Tuesday, November 30, 2010

National flag of Independent Sikkim still flies but inside a cafeteria

I have always loved old stuffs and to be part of it is what i love the most. I had been to Baba Harbhajan Singh's mandir a little over dozen kilometer from the famed Changu Lake few times but each time i have tried myself to visit to a cafe nearby before i enter the mandir.  Never to take a sip of coffee at the height of 13,000 feet above sea level.  

The Cafe 13,000 as its names painted on its wall welcomes every visitor. Here in this cafeteria lies a piece of history. As far to my little knowledge this is the only place where i have seen  and  have touched the  royal flag of independent Sikkim. Each touch have given me a pride and a bond that it belongs to me. Three flags are kept side by side, off the two an Indian tri colour is kept slightly a step taller than the other two,obviously that do always hurt me. On the right side is the flag of the army and to its left is the royal flag of Namgyal Dynasty that ruled Sikkim for more than three decades. 

"The national flag of Sikkim consisted of a Buddhist khorlo prayer wheel with the gankyil as the central element. Until 1967, the previous flag showed a very complex design with a fanciful border and religious pictograms surrounding the khorlo. A more simple design was adopted in 1967 because of the difficulty in duplication of the complex flag. The border became solid red, the pictograms were removed and the wheel was redesigned."
Well friends i wish you people do visit and see this flag that is ours and shall always remain ours!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bindeshwari Prasad felicitated at Singtam Basibiyalo

SINGTAM: Bindeshwari Prasad, a noted Nepali literary personality from Sikkim was felicitated by the Basibiyalo group in a daylong function conducted at the premises of East Point SSS, Singtam. The occasion marked the 29th celebration of the popular monthly literary program. Popular personalities from different fields of activities were present on the occasion; those included Maha Kavi Chakrapani Bhattarai, Pradhuman Shrestha, Musician Deo Kumar Dumi, Singer Prakash Sundas, Ganesh Pradhan of Ram Gauri Sangralaya (Rhenock), Singtam Municipality Councilors Saran Pradhan, Bishnu Maya Sherpa and Anita Tamang, Panchayat President Lok Maya Silal (West Pandam), Praveen Pradhan, President SPARK and others. Recitation of poems along with cultural activates like singing and dancing are also presented on the occasion.

Mohan Pradhan “Neeraj”, person behind the Basibiyalo meet on his speech said that the way in which Basibiyalo was started has enhanced a reputation and it has started providing better results. Prakash Sundas, a product of Basibiyalo won the recently held singing competition at Namchi Mahatsov, we the members of Basibiyalo are proud of his success, he said. Pradhan went on to add, people of far places are taking opportunity to be part of this group. Personalities including Bishal Chamling and Uttam Pradhan are part of our team and we are very happy to announce. In the past numerous singers, dancers, poets and writers had presented their performance and received praises from the crowds, he said. Pradhan went on to announce Taatshring Lepcha and Jigme Bhutia as “Gharpaatti” of the 29th Basibiyalo meet.
Every month a personality is felicitated who had made mark in the betterment of the society. So far more than half of dozen personalities had been felicitated by Mohan Pradhan “Neeraj” through Basibiyalo. Today popular Nepali writer Bindeshwari Prasad was honoured with a memento for his contribution towards Nepali literature, the memento was handed over to him by GM Gurung (Rangpo) SDF Secretary (Organization), the Chief Guest of the day. 
Speaking on the occasion Bindeshwari Prasad thanked the Basibiyalo group for the felicitation and wished everyone many more success in days to come. He appreciated the work done by the members of Basibiyalo and wished that the work they have started should continue for a long time. GM Gurung praised the work done by the Basibiyalo group. Gurung even said he would like to perform such event at Rangpo too. Other person to speak on the occasion was Lok Maya Silal and TB Pradhan. 

Speaking on the occasion Ganesh Pradhan of Ram Gauri Sangralaya, Rhenock thanked Mohan Pradhan for the opportunity to attend the function. He also said the platform provided by Basibiyalo is marvelous and everyone should be inspired by the work of Mohan Pradhan in organizing such event.  

Interesting and motivating Nepali poetry recitation was also done by young poet and poetess that included Ranjita Pradhan, Maha Kavi Chakrapani Bhattarai, Pushpa Lal Pradhan (Rhenock), Pradhuman Shrestha, Radha Pradhan, Raj Kumar Nepal and others. Namchi Mahotsav singing winner Prakash Sundas from Gangtok was also presented a memento. He also went on to sing three sizzling songs that left the audience spellbound. Bhuwan Sunar and Geeta Chettri too enthralled the crowd with their singing skills. 

The dancers participating on the occasion gathered large roar from the crowds. Those included   Monshikha Rai, Aarju Pariyar, Sandhya Lamichaney, Bhawana Lamichaney, Melody Mukhiya and Ranjita Bishwakarma. Standup comedians CP Pradhan, and Suresh Limboo also enthralled the crowd with their laughter dose.  Nangshel Sherpa concluded the day long program with her vote of thanks.

Prakash Sundas awarded memento at Singtam Basibiyalo

Prakash Sundas performing at Singtam Basibiyalo

Prakash Sundas awarded memento at Singtam Basibiyalo

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dropped from team event, Tarundeep Rai wins Silver in individual event at Asian Games

 Additional information and pic: TOI

Archery Association of India had never thought that the man they replaced him at the team event due to poor performance would provide India the first silver in the history of men's individual archery in Asian Games.
Tarundeep Rai was replaced with his teammates Mangal Singh Champia for  the team event that went on to win the bronze medal in Guangzhou.

Against the expectation Tarundeep Rai created history after he became the first Indian archer to win silver in the men's individual archery event. In a closely fought contest, the Indian archer lost to the world no. 1 Woojin Kim of South Korea 28-28, 27-28, 29-28, 27-28, 27-29.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My mother

My mother

O! The moving air, O! The moving air,
When you move around, did you hear of my mom?
I feel, she is somewhere there beneath the blue sky, she hides.
She is timid, she is shy, look for her, and you might get her.
Do tell her, we miss her, Do tell her, we still believe her.
Our world has not changed; our memory isn’t so bad,
Unplugged we do live to her; do tell her, we love her.

O! The moving air, Help me send my message, Help me on my words.
Memory keeps on coming, Eye dries up every morning,
But the moment is still alive, alive to my heart, alive to my breath.
I keep on saying, there shall come a day, someday,
We shall meet again, Where I shall again touch her, feel her.
If you happen to meet my mom,
Promise her to visit us, to the same place,
To the same heart, where she left for forever.
O! The moving air.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lingtam Dak Line

Today Lingtam, a half hour vehicle road from Rongli Bazaar is a silent wayside small village mostly forgotten by history. Today it is remembered by the tourists for its small Lingtam Police Check Post where the visitors and the vehicle needs to submit their “Permit Pass” to visit other other side of the road till Changu. Towards the end of 1880s, this place had continuous visitor in the army personnel related to British Expedition Forces that marched towards Gnathang, the Sikkim-Tibet Border.

The development of Sikkim had always evaded  this small place for most of the decades. Despite presence of exotic locales around this effortless landscape; one deserted house that lies just along the way side caught my fancied eye when I visited this place for the very first time. Between modern days concrete buildings lie a small wooden house empty from inside with broken planks. The small house was a post office once upon a time during British Expedition to Tibet. A place that transported the communication between the British Army people posted to the frontier of the remote world with the western world.  Interestingly, the post office is no more today and even the British issues are no more but only thing that remain even to this date is the name “ Dak Line” that means “ the area falling along the Dak Bunglow (Post office were earlier known as)”.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chogyal’s Ham Radio SOS through Gecko

I first heard about Horst Geerken from a gentleman Ulrich Bihlmayer from Tuebingen, Germany when I was researching on my first article on HAM radio of Sikkim couple of years back. I believe the story of Ham Radio is little heard in this part of our land. As far as to my information on the Ham Radio users in Sikkim there were only two foremost users. Prior to becoming a part of mighty Indian Union, Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal, the last King of Sikkim used to have a license of Ham Radio under a call sign AC3PT. The call sign normally consists of five letters. Here in AC3PT, i.e. “AC3” stands for Sikkim and “PT” specify the person; in this case it was Palden Thondup. Chogyal’s Radio equipments were later on held by the Indian Representatives at Sikkim after 1975 agitation. Few years later after Sikkim became part of India, Rajesh Verma operated a Ham station from Gangtok under a call sign VU2RVM; interestingly here “VUR” denotes India.

During my interactions with Horst Geerken during those days I was informed about a compilation of a book about his life in Indonesia along with his Ham records. He also did mention that few pages in his book shall have his proud and emotional experiences talking with AC3PT, the Chogyal of Sikkim to the Ham world. Few month back I received a mail from Geerken informing about the release of his book that had been titled “A Gecko for Luck; 18 years in Indonesia”. I am thankful to Geerken that he did not find it difficult in sending me a copy of his book.

To the readers of this article the distress radio call send by the Chogyal of Sikkim to Horst Geerken shows a true picture of that scenario where the Chogyal tried his best to gather last minute help to save his Kingdom. Geerken in his book dedicates few pages of his experience of that historic radio ham chat with the King on that fateful day. The year was 1975, the 9th of April and it was past 6 in the evening Geerken, a German Engineer for Telecommunications for many years stationed in Jakarta, Indonesia, worked as a Director for the German firm "Telefunken" in Jakarta headquarters while trying to connect to his friend at Lake Constance receives an international distress call. The person opposite on the radio call speaks loud and clear “Mayday! Mayday! Alpha Charlie Three Papa Tango calling Yankee Bravo Zero Alpha Alpha Golf.” – That’s me! - AC3PT from Sikkim!”
For any Radio Ham operator the first letter AC3 makes a clear identity that the caller was a King of Sikkim. Geerken tries his best to find the genuinely of the caller and tries to ask his date of birth and the name of the caller to confirm it. The caller sends his message “... AC3PT, I am the Chogyal of Sikkim, my name is Palden Thondup Namgyal. Please tell the world that my country is being attacked and taken over by Indian troops. There is fighting in my Palace. Some members of my Palace guard have already been killed. All telephone and communication lines have been cut off by the Indians. I have only got my amateur radio equipment to call attention to this. Indian wishes to keep this annexation secret as long as possible and to invent a cover-up story. Please help me by telling the world”.

Suddenly there is some noise on the other side of the caller and the radio call gets silence, writes Geerken recalling his short talk with the Chogyal of Sikkim at his short wave frequency Radio Ham.

A Swedish journalist friend of Horst Geerken was also hearing the conversation between the Chogyal and Geerken; he immediately checked that scenario of Sikkim through his news agencies and in few minutes confirmed that the emergency call from Sikkim was genuine. Press agencies at Sweden, Indonesia and Singapore along with German were informed. Based on the talk of Geerken the annexation of Sikkim found detailed report coverage on the newspapers of Sweden, Germany, Strait Times in Singapore and the Jakarta Times the next day.
Geerken writes the news of annexation of Sikkim spread like wild fire. India after international pressure that had foreign journalists and visitors visiting Sikkim admitted the news after few days. Foreign Journalists were later on prohibited to enter Sikkim. It is more of an interesting irony that even to this day a foreign visitors needs a special permit to visit Sikkim.

Two years later Geerken receives a letter from Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal and thanked him for helping him in his moment of distress call. The King was without his kingdom and he did mention in his letter that he was under house arrest and supposedly not allowed to write to Geerken about his situation. The radio equipment licensed to the King was also taken away. Lastly the King invites Geerken to his Palace at Sikkim if an Indian authority at Sikkim provides the permission.

Thrice Geerken’s permission to enter Sikkim was canceled without any proper explanation. Finally after twenty years of the passing of the last Chogyal of Sikkim in 2002, Geerken gets the permission to visit Sikkim. He did visit places in and around Gangtok but it was that roof of Chogyal’s Palace that once had a radio aerial that connected him during his stay at Indonesia was never to be seen again.

Friday, November 12, 2010

promo of Nepali Movie Letter

Those tree roots reminded me of Ankor Wat

I found these things very fascinating out at Nepal, most of the trees that grows around road side small mandirs have their roots covering the entire construction. The first look at the natural splendor gave me an image of famed Ankor Wat. This was a wonderful find for me and i really enjoyed it. It is more than unexpected how mother nature plays with her creation. On most occasion these trees are banyan or peepal and their long roots resembles more of a serpent hovering over its prey.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

‘Phynyx’, the first all-girl rock band of Sikkim

'Phynyx' - Junu Pundi Kunchund - Yangmu (Class XII) as lead vocalist, Sangay Doma Bhutia (Class XII) on guitar and vocals. Annies Pamo lepcha (Class X) on Bass guitar and vocals. Rinzi Lhamu (Class XI) on percussion and vocals and Dechen Sherpa (Class IX) on drums. These girls blew another Rock Bands out of the competition with their renditions of 'Pretty Women by Roy Orbison'. 
pic: Sikkim Express

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Singtam NGO celebrates Prakash Sundas’s triumph

Members of SPARK, a local NGO from Singtam bazaar had a get together on November 1 to celebrate the success of its member Prakash Sundas who had won the singing competition at recently concluded Namchi Mahotsav 2010 held on 28-30 October at Bhaichung Stadium, Namchi. It should be noted that Prakash Sundas is a lone participant of the Indian Idol 5 from Sikkim who went through Mumbai round this year.

Prakash Sundas was welcomed by Praveen Pradhan, President SPARK at the SPARK Office. Speaking on the occasion Praveen Pradhan told that Prakash Sundas’s triumph should not be considered a small achievement, a winner is always a winner whether the competition is held at smaller or in larger scale. As a part of our five months old NGO it is a great day for us, added Praveen Pradhan. 

More than dozen members of SPARK NGO had gathered at its office that also included members of Basibiyalo Organization headed by Mohan Pradhan and TB Pradhan.  Both echoed that they are happy of the success of Prakash Sundas. Prakash had been associated with Basibiyalo, a monthly literary meet for more than couple of times and we have high regards for his singing abilities, both said. Rekha Chettri and Ashim Pradhan said that Prakash had made our NGO proud and we wish him many more success in days to come.

Prakash Sundas expressed happiness on the outcome of the results at Namchi Mahotsav. He regarded the competition was not an easy task that had 21 competitive competitors from different part of Sikkim including winners of singing competition too. Namchi crowds was very encouraging and supported me in my every performances for the three days, he went on to add. Through this news reports he wanted to thank the distinguished judges, musical bands of the competition for their endless hard work. He also went on to thank members of SPARK NGOs, Basibiyalo, Aruna Manger, Sonia Sheikh, Taal Music & Dance Company, Eagle Band and the organizing committee for their support. It was a proud moment for me when on the inaugural day I had a chance to meet our Chief Minister Dr. Pawan Kumar Chamling on stage and clicked a photograph with him, he said