Monday, December 08, 2008

Sikkim history should be re-written

Artifacts lying at the ruins of Tumlong


Last month I visited the ruins of Tumlong, the third capital of Sikkim and the observation to that historical site and the half done repairing work made me feel are we, I hear say are we Sikkimese really concern about our prime past. When I was going through the different pages of Sikkim history I believe there are many things we still do not know about our Sikkim or I say we know very little about it. Time has come the account of Sikkim history should be re-written from its initial stages, though we know that we have limited resources along with us. I am sure to capture the early days of Sikkim (from that epoch when we find the first settlements to this land) in 2008 isn’t as easy as it seems, but we can give an attempt. As a student of Sikkim History I feel it is not within our perimeter to come up with the entire scene of near the beginning era of Sikkim till now at once but we can create a space for our coming generations to carry forward those works we shall leave for them. Today we hold responsible towards our ancestors (hereby i am not talking about Rishley, Das, Ray and others, I believe our local people could had come with exact and more prominent accounts of our past) for not recording their times of yore and who knows the future age groups interested in learning about Sikkim shall act the same towards us if we too fail to put aside what little we know about our Sikkim.

I am sorry to say but I personally find many things missing and vacant spaces yet to be filled. Just to say that we know little on the subject of Sikkim’s prime is more of a layman excuses. If effort is taken I believe we can make most of it. Until now, we had looked back Sikkim’s earliest record as dating back to 9th century when Guru Padmashambhava had his mysterious flight to Tibet via Sikkim. Well let’s not make our prime past much of a folk tales, we had the evidence of the findings of the Neolithic tools from the state which says that the earliest men were present in Sikkim prior to 10,000 BC and I believe that is much before Guru Padmashambhava’s visit. But after that what happened about those tools is little known. Those tools were the valued assets of Government of Sikkim and it should be brought back to where it belongs. How often we come across in news that such tools are dug out. But are we really concerned about it? Another instance that the finding of the murali maize fossil in 1950s from Sikkim had placed Sikkim as the secondary origin of maize also takes our existence towards 5,000 to 10,000 BC. If only we dare to find out our prime past we have ample chances that we can trace our origins, but if we wish too, is the big question?

Let me talk about few stories which try to defy what we had been following so far. Let’s begin with Kabi, a journal mentions that blood of a limbu woman was used for the treaty while there are other books that mention the blood brotherhood treaty was held between lepcha, bhutia and limboo, one of a book on Sikkim history mentions Chanakya’s death was successfully planned by the Lepchas, our so-called history says the generation of Khaye Bhumsa was predicted to rule the mountainous region of Sikkim but it is strange it took 300 years to prove, are we sure it was all due to that prediction. Where is the written version of the blood brotherhood treaty? The list seems long… the latest how many of us know about S. Mahinda Thero, a Tibetan Buddhist from Sikkim who is regarded as a saint in Sri Lanka for spreading Buddhism in that tiny Island. Let’s be more specific can anyone name the mountain that is shown in the revenue stamps of Sikkim since 1930s, it is more of a strange the photograph used has never changed for the last 80 years, how about Sikkim Rocketmail Experiment (1935) that made Sikkim the first country to have world’s first parcel mail dispatch over the river. Most of the books written about the early Sikkim is referred from 1884 published H.H. Rishley’s “Gazetteer of Sikhim”, say it a mother of all Sikkim based book. The book is no doubt very neatly written and very informative but can we put it as the final output of our history!

From a small Himalayan Kingdom to a 22nd state in the mighty Indian Union, the stamp sized state of Sikkim had witness many major transformations. Much like folklore the history of early Sikkim is divided between the facts and the uncertainty. Sikkim is mysterious, very rich in legends and yet we have never presented ourselves in the scientific ways. We never tried to collect the exact data of those numerous folklore that had been part of every man’s life since ages. Defining the exact time eon of certain incidents including those of pottery pieces found around the fields of Daramdin and stories of the Great Flood at Mt. Tendong could possibly put the state of Sikkim on the world map in a different dimension. Myths of man-like animal Yeti heard on numerous accounts along the Himalayan range of North Sikkim could be the missing link between the early man and us. We can help out understand the evolution of mankind, its society and its ways of living. The foot prints found at Chungthang have developed a sort of controversy over the two scholarly men of the bygone centuries. There are mixed believers that those foot impression belong to either Guru Rimpoche or Guru Nanak! These are just few outlines from the strings of legend that are associated with our Sikkim.

With every passing days those folklore are being endangered and surely we need to preserve it who knows at the end we might never understand was these unsolved mysterious the very treasures that our ancestors had been talking about over the years. In order to organize ourselves and understand those numerous unsolved mysterious and preserve the ancient culture heritage of the state there is a need to re-organize our past.

We believe in age old ethnicity and words of scholars but the real truth remains the fact that our future generations needs to be explained the mystic forces of time immemorial that build up our Sikkim, from the days of so called earliest life of the first men in this land to the three century old Namgyal Dynasty and further towards the making of the Sikkim that we live in today.