Namchi- The Head Quarter of South Sikkim in 1966

South Sikkim occupies an important place in igniting the slumbered Sikkimese populace against the oppression made by the Kazis and Thikadars, the erstwhile ruling cliques of Sikkim. It is to be mention here that in the 40’s of the last century, few sons of Sikkimese peasantry, who hailed from this part began to dream for an egalitarian set up for the better administration of the kingdom of Sikkim. Keeping this in mind, they started an underground movement known as Member Party at a place called Namthang in South Sikkim. Amid to the paucity of political agenda and ideologies we are compelled to accept it as the first political organization of politically barren Sikkim. The foundation of such organization among the isolated Sikkimese peasantry has not only lighted the idea of political consciousness but, also rejected the opinion of Karl Marx which says “they cannot represent themselves: they must be represented”. But, Sikkim formerly being a secluded Kingdom, such instances had never received any attention from the enlightened historians.  
Namchi in 1966
 In the midst of a hegemonic, autocratic or authoritarian political structure people from the other parts of the Kingdom began to raise the voices against the corrupt practices of the ruling cliques. If we have to justify these incidents from a subaltern perspective than one can say that a tussle was on its way between the subalterns and the elites.  With the foundation of Rajya Praja Sammelan in 1946, by the peasants of Temi Tarku, South Sikkim has plunged itself on its way towards democracy.
The silent whispers of the remote villages began to make a huge clamor when the educated sons of peasant families like Chandra Das Rai of Namchi, Nayan Tshering Lepcha of Namthang, and the Tiwari brothers of Temi Tarku began to join it. The need of an umbrella organization in Sikkim was also felt by the South District which ultimately paved the way for the establishment Sikkim State Congress on 7th of December 1947. Mr. Chandra Das Rai from Namchi delivered a flamboyant speech to the masses in his flawless Nepali which also played a vital role in breeding the ideas of resistance among the politically illiterate Sikkimese peasants.
In the anti-merger movement of the 70’s people like Durga Prasad Rajalim of Namchi played an imperative part to protect the inviolability of his motherland. Further, the place has also produced people like ex- Chief Minister Mr. N. B. Bhandari (who had his education at Namchi and later started his political career from the very place) and the present Chief Minister Dr. Pawan Chamling. In sports too, South Sikkim has given us Mr. Bhaichung Bhutia, the star of Indian Football and Tarundeep Rai the Indian archer. In addition to these, the district has given birth to poets like Agam Singh Tamang APATAN and many other talents related to various fields. Thus, the historical importance of South Sikkim cannot be underestimated.
During my eight years of stay at Namchi, I tried my best to find some old pictures of it. I have been able to stumble on an old picture that dates back to the 40’s but, due to a very low resolution I am unable to identify the place. Somebody told me that the picture was taken in 1949 in the midst of No Rent Campaign at Alley Ground. It is to be noted here, the new Indian Dewan John S Lal had to face a great difficulty posed by the State Congress when he reached Namchi to collect the tax from the peasants in the said year. He got an experience of the people’s attitude during his visit to Namchi; he had to face a huge demonstration led by the State Congress leaders Nayan Tshering Lepcha and Chandra Das Rai.
But, I am not sure weather the picture is related to this event or not. Therefore, until I will not be able to get authentic information about it its not appropriate for me to post it on my blog. However, picture of today’s post is reliable. It is a view of Namchi Senior Secondary School in the present day. This was taken by some unknown person in 1966. I am greatly thankful to Anup Sarkar for sharing this valuable piece of information with me. The picture speaks many words about Namchi, the present District Head Quarter of South Sikkim.