Top News

THINKING LOCAL

Sunday, Sep 27, 2020 12:00 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Sep 27, 2020 07:01 [IST]

THINKING LOCAL

In fond memory of
Bidhan Chandra Prakash Pradhan (1944-2017)
A tribute to my Mama, a friend as well


PART-I

RajivaShankerShresta

Life could be ending so soon no one would think of when we had just spoken over phone a few weeks ago only as usual. Not believing such a piece of sad news to come from home that fateful night of 17th September 2017. We immediately got in touch with our sister Anita who was already in the hospital to be with the family and to confirm the tragic end of a great heart, our Bidhan Mama.



Early Years
We had first met in Calcutta in 1955 as young lads attending the marriage ceremony of Sanu Mama Mohan Pratap Pradhan* with Laxmi Devi at Lower Chitpore Road. I was then in Banaras while he already in St. Augustine School at Kalimpong. I do not remember meeting him before though he once recollected of seeing me first admitted for Dhungey class in the Missionary Primary School Rhenock. Later I was in St Joseph's Convent for a while doing my primary reading Sing mother sing, as my Buba used to look after our business there at (the Kodamul Building 10th Mile) running the branch office of HarishankerLallRamshankerLall Nepali (established 1886) in Banaras.

Bidhan Mama was born on 28 September 1944 as the youngest son of three brothers (Nirmal and Manohar) and five sisters (Kamala, Pratima, Sarala, Pramila and Saroja)toBijali Devi and BabuDurgaShamsher Pradhan, younger brother of RaiSahebRatnaBahadur Pradhan of Rhenock. Together they had started the world-famous Chandra Nursery in the year 1910. Born as the youngest of five sisters and three brothers, he lost his mother while he was still an infant. He had two more sisters Shiela and Kalpana and a brother Uday from his stepmother Jamuna Maya Pradhan, who is 92 years old now. It was his love and respect for this mother having lost his own while still a milk feeding baby taken cared for by an Ayah.

Education
After doing his initial education at the Missionary Primary School at Rhenock, he joined St. Augustine's School at Kalimpong as a boarder in 1954. He passed his ISC examination from there in the year 1964. He remembered among several others PaldenDorjiKhangsarpa, Karma Gyatso and NorbuDadulChingapa* as his contemporaries there though last-named was a few years junior but familiar as his hostel mate. He was quite chummy with colleagues like B. Tsering* and SonamTenzing* though not in school together and used to speak to each other using common words only too close/familiar buddies shared with.

He joined St.Joseph's College at North Point, Darjeeling and did his B. A. with Honours in English along with C. K. Pradhan and C. K. Shrestha, if I remember correctly, in 1968. He stayed as a paying guest with Prof.TulsiBahadurChettri near DheerDham Temple (1964) with Deo Kumar Gajmere, Kharga Jung Chettri*, Rajendra Kumar Khati and Mani Chandra Khati*. Thereafter he stayed at the College Restaurant (1965) with many other students from Sikkim like Deo Kumar Gajmere, Ganesh Kumar Subba*, Nar BahadurTamang, Nar Bahadur Bhandari*, TensungGyatso*, TseringGyatso, TseringPintsoBhutia, N. K.Subedi* from Sikkim besides C. P. Mainali of Nepal among others. In 1966 when I moved out of the Bellevue Hostel (of Darjeeling Government Collge) at Chaurasta, I shared a room with him as paying guest of a Gurung family (son-in-law of PudkeJarnail younger brother of NanduBabu of Algarah) near Sharadeshwari Girls' School at Hermitage Road. Tanka Ram Sharma* and Dilip Kumar Chettri were among others also stayed there.

Like his father BabuDurgaShamsher Pradhan* he was fond of good things to eat as he introduced me canned stuff of pork hitherto not cooked at home that used to come from Rajniklal of Calcutta and other sources by mail. His height did not come to his actual upbringing true to the Taksari Family he belonged. Thulo Mama BhishmaPratap Pradhan* once narrated me of some military official visiting their Woodland Nursery and Chandra Nursery. They took fresh from School young man otherwise that Bidhan Mama paid back in the same coin using choicest words like bastard. The Army officer was someone of the kind/breed who deserved such a befitting nomenclature, otherwise, such people do not command such disrespect in the young mind. Fond of entertaining friends (among others Santosh Kumar Bardewa, Khada Nanda Uprety staying in the International Youth Hostel), he had an evening in the Firpo's at Park Street Calcutta while it was Moulin Rouge we met next. The year 1973 I was there for remaining six-month course of I.A.&A.S. Probationer in the office of the Accountant General (Central) in the Old Currency Building of Dalhousie Square. Of the seniors there I remember ever-helpful A. K. Deb, who later came to Gangtok as the Accountant General Sikkim while S. Saha served on deputation and after retirement for a long time giving me the opportunity to work with him and continue getting his valued advice on official matters. My batch mate B. K. Chattopadhyay served as Accountant General Sikkim while S. P. Singh frequented whenever he/someone was on leave and later in supervisory capacity brought him my home with his wife once. Obese wife working as a senior officer in the Income Tax Delhi had a tough time climbing four stairs and get through the roller shutter at my residence.

Disclaimer: This is an account of author's personal notes in fond memories of a relative. Some names of persons (with *asterisk for those who are no more), places and events have been mentioned here only to relate/connect with and no intentions otherwise whatsoever. Contact: shrestars@gmail.com

TO BE CONTINUED

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi