After a delayed travel schedule due to rainy weather, shaky flight, and a wet arrival in Gangtok town, we were denied stay at the first hotel we tried to check-in…
But we slept the day away because today dawned an eventful chapter.
Walking all over G-town in search of familiar faces to guide us to our Lepcha hunger strikers hit the right chords when we entered the Woodlands building and the much needed energy was passed on to us.
We made this trip to Sikkim because we wanted to know what was happening in our “homeland.”
We have been hearing reports about the Lepcha hunger strikers. Perhaps it is the first of its kind done by the Lepchas but as you meet Dawa and Tenzing (who have been fasting for the last 42 days) you realize that this issue has many more sentiments than just a rebellious act.
The state government has been planning seven hydel projects in the Dzongu reservation area. Dzongu is a place safeguarded for the protection of indigenous Lepchas of the land. Read more on http://weepingsikkim.com/.
Prior to this, I had my reservations on the issue.
But the “turning point” was perhaps when Dawa, the filmmaker spoke to me.
I had been in touch with Dawa through email in earlier occasion when we were planning a film festival. I had never met him but I had seen his works and his docuementaries have even been screened at internattional film festivals abroad. He is an amazing artist -an asset to the Lepcha community and we can’t afford to lose him.
But his life is at stake as he continues this hunger strike… he has given his life for the cause.
(From today onwards, the doctors have forced both Dawa and Tenzing to undergo “Ryle’s Tube Feeding”)
Before we left I tried to tell him that we were behind him. And as I held his hand, he said, “I hope we get to do that festival some day.”
And that was it.
I am supporting the cause…
I am uploading a few pics from today.
I shall have more updates as days progress because we are headed to Dzongu tomorrow.
Banners outside where the relay hunger strike is taking place.
Strike started exactly 42 days ago…