Settlement House: The lone Historical structure of Assam Lingzey

The Settlement House of Assam Lingzey
While going to Gaucharan village any individual can notice this old house. This is probably the oldest structure of Assam Lingzey. I have seen this old construction since my college days and was always keen to know more about it. Everyone in my village knows this House as Kazi Kothi and for many years, I too knew it with the same name. Few months back, while taking interview to an aged person of my village I came to know about the real name of this House.  It was earlier known as Settlement House.
Recently, with two of my students I visited this place. I was unable to meet any member of the Kazi family as they all stay at Gangtok. But, with the help of the neighbours I had been able to collect little information about the historical importance of this House. The House was constructed by a person called Gyaltshen Kazi somewhere in 1925. Build with the plank of Pippli and stone wall, the house has many unique features. To keep the stones unshaken, they were plastered by yellow mud. The most amazing part of this construction is that even after the lapse of 86 years the House seems to be a new one. The caretaker informed us that the nothing is repaired except few beams of Barendah. I was told by the villagers that the Kazi was having his landed property somewhere nearby to present day Lingzey, which he exchanged with a Mandal Kuviman Rai. While asking the lineage of this Kazi, the villagers told me that he belonged to a Thikadari Kazi family, which according to them does not belong to the genuine Kazi pedigree.
Excellent stone work   
The present owner of this House (as per the version of the villagers) is Mr. Tenzong Khangsarpa. The most important thing here is the title Khangsarpa used by the owner. This title is a very familiar one which is known to every Sikkimese due to their first Chief Minister Kazi Lhendup Dorjee Khangsarpa. If the villagers are true enough in their affirmation, then the person Gyaltshen Kazi must belong to the original Kazi lineage.
Few people told me that there used to be a Thinguro to punish the criminals. But, when we visited the House we did not get any germane in their statement. Possibly, it was removed after the abolition of Landlordism in Sikkim. They further informed us that the unsolved cases of the adjacent villages used to get settle at this House. Therefore, the House has got a new name of Settlement House which was alien to the native tongues of Assam Lingzey.   

Mystifying "Border Stone" of Rhenock

The Mysterious "Border Stone" -looks more like a Shiva Lingham

History of Sikkim is covered with so many mysteries that it becomes a challenging job for a student of History to differentiate between facts and fictions. Amid to the historical evidences it becomes really tough for us to reach to a conclusion about certain places due to the lack of authentic writings. Due to the lack of supportive inscriptions many important places in the past are presently not getting much attention from the modern Historians.
This is also a story of a forgotten place named Torem which possibly had once occupied an important position in our times of yore. Situated at Rhenock (a bordering town of East Sikkim that borders with West Bengal) the place has drag attention of many individuals because of a huge stone, which is said to have been erected by a Lepcha king of Damsang Gadi (Damsang Fort). The natives of the place believe that the huge stone used to be a border hedge in some unknown period.  Few local youths of Aritar Arigaon are trying to explore its historical importance and they believe that the place can be converted into historical as well as pilgrimage tourism.
Mr. Santosh Sharma a native of Torem, and my colleague informed me that many people have tried to deracinate the stone from the said place but were unable to do it due its vast entombment. Presently, the stone is three feet tall from the ground. Further, similar kinds of stones are also available at a place called Hathichede and at Kutitar. But, the huge stone of Kutitar was removed during the construction of Lingsey Simana Road (Border Road). It is said that a drilling machine took a whole day to dig up the stone. Though, the huge stone has been removed, a mysterious footprint of a yak on the side of it is still prevalent. The Hindus and the Buddhists natives of the said area worship the footprint as a holy symbol.
The so called border hedge dragged my attention because it is in the proximity of the present international border. After a walk of two hours from Torem, we can reach to a tri-junction i.e. the border of three different countries viz. Sikkim (India) Tibet (China) and Bhutan. I have been hearing many stories about it since a long time. According to a legend prevalent among the villagers of Torem, the stones were kept by the Chinese during their march towards Sikkim. It is to be mention here that the Chinese had never attempt to capture Sikkim in the past. While doing so, the Chinese had to subdue the Tibetan first than only they could proceed towards Sikkim. Further, Tibet has always regarded Sikkim as its child therefore; there is no question of Tibetan aggression to Sikkim. Above all, Bhutan has drawn my interest as it has played a vital role in the political upheavals of Sikkim in the earlier times. It is to be noted here that, there used to be a frequent raids from the Bhutanese into this part of Sikkim in the 18th century. In addition to this, Kalimpong, presently a small town in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal used to be a part of the Bhutanese. Likewise, the Bhutanese had been able to capture a major portion of Sikkimese tracts during their aggression to Sikkim in the 18th century. The history of Sikkim affirms that with the intermediation of the 6th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the Bhutanese had come for negotiation which ultimately led for the secession of the lost territory of Sikkim to its ruler Chador Namgyal. After the reconciliation, Bhutan made another invasion that led to the loss of Kalimpong and Rhenock areas of Sikkim. The Sikkimese ruler Chador Namgyal put all his efforts to expel the Bhutanese, but remained unsuccessful.
From the above evidences it seems that, to confirm their sway over these tracts of Sikkim, the Bhutanese had erected such stone hedges. But, due to its ambiguous history one cannot determine that the said stones were indisputably kept by the Bhutanese. In the lack of calligraphic substantiations the whole version of the “Border Stones” is thus encircled by the myths, legends and tales which do not bear any credibility in Historiography.
The place is now converted into a religious site 
The striking feature of the stone lying at Torem is that is it not rudimentary in nature. It is a polished stone which resembles Shiva Lingham (Phallus) of the Hindus. In the earlier days, local of Rhenock used to carry Dabai Pani (medicinal water) to sprinkle holy water to the “Border Stone” as most of them still believe it to be a sacred one. The Dabai Pani (Medicinal Water) originates at the slither area situated nearby to the mysterious stone. Presently, the so called border hedge has been converted into a religious place which is being looked after by a Sadhu Rai of Torem and is also the head priest of the site.

 The concept of keeping stone pillars has its own history in India. Even Emperor Ashoka had erected many rock pillars throughout his domain. The rock edicts of Ashoka have been incised with the morals of Dhamma and are written in Brahmi and Kharosthi scripts. But, the “Border Stone” of Rhenock does not bear any such incises.  Therefore, due to the paucity of calligraphic sources on this “Border Stone”, the responsible person or kingdom for its erection will always remain enclosed with myths and legends.

Letter of Namchi Kazi to Sikkim Durbar 1937

Education has always played a vital role for the political development of a country. But, in the erstwhile Sikkim it was a privilege enjoyed only by the super class. People belonging to the grass root level did not have any opportunity to attend a school. In every society, people began to dream for a better life only after getting closer to education.  Hence, it plays an active role in grooming the ideas of democracy inside the ignorant and slumbered minds of the common people. Possibly, the neglected education system of the erstwhile Himalayan Kingdom was highly responsible for the delay of democratic ideas among the Sikkimese peasants.
Above all, the majority of Sikkim’s population was that of peasants or ‘Bustiwallas,’ as they were known by the authorities that time, were very much innocent. The economic condition of the kingdom apart from those of the authorities, was not good than the poorest country of the world. The peasants are the backbone of every agricultural country but, the Sikkimese authorities were a mile away from this fact. They never did a mistake to see a peasant from the eye of humanity, if they did so, they knew that they would be in a great lost. The peasant, who always remained busy in serving their masters without any wage, could not imagine a world of freedom. They might have a concept that every nations of the world are moving in the same pattern as their world was moving. Therefore, they made a compromise in their lives, since many generations, to live the very same life obeying the orders of their authorities and getting betrayed from them. There was no question of education in such a situation where one loaf of bread was more valuable then the philosophies of Marx, Engel, Gandhi and Socrates. Moreover, there were no schools in the villages nor were they in the neighbouring areas. Few peasants though, had sent their children to the neighbouring state of West Bengal for their study, of course, not in a good school, but just to get educated.
Amid to a Nepali proverb Pade Gune K Kam….Halo Jotey Payo Mam (Nothing is there in reading and Writing plough the field and get food) few peasants have tried their best to set up some schools in distant villages but, their attempts went futile due to the least bothered attitude of the Kazis, the self-styled Masters of the Sikkimese peasantry. It is to be noted here that, in the midst of to the enlightened rule of its reformist ruler, Sir Tashi Namgyal, there was a hold down in opening some schools in Sikkim. Those obstacles were mainly posed by the Kazis and the Thikadars. Further, they even punished the parents for sending their children to the schools. The Kazis and the Thikadars were very much aware to the fact that if the children of a peasant get education, they would never follow their orders.  The document along with this post shows how pathetically schools in Sikkim were functioning in those days. It is a letter sent to Sikkim Durbar by the Kazi of Namchi Tashi Wangyal Lassepa which is related to the commencement of a village school at Namchi. In this letter he has referred the virtuous idea of opening a school as an attempt of the peasants to fulfill their selfish motives. The said school is presently known as Namchi Senior Secondary School which has produced many great politicians and people of extra excellence. The most important students of this school are Mr. C D Rai (A veteran Politician, who has been associated with Sikkimese politics since 1940’s) and Mr. Nar Bahadur Bhandari, the former Chief Minister of Sikkim. The School was established in 1934 with the futurist zeal of the peasants of Namchi. But, their attempts were nearly crushed by the undemocratic and dictatorial system of pre-independence Sikkim.
It is a wonder how those illiterate fathers knew the importance of education? These children of those illiterate fathers later became the Messiah to the whole peasantry of Sikkim. To get education in some good institutions was only the inherited right for the children of Kazis, Thikadars and other high officials.  They sent their children to some good schools in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Dehradun for their education. But there children too, even after getting educated in such good institutes, apart from few, never got farsighted. It was due to the innocence and illiteracy of the Sikkimese people they were always betrayed and cheated by their Kazis and Thikadars. The resolutions passed by the International Convention announcing the abolition of forced labour was never explained to them by the Zamindars and the Thikadars (L.B Basnet). Thus, in such an atmosphere to expect democratic idea among the common people in Sikkim was not less than a mirage in a desert. 
(The above references are collected from the interviews taken from various people who have witnessed   such practices prevalent in erstwhile Sikkim) 

Revenue System of Sikkim and the Royal Declaration of Maharaja Sir Tashi Namgyal of 7th June 1957

 The taxation system in Sikkim dates back to 1730’s. It was started after the appointment of Rabden Sarpa by the Tibetan Government as a regent to Namgyal Phuntsog (1733-1780) the Fifth ruler of Sikkim. The said regent began to collect taxes from all of the Sikkimese subjects like the Rongs, Tsongs Magars and the Bhutias. The form of taxes includes granules, maize, millet, local beer etc.
Bhutia and Lepcha version of the Declaration
The collection of taxes in the form of cash or kind was commenced in Sikkim after the advent of the Nepalese. Few tribes of this community were already residing on the western part of the Sikkimese territory which was taken over by them on their march towards Sikkim in 1789. During their endeavor, the Gurkhas annexed the territories of Sikkim up to Teesta River. For nearly 25 years, Pemayangtse and all the South and West of Teesta tract paid their rent to Nepal until, they were expelled by the British in 1815.
It was during the reign of Sidkeong Namgyal (1863-1874) the Patta for the Nepalese were issued whereby they began to possess land for the Thika or contracts. Those pattas were initially issued only for few influential Nepalese like Taksari Chandra Bir Pradhan and Lakshmi Das Pradhan. The Newar brothers began to bring bands of the Nepalese from Nepal to work at the barren lands of Sikkim as the tenants. During Sir Thotub Namgyal’s reign, few Sikkimese Kazis like Tseepa Lama settled Nepalese in Chakhung for his personal benefits. His example was soon followed by Lasso Athing, Phodang Lama and Khangsa Dewan. The only motive of those Kazis in the bringing the Nepalese into Sikkim was to fill their treasuries. They (the Kazis and the Nepali Thikadars) made a rampant taxation among those browbeaten new comers for their individual gains. Further, the Lepchas and the Bhutias were also not spare from paying taxes by them in their materialistic ventures.  
With the appointment of J C White as the Political Officer in 1889, Sikkim witnessed his self styled Zamindari System. A number of Lessee Landlords were created throughout Sikkim with untold powers to mortgage or to confiscate the lands of the innocent peasants. Further, with the help of his Sikkimese protégés Claude White board upon a policy of obliterating the ancient economy of Sikkim. This paved a way for the birth of Kaziism, Thikadari system, and all the other forced labours like Kuruwa, Kalobhari, Jharlangi, Theki-Bethi, Ghar-Lauri etc.
The accession of Sridgkyong Trulku (February 1914- December 1914) as the tenth ruler of Sikkim was indeed the enlightened epoch of the History of Sikkim. Even before his coronation, he made an order in 1913, to abolish the imprisonment as a penalty for non-payment of debts. But most unfortunately, he could not adopt a new revenue system in Sikkim due to his premature death.
The taxation system has observed a colossal change during its Reformist Ruler Sir Tashi Namgyal (1914-1963). He became active after the withdrawal of the British from India for an all round development of his Kingdom. No doubt, he made many reforms in the judiciary during the hegemony of the British. But, the task of eliminating the forced labour and taxation were done only after the departure of the Colonial Government from India. A trigonomic survey of all lands in his dominion was made and the land assessed to the peasants according to this survey. He realized doing away with the previous system of assessing rent based on approximation of the quality of seeds required for a piece of land in 1958.
The Declaration of 7th June 1957 was written in three major languages of  Independent Sikkim. 
This document pasted here with this post belongs to the same year when the Declaration was made by His Highness Maharaja Sir Tashi Namgyal to eliminate the previous form of revenue system. The earlier page of this document is lost but still we can get an idea about the various provisions integrated into the Declaration. This document reveals the fact that on 30th of August 1956 the Maharaja had set up a Committee about the imposition of the new lenient taxation among his subjects. Clause (3) of the Declaration has focused on the deduction of 50% of the tax from the Sikkimese Subjects. It is said in the document that while implementing such taxation system His Highness has taken two major aspects into consideration and they are- (A) The Economic condition of the Durbar (B) The arrangement of money for the constructive schemes among the Subjects. Clause No (4) of this Declaration deals with the new taxation system implemented after 1958 according to this a Nepali peasant had to pay Rs. 4 and 4 Aanas for one acre of Pani Kheti (Paddy Field). Similarly, a Bhutia or a Lepcha had to pay 3 Rs. and 6 Aanas for the same tract of land. Further, for the possession of a Sukha (dry) Land a Nepali peasant had to pay 1 Rs and 14 Annas per Acre. Likewise, a Bhutia or a Lepcha had to pay 1 Rs. and 3 Annas for an acre of Dry Land.
Thus, the history of taxation system in Sikkim has come across many monopolistic phases. Though, few attempts were made by the Sikkimese rulers to reframe the cartelistic taxation system but, their attempts went futile due to the immense pressure from the Political Officers. It was only due to the enlightened ideas of Maharaja Sir Tashi Namgyal; the Sikkimese peasants remained able to enjoy the relaxed taxation policy.    
The document was printed at Durbar Press Gangtok and was published by its coordinator. The stamp of a Tahsildar suggests that it was issued to the commoners by the Office of the Tehsildar. I am grateful to Mr. B.B Lohrung Rai of Namchi Kazitar for sharing this piece of information with me. 

The Charismatic Figure of Sikkim- Maharaja Sidkeong Namgyal

Sidkeong Trulku  Xth Maharaja of Sikkim Pic. Source Sikkim Archives
Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal the tenth consecrated ruler of Sikkim was born in 1879 and was the eldest son and heir of Maharaja Sri Panch Sir Thutob Namgyal. After attending traditional (monastic) schooling he was admitted to St. Paul's School, Darjeeling and at Pembroke College, Oxford. Sidkeong was admitted to Oxford in 1906 (the year that witnessed the commencement of a modern school at Gangtok) and during his two years’ stay in England he distinguished himself in the corporate life of the Oxford University. After accomplishing his education from Oxford he returned to his realm in 1908.
After his return, Sidkeong was assigned the charge of Forest, Monasteries and Schools which were regarded as the three important departments. During the last phase of Maharaja Sri Panch Sir Thotub Namgyal, Sidkyong show evidence of his proficiency about the state administration. It can be said that the young lad had single handedly ran the administration of Sikkim in lieu of his father Sir Thotub Namgyal who was unable to execute the duty of a king due to poor eye sight. As an heir apparent, Sidkeong made two important covenants. One was the abolition of imprisonment as a penalty for defaults of debts and the other was the record in the Council Proceedings of the ban on settlements of plainsmen.   
After the death of Maharaja Sri Panch Sir Thotub Namgyal, Sidkeong succeeded him on 10th February 1914. His contact with the Western deliberation and conviction made him a secular and liberal in his deeds. Further, Sidkeong became the first bystander from Sikkim to perceive the rapid development in the west. Possibly, he might have also desired to have a similar arrangement in his Kingdom as well. It is reflected from the access of his sister Chuni Wangmo to a modern school. On the contrary of sending the Buddhist children to monastic educational institute Sidkeong sent his sister to attend modern educational institute that itself is possibly the best illustration about his liberalism.
Being greatly engulfed in the Western ideas Sidkeong made an unsuccessful attempt to liquidate landlordism in Sikkim. This idea of the enlightened Maharaja has made him distinct from all his predecessors. In fact, it was the culmination of the western education that he received at Oxford. The lucid philosophy of Europe and America had now made Sidkeong a champion of the peasants back in his kingdom. He possibly had a superior dream to provide a better avenue of income to that brow beaten nucleus of production. But, the cogent idea of him created stern enemies among a large number of landlords. Further, his resilience of independence and forward personality strained relations with the British Political Officer Sir Charles Bell. Amid to all the qualities of an excellent ruler, the reign of Sidkeong Trulku Namgyal did not last long.
In the winters of 1914, this young and open-minded Maharaja had an attack of Jaundice. A British Physician from Calcutta (now Kolkata) was called to the palace to take care of him. “While somewhat indisposed, a British Physician from Bengal administered a heavy transfusion of brandy and put him under a number of blankets; at the same time a fire was kept beneath the bed. Death came in the hour. Thus, ended prematurely a promising career in most suspicious circumstances”   (Sikkim-A Concise Chronicle P 22) But, even in such a short period of ten months, Maharaja Sidkeyong Namgyal has tried to execute a commendable job for the betterment of his subjects. As any other charming characters of History he also had to battle with the adversaries which were prevalent within his administration. Thus, the most charismatic figure of the Sikkimese history had to meet an untimed bereavement at the young age of 35.
A part from a good son and a great ruler, Sidkeong was a polyglot as well. He was well versed in many languages like Chinese, English, Hindi, Nepali, Lepcha and Tibetan. It is to be noted here that in 1903 Sidkeong led the Sikkimese representatives at the Delhi Durbar of Lord Curzon which eventually broke the political isolation of the Himalayan Kingdom. In 1911, Shree Panch Maharaj Kumar Sidkeong Trulku Namgyal was conferred the covetous Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) by the British Indian Government. In 1913, he was granted the honorary title of Lieutenant. After his accession to the throne of Sikkim in 1914 he take pleasure in the title of Lieutenant His Highness Shree Panch Sidkeong Trulku Namgyal, Maharaja Chogyal of Sikkim, CIE.  

Sikkim at the Delhi Durbar of 1903

Photograph of one of the Sikkim tents at the Delhi Durbar in 1903. 
The earlier Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim was a secluded one until it made her contacts with the British East India Company. The Anglo- Gurkha war has provided her a bigger platform to maintain a cordial relation with the British. Though, she pleased the East India Company by transferring the Hilly tracts (that also includes plains of south of Teesta) of Darjeeling in 1935, she was frequently victimized by the mercantile policies of the Company. The whole reign of Maharaja Sir Thotub Namgyal can be regarded as a period of “Dissatisfaction” in Anglo-Sikkim Relations. The appointment of Political Officer in Sikkim was indeed a new measure taken up by the British Indian Government to maintain a status-quo at the buffer zone; on the contrary, it led the British Indian Government to have an Upper Hand in the Administration of Sikkim. She was kept in a ‘Political Seclusion’ by the British Political Officer, who designated himself as the de-facto ruler of the Kingdom.
It can be said that Sikkim had broken its political slumber only after attending the Delhi Durbar of 1903. The Durbar was an event organized by the then Viceroy of India Lord Curzon, (1898-1905). The main motive for the grand ceremony was to celebrate the coronation of newly crowned King Edward VII who was declared Emperor of India on New Year’s Day, 1903.
The programme of events lasted over 10 days. It began with the grand opening procession on 29th December, where the Viceroy, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, other British VIPs and Indian Princes paraded through the streets of Delhi on elephants.
Sikkim tents at the Delhi Durbar, 1903. A Sketch of  Beryl White
The ruler of Sikkim, Sir Thotub Namgyal was also invited in the event to attend the Grand Celebration. The Maharaja contentedly accepted the invitation, and deputed his son and successor, Sidkyong Trulku, the Maharaj-Kumar, to be his representative. The native Ruling chiefs were allotted camping sites along with the others Sikkim also got a place to build its camp to be the witness of the huge Extravaganza. The whole of India was then delighted; Sikkim also got a chance to be a part of it.
The Sikkimese tents were delightfully picturesque and unusual, made after Tibetan fashion with an elaborate design in appliqué cloth of many colours on the roofs, while the sides were decorated with the eight lucky signs: The Wheel of Life; the Conch Shell, or Trumpet of Victory; the Umbrella; the Victorious Banner; the Golden Fish; the Lucky Diagram; the Lotus; and the Vase: so constantly reproduced in Buddhist ornamentation. The camp attracted many visitors, amongst them Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. In the absence of the Maharaja, the Maharaj-Kumar was allowed to represent his father and was accorded his salute of fifteen guns, Cavalry escort, and military guard on the camp. He also took his place in all the great State functions, riding an extremely fine elephant lent for the occasion by the Betiah Raj, in the Chiefs’ Procession, beside the Mahraja of Cooch Behar, and presenting his address to the King-Emperor through the Viceroy at the great Durbar.
The speech of Maharaj Kumar Sidkyong Trulku was very distinguishing  : ‘May His Majesty King Edward VII, from the time of occupation of this Golden Throne, exercise power over all these worlds; may be live for thousands of cycles and ever sustain all living creatures in joy and happiness.’ 
It was the Kumar’s first attempt at playing host to a number of European guests, and he did it very nicely with Mrs. White’s help, looking carefully after the comfort of the eight or ten guests staying in the camp and always delighted to welcome people to lunch or dinner. He was most appreciative of any assistance we could give him, and constantly said he would have been quite unable to carry out any of his arrangements alone.’
The Sikkimese representatives headed by the heir apparent to the throne Sidgyong Trulku reached Delhi to attend the celebration on December 16th 1902 in a special train. It is to be noted here that the delegation had to board itself from the Siliguri Junction to reach Delhi. They were also accompanied by the Bhutanese representatives. According to Beryl White who also prepares a sketch of the Sikkimese Tents during the event-The Sikkimese camp is horse shoe shaped, with a round grass centre. On the right entrance are the tents for the guests. The left side is wholly Tibetan in design and material. A row of tall masts with prayers printed on red, green and blue cloth lead to the entrance of a large courtyard formed of Tibetan cloth, emblazoned with the emblems of good luck, interlaced circles being conspicuous. 
The centre of the court yard is occupied by the same signs worked in flowering plants, while the walls are adorned with ancient portraits of saints painted on large banners.
The main room is surmounted by a roof literally covered with conventional signs in which the head and hands of the protecting Sikkim demons are conspicuous, while eight emblems of happiness are worked in colours on four of the front tents and four of the back. 
 The interior displays a complete Lama altar, with magnificent specimens of ecclesiastical work in gold and silver plate.
On the walls are ancient specimens of embroidered priestly robes, surmounted by unique aprons and carved human bones, with a magnificent deep fringe of deep embroidered silk; while a canopy of silk covers the space where the visitors are received.
Scattered about are quaint swords, handsome rings, enormous trumpets, and various curios. A covered way leads to the dining room, where the Kumar, who talks English, takes his meals with his guests.
The interior is draped plainly in scarlet, but the outside of the tent is also covered with Tibetan insignia. The whole has been designed by and carried out under the immediate supervision of the Kumar. It took some months to complete. Beyond is another smaller Tibetan enclosure for purely business purposes. 
This is the first occasion on which a complete Tibetan camp has been seen in the plains of India. The elephant which carried the Kumar is a magnificent tusker, one of the finest in Delhi, while the howdah and trappings are wholly of gold-plate embroidery.’ 

 Information about the events in the Delhi Durbar of 1903 and Photographs are taken from

Frederick Williamson- An I C S by Service and a Photographer by Passion

Photograph taken by Williamson Prince Paljor is standing in front of  C E Dudley
Picture Source Digital Himalaya
Frederick Williamson was the Eighth British Political Officer of Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet in the 1930s. A part from a steward diplomat posted in the buffer zone of Sikkim, Williamson was also a passionate photographer. He has taken a number of pictures of Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan (three Himalayan Kingdoms) during his stay at Gangtok as a British Political Officer. Between December 1930-August 1935, he and his wife, Margaret Williamson, shot approximately 1700 photographs throughout the Himalayan region. As well as documenting the Williamsons' personal travels, the photos provide an unusually well-preserved and well-catalogued insight into social life in Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet during the 1930s [Source:] His photographs resembles the social, political, cultural and economic aspects of then Sikkim and its immediate neighbors which are mostly confined in travelogues and writings of the scholars. The most important picture taken by him includes the family photographs of Sikkim Royals in which young pilot prince of Sikkim Paljor Namgyal is standing with the other member of the Royal House. A part from this rare picture, almost all the photography of Williamson like plays an imperative part for the study of pre Second World War Sikkim. The Williamson Photographic Collection is housed in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University and a recent exhibition entitled Collected Sights featured a number of Williamson's photos. Of equal interest are the 23 reels of 16mm cine film which Williamson shot while in Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet. (Source ) The passionate photographer and a gigantic diplomat Frederick Williamson died in Lhasa in 1936.
Maharaja Sir Tashi Namgyal and Maharani Kunzang Deechen of Sikkim and Mrs. Dudley
Pic. Source: Digital Himalaya

Rai Bahadur Norbu DhondupOBE, CBE

Rai Bahadur Norbu Dhondup
Frederick Spencer Chapman
Year 1936
Rai Bahadur Norbhu Dhondup OBE, CBE (1904-1947) was the confidential clerk to the British Political Officer for Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet. He was born in Kalimpong and had no aristocratic connections but in school in Darjeeling was chosen to be an interpreter for Colonel L. A. Waddell during the Younghusband Expedition of 1903-1904. When Youngshusband left Lhasa he refused to go with him as he was engaged to a Tibetan girl and was treated as a deserter. However, he was used by the British as an interpreter again when the Panchen Lama visited India in 1905. He then served as confidential clerk to the British Trade Agent in Gyantse and the Political Officer for Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet. In 1920 he accompanied Sir Charles Bell to Lhasa and in 1923 visited again with Leiut.-Col. Bailey. In 1927 the 13th Dalai Lama made him a depön (general) in the Tibetan army. In 1928 he organized and accompanied Leiut.-Col. Weir’s visit to Lhasa and in 1934 was ordered to Lhasa to counteract the Chinese Mission. Following the death of Frederick Williamson in Lhasa in 1935, Norbhu became Gould’s confidential clerk for the 1936 Mission. He reported that his life had been endangered numerous times by Russian and Chinese agents during his trips to Tibet but pledged, “I… shall not die before I murder at least two, as I have my rifles and my pistols always loaded”. Gould writes of him “his greatest asset was the fact that he was a man who had no guile in him. He was full of life and experience and he was trusted. The only time I ever saw him put out was when I told him that it was not customary to wear both O.B.E and C.B.E. decorations at the same time. Some years later, an hour before he died, he sat up in bed and called the doctors fools for suggesting that he was ill… He had little education, lots of common sense, a ready laugh and infinite guts”.  Norbhu died in 1947 of tuberculosis.

The information and picture about Rai Bahadur Norbu is collected from

Report of the Recognition of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

The concept of birth and re-birth dates back to the Vedic Period. They had immense faith on the life after death and had always focused themselves performing a better duty in order to unleash an individual from the chains of birth and death. Buddhism, being a movement within Brahminism also shares many similar concepts which are prevalent in Brahmanism or modern Hinduism. Like any common Hindus they also believe in the concept of birth and death and a perpetual soul. The Buddhists also have a sturdy belief on the incarnation of supreme souls after their death. The sturdiness of their faith on incarnation can be ascertained from the birth and incarnation of various Lamas and Rimponches in the Buddhist world.
The birth of an incarnation of the earlier supreme soul is a usual feature in Buddhism. The document of today’s post is also associated with the incarnation and recognition of His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama by then Political Officer of Sikkim B J Gould in May 1941. It is a cover page of the Report submitted by then Political Officer of Sikkim Sir Gould to the British Indian Government. I have found this certificate on the website of British Museum and is abided with the copy right of the same.
It is to be noted here that, apart from Sikkim, Sir B J Gould had the additional charge of Political Affairs of Bhutan and Tibet. He was an Indian Civil Servant of 1907 batch and had served as a British Trade Agent at Gyantse, Tibet from 1912-1913. In 1912, the Dalai Lama asked that some "energetic and clever sons of respectable families" should be given "world-class educations at Oxford CollegeLondon". The Indian government decided that Gould, who was about to go on leave back to England, should guide the four young boys (known as the "Four Rugby Boys") on their journey to the United Kingdom and assist them during their first few weeks in England in April 1913.  
In August 1936, Gould led a delegation to Lhasa to negotiate with the Tibetan government on the possibility of the 9th Panchen Lama's return to Tibet. Gould also discussed British military aid to Lhasa. Gould inquired about the creation of a British office in Lhasa, but the Tibetan government rejected this. Gould eventually departed Lhasa, but left behind his commercial representative, Hugh Richardson, who had been previously stationed in Gyantse. Richardson was equipped with a radio so Richardson could maintain contact with the British. In August 1936, Gould led a delegation to Lhasa to negotiate with the Tibetan government on the possibility of the 9th Panchen Lama's return to Tibet. Gould also discussed British military aid to Lhasa. Gould inquired about the creation of a British office in Lhasa, but the Tibetan government rejected this. Gould eventually departed Lhasa, but left behind his commercial representative, Hugh Richardson, who had been previously stationed in Gyantse. Richardson was equipped with a radio so Richardson could maintain contact with the British.
In 1940, Gould attended the installation ceremonies of the 14th Dalai Lama in Lhasa, Tibet. Gould brought a gift of a Meccano set for the young Tenzin Gyatso (the present Dalai Lama). In 1945 The British Mission under Gould helped to start a school in Lhasa, but it was soon closed under pressure from Tibetan religious authorities.
Sir Basil John Gould CMG, CIE (1883 -1956) served as a Political Officer of Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet from 1935 to 1945. In 1941, Gould received the title of "Sir".
The Article related to Sir B J Gould is extracted from Wikipedia.

Sikkim's First

Mr. C. B Katwal First Member of Parliament 
Mr. Justice M M Singh Gujral First Chief Justice Sikkim High Court
(07/05/1976- 14/03/1983)

Shri. Chatur Singh Rai First Speaker Sikkim Legislative Assembly

Shri. T S Gyaltshen First Chief Secretary Government of Sikkim
(26/04/1975- 31/03/1980)

Members of Sikkim Council 1954

Governors of Sikkim

Shri B B Lal First Governor
(16/05'1975- 09/01/1981)

Shri H J H Taliyarkhan Second Governor
(10/01/1981- 17/06/1984)
Shri. K. Prabhakar Rao Third Governor
(16/06/1984- 30/05/1985)

Shri. B N Singh Fourth Governor
(31/05/1985- 20/11/1985)

Shri. T V Rajeswar Fifth Governor
(21/11/1985- 01/03/1989)
Shri. S. K Bhatnagar Sixth Governor
(02/03/1989- 07/02/1990)

Shri. R H Tahiliani Seventh Governor
(08/02/1990- 20/09/1994)

Shri. P. Shiv Shanker Eighth Governor
(21/09/1994- 11/11/1995)

Shri. K V Raghunatha Reddy Ninth Governor
(12/11/1995- 19/03/1996) 

Chaudhary Randhir Singh Tenth Governor
(10/03/1996- 17/05/2001)

Shri. Kidar Nath Sahani Eleventh Governor
(18/05/2001- 23/10/2003)

Shree K N Sahani was succeeded by Shree V Rama Rao as the Twelfth Governor of Sikkim on 26th of 2002 and remained till 12th July 2006. Shree R S Gavai was appointed as an acting Governor from 13th July 2006 to 12th August 2006. Shree Gavai was again succeeded by V Rama Rao as the Fourteenth Governor on 13th August 2006 and remains in Office up to 25th October 2007. Shree Sudarshan Agrawal was appointed as the Fifteenth Governor of Sikkim on 25th October 2007 up to 8th July 2008. The present Governor of Sikkim Shree Balmiki Prasad Singh was sworn in on 9th July 2008 as the Sixteenth Governor.(Further Writings and Photographs of the Governors of Sikkim will feature soon in the blog)