Khangchendzonga to be replaced from Rs 100 note, Sikkimese disappointed

Gangtok, 06 Aug:

As soon as the news of Mount Khangchendzonga being replaced in Rs 100 notes broke, the reaction in the home state of the world's third highest peak has been that of surprise with many expressing disappointment and sadness.

Opposition party, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has stated that it is really unfortunate that the newly released hundred rupee note does not feature the image of Khangchendzonga. The revered mountain is the pride of Sikkim which has captured the emotional Sikkimese imagination through all these years.

“We do not know if this move has been done deliberately but it has certainly hurt the sentiments of the people of Sikkim. RBI, Union Government should rectify this callous mistake on their part,” said the party's general secretary, Press and Publicity, Bikash Basnet.

They have also demanded that the State Government immediately communicate with the concerned authority and restore the image of Khangchendzonga.

Khangchendzonga on Rs 100 note is to be replaced by Rani ki Vav, Gujarat.

Many Sikkimese have blamed the Centre of complete disregard for Sikkimese sentiments.

Senior media person, Mita Zulca, co-author of Khangchendzonga: Sacred Summit, says in a Facebook post, says, " Say goodbye to seeing Mt. Khangchendzonga on 100 rupee notes. BJP has replaced it with image of Rani Ki Vav, a stepwell situated in the town of Patan in Gujarat, built as a memorial to some king. Guess it does not matter but kinda sad anyway,"

"Why, BJP?" she questions.

It must be noted here that Sikkimese across different faiths consider the peak sacred as the reside of Sikkim's guardian deity.

Another activist, Gyatso Lepcha wrote on social media that nobody cares in the modern democracy where numbers and money matter, and in both counts the state lags behind.

Many have expressed helplessness on not being able to do anything to save the state's cultural symbol from being removed.

"Wish we could do something it," says Saurabh Syangden, Research Scholor, Sikkim University.

Not just in Sikkim but people from neighbouring West Bengal have also expressed their displeasure on such move by the centre.

Expressing concern, Biswas Gurung, general secretary, Gorkha Janamukti Vidhyarti Morcha, Central Committee says, "Whenever anyone asked us where we were from, like Darjeeling where?? Then the hundred rupee note and the mighty Khangchendzonga on it was a matter of pride for us. Like the place where we belong."

Many have stated that the peak’s depiction on the note brought the state closer to the mainstream.

"Mt. Khanchendzonga is not just the third highest mountain, but is one of the important landmarks of the country. Being our guardian deity, the jewel of the east has been our identity and it feels like in a way our identity is being easily replaced," said artist and activist Devika Gurung.

Publicity Secretary, Headquarter, Sikkim Democratic Front, Santosh Subba, "This unceremonious removal has indeed hurt me, at a time when Sikkim is making headlines for all the good reasons."

Well known footballer, Sanju Pradhan has said that this is a bad sign for Sikkim and there must be a dialogue with concerned authorities to stop such a move.

Echoing similar sentiment, another star footballer, Nirmal Chettri said, “Being Sikkim's most iconic representation in the mainstream, the concerned authority should not have changed anything.”

A travel and food enthusiast from Siliguri, Manas Ghosh, while expressing shock over this news has criticised the centre for ignoring the sentiments of those who admire Sikkim and its venerated mountain.

Rani Ki Vav is an intricately constructed stepwell situated in the town of Patan in Gujarat. It is located on the banks of Saraswati River. The stepwell was built as a memorial to an 11th-century king Bhima. It was added to the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites on 22 June 2014.

The dimension of the banknote will be 66 mm and 142 mm. It will come with signature of RBI Governor Urjit R Patel.

The new Rs 100 denomination note will come in lavender colour and bear a motif of Rani ki Vav.

The colour of the thread in the new 100 rupee note changes from green to blue when the note is tilted. It also bears the Swachh Bharat logo with slogan on the reverse.