Trade in the Pre-Independent scenario- Sikkim and Darjeeling

The photograph in the inset is once again a long preserved historical document (courtesy the Das Studio Darjeeling) which is shared with me by Mr. Dweep Subba, a student of B.A. III semester of Namchi Government College. This is a photograph of a Sikkimese Carpet Seller probably of 1910's taken at Darjeeling. The person in the photograph is a typical Bhutia or Tibetan as his dress suggests. These traders used to bring carpets from Darjeeling to Sikkim and then they used to send it to Tibet. The British provincial Estate of Darjeeling had then been the centre of trade and commerce of the places like Kalimpong, Kurseong, Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal. Tradesmen from Nepal, Bhutan and many other neighbouring places used to come to Darjeeling to attend the Sunday HAAT (Market) to have their trade dealings. This is to be cited here that they used the Silk Route which connected Kalimpong with Tibet via Sikkim for their trading purpose. The background of the photograph shows one portion of Darjeeling which seems to be comparatively developed in the then scenario. The posters and hoardings written in English suggest that Darjeeling was a pioneering place to amalgamate with the English language. The photograph itself is a testimony to the fact that technological instruments like camera, electricity, and, of course, the system of photo developing marked the advancement of Darjeeling in comparision to other adjacent places.

The Bridge over the Rungeet- The Life-line of Sikkim and neighbouring British Provinces.

This photograph of the old bridge has been shared with me by my student Dweep Subba of B. A. IIIrd Semester (Eng. Hons). The Picture was taken by Das Studio, Darjeeling in the 1880's. The bridge was a life line towards Sikkim during those days. It is to be noted here that Colmon Macauley has also talked about the existence of a similar kind of bridge over River Rungeet between the Kingdom of Sikkim and British province of Darjeeling while he was going to Tibet for a trade mission. Probably this might be the bridge which Macauley had crossed while heading towards Sikkim in the 80's of the 19th century. The bridge was made up of bamboos. It became the main way of transportation of the British when they caught hold of the politics of Sikkim. Probably, via this way only the British came to Sikkim to stabilise the political upheavels poised by the then Sikkimese monarchy. This bridge played a vital role in the treaty of 1861 between Government of Sikkim and British India if it is the same bridge which has been referred upon. In the photograph, we can see a couple of Britishers along with one or two local who might have been the porters to carry their loads towards Sikkim. Certainly, the bridge bears a historical value in the context of Independent Sikkim and its relation with the British India. Das Studio, Darjeeling obviously deserves special sense of gratitude for having preserved such an important photograph and we are greatly indebted to the owners.