To punctuate everyone’s lives with good news, the highly controversial notification passed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, regarding climbing and scaling of sacred peaks including Mt. Kanchendzonga may be revoked. The MHA issued another notification declaring that 14 peaks located in the state maybe deleted from the list and in good spirit, all before Pang Lhabsol, as the people against this notification, had requested.
The Pang Lhabsol ceremony on September 13 at the Tsuklakhang Monastery (palace complex) is scheduled to take place, but with a strong message to the attendees. Organizers of the event have partnered with Secure Himalaya, Sikkim, and laid out rules to make this event a zero-waste festival.
No non-biodegradable food (packaged products) are to be presented as offerings and instead, devotees are requested to bring fruits or vegetables as tsho (offerings). Drinking water is to be brought in personal bottles and no packaged bottles are to be left littering the grounds.
This initiative stands highly commendable. If people actively help to safeguard their environment and public spaces by taking a strong stand against littering and usage of biodegradable products, like the above, more event organizers might keep in mind being environmentally conscious as a priority.
For instance, Delhi’s Shanti Amplified – the first of its kind silent unplugged sessions (concerts with headphones) or Bangalore’s Echoes of Earth festival (solar-powered stages and planting a sapling for each ticket sold) have been making people become aware of waste reduction, noise management and other environmental issues.
The Pang Lhabsol ceremony, of whose the Pangtoed Chaam (warrior dance) remains one of the major highlights, is solely for spiritual and religious purposes. But when devotees don’t think about the sanctity of the spaces these ceremonies take in, it becomes an issue. Kanchendzonga, our guardian deity would like the whole of Sikkim to be clean and we should keep that in mind and change our consumption habits – not because we must fear God’s wrath but because global warming and pollution is a deadly threat looming over us. Now is the only time for action.