Saturday, Oct 01, 2022 21:00 [IST]
Last Update: Saturday, Oct 01, 2022 15:27 [IST]
Beginning this Series, it mentioned, ‘Whatever happens, it happens for some good reasons as we do believe in the time factor that governs our stellar constellation brings us such a fate – for the better! Everything here happens for some good reasons unknown.’ True this time again. This Author had to take a forced sojourn again to coincide with the festivities of the Indrajatra 2022 Sikkim gradually gathering momentum to give a brilliant finish. It was a medical emergency that brought him here introduced by Bhanji Samiksha to Dr. Amrit Pradhan the Family Dentist, who provided a new set of dentures for my Muma recently, to start treatment on the very evening of arriving here. Well qualified with M.D.S. added by experience equipped with the technology needed even for implant available under one roof at Bright Dental nearby Entel complex, the task was accomplished within weeks to be back home well in time to welcome Mohani Nakha: / Dashain Festival with Ghatsthapana Wishes for auspicious Navratri to all our avid readers!
Listening early morning Bhadra's Mahisasurmardini, we remember Buba and pay my obeisance to recollect here how he dealt with his dental issues. He and Muma as well as Thulo Mama and Maiju visited Kalimpong to the Tibeto-Chinese Dentist Mrs. G.B. Khati* (later came to Gangtok near Star Cinema) those days and to the retired Army Dr. Prithvani* at 10th Mile Kalimpong before he started his Sunday clinics at the Hotel Vinayak Building along Paljor Stadium Road, where Dr. D.P. Sharma* used to practise after he took voluntary retirement from Government service to contest the State Election from Gangtok constituency. He was some years senior in school and helped this Author with free consultations but had to concede defeat to his batch-mate Bal Chand Sarda* to pass out in 1962 from Tashi Namgyal Academy. Sarda became history winning the Poll from their Business community for the first time and being the first-ever Chairman of the newly constituted Gangtok Municipal Corporation where Dr. Sharma's sibling Badri Nath Sharma* was the Executive Officer, K. N. Pradhan* was Executive Engineer and B.M. Tamang* Junior Engineer.
This Author was mentioning Amrit, how he would have been the First Dentist of Sikkim had he accepted the B.D.S. seat offered in 1963 when the Government of Sikkim failed to provide him with an M.B.B.S. seat though he was awarded by the Government of India Scholarship after a competitive examination held by the Political Officer of Sikkim. Well to be taken note of how the profession was not as attractive those days unlike finding it proliferated in the capital so well yet price not competitive. He was then offered B.V.Sc. as well but declined as none thought those days 60 years ago that it would also be practised well as a lucrative private venture too. A year thus wasted, the wise decision then joining B.Sc. (Honours) and finish with M.Sc. (Zoology) in Darjeeling Government College, but for the better, as things unfolded later in his life to write these lines in reminiscences today. Honour went to Dr. Jai Narayan Sharma as the first B.D.S. and Dr. Nima Dorji Lama Golay became the second nay the third if Dr. M. M. Golay was taken into account after a class friend of Thulo Mama Dr. Nima Lepcha, the First Veterinarian of Sikkim was also from Rhenock. Even with a Master's degree in 1969, this Author was jobless until 1971 when he was not selected in the Competitive Examination for Sikkim Civil Service. He fetched a job at last and went to serve as Game Warden of the Manas Game Sanctuary under the Royal Government of Bhutan. Kailash Sankhala* had visited the place before Project Tiger happened. Doors opened only next year when he cleared the Competitive Examination back home and was deputed for two years of Course along with All India Service Probationers at the National Academy of Administration, Mussorie in 1972 - 50 years ago, reaching superannuation at age 60 years in 2007 and with all his batch mates – Badri Nath Sharma*, Tashi Tobden*, Norbu Dadul Chingapa* and Madan Kumar Chettri* from Sikkim already found salvation with a place high above!
With the recent Government notification issued prohibiting public functions at the Mahatma Gandhi Marg, most people were worried about what would be the fate of our events on the 7th and 8th September scheduled to be held there with all grandeur and fanfare. Only on the penultimate day itself that a great sigh of relief to those who waited for finger-crossed that the last two days of the eight-day long Indrajatra 22022 Sikkim Celebrations could be held there giving a grand finale gloriously at the Manan Bhavan as announced a month ago - all doubts whatsoever rested thus!
Next, the only thing everyone missed badly this time again like in 2019 was the eluded presence of the Chief Minister of Sikkim Prem Singh Tamang Golay, who was to grace the occasion as the Chief Guest. He had extended warm greetings and best wishes on the occasion of the Indrajatra. Was something lacking to bring us all this fate? Did the newly constituted energetic youth team that infused fresh blood to the Sikkim Newar Guthi miss something in spite of their well-planned and nicely organized Show of the Year to lead this plight as was the fate for the previous Guthiars with the newly elected Chief Minister that time! As this Author wrote in the Chapter Challenges of his forthcoming book The Newars in Sikkim : A Perception - Some Reflections :
“Lastly, with the end of the old regime and a new political party in power, undeterred by the non-availability of the present Chief Minister to grace the Silver Jubilee Celebrations, efforts should be to convince and win his confidence as the Newars worldwide have been well-acclaimed since the days of yore for their loyalty to the State and Government in power whichever country they have migrated into and made their new home.
“Loyalty is more than a word. It's a way of life.”
Unknown/Inspiring and Positive Quotes
The next day, the Chief Minister himself in a post on Facebook informed that he had been diagnosed with typhoid. Although he was enthusiastically looking forward to being a part of the momentous Indrajatra celebrations, he was unable to do so owing to his health conditions. He congratulated the Sikkim Newar Guthi and the entire community on the grand success of the Indrajatra 2022 celebrations. He could not attend Pang Lhab Sol celebrations at Ravangla the next day as well. It was all over for the 20th Indrajatra Celebrations (two years 2020 and 2021 excluded for the Pandemic) since it was in 2000 the first-ever held in Sikkim as well as outside mainland Nepal and the world over! Now left with no option but to wait for the next time, better luck!
Otherwise, everything went well with the grace of Kumari Mata as the Chief Minister also observed it as a grand success. Many wondered how come it was Indrajatra but the Rain God was not seen worshipped and chariot-drawn during the whole celebrations. Thanks to the visiting lecturers from the Central Department of Nepal Bhasha, one of the 21 such departments of the Tribhuvan University. Its Head of the Department Prof. Dr. Rajan Lal (Ras) Joshi and Prof. Bajracharya seen speaking to the media about the significance of this greatest festival of the Newars worldwide. Indrajatra is now being celebrated in more places and many countries since it happened in Sikkim in 2000, the Millennium Year, to tell/correct those who make mistakes often confused with the one first held in the capital Gangtok in 2010. The Kathmandu Post dated 13 September 2022 carried the scholarly work by Sanyukta Shrestha mentioning Sikkim “Taking Indrajatra to the World” which the Sikkim Express also published on request.
Later in the evening, Babuko Jungo fame Pushpan Pradhan was at his best mingling with the crowd inside the Hall making his fans sing and dance to his tune right up to the balcony above. It was Sikkim Newar Guthi who supported his first-ever Kathmandu visit years ago with a token sum of Rs. 10,000/- if remembered correctly. He is now a regular visitor here recently at Rhenock, where he first came for the legend Lampokhari Festival – now waiting for its revival as the most-awaited annual Ram Navami Special Tourism event. It is also a wake-up call to all and especially our Tin-Talle brothers with Aritar-Dalapchand Tourism Development Society. This Author earned Top Fan Badge for watching Kalle Dela Man... famed Deepak Bajracharya troupe performing grand historic spectacular extravaganza of a musical medley that profusely splashed with our rich culture and heritage glimpses titled “Let the World Dance in Nepali Music” in the Opening Ceremony of 13th South Asian Games in Australia in December 2019 and thereafter many others on their return to Nepal keeping us all entertained daily during the Lockdown too! It was with his evergreen musical troupe received here well and the same with the Ful-butte Sari fame Milan Newar winning the hearts of fans. The only thing some people found lacking was the timings set for the events, without blaming anyone for the delay but who could stop the frenzy? Kudos to Vice-President Mahindra Pradhan, who compeered the musical evening so vibrantly not forgetting the presenters Dhiraj Pradhan and Reshu Pradhan! Undoubtedly, it was the best ever and as grand as it could be - of all the past Indrajatra Celebrations in Sikkim right from the early days in Namthang Kothi and coming to the 11th Edition of Indrajatra Sikkim in the Capital since 2010 barring the intervening Corona period after the Silver Jubilee of the Sikkim Newar Guthi in 2019.
President Nirmal Kumar Pradhan thanked and expressed gratitude to Chief Minister P. S. Golay for the support and guidance given in making the historic Indrajatra 2022 Sikkim celebrated under the auspices of the Sikkim Newar Guthi a grand success. He also wished him on behalf of the entire Newar community praying to Kumari Mata and God for a fast recovery of his good health. On behalf of the Sikkim Newar Guthi and its Indrajatra Celebration Committee he also thanked and extended warm greetings to one and all right from those in the Government machinery, to the functionaries in all the Shakha Guthis, guests from Akhil Bharatiya Newar Sangathan (ABNS) Presidents in the different North Eastern States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland, from neighbouring Dooars, Darjeeling and Kurseong (did our ABNS friends of Kalimpong Anchal Nand Narayan Maskey Pradhan, Yogbir Shakya, Rabi Pradhan and all missed) as well as those from Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Dharan and Kakarvitta for raising the dignity of this Indrajatra further and hoped to receive the same support and co-operation in future as well. He concluded by expressing his best wishes to everyone with prayers to Lord Ganesh, God Indra, Mata Kumari Devi, God Bhimsen and Bhairava that the spirit of brotherhood and unity bind us all together to live in solidarity forever. In return, this Author thanks them personally for felicitating Raman Shanker Shresta of Rachna Books who chose the path untrodden and difficult since 2000 to earn it well-deservedly as Dhiraj Pradhan observed!
TO BE CONCLUDED
Disclaimer: This is neither the work of a research scholar nor that of some historian but the Author’s personal account of memories to cherish and treasure, often on a detour here and there en route to share the joy of the journey called life. Much time and effort are devoted in making to documenting and sharing here for the sake of our progeny and those interested to pursue research works to be rewarding many PhDs. Some names (asterisk* for those no more), quotes, places and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice whatsoever intended. He can be reached at email@example.com and his books are available at www.rachnabooks.com.
About the Author
“Rajiva Shanker Shresta, a retired ace bureaucrat, is a prolific writer-cum-walking encyclopaedia as far as Sikkim is concerned. His monumental book 'Sikkim : Three Decades towards Democracy – Evolution of Legislative System' (2005) is much referred book....” Keshab Chandra Pradhan, Former Chief Secretary to the Government of Sikkim in his Memoir The Life and Times of A Plantsman in the Sikkim Himalayas (Revised/Updated 2018)