Kashiraj Pradhan – Father of Journalism in Sikkim

Kashiraj Pradhan was born on 11th December 1905 at Pakyong in East Sikkim. His father Kaluram Pradhan was an innovative and an audacious individual and his mother Bhadralakshmi Pradhan was a religious and well-mannered lady. The family of Lt. Kashiraj Pradhan was accountable for the economic growth of Sikkim with their innovative ideas. His grandfather Lt. Chandrabir Pradhan popularly known as Chandrabir Taksari or Chandrabir Maskey, along with few other Newars had taken the initiative of issuing copper coins in Sikkim. Earlier, there was the influence of Tibetan coins in Sikkim but, after the coming of the British in India Sikkim had the circulation of East India Company coins. For the process of issuing own coins of Sikkim they had taken their permission from the Sikkim Durbar and started exploration of copper at Sadam, Chakhung, Motang (Pandam) and Pachey. For the introduction of copper coins in Sikkim which was exclusively made by them, the family of Lt. Chandrabir Pradhan is also known as Taksari (meaning a person who mints coin).
The greatest contribution of the Taksaris of Sikkim is the construction of a cart road from Teesta to Gangtok. They also played a crucial role for setting up of markets in different parts of Sikkim. Today’s Singtam, Rongli, Rangpo and Pakyong Bazars were established due to the determined exertions made by the families of Lt. Kashiraj Pradhan.  
In 1930, Kashiraj accomplished his Graduation from the esteemed Calcutta University. He was also the second graduate from the kingdom of Sikkim. The first person to become a graduate was Hari Prasad Pradhan. After his studies, Kashiraj entered into a teaching job at Sir Tashi Namgyal High School Gangtok where he served till 1947. In 1949, he was elected as a Cabinet Secretary with this appointment, Kashiraj entered into the politics of Sikkim. In the first General Election of 1953, Kashiraj Pradhan made an overwhelming victory and was elected as the Leader of Parliament Board. He was also nominated as an Executive Councilor in the Sikkim Durbar. Kashiraj had been given the charge of Education, Public Works, Excise and Tourism in the Sikkim Durbar’s Executive Council of 1953. With his victory in the Second General Election of 1959, he was appointed as Senior Executive Councilor by the Sikkim Durbar.
The greatest contribution of Lt. Kashiraj Pradhan to Sikkim is the introduction of journalism. In that period there was no newspaper in the entire kingdom. To fill-up the inadequacy in the political process of Sikkim the publication of a monthly Nepali journal ‘Kanchenjunga’ was started on 15th August 1957. The editor of this journal was Nahakul Pradhan but, the entire important workout for the publication of 'Kanchenjungawas completed by Mr. Kashiraj Pradhan. It is to be noted here that 'Kanchenjunga' was the first news based journal of Sikkim written in the language of the majority i.e. Nepali. Before he commenced the publication of Kanchenjunga, he gathered enormous experience as a reporter in Gorkha Sansar (A Nepali journal published from Dehradun) and Hindustan Standard an English Newspaper published from Calcutta. In this aspect Kashiraj can also be regarded as the first journalist from Sikkim.
In an issue of 1st March 1964 Kanchenjunga has reported about an amazing story of V. C. Ganju Lama. Published on the topic of Ganju Goli (Bullet of Ganju) the report states thus:-
“ Subedar Ganju Lama (VC) of  11 GR has made a surprise in the world of medical science when he has taken out a bullet from his right thigh after 20 years…..The bullet was perforate  in 1944 when he was fighting in Burma in the Second World War. ..”
For his involvement in the field of journalism and his dedication for the development of the kingdom of Sikkim, Palden Thondup Namgyal, the last Chogyal of independent Sikkim has awarded him the highest Civilian Award of the Kingdom “Pema Dorjee” on 4th April 1972. In recognition of his contribution especially in the field of Nepali Literature and journalism in Sikkim, the Sikkim Sahitya Parishad, an eminent literary organization of Sikkim, has awarded Kashiraj Pradhan with the prestigious Bhanu Puraskar on 13th July 1985.

(Picture on the top -Kashiraj Pradhan with his wife Lakshmi Devi Shrestha.
Picture in the middle -An old issue of Kanchenjunga
Picture in the Last -Chandrabir Pradhan the Grandfather of Kashiraj and the first person to mint coins in Sikkim)