Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Be our guest; return as a friend!!



I am a proud Sikkimese and whenever someone points out a finger to my Sikkim, it obviously hurts me.  Being blessed to be born in this serene land of Sikkim makes me more attached to the nature and its surroundings.
Since last seven years I had been blogging about Sikkim and sharing off my knowledge with the world. From my side, I am promoting my state and proving a point that a name called ‘Sikkim’ exists in a globe. Sikkim is a small and a young state….once an independent kingdom that later on became part of a mighty Indian Union.
Since last ten years, we (off our own) have been emerging…well growing in different sectors like tourism, education and others. Our state’s growth in the last one decade can be compared with any places in the world. We were in high spirits that global travel guide ‘Lonely Planet’ had named our state as the "best region to visit in 2014”. It was in-fact a matter of pride for us.
Few days back, a writer publishes an article ‘North Bengal, Sikkim & Manas National Park’ in different bird sites about his trip report. It was a well written family field trip and in places it was interesting, but I am sorry to say I found few sentences about Sikkim that could had been written in a better way.
Before going through his words, let me say about few things that make our Sikkim different from others. We are the first Indian state to outline an eco-tourism policy that helped in the development of the village tourism. Sikkim is the first state in India to make laws for conservation of forest and wild life. Ten minutes to Earth is a unique and pioneering initiative in the world. Sikkim has the highest road density in the country. Our state is encouraging adventure tourism in a larger scale and people are being individually self dependent. In Sikkim, tourism is trade and trade here means providing employment.
Well, the article reads the writer was on his first visit to Sikkim and he finds three districts in Sikkim. To the readers outside Sikkim, I would like to share that Sikkim has four districts. Since the state has sensitive borders with China, most of the areas are restricted to foreigners and others need official permit. Visitors can enter Sikkim through Rangpo and Melli but not without authorized letters, so beware of being caught.
I strongly advise the tourist to avoid what he writes, ‘Most tour operators will take clients to West Sikkim as it does not require a second permit and cars from West Bengal are allowed in too’.  In the past, it has happened that a foreign visitor was politely returned from Sikkim as he did not had a proper permit that too in West Sikkim. He had illegally entered through West Bengal route.

Birding is one such field in Sikkim that is closely gaining popularity with each passing days. About Kitam Bird Sanctuary, he writes  ...’This is the only bird sanctuary in Sikkim and its website promises much. However, the planted forest looks very unsuitable for birds. I believe the declaration of Kitam as a bird sanctuary was more politically motivated than actually a suitable place for birds and the only bird we saw after an hour was Red Junglefowl’.
Kitam Bird Sanctuary is first of its kind when it comes of birding in Sikkim and within couple of years we will have few more bird sanctuary in our state. I am just a year old in understanding birds. Whatsoever I have learned I believe those shy souls does take their own moments to play hide and seek in the greenery.
If you are in Kitam and want to catch the best birding experience, you should be here during September-October and April-May. Don’t expect those feathered beauties to spread their magic in winters.  
The planted forest as lines reads seems funny. With a forest area of 47.3 percent of the total geographical area; Sikkim is India's greenest state. Forest is our treasure and we are into preservation and not politically motivated. We are just spreading green messages!!
I am sure whatever nationality we belong whether German or British, whether a Goan or a Gujarati, we all love our place and acknowledge good hospitality to anyone who visit us. When we write in an internet, there are millions of people reading and watching it. A silly mistake can make a negative impact.
We, Sikkimese people are peace loving and we would like to share our world with others. 

Visit Sikkim- be our guest; return as a friend!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sikkim wins top three awards at North East Prag Cine Award



Sikkim’s Film “Anmol Tshan-A Christmas in September” produced by Kishor Dungmali Rai had won the 3 Awards which includes NE Best Feature Film, NE Best Actor (Female) and NE Best Actor (Male) in North East Prag Cine Award 2015 held at Dibrugarh, Assam. NE Best Actor (Female) Sneha Rai, a product of TNA and Mount Hermon School is a debutant actor, received huge round of applause from the jury for her act. Her performances were already applauded by viewers of Sikkim and South Asian Countries during the premiere show of the movie.  Likewise NE Best Actor (Male) Shalom Kabo a famous actor from the hills who hails from Kalimpong also got huge appreciation. Kabo had already bagful of hit films viz. Naya Goreto, Baardan and many more and widely known in different countries among Nepali speaking communities. Anmol Gurung had directed and scripted this film. 
Producer Kishor Dungmali Rai after receiving the NE Best Film Award told that “every film which I make, I give platforms to new talents of the hills and my intention is to promote Sikkim tourism market through the movies and movie will screen soon in the theaters of Gangtok for daily shows. Marketing and Publicity Head of the Film Suresh K. Lama and Co-Producer of the film Radha Thapa Dungmali were also there among other awardees during the event representing Sikkim.
Noted Assamese actor Bishnu Kharghoria was honored with lifetime achievement award for his contribution towards the Assamese film industry. Assamese Film “North Bank” won the Best Assamese Film and Assamese films “Othello” and “Ahetuk” won most of the awards among 29 Categories.
In a bid to promote Assamese and North East cinema and highlight its 80-year old legacy, Prag Network had organised the North East Prag Cine Award on March 21 and 22 in Dibrugarh.
The Prag Cine Award was instituted in the year 2003 to inspire people associated with Assamese cinema. The award recognizes and honours the best talents of Assamese and North East film industry in different segments. A jury comprising distinguished personalities associated with the field selects the winners of the award.
Bollyhood Celebrities Neha Dhupia, Gulsun Grover along with Adil Hussain, Zubeen Garg, Papon and other eminent artistes of Assamese film indasustry graced the award ceremony. Dance and singing performances by various artist of Assamese Cinema had enthralled the audience with their performances.


Friday, March 20, 2015

World Sparrow Day observed at Sakyong Chisopani JHS

 
SINGTAM, MARCH 20:   For the second successive year, Sakyong Chisopani JHS observed the World Sparrow Day at its school today. In a small function held in a class room, a photo exhibition of birds clicked by Shital Pradhan, teacher, Sakyong Chisopani JHS around the Chisopani locality was also organised. Teachers and students of the school were present on the occasion.
A short workshop about the conservation of birds was also held. Shital Pradhan and Monu Hang Khewa, GT (Bio) was the resource person of the day. Monu Hang Khewa in his word told the students that the whole world is in caring sparrows and we too should come together for the support. It might not be too late that we might see these beautiful creatures in photographs in coming days. This does not mean we have to protect sparrows only, for us every bird whether big or small is special and we need to provide them an equal chance to survive, added Khewa.
Shital Pradhan, Primary Teacher of the school, demonstrated the importance of birds in human society. Pradhan went on to talk about the role of birds in agricultures, biodiversity, education, environmental awareness and others. He further spoked about the possibility of bird watching in the area.
The students too participated in the inter-exchange program where they gave the vernacular names of the birds that were displayed in the photographs. It was also mentioned that more than eleven students had submitted their catapults to the school in the last year World Sparrow Day, where they had vowed never to use it again.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

World Water Day 2015 winners photograph held at Khamdong BAC












World Water Day 2015 program photograph held at Khamdong BAC






World Water Day 2015 rally photograph held at Khamdong BAC









SIBA NARAYAN PRADHAN: LEGACY OF THE GRAND OLD MAN OF RONGLI

{I started writing columns in newspapers with an article on my grandfather some twelve years back and today when I flip over the pages of bygone days, I do see his intuition upon me in things which other people little care about. This article is my tribute to my grandfather, for what I am today!!]
The rain failed to mar the funeral procession of my grandfather at Rongli, his birth-place. Thirteen days passed by and since last two weeks it is a clear weather that has helped his relatives and well-wishers to give their last visit to offer prayers at his residence. I do notice a silence, emptiness around at my grandfather’s residence. Despite the moving crowds, his absence is felt. His commanding voice and the way he wanted his family members to unite in every occasion echoes in my small mind.
Siba Narayan Pradhan, more popular as Sibay Gurubau was couple of month short for his ninety birthday when he passed away, the oldest person in Rongli. A former school Headmaster, a silk route trader, official at GREF and a passionate photographer who had his Photography business till few years back. I have had heard about his hunting tales and on occasion he even accompanied the convoy of Prince of Sikkim when he used to visit the Rongli forest for hunting.
I had on numerous occasion listened to his anecdotes and with each narrative accounts it was more off a building up sequences of the old days of this region. He, despite in the ninth decades of his life wanted to live further, he wasn’t in a hurry to leave this land. It was his ill health that outshined his willingness to be among us.
Siba Narayan Pradhan did his early schooling at Middle English School, Rongli where he latter on became the Headmaster or the Head Sir as it was known then. It was during his term as Head Sir, the Political Officer of Sikkim had visited the school. My grandfather proudly used to say Political officer had presented Rs. 10 to him for his work towards the school.
My grandfather had said his monthly salary as a Headmaster was than Rs. 10 while annual grant for the school was Rs. 5 provided by the Durbar. He tried his best to increase the salary but when the salary reached Rs. 20, he was replaced by a new Headmaster. Middle English School was changed into Maharaj Kumari Pema Tseden Government Primary School towards the early 1950s and after mid 70s known as Rongli JHS.
He left school to join the Silk Route trading. He would sell cottons, salts, oranges, cardamoms, zingers at Yatung, the Indo- China border trade mart then. In return, he would get large coins and other necessary commodities. My grandfather had told me the coins were heavy and had to be put on clothes and wrapped around the back. After returning back to Rongli, he used to find redness around his swollen body. It usually took two days to reach Yatung from Rongli.  When the trade route came to an abrupt end after the Indo – China war in 1962, my grandfather had to look for new monetary option to support his family. For a certain period he also became a supervisor at GREF.
Vivid to his memory was the legendary landslide of 1968 that caused havoc at the Himalayan regions and the small hamlet of Rongli was also not left untouched. He had shared his memories with me when Gyalmo Hope Cooke had brought foods, water and salts at Rongli that was dropped from a helicopter.
I still remember him talk of his day when he used to walk distances to Kupup, Gnathang, Pakyong for photography. He was into photography business for a long time, till the late 80s where his ill health made him give up his business to his younger son. But he never used to get tired of talking about photography. It was for his long service towards photography business he was also known as ‘Photographer Aja’ around and beyond Rongli.
Today, when he is no more his legacy remains to speak the vacant space he has created in the society. He has left behind a family lineage of 85 family members that includes wife, sons, daughters, grand-sons, grand-daughters and great grand-sons. It has always been a proud moment to me, when I am referred as a photographer’s grandson!!