Dzumsa:- An Inimitable organism of Lachung

Lachung village during Summer Pic:
Lachung, situated in the northern district of Sikkim is a beautiful village, secluded from the chaotic city lifestyles has its own exclusivity. Lachung is at an elevation of about 9,600 ft or 3,000 m and at the confluence of the Lachen River and Lachung Rivers, tributaries of the River Teesta. The word Lachung means "small pass". There was a period when this place was not opened to the tourists due to its traditional and customary importance. But, in the recent period, Lachung has been made available to them to explore the culture and custom of the indigenous. It will not be wrong to argue that, Lachung, the place of mystic mountains is a de-facto Shangri-La. Before the annexation of Tibet in 1950, Lachung was a trading post between Sikkim and Tibet, after which it was closed down. Lachung has been described as the "most picturesque village of Sikkim" by British explorer Joseph Dalton Hooker  in his famous work, The Himalayan Journal. 

Lachung Pipon with his Horse Pic:Dr. Alice S. Kandell 1971 May
Lachung Pipon with Children Pic:Dr. Alice S Kandell 1971 May
Approximating its exquisiteness, the village has atypical hamlet institution known as Dzumsa. Dzumsa is a traditional administrative body of the villages of Lachen and Lachung  in North Sikkim. It is a self-government system where a headman, known as the 'Pipon', is elected and the community where all the disputes are settled in a democratic manner. The system of governance is traditional and follows the tribal social organizational position which is entirely different, unique and to some extent more democratic than the Panchayati Raj institution prevalent in other districts of Sikkim. The traditional village level organisation consists of the elders of every household of the village including women and Lamas. It resembles some features of the village governance prevalent in the Vedic Age known as Sabha and Samiti. Two persons are elected from amongst the members of the Dzumsa as the Pipons. They are assisted in their daily affairs by the Lamas known as Chutimpas. The Pipons have wide powers and functions in accordance with the customary laws. The Dzumsa conferred verdict for all the cases including major ones in the villages of Lachen and Lachung. It is important to mention here that, the term of the office of Dzumsa is fixed for one year and after accomplishing its term the office has to be dissolved and a fresh election is to be conducted for the smoother functioning of the village institution.
Gyel Pe Letsen Chobgyal is a Committee comprised of eighteen senior members of Lachung Valley including five monastery representatives.  The committee takes charges after the completion of the term of the elected Pipons. They remained active and execute most of the duties, earlier executed by the elected Pipons until the new Pipon is elected. This system of self-governance was established during the first half of the 19th century in order to provide structure and solidity for societies and their activities. Even after the merger of Sikkim with India the traditional system of Dzumsa is still prevalent in North Sikkim.