In fond memory of
Bidhan Chandra Prakash Pradhan
A tribute to my Mama, a friend as well
We had first met in Calcutta in 1955 as young lads attending the marriage ceremony of Sanu Mama Mohan Pratap Pradhan* with Laxmi Devi at Lower Chitpore Road. I was then in Banaras while he already in St. Augustine School at Kalimpong. I do not remember meeting him before though he once recollected of seeing me first admitted for Dhungey class in the Missionary Primary School Rhenock. Later I was in St Joseph's Convent for a while doing my primary reading Sing mother sing, as my Buba used to look after our business there at (the Kodamul Building 10th Mile) running the branch office of Harishanker Lall Ramshanker Lall Nepali (established 1886) in Banaras.
Bidhan Mama was born on 28 September 1944 as the youngest son of three brothers (Nirmal and Manohar) and five sisters (Kamala, Pratima, Sarala, Pramila and Saroja)to Bijali Devi and Babu Durga Shamsher Pradhan, younger brother of Rai Saheb Ratna Bahadur Pradhan of Rhenock. Together they had started the world-famous Chandra Nursery in the year 1910. Born as the youngest of five sisters and three brothers, he lost his mother while he was still an infant. He had two more sisters Shiela and Kalpana and a brother Uday from his stepmother Jamuna Maya Pradhan, who is 92 years old now. It was his love and respect for this mother having lost his own while still a milk feeding baby taken cared for by an Ayah.
After doing his initial education at the Missionary Primary School at Rhenock, he joined St. Augustine's School at Kalimpong as a boarder in 1954. He passed his ISC examination from there in the year 1964. He remembered among several others Palden Dorji Khangsarpa, Karma Gyatso and Norbu Dadul Chingapa* as his contemporaries there though last-named was a few years junior but familiar as his hostel mate. He was quite chummy with colleagues like B. Tsering* and Sonam Tenzing* though not in school together and used to speak to each other using common words only too close/familiar buddies shared with.
He joined St.Joseph's College at North Point, Darjeeling and did his B. A. with Honours in English along with C. K. Pradhan and C. K. Shrestha, if I remember correctly, in 1968. He stayed as a paying guest with Prof. Tulsi Bahadur Chettri near Dheer Dham Temple (1964) with Deo Kumar Gajmere, Kharga Jung Chettri*, Rajendra Kumar Khati and Mani Chandra Khati*. Thereafter he stayed at the College Restaurant (1965) with many other students from Sikkim like Deo Kumar Gajmere, Ganesh Kumar Subba*, Nar Bahadur Tamang, Nar Bahadur Bhandari*, Tensung Gyatso*, Tsering Gyatso, Tsering Pintso Bhutia, N. K.Subedi* from Sikkim besides C. P. Mainali of Nepal among others. In 1966 when I moved out of the Bellevue Hostel (of Darjeeling Government Collge) at Chaurasta, I shared a room with him as paying guest of a Gurung family (son-in-law of Pudke Jarnail younger brother of Nandu Babu of Algarah) near Sharadeshwari Girls' School at Hermitage Road. Tanka Ram Sharma* and Dilip Kumar Chettri were among others also stayed there.
Like his father Babu Durga Shamsher Pradhan* he was fond of good things to eat as he introduced me canned stuff of pork hitherto not cooked at home that used to come from Rajniklal of Calcutta and other sources by mail. His height did not come to his actual upbringing true to the Taksari Family he belonged. Thulo Mama Bhishma Pratap Pradhan* once narrated me of some military official visiting their Woodland Nursery and Chandra Nursery. They took fresh from School young man otherwise that Bidhan Mama paid back in the same coin using choicest words like bastard. The Army officer was someone of the kind/breed who deserved such a befitting nomenclature, otherwise, such people do not command such disrespect in the young mind. Fond of entertaining friends (among others Santosh Kumar Bardewa, Khada Nanda Uprety staying in the International Youth Hostel), he had an evening in the Firpo's at Park Street Calcutta while it was Moulin Rouge we met next. The year 1973 I was there for remaining six-month course of I.A.&A.S. Probationer in the office of the Accountant General (Central) in the Old Currency Building of Dalhousie Square. Of the seniors there I remember ever-helpful A. K. Deb, who later came to Gangtok as the Accountant General Sikkim while S. Saha served on deputation and after retirement for a long time giving me the opportunity to work with him and continue getting his valued advice on official matters. My batch mate B. K. Chattopadhyay served as Accountant General Sikkim while S. P. Singh frequented whenever he/someone was on leave and later in supervisory capacity brought him my home with his wife once. Obese wife working as a senior officer in the Income Tax Delhi had a tough time climbing four stairs and get through the roller shutter at my residence.
Soon after his graduation, Bidhan Chandra Prakash Pradhan (BCP to his colleagues) found himself working as an auditor in the Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) department with likes of Hartnet* as General Manager and L. G. Ganeshan* Chief Accounts Officer on 12 August 1970. He underwent Chartered Accountancy course in the Price Water House Calcutta from November 1971 to 20 November 1975. On completion of this course, he was appointed as Officer on Special Duty (Accounts) SNT. He was transferred and posted as Chief Accounts Officer in the Finance department, where he gradually rose to the peak as the Controller of Accounts after doing a stint as Director Lotteries. He was the first person to hold this top post of the State Finance and Accounts Service (SFAS) from 31 May 1996 till he retired on 30 September 2001. Condoling his death Chandra Lal Sharma of SFAS working as Director in the Health care, HS and FW Department on behalf of the SFAS family had brought out an Obituary on the occasion of 45 Day ritual on 3rd November in a piece of popular news daily Sikkim Express from the capital with a line from Alan Sacha “Death is more universal than life, everyone dies, but not everyone lives.” Citing him as a simpleton and very honest bureaucrat, he was remembered as instrumental in making SFAS, the first organised service of the State. They all were with the bereaved family members in remembering him fondly and that he would always be in their hearts forever and missed. It would not be out of place/context to mention the name of the person matching with that of The Chandra Nursery. It was here that his late father worked and we all know by his popular name Parsale Bajey.