East Himalaya

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Everest Day & India the home for adventure in Himalaya

Lieutenant Colonel William Lambton was the Superintendent of the Trigonometric Survey of India which he started in 1806. Much later he was succeeded by Colonel Sir George Everest, who was the Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843, who continued the work and extended the same from South of India to Nepal in the North, following the Meridian Arch, covering a distance of 2400 kms. He was immediately succeeded by Major General Sir Andrew Scott Wagh, who had in his office Babu Radhanath Sikdar, a Derozian who was known for his knowledge in mathematics was picked up by Sir George Everest himself, when Radhanath was only 19. In 1852, Radhanath had pointed out to Andrew that ‘Peak XV’ behind Mt.Khangchendzonga was the highest peak of the world. It was only in 1856, Andrew Wagh decided to announce the finding and proposed it to be named after his Boss, George Everest.
Everest himself had a lot of objections against naming the peak after him, as he himself had passed an order that the peaks to be named after the local names available. Radhanath’s work was never recognized the way it should have been. The politics of the highest peak continues even today. After 60 years of the first climb on Everest on this date by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, people still discuss about who climbed first and not about the fact the great feat of the Tenzing Hillary, his nurture and respect in Darjeeling in India, even being born to a Sherpa family in the Thengbuche, Khumbu in Nepal. A comment of Tashi Tenzing, the Grandson of the Great Mountaineer, as published in The Telegraph from UK shows
Mr Tenzing, 49, said: “I think my grandfather should have been knighted. He was a member of the expedition, not just a Sherpa.
“They just gave him a bloody medal.”
Today’s anniversary would provide a good opportunity for "a gesture from the Queen and the people of England to recognise that my grandfather was the man who took their flag to the summit," he argued.
The lack of official recognition that Tenzing allegedly suffered has been attributed to prejudices in the British establishment at the time.

How could he be knighted as a citizen of India, which was then an independent country. Talking about his citizenship then, when he was asked to which country did he belong, the simple man but the Great Climber replied that Nepal is my mother who gave me birth, but India is my mother who looked after me. Regarding the flag to the summit, he took a few things to the summit, one is a blue and red pencil, which a small girl Nima from the Sherpa Busty in Darjeeling had given her and the other was the ice axe with four flags: UN, Britain, Nepal and India, the last given to him by his friend Rabindranath Mitra, the owner of a printing press in Darjeeling. (Ref: the column by Gautam Chakraborty published in ABP today).
My close friend, Tsering Wange was the first person to promote Adventure Tourism from Arunachal Pradesh in India’s Northeast, this I think was about 15 to 18 years ago. On May 18th, 2013, Anshu Jamshenpa, his wife reached the summit for the third time. Anshu, mother of 02 daughters had climbed the Everest twice in 10 days, 12th and 21st of May, 2011, the only of its kind World Record. She was awarded the ‘Adventurer of the Year 2011’ by the ATOAI (Adventure Tour Operators’ Association of India) at their 9th Annual Convention held in Srinagar, Jammu &Kashmir, India. 16 year old Nameirakpam Chingkheinganba from Manipur is the youngest Indian to be at the top of the summit was with Anshu this year. Tarun Saikia of Assam, David Zomanghaiha from Mizoram and Wangsuk Myrthong from Meghalaya were also the first from their respective states to climb the Everest with Anshu.
Chanda Gayen from West Bengal made to the summit on the same date and is third woman from the state of India to make it after Kunga Bhutia from Darjeeling in 1994 and Shipra mazumdar from Murshidabad in 2004. Her team mates Ujjal Ray, Debdas Nandy and Tushi Das also made to the summit. Tushi sells eggs in the local market to run the family and nurture the passion of mountaineering. All four from very middle class families or so to say poor families could make to the top because of their dedication and hard work, but above all the adventure culture in India. The adventure clubs and associations spread across the small and big towns and cities of India are the motivating house for young Indians.
The trend in India was always there, but not as western mountaineering, but the great pilgrimages to the Himalaya, known for hundreds of years in India. The facts, myths and stories of the sacred footfalls in the Himalaya are never ending...


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