Governor of TN presided over celebration of Foundation day of Sikkim

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The Honourable Governor, on behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu, extended his warmest greetings and best wishes to the brothers and sisters of Sikkim living across the world on Sikkim Statehood Day.

The Honourable Governor said that, being a princely state, Sikkim would have joined India at the time of India’s independence like other princely states. It was the British, for reasons that are not difficult to decipher, who advised leaders at that point of time to keep Sikkim out of constituent assembly deliberations; subsequently, Sikkim under the Maharaja got protectorate status. With popular desire and will, eventually, on May 16, 1975, Sikkim came home and formally joined the family (India). It was a political integration, but India, being a civilizational country, has been a part of this larger Bharatvarsh for long-long time. Sikkim was part of Bharat, where people used to go for pilgrimages. Unfortunately, some of us have forgotten that, besides monasteries, there are very old places of pilgrimage in Sikkim. Kirateshwar Mahadev temple is in western Sikkim, on the bank of the River Rangeet. Mahadev, in the form of Kirat ( hunter), is a very ancient temple, and people used to go for pilgrimage there. Close to Gangtok is Ganesh Tok, the old Ganesh Temple. Subsequently, other strands of our civilization, such as Buddhism, also went. The line "Buddhan Sharanam Gacchami..." originated in Nalanda. Kangchenjunga is not just a mountain but a divine being; it is worshipped as a Devi. It was an eternal part of Bharat. During British rule, a lot of damage happened, and one of the victims was Sikkim, as our leaders exceeded the request of the British not to include Sikkim in our discussion.

Over time, with the advent of the modern state, especially post-British, we came to know about the different parts of the country, but we knew them politically. It was primarily because it was weakened grossly during the colonial period. Earlier, people moved across the country for pilgrimages to Puri, Rameshwaram, Kanchipuram, and Dwaraka. People were well connected. The socio-cultural interaction was weakened during British time deliberately and after British by default because we have given too much emphasis to political identity and politics. We know about the geography of the country, but we don’t know about the people.

Sikkim is an example for the rest of the country that how people can live together and grow with absolute consciousness towards the environment and sustainable growth. In Sikkim, no chemical fertiliser is used, which has only been possible with the collective will and cooperation of the people.

The reason to celebrate statehood days is to relate to the people, understand them better, and live in harmony and brotherhood. People in the past were related through pilgrimage and festivals. Unfortunately, all these have been taken up by the state (political). They have become so dominant in our lives that the inherent strength of society has been weakened grossly. Society used to look after most of its needs. Today we look up to government, even for petty issues. This inherent strength of society is grossly undermined, to the extent that we have forgotten about it. Overdependence on the political state is the bane of our society. This is a model which seems today as if it is irreversible, but at the time, it is unsustainable too, as we are witnessing the problems the world is facing today, be it climate change, conflict, or visible or invisible wars.

We have to awaken the strength of society. We have to strengthen the institutions, and if necessary to create the institutions. That is what we are trying to make an attempt. When Prime Minister Modi says to celebrate statehood day, it is not a formal event at Raj Bhavan but a people’s event, and I would like that from next year onwards, this celebration should be done in public places such as universities. We will invite people from different parts of the country as a celebration of Statehood Day of one particular state is not only to be celebrated by the people of that very state, it has to be celebrated by the people of India. We will have cultural performances, cuisine display.

Let’s know more and more about our country at a level which is far more intimate than mere geography or politics. Only then we can revive the strength of our country. Let’s awaken the Kundalini (the yoga concept of Kundalini) of this country Bharat has to be awakened.

Kashi Tamil Sangamam is a beginning of a festival, reviving the age-old connect between the people of Tamil Nadu and Kashi. Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam, thousands and thousands of people from Saurashtra came and settled here. They never felt they were going to another country or place. They were welcomed.

When we say unity in diversity, it has to be appreciated in our inner being, it is not an intellectual appreciation, it has to be reflected in our day-to-day lives.

We must try and discover and rediscover the civilizational root and civilizational connect, that is what will make this country what it deserves to be and it would take this country to the destiny that rightfully belongs to this country that is the leader of the world.

We have made a modest beginning today; we will celebrate all statehood day but the spirit behind the celebrations is to bring the people together.


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