Gangtok: The 100th birth anniversary of the last King of Sikkim, 12th Chogyal late Palden Thondup Namgyal, was commemorated in Gangtok’s National Institute of Tibetology premises on Monday.
The event was graced by the 13th Chogyal Wangchuk Namgyal, Prince Palden Gyurmed Namgyal, Princess Hope Leezum Namgyal, the children of the last king, along with distinguished delegates representing the royal families of Sikkim and Bhutan.
Education Minister Kunga Nima Lepcha, Ecclesiastical Affairs Minister Sonam Lama and Roads and Bridges Minister Samdup Lepcha represented the Sikkim government, in the absence of Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay.
The three-day grand celebration marked the closing of the year-long birth centennial celebrations with guests and public offerings khadas to the statue of the last king. ‘Soldep,’ a traditional monastic ritual of offering of prayers was performed by monk Yap Lopen Tempa from Enchey Monastery.
Similarly, Pemayangtse Pangtoed Bas or Pangtoed dancers performed ‘Dzongkor’ or ceremonial dance around the statue of the late Chogyal. Traditional Lepcha and Limboo priests also offered their prayers for peace and prosperity.
During the celebration, 13th Chogyal Wangchuk Namgyal shared how King Palden Thondup Namgyal had ‘lots of love and affection for Sikkim’. “He always worked for the people of Sikkim and the amount of affection, love that is pouring here today is an inspiration for the people to carry on what he wanted to see happen in Sikkim. He wanted development, bring peace, education and good for the people of Sikkim,” Wangchuk said.
Wangchuk goes on to say that the last king has left a big legacy, which he considers an opportunity for the younger generation to learn and pass on. The celebrations, he said, sparks a recognition of the positivity for the state that the former king showed.
A memorandum was submitted to the Sikkim government demanding for the declaration of a state holiday on the birth anniversary of 12th Chogyal.
During an interaction with media persons in this regard, Wangchuck said, “Personally it is really important, but it would only matter if it meant something for the people of Sikkim. Hopefully we do not wait for another 100 years but day by day people will remember what he was really trying to do. I can imagine this to be in a positive way, a reminder and I am positive government will support”.
Minister Kunga Nima Lepcha honouring the life, spirit and legacy of the 12th Chogyal of Sikkim shared his fond recollection of spending joyful time at the Palace grounds and interacting with the then Chogyal.
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“Amongst the multitude of contributions of Late Chogyal PT Namgyal, the most significant has been the signing of the 8th May Tripartite Agreement of 1973. It is because of this agreement that the rights of the three communities of Bhutia, Lepcha and Nepali of Sikkim are protected under article 371F of the Indian Constitution,” the education minister recounted.
As part of the celebration, Wangchuck presented Centennial medal of appreciation to Pangtoed Bas from Pemayangtse, bikers from various organisations, who participated in the Centennial bike ride from Yuksom to Tsuklakhang Palace.
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