, pub-6463624976770492, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Proud to be a Sikkimese: 01/07/08 - 01/08/08

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Diki Sherpa operated in Kolkata

GANGTOK, July 30: Diki Sherpa, who has been suffering from kidney failure since the year 2000 underwent a major operation at Rabindranath Tagore Internal, Cardiac Science Hospital, Kolkata.
The operation, which began this morning at 8 am, was completed successfully after five hours.
It is also informed that the kidney patient will regain her consciousness only after three days.
In a press meet held yesterday, Pema Doma Sherpa, external affairs manager, Mission SAVE DIKI said that the operation was carried out with Rs 4 lakhs already generated through the initiative of The Times of India, Kolkata.
Only Rs 56, 000 has been raised in Sikkim and Pema hopes to generate more as her ailing friend still needs about Rs 3 lakhs for post operation treatment.

List of Donors for Diki’s Aid

1. Officers of Roads & Bridges Department, Gangtok : Rs. 35,300/-

2. STDC, Deorali, Vide Chq. No, 689299, SBI, Gangtok : Rs. 10,000/-

3. Basant, Menuka, Shivani & Junel Gurung from Burtuk : Rs. 10,000/-

4. HM DD Bhutia : Rs. 5,000/-

5. Headmaster & staff-Mangshila Govt. Sec. School, North Sikkim : Rs. 2,590/-

6. Mount Distilleries Ltd. Majitar : Rs. 2,500/-

7. Enchey Sen. Secondary School : Rs. 2,450/-

8. Mr. SK Sarda (Sikkim Chamber of Commerce) : Rs. 2,000/-

9. Chewang Dorjee Lama : Rs. 1,500/-

10. Panorama Color Lab : Rs. 1,100/-

11. Mr. ND Bhutia, Raj Bhawan : Rs. 1,000/-

12. President & Executive Members, Denzong Welfare Association : Rs. 1,000/-

13. Tenzing Tharchen Lachungpa, PS Road : Rs. 1,000/-

14. Sikkim Express, Gangtok : Rs. 1,000/-

15. Tenzing Kutsapa : Rs. 1,000/-

Total Rs. 76, 440/-

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Saptaparna Chakraborty-Amul Star Voice of India 2008 -26th July - Ae subaah

Saptaparna Chakraborty (Sikkim)- Voice Of India

Saptaparna Chakraborty [Contestant No. 17], represents the state of Sikkim and Voice of Seven Sisters of North-East in Amul Star Voice of India.

Contestant No 17
State: Seven Sisters of North-East
Saptaparna Chakraborty
Age: 17 yrs

Academic Qualification & Profession: Student of Class 12.

Family Background: My family consists of three people - Me, my Father and Mother. Both my parents work in a bank.

A few lines about yourself: I am a simple girl from a small village. I have big dreams to becoming a great singer.

What inspired you to pursue music?
I wanted to learn music since I was a kid. Also, I come from a musical family. Naturally, I took to music and today, music is my life.

Your Dream: To be a successful Playback singer.

Your Idol & Why? AR Rehman! His music is simply mesmerizing.

Favourite Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sadhna Sargam

Favourite Music Director: AR Rehman, Ismail Darbar, RD Burman, MM Kreem.

Favourite Film: Black, Jab We Met, Bhootnath

An Actor/Actress you dream of singing for: Rani Mukherjee

Favourite Food: Chilly Chicken, Fish.

Your Fashion Icon: No one

Favourite Colour: Black and White

What does Amul Star Voice of India mean to you?
This show means a lot to me. Thanks to ASVOI, I can try and fulfill my parent's dreams.

For more info :

Teesta power units synchronized with grid

BL reported, the two of Teesta Stage V Power Station at Balutar in East Sikkim units were synchronized with the grid at 7:15 PM on July 25th 2008 and the third one was synchronized at 9 AM on July 26th 2008.

A press release said that heavy rain accompanied by abnormally high levels of silt in the river water, in May, June and early July, had compelled complete shut down of the power station from June 12th 2008. It also said that the silt deposition altered the course of river and caused damage to the river banks at various places in and around the Dikchu town.

The release said that the repair work has been undertaken on a war footing and has been completed within shortest possible time keeping in mind the requirements of the local people.

According to the release, the second phase of the repairs, to further increase the height of the protection walls, will be taken up soon to take care of the safety and security of the people living in and around the Dikchu and Fidang villages.

AFC Challenge Cup’08: Baichung Bhutia On India’s Campaign

Indian national football team captain Baichung Bhutia was in an optimistic mood ahead of India’s Group A opener against Afghanistan on Wednesday.

India are one of the favourites for the AFC Challenge Cup’08 and are pooled in Group A along with Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. They start against Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Indian skipper Baichung Bhutia spoke to on India’s preparation for the competition and was in a hopeful and buoyant mood. He highlighted the boost the Portugal tour has given them and remarked: ”The preparation has been going on well for the matches of the AFC Challenge Cup’08. The match against Malaysia was also a good preparation.”

Bhutia also expressed some doubts on the training facilities available to them in Hyderabad. He told’s Rahul Bali:

“Training grounds were not quite up to the mark. The Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium was not in a good condition.”

India are likely to miss winger Steven Dias and defender Mahesh Gawli, two players considered vital for India. Although Bhutia admits that they are important players, he is certain that their replacements can be equally good.

“Their chances of making it to the first match are slim. The players are very imporant. But Gourmanghi Singh and Anwar Ali have been doing really well in the recent matches. Dias is a very good player but Bunho has also been doing well.”

The Indian skipper also believes that India’s matches in Portugal have given them a good boost and said, ”It was really good. The infrastructure was good. The teams were not very good but they were not bad either.”

Moving to other matters, Baichung Bhutia shared his view on the new AFC ruling which states that India has to have one club in the AFC Champions League. Bhutia said, ”It has to be from the grassroots level. A proper infrastructure is very essential for hem. The entire system has to undergo a major change.”

The 31-year old favours corporate involvement in football and said that it is really interesting” and added, ”That would be a good backing.”

Baichung Bhutia has his own football club in Sikkim, United Sikkim, which he started with some of his friends two years ago. Bhutia is very much dedicated to his team and whenever he is in Sikkim, he helds the players at his club in trainings and with advice. He says that there is a lot of potential in the north eastern part of India but admits, ”Someone has to tap it up.”

Baichung Bhutia played in the Goal 4 Africa match held at the Allianz Arena in Munich earlier this month but the ever modest Baichung, when asked about his experience and feelings about that match, simply said, ”It was really good. It was fun.”

Reported by: Rahul Bali
Written by: Subhankar Mondal

“Lest we forget” - from Save The Hills

From: Visions of Hell

By: Praful Rao

Pictures from Das Studio

These amazing photos of the Oct 1968 Disaster in Darjeeling district are reproduced here kind courtesy Das Studio, Nehru Road, Darjeeling.
Having lived through the nightmare 4 decades ago as a young college student, these photographs bring back vivid memories.
To whose who don’t know about the 1968 disaster in this part of the world, here is a brief on it:-

“In 1968, floods in the Darjeeling area destroyed vast areas of W. Bengal and neighboring state of Sikkim by unleashing about 20,000 landslides and killing thousands of people, report Sankar et al. These slides were caused by a heavy downpour ranging from 500-1000 mm in three days. Such incidents have a return period of 100 years claim the meteorologists. The impact of the rains was such that the Darjeeling-Sikkim road was breached at 92 places and the road transport was totally disrupted.”

- Excerpt from “West Bengal Needs Better Disaster Management” by VK Joshi

Mission SAVE DIKI bring associations under one roof

GANGTOK, July 29: Webbed in the paradox of vicious circle of poverty, a 26-year-old Diki Sherpa from 9th Mile in Sikkim is fighting for her life at Rabindranath Tagore Internal, Cardiac Science hospital in Kolkotta.
With a hope to save Diki from kidney failure, some of the philanthropists today appealed the public of Sikkim to lend their support by way of voluntary donation to meet the medical expenses incurred during the operation.
To support this noble cause, various associations including the State Roads and Bridges Department, local NGOs, Sikkim Student Association (SSA), Student Representative Council (SRC), Sikkim Government College, Denzong Association, Sikkim and Mangshila School has come under one roof to save the life of Diki.
All the associations organised a press meet to mobilize public concern and fight against the plight faced by Diki here today.
During the meet, Pema Doma Sherpa, external affairs manager for the mission SAVE DIKI, informed that a sum of Rs 56,000 has been collected till date, which is not sufficient.
Mohan Gurung, president, SRC has also requested the people to contribute for the cause. The overall cost incurred for the pre-operation will be around Rs 4 to 5 lakhs, for which the members of association have asked the public and government employees to donate money according to their individual capacity.
Besides, the members have decided to organize a charity show for the noble cause. Apart from this, the members of the association will also approach the State government for the help, Pema said.

The History of Darjeeling - as researched and presented by Dr. Sonam Wangyal (GJSTA Seminar, Kurseong)

History of Darjeeling

Paper read on 12th July 2008 in the seminar organized by Gorkha Janamukti Secondary Teachers Association, Kurseong Chapter, At Gorkha Library

-Dr. Sonam B Wangyal

Namastay, Nomoshkar, Khamri, Kuzo-zangbo, Tashi Deleg and Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to express my hearty congratulations to the members of the Gorkha Janamukti Secondary Teachers’ Association for holding this seminar and inviting me to say a few words.

I will be reading this paper in English, not because I cannot read, write or speak in Nepali but because I can do it better in English. Ho, Nepalima yo paper parayko bha ajja mitho ra suwaudo hunay thiyo. Ma chhama chanhanchhu. Tara yuddama jasari jun hatiyar chalaunu subista hunchha tyahi chainchha yaha malai Angrezi mero subhistako hatiyaar ho jasto laagchha. (Yes, it would have been more appropriate and sweeter if this paper was read in Nepali. My apologies. But in war, it is necessary to wield the most apt of weapons, and I feel that for me English is that weapon.) When I was a schoolboy about 40 years ago my school Dr. Graham’s Homes, Kalimpong, did not have a Nepali Master. It was in my Senior Cambridge year that Mr Loben Lama was appointed to that post. So with just one solitary single year of Nepali classes I sat for the Senior Cambridge in 1968. My answer script was a total disaster, khatam bhanda pani khatam thiyo, but when the results came: I had passed with the skin of my tooth: junday ra pass bhayechha, actually examinerko daya amayalay malai pass garai diyekoho jasto laagchha (Actually it was probably due to the kind heartedness of the examiner that I passed). So that is my Nepali education, and now at this age I am learning the finer nuances of the language, the basics of grammar and I hope in a year or two things will change.

My paper relates to the history of Darjeeling but it will not touch on the tea and cinchona industries, it will avoid development of education, local self government and I will not even touch upon the thirteen or fourteen times we have petitioned for a homeland of their own. But before I commence I would just like to state that 1907 petition for a separate homeland is the oldest, the senior-most of its kind in India. Ek saya barsa katyo, tyo demandko chhora-chhori, naati, panatiharulay pani statehood paisakyo tara hami aaja pani banchit chou (A hundred years have passed, and statehood has been achieved by demand that came generations and generations after our original demand, but we are still left wanting). Anyway this paper will keep track of the early history of Darjeeling, its incorporation into the East India Company or the British Empire and the paper will end at when Darjeeling is joined to Bengal.


    The history of Darjeeling has intimate relationship, nang ra masuko jasto, to the history of Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, and the East India Company and thereby to Britain. It will be appropriate to start from Kharsang for it was here that Maharajah Thodup Namgyal and Maharani Yeshay Dolma were imprisoned. jailed, locked up by the British and it was here that they wrote a historical book on Sikkim. It was translated into English by Kazi Daosamdup and he called it History of Sikkim. I have a copy of this rare document and therefore I will be extensively, freely and purposely quoting from it. In the manuscript the boundaries of Sikkim is defined as follows: “They were Dibdala in the North, Shingsa Dag-pay, Walung, Yangmak, Khangchen, Yarlung and Timar Chorten in the West, down along Arun and Dud Kosi Rivers, down to Maha Nodi, Nuxalbari, Titalia in the South. On the East Tagong La, and Tang La on the North.” These boundaries were defined after the enthronement, coronation, the appointment of the first Chogyal of Sikkim, Phuntshog Namgyal, 1642 CE. The first things the new ruler did was to construct forts called dzongs which operated as the military and administrative units. To these dzongs he appointed dzongpens, or fort masters, the local administrators or chiefs and they were all Lepchas, thus the Lepchas were appeased, made happy, made content. But that left out the Limbus and the Magars. The Magars staunchly resisted Bhutia incursion and political domination, and they actually went to war against the new rulers. The fact that the Magars were pretty well organized can be assessed from the forts they built which the ruling community in Sikkim called them Magar-dzongs. Eventually, the Magars lost and a large part of them got pushed westwards. As far as the Limbus were concerned the Chogyal made a pact called Lho-mon-tsong-sum (lho-Bhutias, mon-Lepchas, tsong-Limbus, and sum-three), thus giving us the Bhutia-Lepcha-Limbu trinity.

    Now what importance this patch of history has for us vis-à-vis the present political scenario!
    (1) The boundaries demarcated clearly shows that Darjeeling, Kharsang, Kalimpong and Siliguri were all in Sikkim and that the kingdom stretched all the way to Purnea in the south.
    (2) The Gorkha population was in sufficient numbers to wage a war against Sikkim, as in the case of Magars, and large enough for the Chogyal to seek allegiance (Lho-mon-tsong-sum), as in the case of the Limbus.
    (3) This is the most significant of the points mentioned so far: that the Maharajah’s History of Sikkim makes it absolutely certain that the Gorkhas were in the region even before the creation of Sikkim yaneki Sikkimko shristi, janma, sthapana bhanda dherai aghi dekhi nai hamro paharma Gorkhaharu thiyay.


    Tensung Namgyal became the next Chogyal (1670). Most historians, looking for wars, coups, assassinations, and political intrigues insult and degrade his reign claiming nothing important or interesting happened. Actually something very important had happened. He married three times. History of Sikkim states that his first wife, Nambi Ongmu, was from Bhutan, and she gave birth to a daughter, Pande Ongmu. The second was from Tibet and she gave birth to a son, Chagdor Namgyal. The third Rani was the daughter of a Limbu chief named Yong-Yong Hang. The royal History also says that along with the daughter of Yong-Yong Hang seven other Limbu ladies got married to “highest kazis and ministers of Sikkim.” When Tensung Namgyal died the daughter of the Bhutanese Rani staked her claim to the Sikkim gaddhi (throne), after all, the male contender, Chagdor Namgyal, was a minor and she was an adult besides she was also the child of the first queen. The princess sought the help of the Bhutanese who willingly obliged. Pande Ongmuko gaddhiko loblay garda Bhutanlay auta sunowlo mouka paayay. Ani Dukpaharu Sikkim pasay. Balak raja ra mantriharu jyan bachuna Bhot tira suikucha thokay (Because of Pande Ongmu’s greed for the throne Bhutan got a golden opportunity and entered Sikkim. The child-king and his ministers escaped to Tibet in fear of their lives). In 1707 the Bhutanese withdrew but retained all Sikkimese territories to the east of the Tista River whereby our present day Kalimpong became a part of Bhutan.

    Now let us go back to this portion of the history.
    (1) Tensung Namgyal by marrying daughters of important people indirectly purchased peace for Sikkim, after all uttarpatti haray ta Bhotko juwai sahib, paschim tira haray ta Limbu haruko juwai, ani Purba haray ta Bhutan ko juwai. Sikkimlai kaslay chai akraman garnay. So, kinachai Sikkimma shanty na hunu ra. (To the north, Tibetan in-laws; to the west, Limbu in-laws; to the east, Bhutanese in-laws. Who would dare attack Sikkim? And hence the peace in Sikkim). Taraipani (Nonetheless) it is ironic that historians still ignore and even refuse to give him credit for winning …. peace.
    (2) It is said that too many cooks spoil the broth and Maharaha Tensung had two wives too many and Sikkim paid for it dearly.
    (3) It is most probable that Limbus were not too happy with the prevailing sutuation, despite the lho-mon-tsong-sum pact. Therefore besides making a Limbuni a Rani of Sikkim seven other ladies were also taken as wives by highest kazis and ministers of Sikkim.
    And finally,
    (4) Most people think that Kalimpong originally belonged to Bhutan but we now know that it was originally a part of Sikkim. Chotkarima, Kalaybung Sikkim bata Bhutanlay gavayko ani Bhutan bata Angrejlay pach pareko ho (Bhutan took Kalimpong from Sikkim, and subsequently the British took Kalimpong from Bhutan).


    Now we move on to the 6th Chogyal, Tenzing Namgyal who ascended the Sikkimese throne in 1780. His reign was punctuated, interrupted and disturbed with skirmishes and battles with the Gorkhas. Then there was a period of lull and quiet and the Gorkhas used this period of calm and peace to launch a surprise attack. Sikkimese were completely taken aback by the sudden shock raids. Purna Ale led a group of Gorkhas who came through Ilam and penetrated as far as Reling, Karmi, and Chakung (1788). Another Gorkha force under the command of Johar Singh stealthily advanced through the Singalila and in a complete surprise swoop took over the palace at Rabdentse: Yaspali pani Raja, praja ani mantriharulay taap kasay, tara Bhot tira hoina, kholsa, orar, gufa, khola-nadiko bagar ani junglema sharan lina pugay. History of Sikkim mentions, “Thus the Gurkhas remained masters of Sikkim, beyond the Teesta, while the Raja took flight and all Sikkimites were compelled to take refuge in the valleys of the rivers, hills and caves, suffering privations and hardship.” In 1790 Chogyal left his hiding and went to Tibet where he died three years later, and a boy of 12 years, Tsugphud Namgyal, was proclaimed the new Maharaja. It was during Tsugphud’s kingship that the Anglo-Nepal war broke out. The British eventually challenged the Gorkhas through a five pronged attack and Sikkim sided with the British.

    We must pause here to reflect on a few points.
    (1) Prithwinarayan Shah never wanted to attack Sikkim for the fear it might open up a fresh frontier of war with Tibet. However, the 1788 Gorkha move to penetrate deep into Sikkim signifies that the Gorkhas had grown confident enough to handle Sikkim and withstand a Tibetan attack.
    (2) The Gorkhas did not bother the Sikkimese hiding in the ravines, jungles and caves as long as the strategic posts like Rabdentse, Dorje-ling and Na-gri were secure.
    (3) Alliance with the British was the only hope for the Sikkim ruler to regain his lost territories and so he sided with the British. At the same time the British accepted Sikkim’s gesture because (a) in the five-pronged British attack the eastern front was the weakest and Sikkim’s assistance would offset that disadvantage to some extent. (b) With Sikkim as an ally any future alliance/intrigues between Nepal and Bhutan could be checked. And (c) It promised a possibility of trade with Tibet through Sikkim. After all East India Company was a trading company, the biggest ever in history.


    After the war the British restored to the Sikkim Maharaja the lands between Mechi and Tista Rivers through the treaty of Titalya. This treaty has nine functional Articles and the tenth one is just a protocol fulfillment. The first and the last operative or functional articles talk about restoring to Sikkim in ­full sovereignty and of the Company’s guarantee to the Raja and his successors the full and peaceable possession of the tract. Each and every other Article in between took away from Sikkim, piece by piece, the basic entitlements of sovereignty, independence and freedom to function as an absolute nation. What became important to Darjeeling’s history was Article Three which required, stipulated and stated that Sikkim was “to refer to the arbitration of the British Government any dispute or questions that may arise between his (i.e. Chogyal’s) subjects and those of Nepal, or any other neighbouring State, and to abide by the decision of the British Government.” This Article Three became operational when the Chogyal asked the East India Company to arbitrate on the Ontoo Dara dispute because both Sikkim and Nepal claimed the dara as its own. So as per the stipulation of Article Three Captain George Alymer Lloyd and J. W. Grant, the Commercial resident at Malda, were deputed to investigate and resolve the matter. It was on the journey to Ontoo Dara that the two men, in February 1829, stayed at Darjeeling for six days at “the old Goorka station called Dorjeling” and were “much impressed with the possibility of the station as a sanatarium.” On 18 June 1829 Lloyd communicated to the government regarding the possibility of Darjeeling serving as a sanatarium while about the same time Grant also urged the government to possess the tract.

    Now reflecting upon this chapter of history we note the following
    (1) The British kept their word and gave back to the Chogyal the lands between Mechi and Tista rivers.
    (2) This transfer of land was effected through the Treaty of Titalya in which the beginning and the end of the treaty were sugarcoated to make the Sikkimese happy. In between the British squeezed out much more than what they had given. Angrejlay gulchay khaylyo (The British did not play fair).
    And finally,
    (3) A future Hill Station had been discovered by Lloyd and Grant and that hill station was called Dorje-ling and later as Darjeeling.


    Lord William Bentinck, in June of 1830, proposed to commence negotiation with the Chogyal but this and another subsequent attempt were both struck down, stopped, by Sir C. Metcalfe, a Member of the Supreme Council, on the grounds that the neighbours might look at it with suspicion. Bentinck waited for almost four years and then ordered Major Lloyd to meet the Chogyal and negotiate the cession of Darjeeling “offering such equivalent either in land or money.” To cut short the story Lloyd conveyed the Governor-General’s message while the Chogyal placed three conditions viz (i) The Chogyal would quote a price and that should be paid, (ii) Sikkims border would be extended and (iii) Kummoo Pradhan, the tax collector who had fled to Nepal would be brought to Sikkim for execution of justice. What happened in between is rather vague but in a later meeting the Chogyal gave a short deed of grant. Since it did not define the boundaries of the land to be handed over, Lloyd produced his own deed on which the king stamped his lal mohar (Royal Seal). The area defined in this deed became known as the Darjeeling tract and the British claimed it as their new asset. They were under the impression that the grant was unconditional but the Chogyal kept on complaining/ that he had not been compensated, in other words the grant was conditional. It might interest this august house to know that the original negotiation was to be only for the area of present-day Darjeeling town, i.e. the Observatory Hill and the surroundings, but in the stamped deed the area was, about 30 miles long from top to bottom and about six to ten miles along the sides. Now, when the sahibs began building roads and houses the Chogyal began to protest, and with the progress of development the protests grew stronger and louder. Eventually when the Company realized that the Chogyal had been wronged they sent a compensation consisting of:

    One double-barrelled gun, a rifle, 20 yards of red broad cloth and two shawls.

    Yeshlai bhancha asal helchyakrai: besharam Angrejlay andaaz 240 barga mile jaminko sattako laagi duiwata bundook, ek than luga ani duiwata shawl kun hisablay diyeko hola. Yo hamilay Gorkhaland mangda DGHC diyeko jastai ho, abha aeuta “Chhakka” Schedule pani dinchhu bhandaichha. (This is the real injustice. By which calculation did the English exchange approximately 240 sq. miles of land for two guns, some cloth and two shawls. This is like getting DGHC when demanding Gorkhaland, and now they say they’ll give us the Sixth Schedule as well) The Chogyal’s pleadings for a just compensation now grew even louder. Eventually the Sikkim ruler threw a devastating bomb, in the form of a letter, to Campbell, who had now taken over from Lloyd as the First Superintendent of the Darjeeling tract. The letter still exists and it claimed in no uncertain words that his three conditions had been accepted by Lloyd. The following is a part of the letter: “Lloyd promised that whatever money I should desire in return should be granted, that my territory should be extended the west to the Tambar River; that Kummoo Pradhan and his brother be delivered to me; and that the deficit in my revenue in their hands should be made good.” The East India Company hurriedly offered a compensation of Rs 3,000 per annum which the ruler accepted with certain amount of displeasure. Nevertheless, the British now knew that the deed that they possessed, and the land they had acquired, were suspect, subject to questioning or of doubtful legality and that history would not treat it kindly. Another important fact that they realized was that the tract granted by the Maharaja was totally surrounded by Sikkimese territory and the approach road they were making was illegal because it went through Sikkim. The Chogyal could technically prohibit the British to make the road or even disallow them to pass through his Sikkim. Now with a suspect deed of grant and access to Darjeeling being only through Sikkimese soil the situation was not good at all. Something had to be done.

    In examining the just mentioned episodes we find that:
    (1) The deed of grant of Darjeeling could not become operative since the British had not met the conditions laid down by the Chogyal. Meet garnu saknay awastha panita thiyayna. Kummo Pradhan Nepalma guhar liyayra basako thiyo ani Angrez-Nepal majha kunai extradition treaty thiyayna. Chogyallay Sikkimko simana Tambar kholasamma baraidinay dawa rakheko thiyo tara tyo chhetra Sugauli Sandhima Nepallai deisakeko thiyo. (They were in no condition to meet the conditions. Kummo Pradhan had taken refuge in Nepal, and there was no extradition treaty between the British and Nepal. The Sikkim Chogyal had demanded the extension of Sikkim;s border till Tambar River, but that area had already been given to Nepal with the Sugauli Treaty). Therefore these two conditions were impossible to meet and so the treaty was in effect invalid.
    (2) The best thing to do would have been to return Darjeeling tract to Sikkim. It was not done so because: three reasons (a) a lot of money had already been spent on the construction of the road, houses and staging posts, (b) a large number of Darjeeling plots had already been sold off, in Calcutta, and most of the buyers were men of money, matter and political muscle (c) the British desperately needed Darjeeling. Before Darjeeling was discovered the Himalayan region had Shimla, Chail and Mussoorie as hill stations serving the Europeans in North India, Central India had Mount Abu and Hazaribagh, South India had Mandapalle, Bangalore, Kotagiri, Ooty, and Kodaikanal, West India had Purandha and Mahabalshwar but Eastern India had no hill station. When Cherrapunji was taken over in 1829 the British thought they had that much sought after hill station but Cherra was the world’s rainiest place and all hopes got literally washed away. Shillong was a close option but the Khasis refused to surrender, they were giving the British a hard time. So, every officer in India could rush off to their own hill station be he from North, south, west or central India, but the capital of India, the second city of the British empire, had nowhere to go to. Imagine the frustration, imagine the embarrassment, and imagine the desperation and you can imagine why the British would not give back Darjeeling.
    (3) The Chogyal had in good faith blindly put his seal on the document produced by Lloyd. Yaha auta sanu kura bhannu chha. Lloyd chalak manchay thiyo. Uslay pesh gareko dalil Lapchay bhasama thiyo tara Raja thiyo Bhotay. Parnay echchha bhayetapani parnu nasaknay. So, Saheblay kinachai chhal-kapat garchha hola bhannay biswasma Sikkimpatti Maharajalay lalmohor thoki baakshinu bhayo. (There is something that has to be mentioned here. Lloyd was a shrewd individual. The document that was prepared was in the Lepcha language but the King/Chogyal spoke Tibetan. Even if the Chogyal wanted to read the document, he couldn’t have. So why did the Chogyal, in good faith, put his seal on the document!)


    Yes, now the only option left for the British was to militarily annex the areas south of the Rumman and Rungit Rivers and thereby get free access to the tract and also make the deed of grant a document of no importance, because Darjeeling would now be British through military victory and not because the Maharaja had granted it. The opportunity to strike at Sikkim came when Joseph Dalton Hooker, a botanist, and Campbell were arrested in Sikkim. Sikkim claimed that their entry was illegal and the British claimed that the Chogyal had issued them entry permits. Over this issue the British troops marched into Sikkim. Campbell and his soldiers crossed the Rangit River and stayed for several weeks along the northern bank. Sikkim did not contest and the troops returned and the British announced to the villagers that the area was now a property of the British government. This annexed area consisted of the Sikkim terai, and hill areas south of the Rumman Nadi, west of the Bara Rangit and Tista rivers and the hills to the east of the Nepal frontier.

    Yaha auta thulo prashna aucha, question chha: Kay Hookerkoma Chogyallay diyeko permit sachinai thiyo ra? Permit raheko bhayay Sikkimko sarkari karmachari harulai kina dekhaunu sakena ya dekhayayna? Hamro paharko bisaya liyera Hooker saheblay dui wata moto moto kitabharu lekhnu bhayo jaha gumbako, phoolko, padam baas etyadiko assi wata jasto chitra chha tara tyo mahatapurna permitko kunai chitra chhaina. Permit nai thiyena bhanay chitra kaha bata chhapaunay. (Here arises an important question: Did Hooker actually have a permit issued by the Chogyal? If he did have the permit, why could he not, or why did he not produce it to the Sikkim authorities? Hooker has written two thick tomes based on the hills, with about eighty pictures of monasteries and flora and fauna etc., but no pictures of that royal document. How could he print a picture if he didn’t have the document?) In 1983, 135 years after his arrest there was great excitement in England because some hand written manuscript in vernacular was found amongst some old papers of Sir Joseph Hooker. Could they be the permit issued by the Maharajah of Sikkim? Unable to read the script Xerox of the same was sent to my teacher and friend, the world famous linguist, Professor Richard Keith Sprigg. Eeesh, pramaan chha bhanna lai Angrez haru tayar bha-ay. (The English were all prepared to produce the proof!) Professor Sprigg had to inform his fellow Englishmen that the papers were not the permit but the accounts of daily purchases and other expenses. Tyo kaagzharu ta Hooker sahibko baidarbabulay prati dinko kharcha, samanko daam etyadi, Lepcha lipima lekhekopo raicha. Angrez haru aja pani praman khojdai chha bhanchha. Khojos! Paunay kaha bata! (Those papers were just daily accounts of provisions and expenses kept by Hooker’s assistants, in the Lepcha script. It is said that the English are, to this day, looking for the proof. Let them search! Where will they find it?)


    The present-day sub-division of Kalimpong along with the Duars became British property following the defeat of the Bhutanese in the Anglo-Bhutan war in November 1865. It was first put under the Deputy Commissioner of Western Duars but in 1866 it was transferred to the District of Darjeeling giving the district its final shape. Initially, this new district was treated differently and was designated as a “NON-REGULATION District” meaning any Act or Regulation passed in the Bengal Presidency did not come into force in district unless they were specially extended to it. In 1919 when the Government of India Act formed the Legislative Council, Darjeeling was not required to send a member to it. The district was excluded and declared a BACKWARD TRACT and the administration was under the Governor in Council. Even the administrative expenses were not required to be passed by Bengal Government. Furthermore, any Act passed by Bengal Government, which automatically extended to whole of Bengal, would not apply to Darjeeling if the Governor in Council decided to reject it. This in a very subtle way brought our hills a little closer to Bengal, because it also meant that any law passed by the Bengal Government could be applicable to Darjeeling if the Governor did not reject it. This arrangement lasted for another 15 years. Then the black year came and ironically that was Darjeeling’s centenary year under the British. The British Government passed an Act in 1935 requiring the three hill subdivisions to send a representative to Bengal Legislative Assembly and Dambarsingh Gurung became Darjeeling’s MLA to Bengal. Darjeeling was now pushed into Bengal.

    Now we come to the final review: It is patent and historically authenticated that Darjeeling was never a part of Bengal. When Bengal was partitioned in 1905 our Bengali brothers claimed that no one was consulted, no opinion was entertained, no fore-warning was given and no explanation was provided. Bengal and the intellectuals of India rose up as one against the partition. Let our friends not forget that when Darjeeling was merged to Bengal no one was consulted, no opinion was entertained, and that no fore-warning was given and no explanation was provided. Keeping these facts in mind would it not be logical if Bengal joined us in saying “Gorkhaland hunu parcha“, “Shatyi, Gorkhaland huwa uuchit” po bhannu parnay. Why do Bengal politicians keep harping and shouting that Bengal will not be partitioned again. Creating Gorkhaland is not a partition but a just, realistic and honourable act of giving back what was never part of Bengal. Instead Bengal should apologize for holding on to the hills for so many years. Our language is different, our physiognomy or physical structure is different, our food habits, music, drama, dances, and clothes are different, the whole cultural milieu is different, even the Hinduism and Buddhism practiced by Bengal and Gorkhaland are different. Geographically we are in the hills and mountains and Bengal is in the plains and so our biology, zoology, climatology and even the associated benefits and disasters of the two regions are different. We do not share the same script, we do not share the same mentality and most of all we do not have a shared history. If we look back to the period before we were pushed, forcibly joined, attached without consent, and made a part of Bengal merely for the sake of administrative convenience we find that we shared no connection with Bengal. How can we share a common future when we do not share a common past! No amount of legislation, state power, gentle cajoling or even brute force can bind two people with uncommon history: Soviet Union is an example, Yugoslavia is an example and Gorkhaland will be another example. Finally, mailay hazurharuko dherai samai liyay, I would like to end with the words of a Bengali intellectual: “Happy Gorkhas in Gorkhaland are any day better for Bengalis than angry Gorkhas in Bengal.”

Jai Gorkha

Jai Hind

(source: )

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Police Officers transferred

GANGTOK, July 28: In the latest round of transfers effecting senior Police Officers, Pratap Pradhan, SPS, Addl. Superintendent of Police/SDPO, Jorethang is transferred and posted as Addl. Superintendent of Police/SDPO, Gyalshing while ST Tonyot, SPS, Addl. Superintendent of Police, Traffic (North/East), who have been transferred and posted as SDPO, Gyalshing will continue as Addl. Superintendent of Police, Traffic (North/East).
Sammi Rai, SPS, Addl. Superintendent of Police, Vigilance is transferred and posted as SDPO, Rangpo while KD Sangdarpa, SPS, Addl. Superintendent of Police/SDPO, Soreng, who have been transferred and posted as SDPO, Rabongla will continue as SDPO, Soreng.
Sonam Gyatso, SPS, Addl. Superintendent of Police, East is transferred and posted as Addl. Superintendent of Police, Vigilance, Lawang Dhondup Bhutia, SPS, Addl. Superintendent of Police, Namchi is transferred and posted as Addl. Superintendent of Police/SDPO Jorethang and B K Sharma, SPS, Addl. Superintendent of Police/ Vigilance Officer, PWD/Roads & Bridges is transferred and posted as Addl. Superintendent of Police, Special Branch, Gangtok.
KL Tenzing, SPS, Addl. Superintendent of Police/SDPO, Gyalshing, who have been transferred and posted as Addl. Superintendent of Police, Traffic (N/E) is now transferred and posted as Addl. Superintendent of Police (East) Gangtok while KK Gurung, SPS, Dy. Superintendent of Police, Special Branch, Gangtok is transferred and posted as Vigilance Officer, PWD (Roads & Bridges).
T D Kazi, SPS, SDPO, Rabongla, who have been transferred and posted as SDPO, Soreng is transferred and posted as SDPO, Namchi while Sonam Tshering, SPS, SDPO, Rangpo will take over as Dy. Superintendent of Police, IRB, New Delhi.
TB Rai, SDPO, Namchi is transferred and posted as SDPO, Rabongla and Tilak Chettri, who have been recently promoted as Dy. Superintendent of Police will continue as Dy. Superintendent of Police (Jail), Namchi.
BB Subba, who have been recently promoted as Dy. Superintendent of Police is transferred and posted as Dy. Superintendent of Police (HQ) South District Namchi vice Shri Lawang Dhondup Bhutia.

Homage to LD Kazi

Gangtok: Soon after the Assembly Session in the morning, the Chief Minister, Dr. Pawan Chamling accompanied by Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Members of the Assembly, Advisors, Adhaksyas, Chairpersons, Chief Secretary, DGP and others visited nearby Chintan Bhawan premises and paid homage to the first Chief Minister, late L.D. Kazi on his first death anniversary. Padma Vibhushan, Mr. Kazi passed away on 28th July, 2007 at the age of 103 at Kalimpong.
The Chief Minister and other dignitaries offered khada on the life size bronze statue of late L. D. Kazi in front of Chintan Bhawan.
Earlier, the Speaker, Mr. D.N. Thakarpa, along with Secretary, Officers and Staff of Sikkim Legislative Assembly, felicitated the Chief Minister in his chamber, at the Assembly Secretariat, for securing exemption from the Central Income Tax for the people of Sikkim.

Rare animal found in tea estate

KURSEONG, July 28: A rare animal ‘caecilians’ has been discovered in Makaibari Tea Estate near Kurseong. The animal belongs to the amphibian family. It is being claimed that the animal was sighted after a gap of over 100 years.
The creature found for the first time in 1881 at Rangliot Valley in Sikkim was named as Icohthyophis Skkimmennis. Robin Suyesh, a student from Delhi University made the discovery in the tea estate recently.
Suyesh informed that the species was found in the area of Sikkim and Darjeeling and hence he had come here to investigate about the species about which not much was known.
Suyesh has collected two samples, which he would take to Delhi for further studies. “I will take these samples to Delhi and show it to my seniors and study its anatomy to gather more information about the species,” he said.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Roadblocks hit trade at historic India, China mountain pass

SHERATHANG, India (AFP) — Guo Ting stands patiently in the drizzling rain hoping to sell her wares, about half a dozen blankets wrapped in plastic, but only a few shoppers show up and nobody is buying.

"Business is not good as the market is too small," says Guo as she waits for custom at the Sherathang mart, about five kilometres (three miles) from the ancient Nathu La border crossing between India and China.

When the two Asian giants opened the 4,500-metre-high (15,000 feet) pass in 2006 to improve ties dogged by a bitter war in 1962 that saw the route closed for 44 years, many on both sides hoped it would boost trade.

Two years on, optimism has given way to despair as the flow of traders has shrunk to a trickle because of red tape, poor facilities and sub-standard roads in India's remote northeastern mountainous state of Sikkim.

Guo is among about 35 traders who cross the border daily from China's Tibetan region, while five or so Indians hawk their goods across Nathu La on weekdays when business is allowed.

Two years ago, as many as 50 Indians a day used the historic road for trade, but this year only 30 businessmen have applied for special permits, according to the Sikkim Chamber of Commerce.

"I don't have a permit. There's no use in going there when they can buy from us here," said Dolma Tsochung, who runs a shop at Sherathang market, where the Chinese do business.

Monthly trade has been cut by nearly two-thirds of what it was two years ago to about 700,000 rupees (16,200 dollars) -- a pittance compared to the 38.7 billion dollars of overall business the two countries conducted last year.

India and China aim to boost trade to 60 billion dollars in the next two years -- a large chunk of which experts say can be facilitated through Nathu La, the shortest route for freight between the two countries.

But traders complain that an outdated list of goods allowed to be traded is stifling potential.

Indians can export 29 goods and import 15, including goat skin and horses.

"The list is so outdated. We used to dismantle cars and send them to China to be reassembled there 40 years ago, and today we are supposed to be trading in horses," said S.K Sarda, president of the Sikkim Chamber of Commerce.

"The bureaucrats sitting in their air-conditioned offices in Delhi have no idea about what's happening on the ground."

Business is also restricted to the traders of the tiny Sikkim state -- which lies between China, Bhutan and Nepal -- for the first five years, while there is far more potential from the neighbouring district of West Bengal.

At Sherathang, as the 2:30 pm closing time approaches, traders pack their goods and wrap them in the plastic sheets under which they do business so that they can be escorted back to the border by Chinese officials.

While the Chinese are allowed as far as Sherathang, Indians traders can go up to to the village of Renqinggang in Tibet.

The steep 52-kilometre (30-mile) drive from the Sikkim capital of Gangtok to Nathu La takes more than three hours -- making it impossible for more than a few to do business there.

"When things are much cheaper in Siliguri and Kolkata," the main cities in West Bengal, "why would anyone come here to buy from the Chinese," asks Tsering Bhutia, an interpreter who helps traders drive a hard bargain with his knowledge of four local languages.

The Sikkim government, however, has promised to widen roads and is considering a rail link.

Along the Gangtok-Nathu La route, dozens of workers are blasting the mountains to make the route wider so it can facilitate international trade.

The Sikkim Chamber of Commerce also holds out hope as the government considers a proposal by a private US firm for an ambitious rail link through a tunnel in the mountains which will cut costs considerably.

"Discussions on the tunnel are still going on. If the rail link comes, up to 40 percent of India-China trade can be conducted through Nathu La," said Sarda of the traders' body.

The railway could cut the time it takes to get from Siliguri town to Gangtok to 40 minutes, from three hours.

"The cost of freight and transit will be much lower then. If we could do massive trade before the 60s, we can still do it," Sarda said.

Central Income Tax exemption

“Once disbelieved, now achieved”

“None of the Sikkimese seemed to believe when I had assured them exemption from Central Income Tax. But now it is reality”. This was observed by Chief Minister Dr. Pawan Chamling in his address to All Sikkim Government Officers who had gathered to felicitate the Chief Minister at Palzor Indoor Stadium on July 26.
It would have been easier to get the exemption earlier when L. D. Kazi or Nar Bahadur Bhandari was Chief Minister. But the issue was already meddled and made quite difficult when Sikkim Democratic Front came to power in 1994.
Nevertheless, “we were steadfast in our demand to the Centre which eventually granted the tax exemption for our Sikkimese people”, CM said.“Our achievement of the tax exemptionis another proof of evidence of result oriented governance of SDF for the last 14 years”, CM said, adding, “intellectuals, officers and press should be able to give their opinion on this matter”.
He said, “Sikkim is yet to have a civil society that can opine what is good and what is not”. CM further said, “With the benefits being received through constitutional democracy, which was rejuvenated by SDF, it is time to think how to take Sikkim further ahead”.
On the occasion, Chief Minister was presented a citation and a memento (a gold plated ‘Thanka’). All Sikkim Government officials, cabinet ministers, MLAs, Chief Secretary and Advisors to the State Government were present.

Gurudongmar Lake (also known as Gurudogmar Lake)

from Sikkim Darjeeling East Himalaya Information|Sikkim-Darjeeling.Com

Gurudongmar Lake (also known as Gurudogmar Lake) is one of the highest lakes in the world located at an altitude of 17,100 feet (5,148 m). It lies on the North side of the Khangchengyao Range in a high plateau area contiguous to the Tibetan Plateau. The stream emerging from the lake is one of the source-streams of the Tista River.

The lake is named after Guru Nanak, who is also known as Guru Dongmar. It is located close to the Indo-China Border in the province of North Sikkim, Sikkim, India.

The lake remains completely frozen in the winter months from November to Mid-May except for one small part of the lake which is supposed to be touched and blessed by the Guru Nanak.

The lake is highly revered by the Sikkimese and Buddhists and the waters are supposed to have curative properties. The Indian Army got into a conflict with the Sikkim Government when they erected a gurdwara (a Sikh temple) near the lake in the 1990s : the gurdwara has now become a ‘Sarva Dharma Sthal’(House of worship for All Religions), and ruffled feathers have been smoothened.

Due to the extremely inhospitable terrain and the difficulties associated with reaching the place, the lake sees only a handful of visitors each year. Access is strictly controlled at the Army checkpost at Giagong. Due to the altitude, there is a scarcity of oxygen. Visitors are advised to acclimatise overnight at Lachen, carry medicines like Coca 10, Deryphyllin etc., and to descend quickly in case of acute or persistent discomfort. Over-excitement and loud, stressful talking should be avoided.


The third time Guru Nanak Dev Ji left home on his famous Udasis (journeys) in 1516 he trekked towards the north. Leaving Srinagar, Guru Nanak penetrated the Himalayas and travelled towards Tibet. When he arrived at Lake Manasarovar, he came across a large number of Yogis who had escaped from oppression and chaos in the plains and had found shelter in faraway caves in the mountains. The ascetics asked Guru Nanak Ji about the conditions prevailing in the country below. Guru Nanak chided them for running away from the hard realities of life the way they had done.

Guru Nanak is well respected by Tibetan Buddhists who consider him a saint. He reached the Chopta Valley is at an altitude of 13,200ft+. It has breathtaking alpine scenery with lofty snow capped peaks, meandering rivers and alpine flowers that bloom in June-July. It is about 20mins drive from Thangu. Gurudongmar Lake is a holy lake, it is beyond Chopta and armed with a special permit it is possible to visit it. (RAP [Restricted Area Permit] for North Sikkim - available from Gangtok) A Gurdwara here commemorates Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s visit and is one of the holiest Sikh pilgrim shrines in the Himalayas.

Guru Nanak visited the place during his third udasi in order to solace the Karmapa Nyingmapa sects then being hounded out from Tibet by the Gelugpa sect. These sects had fled from Tibet to the Himalayan belt of Northern India. Many from the Karmapa Nyingmapa sect were the followers of Guru Nanak, as their Head Lamas became Guru Nanak’s followers in Kailash Mansarovar area after being impressed by Guru Nanak’s discussions with the famous Sidhas of the age.

According to a legend some local people approached Guru Ji with an appeal for help. The lake remained frozen during most of the year and rendered it incapable as a source of water. Guru Nanak Dev Ji is said to have touched the lake and it has never frozen since. Guru Nanak’s footprints, a robe and a water-carrying utensil are preserved in a nearby place called Lachen Gompha. Here the locals refer to Guru Ji as Rimpoche Nanak Guru who on his way to Tibet had rested there.

Some grazers projected another problem to Guru Nanak Ji. Due to the effect of altitude, their virility was affected. They requested the Guru to do something about it. Guru Nanak blessed the lake, saying,” Whosoever takes the water of this lake will gain virility and strength and will be blessed with children.” The people of the area have firm faith in Guru’s words and consider the water of the lake as nectar. A Gurdwara was constructed in eighties to commemorate Guru Nanak’s visit to the place

A story they tell is that Guru Ji had brought with him a rice meal packed in banana leaves, as is the custom even today in banana growing areas. The two commodities were unknown to the hill folks. Guru Ji having noticed their inquisitiveness bestowed them with a share of this strange cereal. They displayed forethought andinstead of eating it sprinkled the rice over the meadow and buried the banana packing in a corner. Today the village harvests rice and bananas.

The local people of the area and Lamas of Karmapa Nyingmapa Sect confirm Guru Nanak’s visit to these areas. The Lamas from these areas have been visiting Golden Temple, Amritsar, regularly to pay obeisance to their beloved Guru Rimpoche, Guru Nanak, also known as Nanak Lama in their areas. Guru Nanak’s footprints, a robe and a water-carrying utensil (kamandal) are preserved in Lachen Gompha, Sikkim, commemorating his visit to the place. Records show that during his journeys to the Himalayas and the Far East, including China, Guru Nanak visited all these states around 1516 AD. This itinerary is found recorded in Janam Sakhee Bhai Bala; Janam Sakhee Walait Wali; Janam Sakhee Meharban; Janam Sakhee ; Suchak Parsang by Bhai Behlo; Mahima Parkash by Baba Sarup Chand; Parchian Sewa Das; Nanak Prakash by Bhai Santokh Singh;

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bailed out and arrested again

GANGTOK, July 15: All five persons arrested in connection with the attack on local journalists at the Hamro Prajashakti office on July 4 have been granted bail by the Lower Court here yesterday.
Those five persons are as Suraj Gurung (29), Ashish Subba (24), Milan Rai (27), Roshan Gurung (23) and Rupesh Gurung (23), who were arrested on July 7 from Syari in the Capital. Another accused, Dawa Tshering Bhutia was arrested later.
However, these five were rearrested today in another case. They have been arrested under the Arms Act and the Sikkim Anti Drugs Act, based on the evidences recovered from the room in Syari at the time of their arrests on July 7.

from Sikkim Express

Education suffers from too many and too little

303 surplus teachers on Govt payroll while some schools go without teachers

GANGTOK, July 15:
At a time when the State Government is taking all necessary steps to improve the quality of education in the State, schools in the State continue to suffer from ills that plague the system.
The State is not only being plagued by lack of teachers and inadequate teaching staff and infrastructure, the surplus teaching staff is also a major cause for concern. According to the latest statistical data with the Human Resources and Development Department, a surplus of little over 300 government teachers have been appointed in various government schools all over the State right from primary to that of Senior Secondary level.
While some schools, especially in the rural areas have been suffering due to lack of adequate and qualified teaching staff, some schools have more than three teachers for the same subjects.
The report says that the East District alone has 165 excess teachers followed by the South District with 112 teachers. The West District records 26 such teachers. The North District records none.
This abnormality has resulted in hampering the studies of the students. For instance, the students of Phodong Senior Secondary School is still waiting for their Post-Graduate biology teacher to join the school It is almost mid-term and the school has been functioning without a biology teacher.
The hapless students of the School met the secretary, Human Resource Development Department, KT Chankapa, here today requesting him to immediately intervene in the matter.
“It is almost mid-session and we have not even touched the first chapter of our biology syllabus. How are we going to sit for the board examination this way,” complained one of the students while speaking with SIKKIM EXPRESS.
A source in the education department told SIKKIM EXPRESS that one biology teacher was appointed for the school but the teacher never joined his duty.
SIKKIM EXPRESS has learnt that many such schools like Phodong SSS are facing similar kind of crisis basically for the important subjects like Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. There is an acute shortage of Post Graduate teachers for science subjects across the State.
Talking on this issue, the Secretary told SIKKIM EXPRESS that the crisis of teachers mainly in the senior secondary schools was because of non-availability of qualified candidates for the posts.
“We are now not taking teachers on adhoc basis but are regularizing the one who were already working on adhoc basis,” Mr. Chankapa informed.
He also said that all the 303 excess teachers would be now transferred to various schools across the State, which are running short of teachers.
“Most of the teachers go on leave or do not join on medical grounds. The State Cabinet had already passed a decision that voluntary retirement would be suggested for those teachers who could not perform their duties because of their health problems,” he added.
According to sources in the department, 109 teachers have revoked their transfer orders on medical grounds in the past. The department had already started issuing notices to these teachers. The transfers of teachers to rural areas have always been a tricky situation for the State Government, often met with resistance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Khecheopalri lake and its legend

Lake Khecheopalri (27Ţ22′ 24” N and 88Ţ12′ 30” E) is situated 147 kilometers west of Gangtok, the state capital of the Sikkim Himalaya, in the West District at an altitude of 1700 meters amsl (above mean sea level).

The lake represents the original névé (that is, compact granular snow that eventually forms a glacier) region of an ancient hanging glacier, and the depression is formed by the scooping action of the glacier. A moraine ridge forms the southern bank of the Lethang valley (RAINA 1966). The lake has been estimated to be more than 3500 years old.

Khecheopalri Lake is surrounded by the forested Ramam watershed (named after Ramam Mountain) and covers an area of 12 square kilometers. It falls on the southern boundry of the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (Buffer Zone IV), limiting on the reserved forest boundaries of Khecheopalri Village. It has an open water surface area of 3.79 hectares with a mean water depth of 7.2 meters. The lake is well drained from the watershed with internal seepage μows from 2 perennial and 5 seasonal inlets and is drained out through a major perennial outlet. The lake drainage area constitutes of 91 hectares from the total area of the Ramam watershed. The morphometric data of the lake, bog, and its watershed are presented in TABLE
1. The lake is a halting place for Trans-Himalayan migratory birds. In addition to being a pilgrimage site, the lake provides recreational tourism opportunities. A large number of religious festivals are performed every year and these attract pilgrims (7,800 in 1998) from within the state as well as the nearby countries
of Nepal and Bhutan. About 8,000 national and 2,000 international tourists visit the lake annually. The uniqueness of the destination can also be attributed to its rich biodiversity.

Latitude (N) 27Ţ22′ 24”

Longitude (E) 88Ţ12′ 30”

Lake elevation (m) 1700

Lake watershed elevation range (m) 1700–2375
Open water area of the lake (m2) 37900
Maximum depth (m) 11.2
Minimum depth (m) 3.2
Mean depth (m) 7.2
Water volume (m3) 272880
Boggy area (m2) 70100

Total boggy and lake water area (m2) 108000

Lake watershed area (km2) 12


Many legends and beliefs are associated with the formation, existence, and sacredness of Khecheopalri Lake. The lake is part of the sacred landscape of “Demazong,” a valley of rice that is often referred to as a land of hidden treasures (the local communities believe that the rice produced from this area can
fulłll the food requirements of the people). During PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal—a participatory program conducted in the village whereby information is collected from knowledgeable people within the community) exercises with the local communities at Khecheopalri and Yuksam held in February 1997, senior citizens narrated to the authors the following story of Guru Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava, who is known as the savior of Buddhism in Tibet, came to Sikkim and subdued many evil spirits, blessed the land, and sanctiłed it. He is highly revered and worshipped by Sikkimese Buddhists. He concealed innumerable scriptures (chos), wealth (nor), and sacred objects (wangten) in the holy land of Beyul Demajong (Hidden Valley of Rice). At one time, Padmasambhava was seen in a place called “Hungri” on the tenth day of the full moon of a lunar eclipse. It is believed that he blessed the entire area.
The sacred landscape Demazong has four religious sites, which are considered to be the four plexuses of the human body. They are Khecheopalri (lake and religious site), Yuksam (lake and religious site),
Tashiding (religious site), and Pemangstey (religious site). Khecheopalri symbolizes the thorax of the body (Khecheo=μying yoginis or Taras [female manifestations in Tibet of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion]; palri=palace). Of the other three places, Tashiding symbolizes the head plexus (tashi=holy sky; ding=island); Yuksam symbolizes the third eye (meeting place of three lamas) and a place of meditation, and Pemangstey the heart plexus (pema=lotus; ngstey=center) of the body.
As the lake water is considered sacred, it is only used for rites and rituals. The locals strictly prohibit łshing and boating in the lake. The indigenous Lepcha communities dominate the area. One story holds that the Lepchas and the Limboos are descendants of two brothers: the Limboos settled in Nepal and established a Limboo Kingdom while the Lepchas settled in Sikkim. Another story is that the Lepchas originated from Mayel Lyang, a mythical land at the foothills of Mount Khangchendzonga in Sikkim itself.
They followed “Bon” or “Mune” religion and performed animal sacriłces (animism) to placate the various deities of forests, rivers, and winds (GOWLOOG 1998). Presently they follow Buddhism and animal sacriłces are not common. However, their belief in the sacredness of Khecheopalri Lake shows that they maintain a strong relationship with the natural surroundings.
The lake was originally named Kha-Chot-Palri, meaning the heaven of Padmasambhava. He is said to have preached to sixty-four yoginis there. According to Buddhists, the lake is a dwelling place for the Goddess Tara Jestum Dolma, who is the mother of Lord Buddha. Lake Khecheopalri is considered to be her footprints, as the shape of lake indicates. The people also worshipped the lake as the Goddess Chho Pema. It has a number of religious sites located all around the lake, including holy caves named
Dupukney, Yukumney, and Chubukney, where lamas incarnated and rimpoches (an honoriłc reserved for recognized reincarnated Mahayana Buddhist high lamas) meditated. The footprints of Macha Zemu
Rimpoche can also be seen on a stone near the chorten (stupa). There are two monasteries in the Khecheopalri area where pilgrims and the local communities offer prayers. Hindus believe that Lord Shiva meditated in Dupukney Cave, which located just above Khecheopalri Lake. Lord Shiva is worshipped during “Nag Panchmi,” which generally falls between July and September (nag=snake; Panchmi=fifth day of Bhadua month, a special month in the Hindu calendar; the snake symbolizes Lord Shiva).
According to popular legend, there were two sister lakes in the north-western part of the Himalayas. The elder lake is still there but the younger lake, which is called Labding Pokhari, moved to the western part of Sikkim to a place called Yuksam. The people in Yuksam (thefirst capital of Sikkim) did not respect Labding Pokhari and deposited waste into her waters. The goddess got dismayed and μew the lake first to a place called Chhojo. It could not fit into the area so the goddess then shifted the lake to Khecheopalri. Apart from the marshy land with terrestrial vegetation, the dead Chhojo Lake, located at the bottom of the hill, has no open water surface.
The other legend holds that the lake is called “Chho,” and that many years ago some Bhutia communities had settled around Khecheopalri Lake.
They had herds of cattle that grazed in the dense forests around the lake. The lake was called Chholang (chho=lake, lang=ox) and was sent by the lake goddess. One day a white holy ox emerged from the lake
and started to graze around the lake. It finally mingled with the herd of cattle that belonged to the Bhutias. When the Bhutia owner noticed the foreign animal in his herd, he tried unsuccessfully to locate its owner. He then slaughtered the animal for its meat and was surprised to notice that a milky discharge oozed out instead of blood. He washed the discharge, cooked the meat, and had a great feast with his friends. After that he began to notice that all his cattle and those belonging to the Bhutia community in the locality
started to vanish one by one due to strange ailments. It is believed that in this way the entire Bhutia community vanished from Khecheopalri Village. These days, mostly Lepcha settlements are found around Khecheopalri Lake and only a few Bhutias who married Lepchas are believed to have survived the dreadful curse.
The other story holds that the Lepcha girl Nenjo Asha Lham was blessed by the lake goddess and was given a precious gem, which was unfortunately lost by her mother. Even today local people believe that the gem is stored inside the lake and that the lake water can cure many human diseases. This is why the local people keep the lake sacred and do not allow the water to be used for any purpose other than rites and rituals. Strong belief persists with the local and pilgrims visiting the lake. Khecheopalri Lake is therefore famous as a “wish fulłlling lake” or its shorter name “wishing lake.” The local people believe that the lake water has healing properties as well.

Thick and luxuriant forest growth around Khecheopalri Lake. Click to Zoom.


Beside folklores, there are a number of religious festivals associated with the lake. The rites and rituals of individuals are performed according to their own wishes but community rituals are performed on days of the full moon and the new moon. The two main festivals associated with the lake are Chho-Tsho, which generally falls in the month of October, and Bhumchu, which occurs around February/March (this falls on the fourteenth day of Losar, the New Year’s month in the Tibetan calendar). The rites and rituals
are performed by communities and pilgrims aided by Buddhist monks or a Hindu priest.
Chho-Tsho, which occurs after the cardamom harvest, is a festival offering thanks for providing the people with food. The villagers gather together and collect money from each household, perform rituals on the lake, and enjoy the feast together. In the Bhumchu Festival the lake goddess is worshipped in order to maintain peace and harmony in the village for the forthcoming year. Colorful idols of gods made up of μour and butter are seen arranged beautifully with lit lamps and offerings. The monks and the local communities perform rites and rituals for three days. Pilgrims generally place prayer μags, which are attached to bamboo poles or small trees (Symplocos thaefolia and Eurya acuminata), around the lake. The inscriptions are prayers for the sake of dead relatives, sick people, for the fulłllment of wishes, or for maintaining peace in the family. There are between 11 to 108 flags. These numbers are considered holy in Buddhism and Hinduism: in Buddhist temples there are between 11 to 108 praying wheels and in Hindu rituals the goddess is symbolized by 108 lotus-flower petals. According to the senior citizens of the area, rituals around the lake have been performed traditionally since time immemorial. This festival is a major attraction for the pilgrims of Sikkim and Darjeeling and also from adjoining countries like Bhutan and Nepal. The local community also organizes fętes where games are played and various stalls selling food, clothing, and other
items are opened. Large numbers of holy books, prayer flags, rosaries, and photographs of various gods and goddesses are also sold to generate income for the local community. Thus the festival serves both religious and recreational purposes.

The folklores of the lake are deeply rooted within the surrounding communities. It is still acknowledged as a “wish fulłlling lake” and is considered sacred. Despite the fact that its unrivalled scenic beauty, rich biodiversity, and pristine surroundings make it a major tourist destination, there are no modern tourist amenities for activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming. Although the local communities and pilgrims have maintained strong beliefs about the lake’s effacacious properties, its sacredness is limited only to the water. The agricultural practices and the exploitation in the watershed, including the extraction of trees for łrewood and timber, the use of non-timber forest products, fodder collection, and free livestock grazing, have led to changes in the forest structure and composition, which has resulted in the exposition of soils. During the rainy season a huge quantity of soil and nutrients is washed away from the surrounding watershed and deposited into the lake thus affecting its longevity.
Furthermore, the offerings made by pilgrims and tourists in the lake also have some negative impact on the water quality in that they affect the aquatic biodiversity (Jain et al. 1999).
The major findings of intensive research conducted by Alka Jain between 1997 to 2000 regarding factors that pose a threat to Khecheopalri Lake are as follows:

1. A land-use/cover change study revealed that the once dense forest has decreased tremendously with increase of degraded forests, settlements, and cropped areas. The open water surface area, which was 7.4
ha in 1963, had decreased to 3.8 ha by 1997, and peatland increased from 3.4 ha to 7 ha over a period of four-and-a-half decades.

2. The local people extract 28 percent of the woody biomass productivity (the wood mass of trees increased per annum) of the surrounding watershed forest while livestock grazing removed 47 percent of the
herbaceous annual primary productivity (ground vegetation biomass increased per annum).

3. Annual deposition from the surrounding watershed to the lake accounts to 141 Mg of sediment, 1.42 Mg of total nitrogen, 0.31 Mg of total phosphorus, and 6.88 Mg of organic carbon.

4. Radiocarbon dating of the samples revealed that the lake is about 3500 years old.

5. Around 3000 kg of solid waste, which is categorized as 81 percent biodegradable and 19 percent non-biodegradable waste, is deposited annually in the watershed area through tourism.

The accelerated growth of human population, recent environmental and cultural changes, and the environment development in the area all pose a threat to natural resources in the Sikkim (SINGH
et al. 2002, 309). Economic development associated with forest and biodiversity conservation in the form of ecotourism is perhaps the best option that will both promote sustainability and satisfy the needs of nature lovers.

Monday, July 14, 2008

CM attends Bhanu Jayanti celebration in Singtam

SINGTAM, July 13: The Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today announced that 66 persons have been benefited from the State Government’s scheme of providing service to the nominee of the person who dies in his/her service.
He was speaking at the 194th Bhanu Jayanti celebration here today.
The Chief Minister also said that the beneficiaries will be joining their service within this week. “Out of 60 vacancies of LDC, 12 posts were given to handicapped persons, he further announced.
Mr Chamling also informed the gathering of the demand put up to the Central Government to accept the Burman Ayog Report targeted to benefit all the people of Sikkim. He also said that the State Government has demanded the Central Government to include Newar, Bahun and Chettris in the list of OBC.
Speaking on the celebration, he said that if one comprehends the implications of Ramayan, a holy book, people’s thoughts becomes positive.
Emphasizing that positive thinking in the country is important, Mr Chamling called upon the people not to waste their precious time by engaging themselves in negative thoughts.
A grand shova yatra was taken out from Bhanu Park to Golitar with various cultural processions, which was also taken part by the Chif Minister.
Also present were the State Agriculture minister Somnath Poudyal, area MLA, BM Ramudamu, MLA Rakdong-Tintek, Norzang Lepcha, voce president of the organising committee, GM Gurung.
Littérateurs GS Lama and Vijay Kumar Subba were also took part in the shova yatra.
The Chief Minister also released two books - ‘Bhanu Asmita’(published by 194th Bhanu Jayanti Samaroha Samity, Singtam 2008) and ‘Tarlang Turulung Ko Akash’ (written by Santosh Allay).
The top three finalists of Inter Club, NGOs and School level Kavita Path, Ramayan Path and various cultural programmes also staged their shows and were later awarded.
Besides, the Sadhvabna Samity, Singtam felicitated four renowned social workers in different fields as a senior citizen award from the hands of the Chief Minister. The winners included PR Rai in education sector, KB Singh Ex-Army, Indira Basnett in health sector and Indra Prasad Chettri as a social worker. Dhiren Lama, SDPO Gangtok was also felicitated by the Samity.
On the other hand, the State Agriculture Minister handed over the best performer award to a student of Class X.

Ex-Perak FA Bhaichung Stars Among World Stars

Indian skipper Bhaichung Bhutia starred in the Goal4Africa charity match with two goals though his side ended up losing at the Allianz Arena.

The Mohun Bagan striker has added another feather on his cap as he brushed shoulders with the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Michael Ballack and Gennaro Gattuso.

Before the match, every Indian would have wished Bhaichung to do well and if possible score a goal. Baichung started the game but took time to settle down.

The first time when Bhaichung came into the picture was when he was challenged by the Italian Gennaro Gattuso. The Sikkimese Sniper set up Seedorf after a brilliant one-two though the former failed to find the back of the net.

Gattuso was it again on Bhaichung and this time 20 yards outside the goal. The Indian star was making his presence felt.

A few minutes later, Bhaichung released Schumacher on the right and on receiving the return pass went for the glory but just wide.

In the 33rd minute came the moment which everyone in the subcontinent had been praying for all night – Bhaichung Bhutia goal. The Indian skipper controlled the ball on his chest and sent in a powerful left foot strike to beat Nelson Dida from close range. In the closing minutes of the first half, Bhaichung had a couple of half chances which weren’t converted.

The second half saw Bhaichung have a brilliant chance inside the first five minutes when Schumacher sent the ball through the centre.

The 31 year old chased the ball under pressure from defender and his resultant shot was inches wide. Bhaichung was also involved in the move for Schumacher’s goal. A little later, Seedorf laid the ball for the Indian star to place it in the net. This was Bhaichung’s second of the night; something the Indian fans wouldn’t have imagined in their wildest dreams.

The match ended with Bhaichung’s side (Edu) losing the game by a three goal margin to Cation.

It was a remarkable achievement both for Bhaichung and Indian football which made it’s presence felt in the world stage, though cynics may point that it was only a charity match.


Bhutia jubiliant after scoring for Mohun Bagan AC against East Bengal.Photo owned and submitted by Soumyadeb Sinha.

Baichung Bhutia (born December 15, 1976 in Tinkitam, Sikkim, India) is an Indian footballIndian team and plays for Mohun Bagan Club. player. He is considered to be the torchbearer of Indian football in the international arena. He is currently the captain of

He started his education is St. Xaviers School, Pakyoung, East Sikkim and eventually won a SAI Scholarship to attend the Tashi Namgyal Academy in Gangtok. He went on to play for several school and local clubs in his home state of Sikkim. A stellar performance at the 1992 Subroto Cup brought him to the notice of the football establishment.

In 1993, at the age of sixteen, he left school to join the professional East Bengal Club in Calcutta. In 1995, he moved to JCT Mills, Phagwara, which went on to win the India National Football League that year. Bhutia was the top scorer in the league, and was chosen to play in the Nehru Cup. He was named "1996 Indian Player of the Year" and has won numerous other awards since then.

In 1997 he returned to East Bengal, and became team captain in the 1998-99 season. Baichung Bhutia has the unique distinction of scoring the only hatrick in the Derby Clashes between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, when he registered the same in East Bengal's 4-1 triumph in 1997 Federation Cup Semi Final. In 1999 he travelled overseas to play for Bury F.C. after unsuccessful trials with both Fulham F.C. and Aston Villa F.C. with the move improving his conditioning and strategy. In 2002 he returned to India and played for the Mohun Bagan AC for a year before returning again to the East Bengal Club, helping them to win the Asean CupPerak, the Malaysian championship club, from August to October 2003 and returning to East Bengal for the regular season. He continued to play for East Bengal till the end of 2005-2006 season. In 2006, he joined Mohun Bagan AC and has remained with them since then. He has recently renewed his contract for a further two years from 2008 to 2010 with the Mohun Bagan. (Association of South East Asian Nations) Club Championship. He signed up to play for

Bhutia comes from a Buddhist Bhutia background, and is by conviction an atheist. He married his longtime girlfriend Madhuri Tipnis on December 27, 2004 in his native village of Tinkitam in South Sikkim.

He signed an endorsement deal with Adidas India Marketing Pvt. Ltd in November 2003. Currently he is endorsing Nike India. He has also appeared in the advertisvement by Nike, Highlighting The Chance to visit the Nou Camp stadium In Barcelona.

The Sikkimese government has built a stadium, the Baichung Stadium in Namchi, the district headquarters, in honor of Baichung. He is one of the most popular figures in the state and is considered as a role model to many Sikkimese as well to people from other states of India.

In 2008, Bhutia was solicited to run with the Olympic torch in India, but he refused to carry the torch to show support for the Tibetan independence movement. "I sympathise with the Tibetan cause. I'm against violence but I thought I should stand by the Tibetan people in their fight," Bhutia said. He was the first sportsman to refuse carrying the Olympic torch. His actions have won him praise from the Tibetan community and its supporters in India