Blog on Sikkim.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

School Intervention Multi Media Campaign for East District starts off


SINGTAM, SEPTMBER 24:  Youth Intervention under Multi Media Campaign 2013-14 for the schools of East Sikkim started from Chisopani JHS today. The program was organized by Red Ribbon Club Badhaichha Creation under Sikkim State AIDS Control Society, Gangtok.  Present on the occasion was Mahesh Dahal, Headmaster Chisopani JHS and his staff along with Mohan Pradhan, Headmaster Sawney Primary School who was invited by the Chisoani JHS as a guest for the programme.
The team of RRC Badhaichha Creation and SSACS visited Chisopani JHS and interacted with the students. They organized different competition for the students. The competition included Painting, Slogan and interaction games on the themes of HIV/ AIDS and Drug Abuse. The winners were presented prizes at the end of the programme. Phampets and Posters related to HIV/AIDS, Drug Abuse, Blood Donation and others was also distributed to the school.
Praveen Pradhan, RRC Badhaichha Creation on the occasion spoked about the concept of the Youth School Intervention Multi Media Campaign and the effort to stay fit against the dreaded disease on HIV/AIDS. Pradhan also went on to say about the Red Ribbon Club and its benefits.
Subhash Koirala, Divisional Assistant, Consultant Youth Affairs, Sikkim State AIDS Control Society, Gangtok spoked on brief about HIV/AIDS. He urged the students to remain alert and remain free from AIDS. Students are the future of the society and they should remain healthy, free from diseases mentally and physically, added Koirala.  He also spoked about the blood donation and said that it is only through hospital that pure blood is received and every individual should follow regular health and blood check- up. 
Mohan Pradhan, Headmaster Sawaney Primary School was the judge of the programme. He selected top three paintings from the 14 participating students along with top three Slogan winners from the 19 participating students in the competition. In his speech, he appreciated the role of Youth Intervention Multi Media Campaign and wished them success in days to come.
Mahesh Dahal, Headmaster Chisopani JHS also spoked on the occasion. Dahal congratulated the team of RRC Badhaichha Creation for visiting the school with such a wonderful programme. Dahal said the students had been benefitted from the programme and had anticipated such fruitful programme in days to come too.
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

East Point SSS Student Rallies against Dengue Awareness



 
 
SINGTAM, SEPTEMBER 21:  A students rally was organized by East Point SSS today to generate awareness among the public regarding the common fatal disease dengue. Students from Class VIII to Class XII participated in the awareness rally guided by the teachers of the school.  The rally started from the school premises heading towards the heart of the town of Singtam to Bhanu Park and reached till Adarsh Gaon. The students shouted slogans and appealed to the general public to maintain cleanliness to prevent this disease. They also distributed pamphlets to create consciousness among the people. The entire EPSS family is very thankful to the Singtam Police administration for extending their utmost cooperation to make this event a great success. 

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Revisiting Dalapchand - Second Part

The legend of Lampokhari and an unknown burial at Aritar

I find myself fortunate that my effort of giving out information of bygone days of our state through this column gets appreciated. I have always considered myself to be a story teller rather than a history digger. I am just a medium through which these stories, anecdotes and essays are shared for the readers to know more about our state of Sikkim. I firmly believe more I share more I hear in return. To add to my last week article on “Revisiting Dalapchand”, today I share an interesting stories of a legend of Lampokhari, thou not recorded in papers but passed on from one generations to another.
BB Rai, my former staff at Dalapchand SS had narrated me couple of interesting stories that he had heard from old folks. It was during time when the place of Dalapchand was occupied by the Britishers after 1888 Sikkim Expedition, the water of Lampokhari was dried up by the British men. The huge landmass was then used to collect rations for the British soldiers and villagers nearby that were dropped from the helicopter. Interestingly nearby to this lake is a place ‘Ration Goan” that is called by the same name even to this day. I looked at the meaning of ration on a dictionary and I found out that it says, “A fixed allowance of food, provisions, etc., especially a statutory one for civilians in time of scarcity or soldiers in time of war”.
Another legend I heard from him was about the story of two huge snakes that used to be found at the lake. It was the British soldiers that had shot down one of the snakes and the other one flew off from the lake creating a massive sound never to be seen thereafter. Thereafter an unknown disease spread out at the place and those British men who shot the snake also died in mysterious circumstances few days later. Some of the British men was buried in a grave-yard at Aritar (which is still found to this date but very little is known about those persons beneath the graves.) while it is also said that another such unknown burial related to the British men who killed the snake at Lampokhari is found near Pedong (West Bengal).

The story seemed an interesting one and I could relate this story with a paragraph from the book “Among the Himalayas” written by LA Waddell (1899). Laurence Austine Waddell was a multifaceted British explorer who had travelled across the Himalayas in 1890s and his account had been published in his book that is well read. Waddell writes about a small hamlet whose meaning in English meant “The Great Flat Stone” (i am told Dalapchand means flat stone and the stone is found even to this date)  was a trader’s halting place.
He points out that the barracks on his visit to that place was left abandoned few weeks back due to the outbreak of bad epidemic of fatal fever that had claimed lives. Waddell was informed by his Tibetan porter about the revenge of the sylvan deities (spirit that lives in or frequents the woods) and the water sprites (nymphs that inhabits or haunts a body of water) for an immoral action committed by the soldiery. 
Other oral - story related to the unknown burial at Aritar say, the burials of four dead bodies are believed to be of soldiers of the British contingent representing the “1904 British expedition to Tibet” led by Lieutenant Colonel Sir Francis Edward Young husband that had entered Tibet via Aritar (Old Silk Route). It is believed that the four soldiers were injured during the massacre and brought to the Health Camp at Aritar Dak Bungalow, where they latter died. A century later, the present burial site was re-constructed into cemetery by the Aritar Panchayat in due honour to those four unknown Britishers.
There are four graves but old folk do talk that there could be a possibility of more people buried under it. It is hard to explain actually what had happened then but the two stories have something in common that sounds very fascinating. I wonder I too feel strange that if the graveyard belongs to those British men that had actually killed the holy snake, will the grave lying by the roadside receive the same attention and curiosity that they are getting right now.  

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dalapchand SS, Aritar SS and Phadamchen SS Scouts and Guides heads for Zuluk Trek



SINGTAM, SEPTEMBER 14: Scouts and Guides Units of Dalapchand SS, Aritar SS and Phadamchen SS Scouts were flag off by the SDM, Rongli for three days Zuluk trekking i.e. from 13th September to 15th September, 2013. A total of 150 participants including 140 students and ten scout teachers from three secondary schools are part of the trek.
In the first day, N Lepcha, SDM Rongli Subdivision flag off the Scout and Guides contingent from Rongli to Phadamchen where they had a night halt. Interaction and scouting programme between the Scouts and Guides Units of the three schools was the highlight of the first day. Late night camp fire was also organized at Phadamchen SS along with other programmes. Sonam Thendup Sherpa, Panchayat Secretary was the Chief Guest of the night.
On the second day, the Scouts and Guides Units of the three schools trekked for two hours to reach Zuluk and returned back to their base camp at Phadamchen. They were offered lunch by the Army posted at Zuluk. Scouting programme was also held on the occasion. Officer In-Charge, SSB, Phadamchen was the Chief Guest of the second day. Zamyang Sherpa, teacher, Phadamchen SS was the host of the programme for the two night’s camp fire.
The programme is very good for the students and has helped to grow personality development, said SD Bhutia, Scout Master, Dalapchand SS.
The trekking programme was held for the first time for the Rhenock Rongli Block, adds the Press Release.
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Interview of the week: "My interest on History of my state is........ a sagacity of being a Sikkimese." : Rajen Upadhaya


Meet Rajen Upadhaya, History Lecturer, Namchi Government College. Known among media for his article of bygone days of  Sikkim in nepali newspaper ‘Samay Dainik’, he is also a popular blogger. 

Ø  Tell us about yourself.
I was born on 3rd of December 1981 to Mr. Krishna Prasad Upadhyay and Mrs. Kaushila Devi Upadhyay at Tareythang village in East Sikkim. I attended my basic education at Manpur Dongrong Primary School situated at far flung East Sikkim, thence, run by a village Committee. I did my 12th from Ranipool Sr. Secondary School now known as Brihaspati Parsai Sr. Sec. School. Completed my graduation with Honours in History from Sikkim Govt. College Tadong in 2002 and accomplished my M.A. in History and Archaeology from University of Pune in 2004. Completed M.Phil from Madurai Kamaraj University in 2008 and currently pursuing my PhD from Kumaun University, Nainital, Uttarakhand. The specialization of my Doctoral research is Peasant Resistance in Sikkim during World Wars.

Ø  You are a history lecturer at Namchi Government College, share us your experiences.
I joined Namchi Govt. College as a young lad of 23. I was immature as compare to my seniors who had enough experience in this regard. Though, teaching is a profession of my father therefore, to teach the College student was not a challenging task for me. Yet, due to my age it was quite difficult to handle the students who were of an analogous age. But, I really had a great time with the students of NBU. I have been witnessing a change; I must say a substantial change among those students and the new ones. The former were carefree and blithe whereas, the new ones are very curious to understand something.

Ø  Your interest lies in Sikkim History, any specific reason?
I was a student of Ancient India and I still have a huge love to this branch of my subject. After my MA I began to study this very subject in a much broader manner to pursue PhD. But, as an exigency of time I had to come to Sikkim to work therefore, I could not continue my studies in Ancient India. After spending nearly one year here I thought of going through the History of Sikkim. Initially, I find its history a weird but, later on, I got allured towards it. Well, the specific reason to have my interest on History of my state is the sense of belongingness and a sagacity of being a Sikkimese.
Ø  Which period of Sikkim History attracts you the most and why?
Sikkimese History has many concealed and tacit parts. Its ancient part is totally based on mythology and for a student of History it is definitely a challenging task to remove myths from the reality. Further, our history is greatly attached with the people and their tradition. Therefore, I have chosen a period that has something we called as evidence in a strict historical terminology. The fascinating part of our history for me is resistance of the peasants against the tyrannical feudal set up. My ancestors too belong to this stratum of the Sikkimese society and I had often listened since my childhood about the prevalence of Kalo Bhari, Jharlangi, Theki Bethi, Ghar Lauri, Kuruwa, and other evils. Since those days I had a strong resentment against the feudal system of Sikkim, which I prefer to call as Himalayan Frontier Feudalism. The stipulation for using this term against Sikkimese feudalism is its distinctiveness and idiosyncratic nature from other feudal set ups prevalent in the Indian plains and neighbouring country of Nepal.
Ø  If you are given an opportunity to meet any of the personalities of Sikkim History, whom will you choose and why?
Wish I could go back to their times and meet them. There are many figures of our times of yore that I am always eager to meet, to name them His Highness Palden Thondup Namgyal, Her Highness Hope Cooke Namgyal and Mr. Lal Bahadur Basnett. The core rationale for my curiosity to meet them is for their absolute love towards Sikkim and Sikkimese masses. My love for His Highness is always unbroken for the circumstances he had come across to uphold the sovereignty of his Kingdom. I personally feel that his loyalty towards the sovereignty of the erstwhile Himalayan Kingdom is somewhere mistreated after we became a part of the Union.

Ø  Sikkim is a home of Neolithic tools, how old is it?
There are many views concerning the accessibility of the Neolithic tools in Sikkim. Very few researchers have chosen this slice of History for their studies. Scholars like Dr. N.R Banerji and Dr. Janaklal Sharma have accomplished a major task regarding the antiquity of the Neolithic tools they had been able to discover at various sites in Sikkim. Though, their task is a ground-breaking in this matter yet, we cannot ascertain the antiquity of other Neolithic tools until we undertake a major research.

Ø  What is our say about the earliest community that set foot on the land of Sikkim?
It is a common conviction that the Lepchas are the aboriginals of Sikkim and historians, anthropologists, and sociologists have various hypotheses to prove their statements correct. From the studies it is also evident that the Lepchas are the earliest settlers of Sikkim. But, we need to understand which part of Sikkim we are talking about? If we have to believe on the accounts of Henry Francis Buchannan which talks about the extension of Sikkimese frontiers till Islampur and Malda of modern West Bengal in the South and Chumbi valley in the North, in this case, one cannot overrule the idea of the settlement of other tribes along with the Lepchas in Sikkim. Likewise, before the Namgyals, Sikkim did not have a defined area, and there are many evidences of the inhabitation of the tribes like Limboos and Magars in the western part of present Sikkim. Hence, it is quite a tough task for a student of Sikkim History to ascertain the aboriginals of Sikkim in an absolute manner. But, whatever other assumptions may be, for me, the Lepchas are the original inhabitants of Sikkim.   

Ø  Your blog on Sikkim is highly appreciated, how do you see life as a blogger?

Firstly, I would like to thank you for your appreciation about my blog. As a research scholar I had to browse many sites for the collection of articles and other related stuffs. Once I came across with your blog “Proud to be a Sikkimese”, before that, I was unknown about blogging world. My brother insisted me to write and publish some of my articles on a blog. His ideas had greatly inspired me as my students were running short of information in Sikkim History due to its inclusion in their syllabus. Therefore, with a view of providing them little information about the yester years of Sikkim I began to work on my blog “Sikkim: A Look Back View”. I feel good while sharing information on the blog and feels good that it is appreciated.

Ø  Sikkim is today known for its tourism sector. How do you see it in the next twenty years?
The efforts of the State Government for promoting tourism in Sikkim deserve applause. Government is putting all its efforts to make Sikkim a known name in the map of the world by adding new avenues to this sector. Yet, as a student of History, I would like to insist on the Government to turn its attention towards preserving heritage of the forgotten Kingdom which had a distinct history as compare to its neighbouring Kingdoms. If that can be done, Sikkim would be able to drag more tourists that could not only lead to economic prosperity but also gives a better boulevard for all those foreign scholars who are curious to peep the past of Sikkim.

Ø  Your words of advice to the young Sikkimese generations.
Today’s generation is very much like chalk and cheese than what we have come across in our teen age. The ingenuity of our young generation is heavily spoiled by forwarded messages on mobiles and by cyber-centric way of life. Apart from this, there is another section which can be regarded as the vulnerable section of our society who has its inclination towards consumption of drugs. Hence, my advices to them are Say no to drugs and cultivate the habit of study.  
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Awareness program on Dengue held at Chsopani JHS



SINGTAM, AUGUST 10:  An awareness program on Dengue for the student’s guardians was held today at Chisopani JHS. Moe than 30 parents was present on the occasion that was attended by Mahesh Kr. Dahal, Headmaster of the school and his staff. Symptoms and preventive measures related to dengue were explained to the guardians.
Mahesh Kr. Dahal, Headmaster of Chisonai JHS in his welcome speech informed the gathered parents of the immediate and essential message sharing session about Dengue virus. Dahal went on to say the Dengue Virus is spreading to our nearby regions and we need to understand and share the message of getting prevented from this contagious disease.
Shital Pradhan, Primary Teacher of the school was the resource person of the occasion; Pradhan explained female Aedes aegypti is responsible for the spread of Dengue illness. Pains on muscles and joints, fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes on the body, bleeding from nose and gums are the symptoms of dengu were explained. He added people can identify this particular mosquito with its black and white stripes on its body. It was further told such mosquito bite its victims preferably at the time of sunrise and sunset. Removal of stagnant water is the best way to prevent this disease was informed.
An interaction session between guardians and school teachers was also held. The guardians appreciated the imitative taken by the school in organizing such programme that would encourage everybody to remain safe from the dengue disease.  
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When i started my blog on Sikkim way back in 2007, i had it clear on my mind that this blog shall help people look out for knowledge on Sikkim. I always wanted a knowledge house about Sikkim, its past, present and future. I do not know over the years how much did i succeed but my determination to let other understand my Sikkim is always giving me a push. with regards Shital Pradhan (himalayanreview@gmail.com)

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