Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My first hailstone experience at Dalapchand

My first hailstone experience at Dalapchand today, it was exciting and fun too. I am out here since last one year but it was today only that i witnessed the hailstone.  I am remembering my daughter as it was me and her enjoying the hailstone out at Singtam some few years back.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

DB Subba: Singtam shall always miss him

It was a passing of an era, Dal Bahadhur Subba (1924-2012) popularly known as DB Subba passed away at his home town Singtam two weeks back making a sudden void for his close people and family around. He had seen the town of Singtam grow from a small time river side inn bazaar to become today’s one of the busiest town of the state of Sikkim.
He was dedicated towards the betterment of society and without doubt he was one of the pillars of modern Sikkim. Since ‘50s’ he came infront for his voice against the social injustice of free labour system that included Kalobhari, Jharlangi and other systems of Kazi-Thekadar. He fought for the rights of the suppressed and he was their ‘voice’.
His association with Late LD Kazi, the first Chief Minister of Sikkim State inspired him to play an active role in the pre merger scenario. He was a significant leader from Singtam and the person behind controlling, mobilizing and leading the public of Singtam from the front. He joined hands with LD Kazi, RC Poudyal, Dorjee Kazi, BP Kharel, Sepchung and others. Just the other days I was told that RC Poudyal, the name synonym with Sikkim pre merger revolution had visited the residence of DB Subba the other day. Poudyal met with the family members and talked about DB Subba’s contributions in the revolution and his role in the development of Singtam Town.
DB Subba was a man of vision and an intellect mind since his early days. Being a spiritual mind, his words and views were based on knowledge of spirituality. It was his sincere efforts that he established a crematorium at Singtam; he played an important role in the establishment of Singtam District Hospital and an up-gradation of Singtam Government School. His contribution includes the formation of the Limboo Samaj at Singtam. He fought for the hawkers of Lal Bazaar of Singtam in assigning the now completed Super Market at Mandi Bazaar at Singtam. His other contribution included the allotment of the lands at Singtam Bazaar.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Shapi of Sikkim: Our legacy -iii

A Sikkimese with a Shapi
The two previous articles i wrote in my earlier edition on Shapi was a wonderful read for people around and appreciation had been received from different corner of the state. I am thankful and find a pleasure that people find joy in my findings and research work. It was a bit surprise that very few had heard about Shapi, our rare legacy. Nevertheless i am happy being part of history for re-introducing Shapi to those sections of my readers who had never heard about this old and sacred mountain mammal, native of Sikkim.
I dedicate my writing on Shapi to Ongden Daju (RO) who has been very supporting to me ever since i first published its first part few months back. It was he who wanted me to continue with the third part of Shapi, since more findings were evolving after my two writings.
I shall ever remain grateful towards JR Subba, Jt Director from Forest Department for providing me a valuable census report of Shapi done by the Department since 1996 to 2006. The sighting and estimated report of the Shapi submitted by ST Lachungpa, RO and his team in 2006 shows an increase in the population of Shapi (Hemitragus jemlahicus schaeferi).
Without doubt we can call Phimpu, the house of Shapi and this animal can be spotted with ease at Phimpu from October-December every year. From the mere 3 Shapis sighted in 1996 to the increased number of 34 numbers in 2004, 35 numbers in 2005 and 23 numbers in 2006, Shapis in Sikkim is estimated to be in hundred in the latest sightings.
Coming back to Ernst Schäfer, the discoverer of Shapi in Sikkim, an online article “The bird collections in the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin resulting from Ernst Schäfer's three expeditions to Tibet and Sikkim” published in 2010 written by Michael Abs, Pascal Eckhoff, Jürgen Fiebig and Sylke Frahnert in its abstract mentions “ From Schäfer's last expedition we inventoried 650 specimens of 58 species collected in Tibet from January to the end of June 1939, and 2700 specimens of 278 species collected in Sikkim in 1938 and the first half of 1939. Important collecting localities are Gangtok (939 specimens), Lachen (369 specimens), Gogong (300 specimens), Thanggu (259 specimens), Lhasa (133 specimens), Chuntang (103 specimens) and Xigaze (102 specimens).” The story of Shapi wasn’t alone that was imported to Germany after the expedition. There were these rare birds and other faunas of this part of the world that has been part of some German Museum.
The Life and Times of a Plantsman in the Sikkim Himalayas, a memoir by noted Plantsman KC Pradhan writes about his experience with Ernst Schäfer when he was at a trip to Germany in 1992 few months before the great discoverer passed away. Pradhan had ranged Ernst Schäfer but his wife took up the call, she was happy to hear from a person from Sikkim which was very dear to Schäfer. Ernst Schäfer was then in a bed rest with cardiac problem. A week later Pradhan again contacted Schäfer, this time he gets an opportunity to talk with him. The German explorer was glad to know him since he had known Pradhan’s father during his 1938 expedition. Ernst Schäfer informs Pradhan about 11 publications on the Sikkim Tibet Expedition 1938 in German in their short introduction. 
Pradhan in his book writes; Ernst Schäfer had a commanding and demanding voice and his memories very vivid. The Shapi area was supposed to be named after Ernst Schäfer but nothing further happened to the proposal cites Pradhan.
The book also finds referring a call from late Chogyal to Pradhan and informing about the intention of Ernst Schäfer to revisit North Sikkim in 1970 to do further study work on Shapi but Delhi had denied. It was Chogyal who thought it wise to declare the Shapi area as a Shapi Reserve thus Khangchendzonga National Park came into being with Phimphu as sanctum sanctorum. Till then the area was used by the defence force as firing range scaring the poor animal. The army was persuaded to shift their range to alternate site.
German Akay with Kaiser Bahadur Thapa
I would love to mention that there might have been many unsung heroes from Sikkim who had been part of this legendary German Expedition. Despite efforts only couple of names could be traced out. Anna Balakci- Denjongpa in her article “German Akay” published in Bulletin of Tibetology mentions the names of German Akay, Lazor and Kaiser Bahadur Thapa, the three Sikkimese people who was in the Expedition that lasted for 14 months and had an abrupt end due to start of the Second World War.
German Akay passed way in 2005 at the age of 90; he was Ernst Schäfer’s assistant and hunter at the Expedition. Lazor, a Lepcha from Tumin was a cook while Kaiser Bahadur Thapa played a role of an interpreter. Thapa was in touch with Ernst Schäfer till his death in 1992 while Thapa also passed away later in 2000. Mingma is the other name i came across from a photograph that was taken at Gangtok collecting insects for research.
The German Expedition of 1938 at Sikkim-Tibet brought Ernst Schäfer name and fame. Despite the odds about what had happened at the expedition, the land of Sikkim shall always remain grateful towards him for discovering Shapi which has had been our legacy since then.


Sunday, February 05, 2012

Appeal: Dancer Bishnu Suman's video is at Great Indian Talent Competition

A Dancer from Singtam, Bishnu Suman's video is at Great Indian Talent Competition, please visit you tube and click "like" to help him enter the next round.

Rules to qualify
1> Get 250+ Views on Your Video for Automatic Qualification
2> Get 100+ Views on Your Video for Judges to Review & Qualify

Friday, February 03, 2012

Lachen says NO to mineral water bottles!

By Prabin Khaling

Gangtok,Feb 3:On the occasion of World Wetlands Day on February 2, 2012 the Lachen Dzumsa consisting of the Pipons, Gyambos, Chultimpa (representative of Lamas),along with the public of Lachen has decided to announce a ban on mineral water bottles in the village of Lachen and above from the upcoming tourist season. This decision has been made as an initiative for conservation of the holy lake of Gurudongmar situated at 5183 meters, which over the years has been growing as a tourist destination in the state. The lake area is a biodiversity hotspot and also highly significant as it is one of the main sources for river Teesta, and believed to be touched and blessed by Guru Padmasambhava. Receiving more than fifteen thousand visitors annually in the form of pilgrims and tourists, one of the major threats to the holy lake is from garbage disposal.
 This was clearly indicated during the cleanliness campaign organised jointly by WWF-India and Lachen Tourism development Committee in collaboration with the Lachen Dzumsa around the lake side, on the occasion of World Environment Day 2011, which brought out 30 big sacks of tins, plastics of which a large part was mineral water bottles.  Not only Gurudongmar lake, an excessively huge amount of empty mineral water bottles were brought out during the cleanliness drive in Lachen Village also which highlighted an immediate concern for management of such garbage.
 Understanding the need for having a proper garbage management and regulation process in place, Lachen Dzumsa, with assistance from LTDC and WWF will develop a strategy for monitoring of the garbage that goes up to the lake, and ensuring that it is brought back to Lachen. A proposal for construction of a garbage segregation chamber at Lachen is also in the pipeline. While all items that produce garbage cannot be regulated, the mineral water bottle is one such product that can easily be done away with, by provision of a safe alternative. Tourists will have to sensitized on the matter so that they understand the reason for the ban and also come to realize that natural mountain water is safer and healthier than those packaged and sold in plastic bottles. With the decision of this ban, Lachen becomes the first village in Sikkim to ban the use and sell of bottled water.
The model will look into possibility of complete ban on the use of bottled water in Lachen and Gurudongmar Lake with promotion of filtered water for the tourists at these villages. Proper testing of the water being provided in place of mineral water will be conducted by certified agencies to assure tourists on the safety of the drinking water.
After a series of meetings with the local stakeholders in Lachen, finally on the occasion of the World Wetlands Day, the Lachen Dzumsa proudly announces the strict ban on use and sell of bottled water in Lachen from the coming tourist season. This Dzumsa resolution will be imposed on all Tourists visiting Lachen, local Shops, hotels and the general public, and a fine will be prescribed by the Dzumsa against offenders. The local area MLA Mr. TW Lepcha has supported this positive initiative taken by the Lachen Dzumsa for tackling the garbage menace. Lachen Dzumsa looks forward to help and cooperation from Tourism Department, TAAS and Police Department to make this ban successful.

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