Life in Retrospective
Making and unmaking of the book
Dedicated to the State Day
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
Come the State Day and I fondly remember my Sikkim: Three Decades towards Democracy (ISBN: 81-901374-6-8 2005) - the book on history a decade past is now itself a history - more by its unmaking than its making. Continuing the story from the previous week…
What the book contained?
Readers may be curious enough and interested to know what this book Sikkim Three Decades towards Democracy is all about and what it contained or lacked that led to its unmaking. It was Dedicated to the people of Sikkim for their immense belief, trust and faith with hopes and aspirations on the parliamentary democracy through the legislative system as enshrined upon us by the Constitution of India and to their elected representatives in this august House now with the greater responsibility reposed on them.” This book had customary Messages from the Governor of Sikkim, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Chief Minister of Sikkim, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly along with The Constitution of India – Preamble, National Anthem and National Flag followed by Preface, Foreword from the Secretary General of Lok Sabha and Best Wishes from R. K. Gupta* former secretary of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly.
In spite of the space constraint here and lack of time with the readers, this author feels duty-bound to share for their benefit the chapters the magnum opus contained as follows - Sikkim Presently: 1. Sikkim where the Nature is generous, 2. Sikkim – an eco-tourism destination, 3. Sikkim – Vital Statistics, 4. Figures at a glance, 5. Unique features in Sikkim; The New House: 6. Three Decades towards Democracy – Prologue, 7. The Inaugural Session 2004, 8. The House in 2004 – Who is who, 9. The House in 2005 – Who is who, 10. Members and their constituencies, 11. More about the members in the Seventh House, 12. Committees of the House – mini legislatures, 13. Resolutions in the House, 14. Farewell and Welcome Address 15. White Papers laid on the Table of the House; Decision making that had shaped the destiny of the State: 16. Some Important Bills, 17. Objects and Reasons of the Bills passed, 18. Pandemonium in the House; Looking back: 19. Evolution of the legislative system, 20. Lhade-mede – the Legislative Organ under the Chogyals, 21. The First ever Inaugural Session – the Crucial Resolution, 22.Making Sikkim the twenty second state of the Union of India; Documents: 23. Proclamation of His Highness Tashi Namgyal, Maharaja of Sikkim, 24. Text of the Sikkim Agreement of May 8, 1973, 25. The Government of Sikkim Act 1974, 26. The Constitution (Thirty Fifth Amendment) Act, 1974, 27 . Notification No. 13 (SP)/75(1): Institution of the Chogyal abolished / Special Poll, 28. The Sikkim Government ( Allocation of Business) Rules, 1975 29. The Sikkim Government ( Allocation of Business) Rules, 1975 30. The Authentication (Order and Other Instruments)Rules, 1975, 31. The Constitution (Thirty-sixth Amendment) Bill, 1975, 32. The Sikkim Government Rules of Business, 1975, 33. The Constitution (Thirty-eighth Amendment) Bill, 1975 and Article 371F 34. A Short History behind Art. 371F 35. The North eastern Council (Amendment) Act, 2002, 36. Notification on Sacred Peaks, Caves, Rocks, Lakes, Chhoedten and Hot-springs; From our archives: 37. Sikkim Legislative Assembly since ins inception 1974 – Who is who, 38. Representation of Sikkim in the Parliament of India, 39. Session dates 1975 to 2004, 40.Duration of the sittings of the House, 41. Some resolutions passed in the House, 42. Obituary References – On those who are no more with us 43. Secretaries who served here Table: Cases regarding Disqualification and Split Matters that concern: 44. Collective responsibility to the Legislature, 45. President’s Rule in Sikkim, 46. Other side of the fence 47. Former Legislators. Federation of Sikkim, 48. Protocol and Table of Precedents 49. State Warrant of Precedence 50. Safety and Security, 51. Information and the Media 52.Telecasting of Proceedings of Legislative Assembly Secretariat 53. Official Website and Computer familiarization 54. Sikkim Legislative Assembly Secretariat 55. Our own Publications, 56. Library, 57. Accommodation Facilities and Legislators’ Hostel; Recent Events: 58. Advocacy Meet on HIV/AIDS and Population, 59. Orientation Programme in the Lok Sabha for the Members of Legislative Assemblies of Sikkim and Mizoram, 60. Sensitization Programme for Legislators on Earthquakes and Landslide Risk Reduction, 61.Sikkim in the 67th Presiding Officers’ and Secretaries Conference of Legislative Bodies in India, Kolkata, 62. Legislator’s Forum for Human Development – A Concept Note, 63. Thirteenth All India Whips’ Conference Recommendations, 64. Eighth All India Conference of Lokayuktas and Up-Lokayuktas, 65. Legislature and Judiciary; Commonwealth Parliamentary Association: The Commonwealth and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association 67. Rules of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Sikkim Branch, 68. Conference of the North Eastv Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Gangtok 69. Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Activities and Tours Abroad, 70. Increasing the Women participation in Politics 71. Fiftieth Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference, Canada, 72. Twentieth Parliamentary Internship Programme for Foreign Parliamentary Officers in India, 73. First India and Asia Regions Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference, Hyderabad, 74. Constitution of the North East Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (NERCPA), 75. North East Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association – A Report and Constitution of the North East Region Institute of Parliamentary Studies, Training and Research (NERIPSTER), 76. Eighth Conference of the North East Region Commonwealth Parliamentary Association at Agartala, 77. Text of the Welcome Speech on the occasion of the Commonwealth Day 2005; In General: 78. On democracy, Assembly and the bureaucracy, 79. In the praise, 80. Sikkim Ratna / Padmabhushan, the one and the only one, Centurion Sri L. D. Kazi, 81. Golden Jubilee and Patriotism, 82. United Crest, 83. Minister – Secretary Relationship, 84. It is official now!; Journey inside: 85. Journey Inside, 86. Si-pai-khor-lo – Cycle of Existence / Jeewan Chakra – the Wheel of Life, 87. Tashi-ta-gye – Ashta Mangal – Eight Lucky Signs, 88. Dignity and decorum – the sitting arrangement; Democracy as we understand; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index; Photo Gallery: Memories Nostalgic/Past Forward/Governors of Sikkim/Chief Ministers of Sikkim/Speakers of Sikkim Recent Events Inaugural Session Seventh Assembly 2004/ Journey Inside/ Sikkim Ratna/Padma Vibhushan Sri L. D. Kazi/Commonwealth Day 2005 Celebrations and Felicitations/Twentieth Parliamentary Internships Programme/Conferences/Visit of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama/ Thank you!
Many may not believe it that this author “had the opportunity to be associated with the Sikkim Legislative Assembly right from the beginning when the new and the first Sikkim Legislative Assembly was constituted in 1974 in his capacity as the Under Secretary (Accounts) in Home Department under the Chief Secretary, Sri T. S. Gyaltsen*, who also then used to be in charge of the affairs of the Assembly Secretariat. Sri R. K. Gupta* was then the Joint Secretary and Late T. T. Bhutia* Deputy Secretary with two or three members of the staff (that included Loden Tsering Lepcha*, Phitook Tsering and Dorji Tsering Bhutia) in support. From this to the present strength of nearly 150 personnel, it is quite a big march in last three decades…” Further in the Preface I had written, “I had not thought that one day I would be in the same unit that would be an Institution in itself thirty year hence and writing this book making use of some papers preserved with me since then. I find myself duty bound to make my sojourn worthwhile by doing something that would be documented and in record so that this is remembered long even after I am no more in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly. I shall feel amply rewarded if this compilation could give a brief account along with an insight into the long journey of the parliamentary democracy in the Himalayan State of Sikkim as perceived and conceived by me and also entailed upon me as the head of the Secretariat here.”.
In my address on the launch of the book I said, “I am grateful to you both the Sirs for the kind support, sponsorship and patronage given to me for bringing out this prestigious one-in-lifetime work dedicated to the Sikkim Legislative Assembly. … It is a great day for me and my colleagues releasing this book here today by the dignitaries. … Attempts have been made to make it a complete reference book on various legislative and parliamentary aspects so that it would serve the best. I have tried my utmost possible for last several months and the fruit of my labour is before you today. I must thank my colleagues for all the co-operation given. … I do hope my book has come out up to the expectation of all my readers and request them to write me after going through it for necessary improvement in later edition in future.”
‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.’ Lord Alfred Tennyson (1802-92) wrote. So about the book lost. Best part of this story is rather a sad end I wish to share with the readers here. The fate of the book which Mr. Gooroong was looking for – that found place in many of the University libraries the world over as revealed during the internet search apart from a number the Legislative Assembly libraries in the country – has not reached many a hands here thus depriving them of the benefit due to them. Making the book reach so far, the Question here is how then the unmaking happened. What it lacked since it had all the essentials such a book should have – right from the early history to the recent events, matters that concern, love towards Sikkim and making it the 22nd State of the Union and patriotism. It is beyond my surmise and I utterly fail to understand the reason for the plight.
This is just a million dollar or ten lakh of rupees question that keeps me still haunted and perplexed in the golden days at the dusk of my life. I doubt very much if the book could even reach the hands of legislators, who would have otherwise benefitted a lot knowing the history and how the legislative system evolved from the days of yore in Sikkim. Would some kind heart come to my rescue to lay the burden off my shoulder and help clearing it up? As recent as last month when I met a top retired bureaucrat he shared with me of having found this book to be rich source of information readily and suggested me why not go in for its reprint as it was still very useful well-documented reference book on the subject available here. As for its usefulness I asked some people - how many times Khada Nand Upreti represented Rhenock constituency in the Assembly. One said twice and the other replied three times; No, it was four times that too consecutively as I had checked in the book while writing a story on our home town recently!
Copies with us exhausted, regretting our inability Raman suggested Mr. B. B. Gooroong to kindly check with the Sikkim Legislative Assembly. I was not home that day to know more about from him. Otherwise, he would have known about unmaking of the book as well and I could get an elderly advice from the veteran. It is, however, a different scenario Sikkim post State Election 2014 when the stretch of road in Chyakhung named after him some years ago gets renamed. More than the changed perspective here, it might be miscalculation or equations going wrong somewhere. Everything is possible and anything can happen in this world – so also in that of politics as well, no wonder!
In our school days here at Tashi Namgyal Academy way back in 1956 our M.A. Sir / B. N. Singh* used to know if the lesson he taught reached us by often ending with a question, “Am I throwing pearls before the swine?” Of late I have been just perplexed - why a book published was stopped from reaching the consumer – the end reader. As for the author he was happy to get his hard work see the light of the day and contented to repay the society dedicating to the people, society, state and the nation whereas the readers and legislators who should have more from it, unfortunately, were deprived of the benefit in the end. So, the question here now is … ?!
This is a retired civil servant’s personal account of memories to cherish and treasure often on a detour here and there en route to share the joy of the journey called life. Some names (asterisk * for those no more) and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice whatsoever intended. This article is available in Nepali also. He can be reached on shrestars@gmail or phone 9434022677 / 03592-202677 and at Rachna, opposite Manan Bhavan, Development Area, Gangtok 737 101 Sikkim India.