Geyzing, Sept 1
After the third and final meeting, the Lepcha community of Sikkim has come to terms with publisher, editor and writer over the issue of tinkering and misrepresentation of history related to Staircase to Heaven published in the magazine titled ‘Raj Marg’ which was released recently on the occasion of Bhasa Diwash.
The issue has been amicably resolved after writer Darmbar Pradhan and K.B Thatal, editor of the magazine tendered their apology to the members of Renjyong Mutanchi Rong Tarzum, an organization of Lepcha community and agreed to tear up or remove the article from the magazine.
It may be mentioned here that writer Dambar Pradhan’s claim of participations of two other communities (Limboo and Pradhan) in the establishment of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in his article in the magazine had drawn sharp criticism and protest from Lepcha community of Sikkim. Pradhan was also accused of fabricating other facts related to historical ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by the Lepchas of the state. The members of RMRT calling the article as an attack on Lepcha community’s history and cultural heritage had asked the editor of the magazine K.B Thatal for immediate withdrawal of circulated magazines and removal of that particular article from the magazine or face the legal battle.
In the final meeting held on Monday here at the premises of Staircase to Heaven project construction site of Daramdin, the members of RMRT, writer Dambar Pradhan, editor K.B Thatal and the president of Nepali Sahitya Sadan, a literary association of Daramdin who was called as a witness removed the article from the magazine. The collected pages of article from 300 magazines were handed over to the members of RMRT. The master copy of the article was also submitted to RMRT.
West district president of RMRT Dawcho Lepcha expressed that it was unfortunate on the part of the writer and editor to publish the article without doing proper research on history related to ethnic Lepcha community of Sikkim. He said that tinkering and presenting the history of any community in a wrong and fabricated manner is unjust and painful as the history and cultural heritage are identity of that particular community. He maintained that history in relation with Stairway to Heaven is connected to the Lepchas only and the involvements of other communities was unheard and not narrate anywhere earlier and nobody should give clarifications on history of the Lepchas in any form as the Lepcha tribe is well aware about their culture and history.
Lepcha added that RMRT and the Lepchas of the state forgive and forget the mistake of writer and editor of the magazine but also advise them to remain careful while bringing out any historical articles on any community. “Mistakes are part of life and we do not have any personal grudge against Dambar Pradhan and K.B Thatal but we advise them to remain careful in future so that communal sentiments remain unharmed. We hope that such mistakes will not be repeated”, he said.
He maintained that it is the responsibility of the editor K.B Thatal and publisher’s to ensure that the particular article on Stairway to Heaven is removed from the magazine and the article should not appear in public domain in any form.
K.B Thatal accepted that blatant mistake has happened and the writer and editor take full responsibilities of the error happened in haste of bringing out the magazine. Tendering his apology to RMRT, Thatal assured that such mistake would not be repeated and he would remain careful in future. “We apologize to RMRT and people of Lepcha community for hurting their sentiments. We guarantee that the particular article will not appear anywhere in future and we thank RMRT for resolving the issue in amicable way. We are happy that the issue is finally resolved”, he said.
The meeting chaired by advisor (state level committee) of RMRT C.T Lepcha also had presence of general secretary of RMRT (west) Maryammith Lepcha, chief advisor (West district), N.T Lepcha, literary secretary Choden Lepcha and treasurer Phurba Lepcha along with other members of RMRT.