, pub-6463624976770492, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Proud to be a Sikkimese: 01/04/09 - 01/05/09

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Polling Booth at Singtam-Khamdong Constituency

Sikkim’s unique electoral college

From chennaivision

Sikkim has a unique electoral college for Sangha (monasteries) seat whereby only Buddihst Lamas and Nuns have the right to elect one representative in the 32-member Assembly.

The Lamas and Nuns can cast ballot from their respective Assembly segments in general booth but have a separate ballot box for Sangha seat.

-X- Women take pride in Sikkim’s elections in electing the 8th Assembly as some 1,43,154 electors of the total 3,00,584 are females.

Of them a record 56 are nuns, which showed women are not far from taking lead role in propagating Buddhism in this erstwhile Chogyal kingdom.

-X- Chujachen constituency in east Sikkim has the highest number of voters in a constituency at 12,902. The lowest is at Lachen-Mangan, a tribal Bhutia seat north Sikkim with 5699 voters.

-X- The polling station with the largest number of voters is Arithang-Old Secretariat room No 1 with 1206 voters in east Sikkim.

The lowest number of voters is in 127 polling station at Poklok-Kamrang-Pajer primary school in south Sikkim, a new territory after delimitation of constituencies.

-X- Altogether 741 voters will cast their ballot at 12000-ft high at Gnathang in east Sikkim, the highest polling station under Gnathang-Machong(Bhutia-Lepcha) constituency.

-X- People in large numbers left from Sikkim’s capital Gangtok on the eve of polling for their villages to cast ballot. ”I have to walk some ten kilometers from the road to reach my village and I will leave a day in advance,” Vishal Raj Gurung, a government employee said.

-X- Chujachen in east Sikkim and Melli in the south have the highest number of eight candidates in the fray. Kabi Tingda in north has only two candidates in the fray which a direct fight between the SDF and the Congress.

-X- Youngest male candidate in the fray is 26-year-old Baghirath Bhandari, fielded by the CPI(M) from Melli constituency in south Sikkim. Oldest male candidate is former chief minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari(68), the Congress president contesting from Soreng-Chakung (West), Khamdong Singtam (east).

Youngest female candidate is Sanjukta Rai(26) of Sikkim Jan Ekta Party from Namthang-Rateypani in south Sikkim while the oldest woman candidate is Purna Kumari Rai(50) of Congress from Poklok-Kamrang contesting against Chief Minister Pawan Chamling.

-X- Three poll veterans, who fought for Sikkim’s merger with India in 1973 are among seven candidates fighting for the only Lok Sabha seat in Sikkim. They are former ministers Ram Chandra Poudyal as Independent, Khara Nanda Uprety as Congress nominee and Nar Bahadur Khathiwada from Sikkim Gorkha Prajatantrik Party.

-X- Sikkim is the only state in India, which has the lone Lok Sabha member representing about 5.5 lakh people of the state in the 543-member Lower House of Parliament.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sikkim Government Website attacked by virus...but who cares!!

It had been for sometime now that i had been watching the State Government of Sikkim's website being attacked by virus. For over a month no one had ever dare to give it a watch and check it. Everyone seem busy with election campaign!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I could not watch Rahul Gandhi because of my umbrella

The stage was set for the yuvraaj of Indian Politics at Palzor Stadium, Gangtok. As many others i was also in a queue at the entrance gate of the stadium under the scorching heat of the summer sun. With crowds rushing up like ants , the scenario everywhere was much different than it usually happens in Sikkim politics. I could hear national integration songs being scored up loudly on mikes as if i was about to witness a National festive much like Independence Day or the Republic Day. Among the crowd i was there holding a small hand bag with an umbrella inside, as these days rainfall is unpredicted at this part of the region.

Congress supporters of all age from every corner of the state had gathered. With all the hushing and pushing i made my way to the security personal who was checking every individual entering inside the stadium. I had my bag in front of me and as i was ready to open the zip of my bag i was told to keep aside the bag before entering the stadium. I showed them it was only an umbrella but i was denied, same sentence echoed from behind ''if you want to enter inside remove your bag as well as remove your mobile battery". I found myself in a funny situation i came all the way from Singtam, an hour long drive where with no vehicle available even after waiting for more than half and hour, i hurried into a crowded bus just to make sure i do not miss Rahul Gandhi. Now when i am about to step my foot i am told i cannot do so without leaving my bag, i was now looking frustrated with hose security personnel and asked them where should i throw my bag to enter inside. But i could not get the reply.

NB Bhandari helps Rahul Gandhi wear
Lepcha half jacket and a nepali topi

I wanted to listen to Rahul Gandhi, click some photographs and make my way back home in time since i knew there would be no vehicle in the evening to Singtam. But i felt sorry so near and yet so far i could not do so. Feeling dejected i returned back from the stadium. I had in my mind, I could not watch Rahul Gandhi because of my umbrella and yet i was consoling myself that tomorrow every local newspaper will have the Rahul's story and his photograph.

Photo: Himalayadarpan

Saturday, April 25, 2009

When The Great Khali came to Sikkim.....

I still remember it was in early 90s when The Great Khali then he was only Dilip Singh visited Gangtok, and i believe i have that newspaper from Sikkim Express that carried an article on this giant man on their front page but in the racks of over thousand newspaper in my collection, it is somewhere hidden. There were talks then how he was carried inside the van with the second seat of the van being removed and replaced with smaller muurah (local sitting item). We were still in the final years of the schooling session and we too rushed to watch him at Developmental Area, where he was at one of the hotel.
Source: Satya Prakash

Last week when i was crossing over one of the eateries at Tadong, i came across a frame being hanged on the wall where it was written " The Great Khali at Gangtok", i just clicked the pic for myself. More than a decade latter we never knew that giant personality would rock the WWE arena and make name for himself in the world of entertainment sports. But for me at least the mere thought that he came to Sikkim and his fantasy over his journey as a local tourist fascinates me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Election Manifesto (2009)

Finally i had the copy of the manifesto of the two major parties of the Sikkim Assembly Election. Well i would be more than pleased if someone could help me get the other parties manifesto for my small collection.

Sikkim Democratic Party

Sikkim Pradesh Congress

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


This is a national song of Sikkim sung in Nepali language during the monarchy system which was later banned, after Sikkim got merged with India and later re-released with the change of two words on the 4th para where it says "Janmah bhumi" that had an original word "Rajah and Rani". This song was dedicated to the King and Queen of Sikkim.

The lyrics of the song was penned by Sanu Lama and the music composed by Dushyant Lama. The song was first sung on the birth anniversary of Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal on April 4, 1970 at Gangtok by Aruna Lama, Dawa Lama and Manikamal Chettri.











Century old British War Memorial at Gnathang in Sikkim

As always when i come across stories related to Sikkim history my feet has no boundaries. I had heard about a small war memorial at Gnathang along the Sikkim-Tibet border some few years back but due to unavoidable circumstances i was not able to visit that place. So when i set my foot at Gnathang this March i was very excited. Well there is a War Memorial in Gnathang but more than that a neglected one. Despite its historic importance, i believe it has lost its existence. The dry over grown grasses and the broken name plates of the memorial speaks of the negligence. The world history remembers the event as the Sikkim Expedition 1888.

There are around 15 graveyards in the War Memorial of those soldiers representing the British Expeditionary Force that fought war against the Tibetan Army in 1888 at Gnathang. The British Force stayed at this remote mountainous corner between 1888 to 1895 and the memorial reflects the determination and girt of those people most of whom are were in their mid 20s and died fighting at the height of 11000 ft above sea level.

What is more important that the impact of the defeat of Tibetan Army in Gnathang resulted in the transfer of administration power of the Sikkim towards the hand of British. We shall have more details of Sikkim Expedition 1888 in few days.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't Ask Any Old Bloke For Directions

I wanted someone to write on the book but never found any, the book is something i too wish to read and for some time had been hanging around my fantasy. Out here in Singtam, i do not find people wasting time flipping around quality books only flashy magazines rocks here. It was a sudden meeting with my former senior colleague Serah Basnet of Weekend Review days all thanks to the beautiful Facebook that she send me a link from a page published in The Hindu which might be of interest to many.

In earlier post i had shared a similar review on the very book written in one of the web page which to me wasn't a pleasing reading still i gave a try, at least some one would come up with a better review. But i believe like me they might not had gone through it or could be they did not find my post worth commenting. Out of no where i found a comment from some Anonymous. I would love to share his/her view straightly...
"i enjoyed the book immensely..but one can understand the reviewers inability to understand some aspects of the does need to have an understanding of sikkimese buddhist culture to understand and enjoy the book..however,it saddens me to find that among so many positive reviews of the book both at the national and state level..the one negative one from a debatable source finds its way in a blog which claims to be proud to be a each his own."
I really liked the one line where he/she says "one does need to have an understanding of Sikkimese Buddhist culture to understand and enjoy the book" and that was it. I find it worth sharing what Serah di commented, she said "Loved the book. Honest and funny. "It was worth every crazy minute" I spent reading it.

Here is the review i am talking around

An ‘old bloke’s’ tale


P.G. Tenzing junks a bureaucrat’s job to ride his bike across India. The result is a splendid book .

destination freedom P.G. Tenzing

This is one “old bloke” you would love to hate. Tell you why? He has done what many of us would fancy doing any day but can’t convince ourselves enough to do it finally. So, even as we end up cribbing about being caught in a never-e nding race, and how life has reduced us to mere rats, here is P.G. Tenzing, an IAS officer who dumped his cream-of-the-crop job, after 20 years, to do what he always wanted to do — get on his bike and kick off to a quirky ride across the country.

Tenzing took about a year to complete his journey. It was his way of reclaiming his freedom from the fetters of a job he “was never cut out for”. Criss-crossing through almost all the States and Union Territories, “without a pre-planned route or direction”, he traversed 25,320 kms. On the way, he encountered “numerous waiters and mechanics — fleeting human interactions and connections that seemed pre-ordained.” The 40-something, with a proud lock of unkempt hair now, calls these meetings “a way of paying off Karmic debts”, a “thamzi”. In his native Sikkim, thamzi, a Bhutia word, means ‘the sacred bond’.

All these “roadside Johnnies” now flesh out a book Tenzing has just come up with, titled “Don’t Ask Any Old Bloke For Directions”, a Penguin India publication. A 218-pager, the book is as racy and thrilling as a bike ride can be. Between the pages, he also takes umpteen pot-shots at bureaucracy and politics, pokes fun at friends and family, before screeching to a halt at the door of “freedom”. About his friends and colleagues’ reactions, he quips, “There have been some light complaints and a few abuses have been heaped on me by friends but no major fallouts. Thankfully!”

Talking about his love for biking, Tenzing, in an e-mail interview from Mangan, his home town in North Sikkim, states, “Men at some level never grow up, at least that’s the way I feel. The love for the Enfield 350 cc dates back to my college days. The bike for me represents freedom in a macho kind of way…and no, it’s not a phallic symbol for me.” Looking back at those nine months on the road, he admits, “I realised a lot of things about myself during those months and not all was flattering.”

A graduate of Delhi University, Tenzing cut through the Civil Services exam in 1986. He states his reason: “What else was there to do in those days? That was the best job around and with a little bit of raw idealism about bringing justice to the poor, a man was hooked.” In retrospect, he writes in the book, “It was a good run in the IAS till I found that I was not taking the job seriously and taking myself too seriously.” He also writes this: “One of the faults of the recruitment to the Government services in the civil sector is the lack of a psychological profile for candidates…”

Now stripped of the power of the beacon light, he says, “I never liked power…so no question of missing it.” Though writing the book “was at times the hardest thing in the world and at times the easiest…like pain and joy in equal measure”, he says, “Writing may just become a habit.” Along with him, his younger daughter, 14-year-old Dechen Pelgi Tenzing, has also turned a writer. She has penned “arguably the first Manga comics from the subcontinent, ‘Wolf’s Fang’.” The father and daughter launched their first books together at Gangtok the other day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Latest pic of the Rongli Dam Disaster

These are the latest photographs of the Rongli Dam Disaster especially for the blog readers.

According to the latest news, five dead body had been recovered and send for post mortum at Singtam Hospital.

Photo by : Pranay Pradhan, Rongli

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sikkim’s Rocket mail Experiment towards 75th anniversary

With an article on Sikkim’s Rocket mail Experiment 1935 I joined Weekend Review, noted weekly newspaper published from Gangtok and made debut at the print media. So the story of Sikkim’s Rocket mail is infact very close to me. When I first received a feedback for the article on Sikkim Rocketmail in 2003 the small note read ‘lost in 1935 discovered in 2003’, truly to the words the Sikkim Rocketmail Experiment in 1935 had been long lost and nowhere to be found in Sikkim itself. Today the western world acknowledges the great achievement of the effort of a single man Stephen Hector Taylor-Smith, promptly called the pioneer of Indian Rocketmail. More than seven decades of the historical experiments that set forward the early days of the world airmail invention today is long forgotten in this part of the world. Forgotten is World’s first parcel dispatch over the river that was conducted at Rani Khola, near Ranipool and one of the great accomplishment in Sikkim soil when for the first time a parcel was carried by means of a rocket. This successful rocket firing was done from Surumsa to Ray.

Rocket being launched

It was a red letter day on April 7, 1935 at Gangtok, the then capital of the small Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim when the first Sikkim Rocket mail experiment, a unique experiment in mail delivery was flown. In fact Sikkim was one of the first countries in the world during the reign of the Chogyal to perform this ambitious achievement. The parcels along with letters and other items were sent from the rockets to the confined destinations.

Sikkim Rocket mail experiments were the first official firings in Asia. Stephen Hector Smith a pioneer in Indian Rocket mail history chooses Sikkim for his experiment because of its geographical features and mountains. With the sanction of the Sikkim Durbar Stephen Smith visited Sikkim early in April and conducted a series of experiments. The Durbar also sanctioned the use of four special rockets stamps for use on the mail and parcel experiments, 2000 of each kind being printed by Experimenter.

Chogyal Tashi Namgyal with the Rocket

At that time, the experiment of sending mail through rockets was being conducted in only two places in the Indian subcontinent. One was in Calcutta and some of the district towns of West Bengal, and the other was in the Kingdom of Sikkim. All of the rockets were supplied free to Smith by the Oriental Fireworks Company of Calcutta who was also responsible for their design. The rockets were apparently fairly crude, resembling larger versions of fireworks. They were approximately 6 feet in length with the body (which carried the mail) 2 feet long. They were launched by lighting a touch paper from a sloping stand aimed in the general direction of the intended target. Oriental Fireworks Company based in Calcutta provided all the rockets to Smith. “The rockets were launched by lighting a touch paper from a sloping stand aimed in the general direction of the intended target”, a document relating to the experiment says.

Sikkim is also the first country in the world to successfully dispatch by means of a rocket, a parcel containing small quantities of such useful articles as medicine, tobacco, tea, sugar, etc. Those people who helped Sikkim Rocket experiment succeed included Chogyal Tashi Namgyal, CE Dudley, General Secretary to the Chogyal, Tashi Dadul Densarpa, Private Secretary, Rai Sahib Fakir Chand Jali, the state engineer and F Williamson, British Political Officer. For a curiosity I would like to tell that a mask statue of Williamson’s face could be seen in the wall of STNM Hospital on the way to male ward above the blood donation room.

Prior to the first experiment at Gangtok four tests was done where of the four, two was ragged and busted. The first official rocket mail was done from the Gangtok Post Office compound to the Durbar High School where 200 items was carried. It was between 10.30 am and 10.35 am. The envelopes were franked with the special two rupees Rocket mail stamp in blue and yellow. The letters were then posted and have the postmark “Gangtok 7 Th April 1939.” Two launches were made with over 50 yards that was successful.

Rocket mail covers

Second firing was done at Chogyal Tashi Namgyal Field towards Post Office in presence of the Chogyal and the His Highness signing his name in three of the six covers. The covers scripted “Tashi Namgyal Field 8/4/35.” Six covers and 410 cards were flown by the Maharajah with one pound of mail as the weight carried by the rocket. An evening of April 8 witnessed an interesting firing being fired vertical. This was the first vertical firing east of Europe. The rocket carried 388 gold cards and had raised 1000ft and the weight included 2lbs. This was the first vertical firing east of Europe. The Chogyal autographed two cards for the experimenter and granted him permission to have a block made of his signature to impress all rocket mail items dispatched by him.

Fourth firing saw 175 covers being dispatched by F Williamson from Dak Bungalow towards the Post Offices. The rocket failed to its target and struck to the rock and was smashed. World’s first parcel dispatch over the river was done on April 10 over River Rani Khola that is written as Ranikhali on the covers at 3.30 pm. CE Dudley discharged the mail rocket. The sixth firing on April 10 at 3.35 pm established a new world record when for the first time a parcel was carried by means of a rocket. The parcel included 12 items that had packet of tea, sugars, spoon, hanger chief, toothbrush, cigarettes, and others. Dudley fired the parcel rocket over the river Rani Khola from Surumsa to Ray. On the parcel reaching destination the river was crossed and Smith opened the parcel. All the articles were perfectly intact. In the missives of word “mail” was cancelled by hand and the word “Parcel’ written instead.

Firing was again done over River Rani Khola but from opposite bank i.e. from Ray to Surumsa. Tashi Dadul Densapa fired the 186-cover flight. Dudley handed over a certificate to Smith quoting that this experiment as a means of transport during floods or landslips. Another experiment was held on the same day at opposite White Memorial Hall, Gangtok. The test was to observe the strength of the rocket against the gale. Smith fired eight firing over Singtam River in Singtam on April 13 with 118 covers flown. The distance covered by the rocket was 550 yards. The last and the ninth firing in Sikkim were made over Rungpo River at Rungpo. There were 100 covers flown.

Rocket mail covers

Today these historic Sikkim Rocket mail Experiment envelopes are very sought-after by the airmail stationery collectors as well as stamps collectors across the globe. I found it very interesting that these single Sikkim Rocket mail flight covers each cost from $100 to $500. I do have in my collection one of the labels or so-called Sikkim Rocket mail stamp including a signature of Stephen Smith, for which I had to pay Rs 1500 few years back. Truly today, we have long forgotten this rare achievement that was performed in the soil of Sikkim. But whenever anyone talks about the airmail history, the name of Sikkim Rocket mail Experiment 1935 will always be given its due respect.

Motorcycle diaries


A ride from Kerala to Sikkim ought to be a meaty travelogue. Sadly, this one falls short

Dilip D’Souza

From Ladakh, P.G. Tenzing decides to “push my luck and reach Manali, normally a two-day journey, in one day”. That’s how he begins Chapter 17, and its end comes two pages later, when Tenzing writes: “It had taken me 16 hours of hard riding but it had been worth every crazy minute.”

In some ways, that sentence captures this little book. I read it and felt like writing Tenzing a one-line letter: “Won’t you please tell us about those crazy minutes?” Because he doesn’t. In those two pages he mentions—only mentions—a yak herder intent on talking while Tenzing pees, the man’s butter-tea, and an overturned bike. Also something made Tenzing cry copiously, but he won’t say what.

I wanted to like this book. I’m not a biker, but I’ve spent time with the breed. I simply love the road; I believe there is no better way to travel. So I dived into the book yearning to live Tenzing’s trip vicariously, to absorb and reflect on his reflections. Just a few pages into the book, I even told my wife, this guy can write. Because he can: He uses words engagingly, expertly. But a few more pages, and I began to wonder: Why is he simulating the expertise of a window-dresser?

From the nine months and 25,000-plus km that Tenzing rode an Enfield Thunderbird around India, he must have duffel bags full of experience and memory. He drove from Kerala across Tamil Nadu and up the east coast to Sikkim and Assam, then through Nepal to Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh, back to Sikkim and through the middle of the country to Kerala again, then up the west coast to Mumbai. Just sitting here tracing that route, I can think of a dozen different places and themes I’d have liked to hear from him about. But sadly, Tenzing gives us mostly quick, superficial impressions. His narrative is staccato, jumpy, often disconnected—like notes in a diary.

Like: Three pages about Bangalore make up Chapter 29. Plunge right into Chapter 30, in which Tenzing heads “further south to my foster home, Kerala”. Some lines about the road through Mandya towards Wayanad, which turns into a dirt track, then “Mysore is a beautiful city but I had been there many times and so took a diversion outside it.” One sentence about better roads in the south than elsewhere, another sentence about better indices of development, and then an inexplicable five-line lament on “disappointing” Bangalore. Leading to nothing, the paragraph just sits there in the middle of the Mysore bypass.

Like: On the ride to Pokhara, “there are natural geographical formations...which are awesome”. Elsewhere, “the way from Manali to Rohtang has some weird rock formations”. Geology, history, shapes—there’s so much to say about rocks, or more generally about intriguing sights on the road. Yet Tenzing roars past them in one tired adjective each.

As a bureaucrat who left the service to make this trip, Tenzing knows the ropes in plenty of situations. To hilarious and satisfying effect, he even throws his bureaucratic weight about at times to put assorted creeps in their place. He has a sharp and cynical eye for the absurd. He hints at his musings on many things: climate change, poverty, the administrative services, tourism and grotty, cheap hotels. Here’s a pointed observation that comes to him while in Nepal: “The middle-class morality of India is killing the tourist potential of the country. No amount of shouting ‘Incredible India!’ on televisions around the world is going to change that fact.” What an interesting thought to take and run with, on that Enfield Thunderbird.
It didn’t take me 16 hours of hard reading to get through this book. I can’t say, either, that it was “worth every crazy minute”.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A page from a National Megazine on Sikkim


The Sunday Indian

Volume 3 Issue 1

06 October-12 October 2008

Help Bhuwan Basnett!

shared by
Bishal Rai 'Kirath'

Bhuwan Basnett, a young boy from Darjeeling met with an accident on his way back from Agra towards Delhi. Two of his friends died on the spot and Bhuwan is seriously injured and Bhuwan’s condition is very critical.

Doctors have operated his thigh and possibly his bone marrow needs to be replaced. His, head is seriously damaged and doctors are working on the same.

Bhuwan has a beautiful four years old daughter and is married for almost six years.

The estimate cost, as of today for his medical bill has crossed four lakh.

Bhuwan urgently requires some financial help from all of us as his condition is very critical.

To help Bhuwan please contact

Mr. Tilak Chettri (Uncle) at +91-98714 65 279

Mr. Niraj Chhetri (Uncle) at +91-98109 61 227

Ms. Srijana Sharma (Sister) +91 99100 14949

Alternatively, the bank account numbers are as follows:

Niraj Chhetri

Account number: 00 2901 5265 25


G.K. I – Branch

Srijana Sharma

Account Number : 02 0000 222 151

State Bank of India,

Janak Puri Branch.

Details as follows:

Bhuwan Basnett

R/o, Rockwood, Darjeeling

Working with: NIIT Smart Serve

He is currently admitted to:

3rd floor

Fortis Jessa Ram Hospital

WEA, Karol Bagh

New Delhi

Wednesday, April 15, 2009