Brihaspati Parsai- The Peasant Leader of Sikkim

Late Brihaspati Parsai addressing peasants at Rangpo during Satyagraha
Late Brihaspati Parsai a.k.a Parsai Bajey was born on 30th June 1899 at Karkaley Pipaley village of Mechi district of Nepal. At the age of seven he lost his father Tikaram Parsai and two of his brothers due to chickenpox. In frustration, his mother decided to leave their original place and took 10 years old Brihaspati to the plains of Jhapa in Nepal. There young Brihaspati lost his mother due to malaria and became a total orphan. After hiding the corpse of his mother at a forest at a place called Chandragadi in Jhapa district, the young lad moved further east and reached Silagadi (now the place is known as Siliguri). He stayed at Silagadi for a year and thought of entering Sikkim. Coincidentally, he met a bullock carts’ caravan moving towards Sikkim and by pursuing it he reached lower Martam (32 Number the place is also called Middle Camp). It was at Martam the orphan met Chandrasingh Bhansari a Thikadar (Contractor) of Martam Estate who took him home and gave him the task of shepherd. Impressed by his truthfulness and diligence, the Thikadar gave one of his daughters Chulmaya in marriage to Brihaspati. After his marriage he bought a piece of land at Namli, a village near Ranipool and began to live a life of a householder.
Late Parsai (sitting) with L.D Kazi (Right to him)
After the conclusion of First World War Sikkimese peasants also began to witness little development in their Kingdom. It was during this period the construction of auto able road from Siliguri to Gangtok commenced which is now known as NH 31 A. Brihaspati also began to work as a coolie in the construction process, and then he became a supervisor and finally a contractor. He was a founder member of Sikkim State Congress and also an educational enthusiast who had played a vital role for the foundation of Ranipool School at Ghattey Hill. His contributions and efforts for the foundation of said school will soon be updated in the blog. After the formation of Sikkim State Congress on 7th December 1947 late Parsai unconditionally threw him in politics. He became the Publicity Secretary of the newly founded Sikkim State Congress and began to raise his voice against the vices of feudalism like Kalobhari, Jharlangi, Theki Bethi, Kuruwa and Ghar-Lauri. In the beginning, the Central Office of Sikkim State Congress was raised at Rangpo. Due to his witty and mocking speech against the exploitation he was arrested during Satyagraha of 1949 at Rangpo and was put behind the bars for 62 days.
Parsai leading a procession at Singtam in 1961
Late Parsai played a vital role for the elimination of parity system from Sikkim. During agitation of 1973, he led a procession to the Sikkim Palace which was thence asking for one man one vote. The Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal coming out of the palace questioned late Parsai “What do you want?” He answered “We want the King, we do not want the Councillors, and we need Ministry, not one man six votes but one man one vote”. It is to be noted here that the greatest cause for dissatisfaction of the peasants during the agitation of 1973 was the notorious Parity System in Sikkim.
People gathered at Alley Ground Namchi to listened to Late Parsai
During my field work I got an opportunity to meet one of his sons Mr. N. B Parsai an ex- teacher who also has a greater involvement for the development of Ghattey Hill School. He has informed me that his father was a person who always believed in the theory of Karma enunciated by the Upanishads. It is because of this philosophy of Upanishad he had been able to contribute a greater part of his life for the liberation of the Sikkimese subjects from the clutches of Kazism and Thikadarism. Many of his contemporaries have informed me that he was a brawny politician who used to speak as if he has nothing to loose in this world. Most of such contemporaries were inspired by his flamboyant speech consequently they joined late Parsai to uproot the evils of forced labour from Sikkim.  This stalwart of Sikkimese politics died at the age of 80 on the evening of 9th June 1979 at his residence at Namli in East Sikkim.