns from Germany and America, bangles, newari items, gramophone, etc. He has exhibited his collection in many places and had also won prizes.

               Speaking on his accomplishment Ganesh Pradhan considers his effort as a way to educate the coming generation about the artifacts of yester years. Pradhan believes if we are to make progress we also need to carry on our past too. We shall never know our future if we do not know our past, he added. Those materials are the source of future study that will be of assistance the moment in time of those days. And the long forgotten past which he had tried to bring together is a tribute to the works of our ancestors. Ganesh Pradhan never fails to help people understand the beauty of a collecting every bits and pieces.

               He has been felicitated by Karunadevi Smarak Dharmatma Guthi (Rhenock), Yuva Sahitya Pratisthan (Sikkim), Akhil Sikkim Newar Sangathan, Himali Prakashan (Dentam), Youth Development Society of Sikkim and Sagar Prakashan Takehang, East Sikkim. His work had found appreciation letters from the Governor Shri V. Rama Rao, Army Official Lt. Gen Ashok Chaki and others.

               Married to Kamala Pradhan, he has a daughter Bobbina (a grand son from her) and two sons, Ruben and Deepen. His family is very supportive in pursuing his passion and helps him in every step. His self – made museum is open for anyone to visit. If you show interest in his plants and driftwood he may even sell you some but……… you need to have the heart of a collector.