Trilochan Pokhrel- The forgotten Gandhian of Sikkim

For the first time when I heard his name I was in III Standard. It was in a Nepali book called Kathamala there was a collected story about Gandhi Pokhrel. My toddler mind did not know who this person was and what was his contribution for Indian independence? As an average student I might have mugged up his name many times to write a proper answer about him during our annual assessment. I still can remember the sentence written in the book “Purba Sikkim Tareythang ka Gandhi Pokhrel....” (Gandhi Pokhrel from Tareythang East Sikkim). This was the only knowledge we have gained about the great Gandhian Soul of Sikkim Late Shree Trilochan Pokhrel a.k.a Gandhi Pokhrel or Bande Pokhrel.
Late Trilochan Pokhrel- The Forgotten Gandhian of Sikkim
Late Gandhi Pokhrel was born at Tareythang Busty in Eastern Sikkim possibly in the last decade of 19th Century (We do not have any evidence to assert his year of birth). During his youth he was greatly influenced by the movements of Mahatma Gandhi which were based on the fundamental principles of non violence. We do not have much information about his involvements in the earlier movements of Mahatma Gandhi like Non Co-operation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement. But, we can firmly claim his involvement in the famous Bharat Chhodo Aandolan (Quit India Movement) of 1942 from his contemporaries. His contemporaries inform us about his stay with Gandhiji at Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat and Sarvodaya Ashram in Bihar. During his stay with Gandhiji he used to spin the Charkha, rendered his service for the Ashrams and assisted the Mahatma in his daily affairs. Late Trilochan Pokhrel had an immense faith in the teachings of simple life by Mahatma Gandhi which is manifested on the picture posted with this post. His contemporaries inform us that he used to visit his native village very infrequently in the costumes of the naked fakir Gandhi. Akin to Gandhiji he too wear a piece of cotton Dhoti, with a pair of Khadau (an Indian slipper made up of wood). Hence, they began to call him Gandhi Pokhrel. Further, few legends are still alive in the village of Tareythang about late Trilochan Pokhrel. It is said that he used to say Bande Mataram while greeting his elders at the village. Therefore, they began to refer him as Bande Pokhrel. Still there is a piece of land at the said village which once belong to this Gandhian known as Pokhrel Bari (Land of Pokhrel). But, he never used to stay at his home for a long time. Few elders of this village claim about their meeting with this Gandhian soul of Sikkim. In one of the stories I have heard about his involvement in propagating the concept of Swadeshi of Mahatma Gandhi among the Sikkimese peasantry. During his leisure he used to go to Rongli Bazar and sit there a side with his charkha (spinning wheel) to make cotton threads. Somebody told us that during Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s visit to Sikkim in 1957 he had come to his native place and used to talk about the enigmatic Indian Prime Minister in a voluminous manner. Perhaps this was his last visit to his native land and possibly he is the lone Sikkimese to take part in the Indian Struggle for independence.
Mr. Tara Prasad Bhattarai of Tareythang Pic: Binod Bhattarai
While inquiring about his descendants we were told that all his family members were migrated to Assam long time back. Hence, we could not gather much information about his other part of life. The only person from whom we can secure good information about late Pokhrel is Mr. Tara Prasad Bhattarai of Kapurpatey village. This retired teacher has still preserved few sources related to him. He has maintained one of his photographs and an envelop which he received 43 years ago from Bihar. The said envelop was posted from Purnia in Bihar which contains the death confirmation of this Sikkimese Gandhian which read thus “Expired on 27-1-69 at Prakritik Chikitsalaya, Ranipatra, P.O Ranipatra District Purunia Bihar at 9 AM”.
I am greatly thankful to Mr. Binod Bhattarai Research Scholar in Sociology Pondicherry University for sharing this photograph and additional information about this Gandhian Sikkimese. Further information about Late Trilochan Pokhrel the Sikkimese Gandhian soul shall be updated in the blog.