Friday, May 29, 2015

Accident prone, but refusing to learn


There was an uncharacteristic lull on Gangtok roads on Wednesday, 20 May 2015. Taxi stops were crowded with people and not taxis. Although this is a common sight during tourist season, on Wednesday, tourists were not to blame. “Aju purra checking hundai cha ki anta keta haru sab gaari thankau dai cha,” said one cabbie to a passenger, proud and perhaps relieved that all his documents were in order and that he was not one of the taxi drivers staying off to avoid traffic police checking.
This latest bout of “checking” comes in the wake of a string of road accidents that have occurred in the past week around Gangtok.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The curious case of huicheng

‘Tesma alikati huiching halnu parcha’ accompanies most recipes in these parts. Wai-Wai, our state snack [sorry Maggi], exemplifies our addiction to this white crystalline condiment. We know that our favourite snack is loaded with huicheng and have been led to believe that eating too much of huicheng will ultimately turn our bones to powder. Whether that is an urban legend or the truth, no one knows for sure, but then no cases of bones turning to powder have been reported either. And that has how matters have been, but Huicheng is back in the news and so I begin an earnest attempt to unravel this mystery.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tourist Season snubbing of ‘locals’ begins

The death toll due to heat wave has already crossed the thousand mark in the country. Temperatures have crossed 45 degrees especially in the now neighboring states of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana. Compared to this, continuous rainfall for the last three months has made Sikkim the perfect destination for tourists. The volume of tourist inflow this season will probably cross last year’s record. The official figures will be known only after the season is over but the fact that 1,200 tourists were stranded due to a landslide on a single night and had to be evacuated from North Sikkim earlier this week gives us some idea about the volume of tourists already arriving in Sikkim.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Change Approach to Addressing Climate Change

Sikkim needs to accept Climate Change as the challenge that it is, and not make just token gestures of concern

A recent study by a team of geographers and glaciologists has projected that over 70% of the glacier volume in the Everest region could be lost by 2100! And that is the lower end of their estimate!! If greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise and global warming comes true to predictions, even up to 99% of the glacier volume of the Everest region could be lost by 2100.

Monday, May 25, 2015

This Summer, Keep Your Tees Local


Almost everyone dreams of being their own boss one day, of owning a business however small or big. Once the American Dream, it has now become an Indian Sapna. While Sikkim still remains in the grips of the government-job-is-everything syndrome, the youth are trying to break this generations old mold. There are a good number of youth giving “business” a shot. These may not be big ventures but small cottage industry style start-ups that have promise if taken in the right direction.
For instance, college student Phurba Doma Lepcha’s handpainted t-shirts are fast gaining popularity for their unique Lepcha motifs and appealing local cartoons. She is a final year BA student at Sikkim Government College-Tadong and originally hails from Neyurdang village near Tashiding in West Sikkim. She started her brand of t-shirts ‘Native PDL’ in 2014.

High Flier!

Paragliding Pilot Rinzing Doma


26-year-old Rinzing Doma Bhutia has the distinction of being the first woman paragliding pilot of Sikkim. Hailing from Sombaria Bazaar, West Sikkim, Rinzing did not really have any interest in paragliding until she attended a paragliding course at Daramdin in West Sikkim in 2009. Being a sportsperson her teachers encouraged her to join the course organised by the Sports and Youth Affairs department of the state under its Capacity Building programme.

Speed Kills

Is Bojoghari becoming a killer zone when it comes to road accidents? On Thursday, a 4-year-old boy from Haryana who had come visiting Sikkim with his family was mowed down by a car near Tashi View Point. On Friday, a 5-year-old girl of 3-Mile Bojoghari was crushed to death by a taxi on the road towards helipad. Less than a kilometer away, a few months ago, a teenager had died when a truck ran him over while he was cycling. As someone who lives in Bojoghari and commutes daily on both the upper and lower roads towards town, I have encountered many speeding vehicles along these routes.

Of unlimited wants and limited resources

“Everyone should now worry about how to maintain consistency in sustaining the reputation earned by Sikkim in the country and around the world,” said Chief Minister Pawan Chamling in his State Day address on 16 May here at Chintan Bhawan last Saturday. Obviously, Mr. Chamling, who has been heading the State for the last 21 years, is not satisfied with the level of coordination, commitment and cooperation from certain sections of society towards the development of Sikkim. He also urged the gathering comprising mostly of senior bureaucrats at the venue aptly named, Chintan Bhawan, to maintain common consciousness and coordination to help the state maintain progress that it has achieved so far.
Now a simple question arises for the little over six lakh population of Sikkim. Why is the most popular and successful Chief Minister elected by them asking for everyone's cooperation at this juncture? Most probably there is a huge gap of coordination between the policy makers and the implementing agencies. Several projects in Sikkim are incomplete and most are running behind schedule. Some projects which are already completed are lying idle and not being properly utilized.

Not everyone is a topper…

…but if you look around, there are options for everyone


The ICSE class XII results are out and like every year news is abuzz with lists of toppers with ridiculously high scores. Schools set out to outdo each other releasing names of their toppers. In the midst of all this, we give little thought to students who have just about managed to scrape through or who have made “average” scores. While toppers debate on which course or college to choose from among the many options they now have, for the larger majority, nerve-wracking times lie ahead.
It is however, not the time to feel bogged down. There are many avenues to explore that do not necessarily require high scores. Not all toppers become super successful and if you look around you will see many people who did not ace their XII exams but are still making a good living. Most students look at pursuing higher studies in conventional courses as the be all and end all. However, there are many alternative courses which are as good.

AAP- So quickly from a Party with a difference to a party that is no different

AAP was able to instil the fantasy of idealism in politics, only to, unfortunately, squander it in the pursuit of absolute power, argues SALEM LEPCHA

April 2011, the atmosphere was charged with a critical frustration of one and all against the rampant corruption of vested interests, and Anna Hazare came to the helm of the movement against corruption. Reaching a crescendo with the unearthing of 2G scam, Commonwealth financial impropriety and Coalgate saga, the movement fuelled the already simmering anger and resentment among the people. The term ‘policy paralysis’ found a place in the grammar of planning (a euphemism to government’s yawning failure and anomaly in its policy implementation). In such an unfortunate setting, the AAP against corruption was born in 2013. It wasn’t like any other political outfit but was more a movement; was bold and determined. The party came as a breath of fresh air to the nation’s political environment vitiated by corruption and vices of all shades. It brought about a new era in politics in post-Independence India. 

The Story of the Hidden Land and the Shedra at Pemayangtse

Profile of Ogmin Sangchen Pedmayangtse Shedra (Ngayur Tho Lop Legshed Ling)


Lama dGons-dus Lung-Ten bKa-GyaMa denotes:
Oh! Those gathered [here] listen;
Because of the land [Dremojong] is place of the masters,
Peaceful and wrathful Yidams, Dakas and Dakinis;
Many deities dwell in the valleys, mountains, lakes, Caves and trees of this place,
For this reason, Dremojong is considered real Buddha field;
Even by the mere hearing of the sound of the name Dremojong;
One accumulates innumerable merits from immeasurable birth.

With this opening stanza, I would like to dwell upon a brief history of the Pemayangtse Shedra. Bayul Dremojong or Sikkim is the most blessed land in the Himalayas. It is said that in the primordial times, when Avalokiteshvara was showering his blessing on Tibet, he recognized this land as the most sacred land in the Himalaya. After that, Lord Indra descended on the top of Khang-chen Dzod-nga and made an auspicious opening of the door of the hidden land. Later, five divine incarnates entered this land and named it “Bayul Dremoshong”.

Little Boy, Big Trouble!

The weather has been unseasonal, but that is normal for an El Nino year which is why Sikkim should not allow itself to be caught off-guard


Do not let the ongoing spate of unseasonally heavy downpours fool you. “The Little Boy” of climate flux has arrived, the Australian met department having recently declared the oceanic temperatures to be registering as a “major” El Niño pattern. For those in Sikkim who might seek solace in their distance from the oceans, and hence untouched by their warming, the language of the alarm sounded by climate experts should force a rethink – these scientists are seeing the “return of El Niño like some enraged climate-driven Godzilla emerging from the depths of the South Pacific to lay waste entire regions”!
But Climate scientists [is that even an accepted profession?] are known to be alarmist, so let us go by statistics which have already been registered. 2014 produced the highest global temperatures since records began in the 1880s. An El Nino year this year will mean that the summer is going to be even more or a scorcher. A depressed monsoon is on the cards, predicted even by Indian met officials, and news from the plains suggests that the mercury is the mood to climb record highs this year. Such projections might appear improbable given the continuing lashing of Sikkim by the unreasonably heavy unseasonal rainfall, but it is highly unlikely that the El Nino projections will not come true.