Saturday, January 29, 2011

Proud to be a Sikkimese: My homage to my Sikkim-i

My fascination with Sikkim History started in early 2003 after I completed my graduation from Sikkim Government College, Tadong where I joined the famed newspaper Weekend Review at Gangtok and since then there is no looking back for me. Over the last seven years I am fortunate to have my articles published in reputed newspapers and magazines of Sikkim and few from North Bengal too. My query to know more about the Sikkim’s past made me visit different corners of the state. Visiting those sacred places I find myself blessed to have born to this place, a heaven on earth.

Blogging for me started in 2005; as a result “Proud to be a Sikkimese” was born. Proud to be a Sikkimese is my homage to my Sikkim and contains collection of articles and essays I had written over the years more prominently about Sikkim History. The technology of Internet has helped writers like share my work with people across the globe and it gives a pleasure of satisfaction to know that my articles have helped people understand about Sikkim’s past. Over more than one lakh people across the globe have gone though my blog and I am happy, my small effort has paid off.  Every day I get more than 300 visitors who go through my blog.

On numerous occasions I have received mails from people to whom I never know and it is nice when they congratulate me for the work on Sikkim’s past I do through my blog Proud to be a Sikkimese. Over the last one year I have exchange mails or messages with the unbelievable personalities (atleast to me!!) involved with Sikkim History in Prince Palden and Hope Leezum Namgyal (Son and Daughter of Late Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal), Claire M Jordan (Grand Daughter of Elisa Maria, wife of LD Kazi), Horst Geerken and Ulrich Bihlmayer (with whom Late Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal talked at HAM about Political unrest of merger), author like Sunanda K Dutta-Ray and the list continues with many unsung heroes of Sikkim History who have helped popularize my blog.

Today my blog Proud to be a Sikkimese has given me an identity as a student of Sikkim History and is well read and followed as I am told by my readers! I have always believed in sharing information, more I share more I learn about my Sikkim was my motive behind which I started my blog Proud to be a Sikkimese. I am delighted I have succeeded in my goal and I shall ever remain grateful towards people who have helped me build an encyclopedia of Sikkim. Proud to be a Sikkimese is the next Wikipedia of Sikkim where you get familiar with parts of Sikkim History that have long lost their existence to the wheel of clock. Also found in my blog are articles on genuine Sikkim, ones that has never been published elsewhere. The complete stories of Sikkim Rocket Mail Experiment 1935, Ham Radio of Late Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal, the first map of Sikkim along with rare classic photographs of Sikkim are only found in my blog.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Post Card of Namgyal Institute of Tibetology on sell at ebay

As always i am excited as well as surprised to find two post cards of famed Namgyal Institute of Tibetology of Sikkim at Deorali on sell at ebay. The more interesting for me or i say to myself i never knew Namgyal Institute of Tibetology was earlier known as Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology. The post cards costs you US $9.99.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vote for

Dear friends my blog has been selected for the final round of Best of Indian Blogosphere (BoIB) 2010 polls under the category Arts & Hobby Blogs and Entertainment, News & Media . Please visit my blog and vote for me. Polling to be active till February 13.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rishim: Beyond cultural boundaries

‘Rishim’ is more than just a beautiful word that will remain with me forever. I am sure the magic of Rishim will lure anyone. More than four months back when I had a chance to meet Yuvraaj Rai, famed cinematographer from Nepal in Mazhitar near Rangpo, he came with an idea to premiere a nepali movie based on Rai community in Sikkim to which I could not hide my excitation. He had than just had few shows at Nepal, Hong Kong and other places. His proudly said “Rishim” and without any second thought we (members of Spark NGO) agreed that we will make an arrangement to release the movie to our people in Sikkim.

In my opinion, a culture of a place cannot be bounded in any geographical or political boundaries and I have seen that in Rishim. A mere pronunciation of the word Rishim was enough to raise my query to know more about it. I was just told that Rishim was a name of a character and the story of the film revolves around her. I belong to the Newar community and still the excitation to share a movie of Rai community among our people is the only thing I still have in my mind. I am sure I feel there are many hearts around who would like to agree with me on my excitation and I am sure many things could be learnt.

Rishim is a wonderful film made from the heart of a Rai. It is an effort of the Rais for the Rais world wide. I went through each scene and after the end of the two hour long movie I could not stop myself praising for coming up with such product. This film set up on the backdrop of a village somewhere in Nepal focuses a simple living of a lead character lovingly called “Thulay” by everyone. I was so pleased to hear the lead character being called Thulay that made the character much closer to us rather than those routine names like Raj, Aryan, Prem and others that are beyond reality as we have seen them in numerous films. Thulay is a poor village porter who is happy with his simple life and he never run away from his misery. He has to look after his mother and a younger sister and lives in a small hut. He falls in love with Rishim, a daughter of village headman. Rishim’s elder sister elopes with her boyfriend against her father’s wish on the day when the father had managed her mangni to a rich man’s son. The story takes a turn over and her father promises that he would let her younger daughter get married to salvage his family pride. The story moves around from here and it is this simple storyline where matters of family pride, sacrifice made for love are shown. I believe the story is familiar to many of us and I have seen such on many occasion my friends share ‘this’ narration. In between this story is pleasant presentation of cultural activities found among the Rais in Nepal. I would like to specially mention the maruni dance that was shown when Rishim recalls her lost love. The dance is beautifully done and well captured. Chandi festival is well presented where the ethnic Rai custom can inspired anyone who watches the scenes.

I have never seen such cultural film in Sikkim before and my preserving heart feels proud of the team that made this movie. I would be happy if such people gets encouragement and I wish we could see many more such films in days to come. Rishim is with us and I am sure if we get an opportunity to show this film in Sikkim we might get more things to learn. This film should not be seen as a film from Nepal but more positively as a film on Rai community. But are we prepared?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dentam School, Sikkim, 1926

This school at Dentam could probably be one of the oldest school started in Sikkim by the Christian Missionaries. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stamps Of Class

                        (This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 27-12-2010) 
An engaging hobby, collecting stamps could be a smart investment option as well — with lasting, long-term value
Malabika Sarkar

HIGH VALUE: A collection of 25 Gandhi stamps that was sold for Rs 4.75 lakh at the Todywalla Auctions in the National Philately Exhibition organised by Bharatiya Daktikit Sangstha and Stamps of India in New Delhi
Vintage postage stamps may not fetch returns in crores as prominent art works do (which you’ll buy by spending a fortune as well), but they have their own value. For instance, in 1854, a 4-anna stamp was printed with the face of Queen Victoria, but upside down (erroneously, of course). Its 27 known copies have become rare and valued today, with just one copy going for an astounding Rs 76 lakh at an auction conducted by Spink auction house in London this October.
The auction of vintage stamps in Delhi on 11 December by Todywalla Auction House was not so lucrative, but there were some stamps that got good value. For example, a group of 25 Gandhi stamps of Rs 10 denomination was sold for Rs 4.75 lakh in the auction. Disappointingly, though, not all stamps up for auction attracted bidders, and many were sold at the base price or marginally higher. But Malcolm Todywalla of Todywalla Auctions remains optimistic. “The Indian philately business looks very promising,” he says. “One important aspect of investing in stamps is that at times it gives you more return or profit than other banking instruments in India.”
Todywalla’s auction was part of the National Philately Exhibition organised by Bharatiya Daktikit Sangstha and Stamps of India. There was even a competition for the best stamp collection. The exhibition displayed around 300 exhibits, including some rare items such as the first stamps of Asia — the Scinde Dawks issued in 1852 in the Scind (sic) province of British India; the first all-India stamps issued in 1854; and stamps of the first Olympic Games issued in Greece in 1896.
Most serious stamp collectors say philately is just the kind of investment you should be making. “Stamps are the perfect investment today,” says Anuj Saxena, president of Uttaranchal Numismatic Philatelic & Art Society, who also collects rare coins and currencies of different countries, apart from stamps. “As people earn more these days and have more spending power, they want to invest it in something concrete.” Adds Shital Pradhan, general secretary of Sikkim Philately club, who won bronze in the competition: “Extensive research is the most important part of this passion.” Pradhan collects stamps based on Buddhism, pre-independence envelopes and covers, and Sikkim-based postal material.
So, what kind of stamp has higher value? Old and rare stamps, such as those that were printed before independence, have high value today. Mint stamps (unused stamps) offer better value than used ones. In India, stamps printed in this country have higher value than foreign-printed ones. Stamps in good condition, naturally, are valued higher than those in poor condition.
Where should you start? For starters, you could open a philately deposit account in your neighbourhood post office. “For a new collector, it is always advisable to choose a topic of interest,” says Madhukar Jhingan, executive president of Stamps of India, which organises philately exhibitions. “For young collectors, the interest always lies in topical stamps such as Harry Potter, aircraft, free form stamps, scented stamps and cars.”
But as Arvind Jain, vice-principal of Government Boys College, Bhilwara, and Limca Book record holder, says: “Philately as an investment is a costly affair. It requires high degree of expertise and can be extremely risky.” That should not stop enterprising, wannabe collectors from living out their passion.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Remanti Rai, Geeta Sharma enters next round of North East Wave Mega Talent Hunt

Remanti Rai and  Geeta Sharma are among the five singers selected from Sikkim for the next Guwahati round of the North East Wave, a mega talent hunt in singing and dancing among the North East States. The other three singers are Sujata Tamang, Rakesh Moktan and Suraj Sharma. Similarly in dance category are Rohan Dahal, Sheetal Rai, Robin Mukhia, Reshma Baraily and Pema Lhamu Pradhan who shall represent Sikkim in the next round. The competitors have left for Assam this evening. 

"North East Wave is a mega talent hunt launched by the North Eastern Council. For the first time, a talent hunt of this scale is being conducted in the North East where the participants from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim will fight it out in a competition showcasing their singing and dancing talent. The winners will get exciting prizes and a chance to be a part of a music album as well as feature in a music video."

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Village Tourism meet held at Khamdong BAC

Singtam: The first meeting of the 17 Khamdong-Singtam Tourism Development Service Cooperative Society Limited was held at Khamdong BAC today in presence of Panchayats, Contractors, teachers, local people, members of SDF youths and others. The organization was formed to promote Village Tourism at Khamdong-Singtam constituency. 
Present on the occasion were distinguished guests that included Santosh Thatal, District Convenor Schedule Caste Board, Tenzing Sherpa, Vice Convenor, East District, Anita Gurung, Convenor Cheli Morcha, MJ Rai, Panchayat President, NK Rai, Panchayat Secretary, NK Pradhan, Zilla Panchayat (Khamdong), RP Dhakal, KC Dahal, Pempa Wangyal Lepcha, Panchayat, Gauri Shanker, Pempa Tamang, Jullian Gurung, Feeroj Lohagun and others.

The talk of the day involved exchange of ideas regarding the promotion of Village Tourism. Tenzing Sherpa, Vice Convenor, East District told that Village tourism is new for the people of Khamdong-Singtam constituency and if we can manage to bring tourists to our region, we can surely have better future financial and developmental prospects. 

Feeroj Lohagun in his speech shared his experience from Sadam Village Tourism where he went on to say proper management is the most for the village tourism to succeed. Lohagun added village tourism could help solve employment among the village youths and also give an opportunity to the youths to accomplish a goal in life.  

Krishna Neopaney, Youth President was unanimously nominated as the Chief Promoter of the 17 Khamdong-Singtam Tourism Development Service Cooperative Society Limited. Other who spoke on the occasion was Santosh Thatal, RP Dhakal, Krishna Neopaney and Jullian Gurung. The program was conducted by TN Sapkota, Panchayat Secretary. Speakers also mentioned to the gathered crowd to spread the vision of Chief Minister and Area MLA and make an identity for Sikkim in world map.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Greetings from CM


Wikipedia fails to mention Sikkim Orchid named after Kalpana Chawla

I found it strange that Wikipedia does not mention that an orchid variety had been named after Astronaut Kalpana Chawla who died in Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy. The year was 2003 couple of months after her death the then Prime Minster of India Atal Bihari Vajpee was on his first visit to the Himalayan State of Sikkim. Two new orchid varieties created by K.C. Pradhan, Former Chief Secretary of Sikkim and his son Sailesh Pradhan, both famed Orchid specialist from Sikkim was kept at  Orchid Flower Show, Gangtok. An orchid variety Dendrobium Atal Bihari Vajpayee was named after Atal Bihari Vajpee to mark his first visit to Sikkim while when asked to name the second variety, he simply replied “Kalpana Chawla”. Brassocattleya Astronaut Kalpana Chawla was than named after Kalpana Chawla. 

The Royal Horticultural Society lists the Brassocattleya Astronaut Kalpana Chawla in its March - May 2003 Registrations as a cross of Cattleya Hawaiian Wedding Song X Brassocattleya Professor Yashpal and registered by Keshab Pradhan. Dendrobium Atal Bihari Vajpayee is also found along the lists that provide information that it is a cross of Dendrobium. nobile x Dendrobium. Polka.