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.