Siliguri, October 8
Future Generations will read about their own History from their Native Historian: Professor JetaSankrityayan
A momentous occasion unfolded on October 7, 2023, as renowned historian Dr. Sonam B. Wangyal unveiled his latest work, ‘Darjeeling – Place Names: History & Meanings of Places, Rivers, Mountains & Hills’, published by BukAnt under its BukAnt History Series. The grand release ceremony took place at the BukAnt Book Café in Salbari, with a distinguished panel of guests and speakers.
Eminent academician, researcher, and former Professor of Economics, Professor Jeta Sankrityayan, presided over the event as the Chairperson. The event’s Guest of Honour was the celebrated intellectual and theatre personality of Darjeeling, P. Arjun, and the Chief Guest was the acclaimed author, Dr. Satyadeep Chettri.
“We grew up reading colonial history of our native place. This book is an important book for our coming generations who will read about their own history from their own native historian,” Professor Jeta Sankrityayan told in his speech. He also shared some of his school time anecdotes pertaining to his memoirs with the author.He added that Darjeeling – Place Names isn’t merely a book; it’s an intellectual expedition. It serves as an illuminating beacon that guides us through the intricate web of linguistic, cultural, and historical evolution in the district. It offers a window into the rich tapestry of Darjeeling’s heritage, a heritage whose roots are revealed through the tireless dedication and meticulous scholarship of Dr. Wangyal.
“Dr. Wangyal’s dedication is admirable as he has been writing the history of the Himalayan Region of Darjeeling and Sikkim in unputdownable manner. BukAnt, the publisher of Darjeeling Place Names is slowly creating a niche for the intellectual dynamism in this region,” said the Guest of Honour P. Arjun in his address.
Dr. Satyadeep Chettri told in his address, “It is time to reclaim our stories and tell it in our own way rather than be under the cloud of a colonial hangover. Dr. Sonam Wangyal is a leading light in this matter.”
Presenting a crispy and thought provoking review on the book, noted journalist, critic Anuradha Sharma told, “The best part of the book is the meticulous compilation of the wonderful diversity of such a small geography. Being the son of the soil and understanding the geography, Dr. Wangyal brings a genuine perspective of Darjeeling weaving together mythology, linguistics, folklore, epistemology, in a 200 hundred page book Darjeeling Place Names.” She added, “Dr. Wangyal’s quest for knowledge led him through the annals of history, consulting a vast array of sources that include around 40 dictionaries, over 100 books, interviews with revered resource persons, and the perusal of scores of articles spanning magazines, newspapers, journals, and even numerous internet sites.”
Dr. Wangyal thanked all the persons who supported him in his research and writing throughout his writing journey as well as his readers who have always been his source of inspiration. “I hope that time will come when our own history will be recognised by the entire world in the rationally original perspective.”
Raja Puniani, director of BukAnt, told in his welcome note, “This is the era when we have started retelling our own story in the form of rewritten our own history. The misreading of the misinterpreted Indian Gorkha identity is being addressed and fixed in scientific approach by the historians like Dr. Wangyal. Darjeeling: Place Names stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication and intellectual perseverance of Dr. Sonam B. Wangyal.”
Noted editor, teacher, journalist BiswaYonzan conducted the role of the master of ceremony in a very interesting style. While initiating the show, he told, “The monumental work ‘Darjeeling: Place Names’, initiated and completed over two decades of meticulous research, is a tour de force in the exploration of the names that adorn the landscapes of Darjeeling. The depth of research that underpins this work is nothing short of astounding.”
P. Arjun handed over the Author Certificate on behalf of publisher Buk Ant to Dr.Wangyal. The cover of ‘Gorkhaland – EkKhoj’ the Nepali translation of his book ‘Never Ending Wait for Gorkhaland’ was released by Sankrityayan amid the gala.
Born in a serene village of Ghoom, Darjeeling, in the year 1950, renowned historian Dr. Sonam B. Wangyal, with an expertise on the history of Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayan region, has the books ‘Sikkim and Darjeeling: Division and Deception’, ‘Footprints in the Himalaya’, ‘Dooars vis-à-vis Gorkhaland’, ‘Never Ending Wait for Gorkhaland’, ‘Darjeeling Stories’, and ‘Darjeeling Stories Sahibs, Natives and Oddballs’ to his credit. Currently, his literary loom is crafting two more tales, ‘Mark Twain in Darjeeling’ and ‘From the Horse’s Mouth: Unbelievable Darjeeling Story’. Beyond the realm of ink and paper, he etched the script of the Nepali film ‘Death Certificate’.
Dr. Wangyal was conferred with Dooars Gourav Samman recently.