LEH: The 20th Sindhu Darshan, celebration of Sindh River, began at Sindhu Ghat Shey in Ladakh with Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, the 37th throne holder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, offering prayers to the Indus River in presence of a galaxy of dignitaries including J and K Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Singh, Minister for Ladakh Affairs Chering Dorjay, CEC, LAHDC, Leh Dr. Sonam Dawa, Member Parliament Thupstan Chhewang and hundreds of guests.
The three-day festival is being organised by Sindhu Darshan Yatra Samiti and Ladakh Phanday Tsogspa. The official festival ‘Ladakh Singey Khabas Festival ( Sindhu Darshan)’ has been suspended this year. Dr. Nirmal Singh (without naming) accused the previous LAHDCs for having celebrated a parallel Sindhu Darshan in the previous years and clarified that from this year only one annual Sindhu Darshan fully backed by the state government will be celebrated. Earlier, Minister for Ladakh Affairs Chering Dorjay told the media that official festival had to be suspended this year on account of lack of funds as Government of India has stopped funding for this festival.
Sindhu Darshan was first started in 1997 with an aim to promote national integration and celebrate unity in diversity. In 2006, LAHDC, Leh, in consultation with the State and the central governments brought slight modification with name of the festival. It was renamed as ‘Ladakh Singhey Khabas Festival (Sindhu Darshan)’. The festival is considered as a symbol of multidimensional cultural identity of India that got its name from the River Indus called ‘Singhey Khababs’ in Ladakhi.
In protest against the change in the name of the festival, Sindhu Darshan Yatra Samiti, backed by Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS), started organising its own Sindhu Darshan every year parallel to the one celebrated officially. Chief Patron and Margdarshak Sindhu Darshan Yatra Samiti Indresh Kumar, who is a Senior Pracharak and member of the national working committee of the RSS, narrated the significance of the festival and ironically many of the issues he covered in his speech were against the spirit of the festival which is supposed to promote national integration and harmony. He asked all Indians to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ than using different languages to show respect to mother India.
On Thursday, when veteran BJP leader and member parliament L.K Advani inaugurated Sindhu Bhawan at Shey, Minister of Ladakh Affairs Chering Dorjay had to walk out of the function as no seat was reserved for him. “I just walked away because there was no place for us to sit”, he said. The chaos with the seating arrangement continued for the second day as well as there were no proper arrangements made by the organisers for the guests. However, a colourful cultural programme depicting cultural diversity of India was presented on the occasion.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper