In Gorkha Dress With Our Bhutanese Kids

At Tenzing Sherpa's Park, Darjeeling Zoo

My Forestry Family At Darjeeling

Great Khasi Warriors of All Time

Black Hat Dance At Drametse Monastery

Taking The Evils Out Of The Courtyard

The Parade of Monks Chasing Evils

Together We Fight, Evils Always Loss

The Warriors Celebrate Victory Aginst Evils

He Makes Sure That Evils Don't Return

One Two And Three, We Are Next

Gather Your Men, Begin Your Mission

Make Sure You Have The Arms

Make Sure Your Arms Works

Thank God,We won Battle of Our Life

25/12/2013

Forest Fire Volunteers From Sherubtse

It was 5’o clock in the evening of 20th December, and I could sense the icy air touching my dark skin. I saw someone quivering aside me and hear the chattering of teeth at the backside but none went missing from the freezing hall for hours. The goal behind tolerating the wintry atmosphere for hours inside old outsized hall was to ring the gong of alertness so to keep the communities awake about the causes and effects of wild flames. I thought if it were only an extravaganza then I would rather prefer to stay home and watch motion picture, but my innocent villagers may possibly have thought the other way. During the episode, I did not spot anyone dozing due to variety in the agenda of awareness or otherwise they would usually have forty winks even in the daylight. Usually during awareness gathering, the communities cannot wait long for age old method of monologue talking (blah, blah, and blah) but this time they were in high spirits to watch the angel like girls boogieing on the stage, and listen to the comedy of every boy. This group of artists, ladies and gentlemen, is ‘Forest Fire Awareness Volunteers’ from the oldest college of our Nation, the only legendary Sherubtse College or also known as ‘Shercol’. They are the final year members of disaster management team .
Relation between forest fire and Buddhism 
The awareness programme includes songs, dances, plays, presentations, and question-answering session. The show though presented in comic manner, in it the messages of how the wild flames starts and to what extend it spoils our livelihood were clearly in plain sight. The question and answering session was attention grabbing filled with laughter in every corner when answered wrongly and with a chewing gum as trophy aside applause. In other words, the programme is out of ordinary. The drama reflects of how wild flames starts by careless burning of agricultural debris, making fires for chasing wild pests at night, picnicking and throwing cinders into bushes after smoking. It also shows how the wild flames spread extensively when culprit after having fire accident leaves the scene without extinguishing it or informing to concern personal fearing about the penalties if caught.  At that very moment, the laughter was heard at the highest pitch which sometimes tells how true the drama was.
Drama on causes and effects of  Forest Fire
When the time stroke 8:30 o’clock, the college artists had lot more to display for the audience but gradually the applauding hands were lessening and cheering voices diminishing. The artists are to present the ‘Fire Rules, 2012’ which was the crux of the show but the walls and doors were not gifted with eyes and ears, so the anchor of the show thought that it would not be wise to continue the show with only about dozen of people as a audience. When majority of audience left the hall before the wrap-up of show, the artists felt dishonored by them. If I was one of them I also would have felt humiliated when suddenly huge audience disappears at a time. But I as a host official am here to typewrite my sorry message to dear artists (forest fire volunteers) of Sherubtse College, and also give explanation for why suddenly the hall was empty.  Unlike other places, any awareness show may not possibly be a hit in Drametse in night hours.  This is because most of the villages are dispersed far away from the Geog centre and they need to travel for more than an hour in the dark, and at home their children may sleep with empty stomach when they don’t reach on time to prepare dinner. Usually the farmers sleep early and wakeup when their cock makes the morning call. So, what I mean to say is that you my dear Shercol artists should not tell your junior mates in College about any show not working well in Drametse. This would otherwise be a discourage to any such informative and entertaining upcoming event in Drametse. Any forestry related awareness if scheduled in the day hours then I guarantee the coordinators with not less than 200 audience from my side and that’s a word of a man. Anyway, thanks to all the artists of Sherubtse for your show in Drametse.  
"Forgive for any grammatical errors"
Houseful audience before 8 PM

12/12/2013

Forest Fire

Despite community awareness and stringent state laws, wild flame is one of the key cause of forest degradation in Drametse and Narang zones. The Forestry Extension office on average has recorded about two wild fire accidents in every twelve months for the last 16 years (1997-2012) of which 60% were experienced by Drametse alone. The figure of wild fire was highest in 1999 and 2002, and no such accident was traced in the year 2005 and 2009. Pertaining to the wild flame damage, about 80 % of the affected areas were Government Reserve Forest (GRF) and 20% of it falls under Community Forest (CF). However, the proportion of private lands affected was very negligible with only 0.40 hectare burnt by wild flame so far. Beside harm to forest crops, human causalities and damage to the public properties by the wild flames were also reported in the year 2012.
The extent of damage caused by wild flames was noted to be directly linked to the promptness of response by the public, timing of detection, environmental factors and geological conditions. Most of the forest fires were detected during night hours (almost 35% of the total accidents) making difficult situation to mobilize the fire fighters. Beside local communities and forest officials, there was no record of participation from civil servants, cooperative and private employees, businessmen and students though great numbers of them were noted within Drametse and Narang region. The cooperation from the government and private organization may have helped to reduce the average number of days taken to suppress forest fire, thereby naturally reducing the extent of damage caused by fire.

The detection rates of the offender were very negligible, and thereby welcoming another wild flames in the next season. The wild flames could be set deliberately for proper growth of grasses by local lemon grass oil distillers or can be accidental like use of wood torch at night, fire set to chase wild animals from fields, campfire set by road workers, etc. One of the humorous reasons I traced recently was that the farmers set fire on purpose to trim down vegetation cover so that they can get rid of wild pest from their fields. Whatever the causes may be, the timing for such flame accidents had ripened with wintry weather and browning of trees, shrubs and bushes. The hungry flames therefore can at any time hit our wild zones, and for the reason that I request local communities of Drametse and Narang to be extra cautious and also call for the hands of all the stakeholders if by chance such devastating calamity hit us.



09/12/2013

Drametse

After staying for almost a year in Drametse, now I know where I live. During the sunset, we cannot close the eyes to streams of frosty wind as the place is sited at brow of hill and there are not many woods to serve as windbreak. Being a rural area, the small marketplace shutdowns in the early hour as the local businessmen do not anticipate the downpour of nocturnal shoppers since there is no nightspot for the natives to hangout like in heart of capital, Thimphu. 

After the earthquake on 21/09/09, many shopkeepers with no choice live in temporary huts as their conventional two storey buildings were severely damaged during the time. However, it is one of the developed villages in the east with accessibility to elementary amenities like communication networks, broadband internet service, electricity, Banking facility from BDBL, ambulance service, Early Learning Center, and more. The curvy road running uphill will make travelers remember the ride through Darjeeling highway. The only difference is that the road of the former is unpaved, and though only 18 km in length, the minimum time span of the expedition would be an hour.

Environmentally, Drametse is unhealthy with very less tree cover due to steep gradient, sandy infertile soils, inadequate water supply, and heavy biotic pressures from both man and livestock.  Therefore, it was in 1997 that government of Bhutan established community forest in Dozam (southern region of Drametse) so to implement participatory forestry management programme, and thereby documenting it to be the first such community based forest in the country. Though the forest condition is improving with such initiatives, the communities however extract house building timbers from distant places like Gyelposhing or from Kalapang due to immature timber stands in Drametse.

Historically, Drametse is one of the sacred sites of Peling tradition and its temple was consecrated in the year 1511 by Ani Chorten Zangmo, the granddaughter of Rigzin Padma Lingpa (spiritual treasure reveler). Beside other relics and religious manuscript, it has stupa in which the body of Ani Chorten Zangmo was obscured. In addition, the very famous ‘Drametse Ngacham’, meaning ‘Mask dance of drum from Drametse’ was recognized by UNESCO as Intangible World Heritage and thereby adding more colour in its culture. Today, Drametse is the seat of renowned Buddhist master His Eminence Sungtrul Rinpoche, Jigdrel Kuenzang Pema Dorje, the 11th speech emanation of Rigzin Padma Lingpa. So, I am fortunate that I live in a place where emanation of such great beings exists.