B B Gurung- The Third Chief Minister of Sikkim (11th May 1984-24th May 1984)

Mr. B B Gurung, the third Chief Minister of Sikkim was born on 11th October 1929 at Chakhung village in West Sikkim. After accomplishing his Graduation from Calcutta University, Mr. Gurung worked as a teacher at Turnbull School Darjeeling for a short period.  He then returned to Sikkim and continued the same profession as a teacher and worked at Rangpo High School. After few years he left the job of teacher and worked as a Staff Reporter for Amrita Bazar Patrika a Calcutta based newspaper. He has also edited Kanchenjunga the first news based Nepali journal of Sikkim.

He began his political career as a member of Sikkim State congress (founded in December 1947). Very soon he was given the charge of General Secretary of the Party. Later, he was elected as a Councilor from Chakhung Constituency. As a Councilor, Mr. Gurung was given the charge of Education, Forest and Transportation Department.
Mr. B.B Gurung pic. sikkimonlineinfo 
Mr. Gurung was the important figure of 1973 agitation in Sikkim. He was one of the signatories to sign the historic 8th May Agreement which is also known as Tripartite Agreement. It has to be mentioned here, this agreement was signed between His Majesty the Chogyal of Sikkim, Leaders of various Political Parties of Sikkim and the Government of India. With the conclusion of this Agreement Sikkim witnessed its first ever Constitutional Monarchy and a Parliamentary Democracy based on the Universal Democratic principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
In the election of 1973, which was held as per the terms made in the May 8th Agreement, Mr. Gurung was elected as a member of the Sikkim Assembly as a candidate of Sikkim National Congress. In October 1977, he was appointed as the Speaker of Sikkim Legislative Assembly which was then vacant due to the death of its First Speaker late Chatur Singh Rai.
Mr. B.B Gurung being sworn in as the Third Chief Minister of Sikkim on 11th May 1984
Mr. B.B. Gurung was an active figure in the politics of Sikkim during pre and post merger period. He was instrumental in making Sikkim an Associate State of India in 1974 and transforming independent Sikkim into 22nd state of Indian Union. In October 1979 Sikkim Legislative Assembly election Mr. Gurung was elected from two constituencies of Chakhung and Jorethang as a candidate of Sikkim Congress Revolutionary led by Mr. Ram Chandra Paudyal.
In May 1984, Mr. Nar Bahadur Bhandari’s government was dismissed by then Governor J.H. Taleyarkhan under Article (164) of the Indian Constitution. This paved a way to Mr. Gurung to become the next Chief Minister of Sikkim. He was sworn in as the third Chief Minister of Sikkim on 11th of May 1984 and remained in power for 13 days. The then Governor of Sikkim J H Taleyarkhan recommended for imposition of President’s Rule in the State of Sikkim under Article 356 of the Constitution of India on 25th of May 1984. Thus, the 13 days old Government headed by Mr. Gurung got dissolved owing to lack of support and instability. This veteran leader of Sikkimese political sphere is still active in the politics of Sikkim.  

Sikkim- Chirping inside the Past

Gangtok on 28th March 1973 crammed with pro and anti-merger group

Governor B.B Lal and L.D Kazi with the members of First Sikkim Legislative Council

Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi visiting Sikkim in 1984

Mr. N.B Bhandari being sworn in as the Chief Minister of Sikkim

Mr. Bhandari with the members of Sikkim Legislative Assembly 

Funeral procession of Miwang Denzong Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal

Mr. B.B Gurung being sworn in as third Chief Minister of Sikkim

Mr. Sancha Man Limboo being sworn in as fourth Chief Minister of Sikkim 

Tashiding Monastery- Greatly shaken by 6.9 Magnitude Earthquake

Destruction inside Tashiding Monastery Pic. Chogyal Bhutia

Tashiding is a small village situated in the Western part of Sikkim and is regarded as the most holy land on earth by the followers of Tibetan Buddhism. The village has a monastery which is popular with the name of Tashiding Monastery. It is one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim. Constructed in 1641A.D, by a revered Saint Ngadak Sempa Chempo of Ningmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism is also a National heritage site categorized by the Ecclesiastical Department, Government of Sikkim. The word Tashiding in Tibetan means depth of auspiciousness. As stated above, the place is regarded as one of the holiest place by the Buddhists around the world. Tashiding is surrounded by four holy caves from four different directions which is the prominent facet to make this place the holiest one. In the East of Tashiding, Shar-chog-bey Phog (Phog in Tibetan means Cave) is situated near Ravangla. On the Western part of Tashiding, there is Dechen Phug at Darap Nambu. Similarly, Lharing Nying Phug at Labdang Tashiding is at the northern direction of sacred Tashiding Monastery. Finally, Lho- Khandro Sang Phug at Reshi/Legship is in the southern part of the shrine. It is also said that Mahaguru Padmasambhava, who is also known as Guru Rimponche in the Tibetan Buddhist world has also blessed this place in the 8th Century A.D. Thus, the place is a sanctified, exalted and sanctimonious not only to the Buddhists of Sikkim but to the entire Sikkimese populace who are now interweaving themselves in a yarn of a common Sikkimese culture.
Tathagata himself speaks at Tashiding Pic. Chogyal Bhutia
Being one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim, the historical importance of Tashiding cannot be overlooked.  Tensung Namgyal, the second king of Namgyal Dynasty (that ruled Sikkim from 1642 to 1975) was born at Tashiding in 1644 A.D. The latter shifted his capital from Yoksam to Rhabdentse after his consecration in 1670, as the Second Ruler to the Namgyal Throne. Further, Tashiding was also sanctified with the elegance of Rikgzing Goedem Chen in 12th and 13th century who had come to Sikkim from Tibet. This revered Lama has constructed a monastery at Nesha Paohungri, which still has its ruins at Nesha, north to present days’ Tashiding Monastery. Had this monastery been in a standing position it could have been regarded as the oldest monastery of Sikkim. Presently, this position is enjoyed by Dubdi Monastery of Yoksam in West Sikkim. It is said that, Rikgzing Goedem Chen divulged many treasures hidden by Mahaguru Padmasambhava in Sikkim.
Being a hallmark of Tibetan Buddhism, Tashiding monastery observes a pious festival of Bom- Chu which dates back to 1641 A.D. The literary meaning of Bom-Chu is Holy Vase Water. It is believed that, the vase on which the Chu or Water is contained was made by Guru Rimponche himself. This festival is celebrated here on the full moon of first month of Tibetan Calendar.
Pic. Chogyal Bhutia
The place with such a historical importance was also greatly shaken by the recent earthquake occurred on September 18th. The devastating earthquake has destroyed its ceiling, walls and even its floor. The earthquake measuring 6.9 Richter scale has nearly put down the structure on the ground. But, possibly due to the immense faith of the Sikkimese towards this shrine, the Tashiding Monastery is still standing and blessing the entire Denzong Valley.

Locals of Tashiding clearing wreckage after the Earthquake Pic. Chogyal Bhutia
Floor of the shrine after the Earthquake Pic. Chogyal Bhutia

The locals and monks of this monastery have recently conducted a Menlem (prayer) in the name of the departed souls, who lost their lives in the catastrophe of September 18th in Sikkim. It also conducted Dok-Thap (Puja to protect Sikkim from such cataclysm) from 4th of October to 6th of October 2011 praying his Almighty to protect this tiny Himalayan state from any such devastation. 

Pictures of Namchi Government College Relief Team taken at Bey

Team above River Kanaka

We crossed more than 12 Landslides

Carrying material was a difficult task

Simon Rai carrying relief materials on the adverse way

Tilak- Waiting other members after crossing 10th Mile Landslide

Taking rest on the devastated path

Crossing the most dangerous way

Jeet- Busy in making strategy 

Phurba crossing the barrier 

Above River Kankai

Roads- Brush off by the Landslide

Rope a small means to reach Bey. It was tighten by the mountaineering team

Humanism through Learning

Devastation Everywhere

At 4t Mile Relief Camp 

Post Earthquake Pictures of Bey

Attrition and Abrasion on the Mountains

A Hut on the way to Bey

Relief Team of Namchi Govt. College crossing the adverse way to Bey

From Bey Village

Landslide after the earthquake at Bey

Materials left by the villagers during wobble 

Bey- Once a Paradise has now become a Land of Melancholy

A Rocky Mountain above the village of Bey

Lakit: The Smiling Daughter of Bey

This landslide has swept the house of Lakit
We have been hearing many “narratives” of Sikkim Earthquake since its occurrence on September 18th. The spectators, or we may say the narrators, whosoever they may be, exaggerate the events in such a way that the real things remain behind curtail because of their overstatement. I also have heard similar exaggerated narratives from some people after the earthquake. Few people of my village Assam Lingzey told me that it is “impossible” to reach some places like Sakyong, Thulung and Bey in North Sikkim due to the massive landslides. They were very much correct in their sayings and possibly they were averting me from going there in the midst of Dasain. It was a challenging task for all of us to reach there. But, as we reach there the “narratives” were different. In fact, we had a face to face contact with the vinegary realities of earthquake in Bey.

A cloth pack left by the villagers at Bey
We were already aware from the fact that the village called Bey in north Sikkim has been abandoned by the villagers and they were now living at a Relief Camp at Char Mile. Even though, we decided to go there to see the enormity of the huge shake which has thrilled the entire state of Sikkim. In the evening of 7th October, a native of Lingzya had come to our camp at the Panchayat Bhavan of the village. He told us about the death of a 16 years old girl at Bey due to the landslide after the earthquake. She was Lakit Lepcha, a student of Class VII of Lingzya Jr. High School. She was a smiling and a beautiful child and was staying at Lingzya with her friends. On 18th September which will be remembered as a “Black Day” by every Sikkimese in the coming days, she asked her friends to visit her house at Bey to have Momo (a traditional Tibetan dish mostly popular in the entire Himalayan region). Her friends refused to go with her and they stay back at Lingzya. After their refusal she took a small boy from Lingzya to her house at Bey. Her brother, a saw puller (I have forgotten his Name) who was working at lower Dzongu, had also come to his house. When the earthquake occurred, the brother-sister duo was preparing Momo for the evening. After a few seconds of the earthquake the mountain above their village fall down with a huge spark (possibly occurred due to rubbing of the rocks) and swept the house of Lakit leading her to bury inside the debris of her house. Her smiles, her happiness, her containment and cheerfulness were also buried along with her in the wreckage  of her house.  The small boy, who accompanied Lakit on her way to Bey, fortunately was at another house where a Puja was going on. The second house remains untouched and many other villagers of Bey survived.
Relief Team of Namchi Govt. College on the way to Bey
After hearing this account about Lakit, I decided to meet the surviving members of her family. They had come to Bey to lift Dhaja in the name of those who lost their lives in the catastrophe of September 18th. Her surviving family members (I did not have the courage to ask their relation with Lakit) cried in front of us while telling about her. The family has lost almost all of its members. Five people including Lakit lost their lives at Bey. Three bodies had been recovered, but they could not find the bodies of another two people.
After hearing about the untimed and a most unfortunate demise of Lakit, every person in our team got tearful. The account about the smiling daughter of Bey is not an overstatement as we have been hearing; it is undeniably a heartbreaking fact of the September 18th. I wanted to acquire more information about her from Lingzya.  After our arrival from Bey, I met a student of Lingzya Jr. High School and asked her about Lakit. She told me that Lakit was her senior and was a pleasant and a kindly girl. On 8th of October, we left Lingzya and proceeded towards Singtam for Namchi. Everybody in our team was silently praying for the soul of the Smiling Daughter of Bey to rest in peace.