By Nidhi Mathur
Memoir, Yapa Dorji Dahdul, Mark-Age Services Pvt Ltd, Pp 36, Rs 150.00
This is an autobiography of Yapa Dorji D Dahdul written when he was alive but was published posthumously. Known as Kancha Hazur or Kancha Kazi in Sikkim, he was the most educated among the Bhutia community. He was cultured, handsome, a sportsman and architect of Kumar Sporting Club at Gangtok.
Yapa Dahdul was born in early July 1912 in Gangtok as the fourth son into the aristocratic sang-Po-Dar family of Sikkim. He studied at the Bhutia Boarding School, Gangtok After changing schools a number of times, he passed matriculation from Calcutta University in 1930. He joined the Scottish Church College but found it tough going to adjust to the heat of Calcutta. He says that during the early 1930s, anti-British movement like the boycott of all British goods “had an adverse impact on the students from the hilly regions” because of which they resorted to wearing the “solar topee” during the day. This made them “vulnerable in the eyes of the Indians, who were championing the national cause. Thus we had to suffer sporadic incidents in which coloured waters were thrown on our outfits and we had our topees crushed by being hit surreptitiously from behind by lathis.” This evidently shows that he was anti-Indian and pro-British.
He graduated from Calcutta University in 1935. His father’s death in early 1935 made him take to serving the Maharaja and the Sikkim Durbar, when he wanted to join the Indian Police Service. He says that from1935 to 1948, he “suffered administrative exploitation and injustice from the bureaucrats by the virtue of my higher academic qualification.”
During this period he “was floundering about, like a rudderless boat amidst a heavy storm, without any specific plan in life.” He married late in life in 1948 and had a son and daughter.
He had the unusual knack of handling the most delicate situations with tact and finesse. It is said by former Chief Secretary of Sikkim that “in reality it was this sharp pen that put the state administration in order, without having to raise a voice against anyone.”
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