Designer of Sikkim Tourism, Rinchen Doma Reechung- A Tribute

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By K.C. Pradhan, Former Chief Secretary, Sikkim.

Sikkim lost another eminent personality in Rinchen Doma Reechung. She did her Preliminary Law from Mumbai and joined the Sikkim Durbar Service in 1969 as Assistant Superintendent , GICI (Govt. Institute of Cottage Industries). She was one of the ablest Officers in the State administration with drive, artistic talents and was indeed a no- nonsense officer. During my long tenure in Sikkim Tourism, I could see her administrative capability from very close quarters and any assignment entrusted to her was carried out with perfection and finesse unknown at that time. She emerged in the scene when Tourism in Sikkim was in a nascent stage and we tried to use her talents to the best extent possible.

When Sikkim Department of Tourism was allotted a corner as the Sikkim Tourism Counter at erstwhile Bagdogra Airport, she was assigned to design and execute it. She did it so well that it remained a real show-case to project Sikkim. She was meticulous, I should say a perfectionist par excellence – which is a rarity in the administration. No doubt she was a one person army and once a job is assigned she did not tolerate any interference. She was a workaholic to the extent she ruined her health many a times by stressing herself too much. I do remember the way she organized many a functions including the visit of the President of India, late Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, to organizing Sikkim Evenings in Sikkim House in New Delhi with poise and finesse that flowed in her so readily. Her contribution in the realm of Sikkim Tourism is immense.

As Secretary Culture she brought in many innovative ideas and the various programmes performed in various part of the country was highly appreciated. Her contribution in GICI is equally praiseworthy and she brought in a breathe of fresh air. In reality she laid the foundation of many of the departments that she was associated with. She was a hard task-master and yet considerate and her subordinates did love her. To her bosses they needed a special skill to handle her.

It is hard to get an Officer so dedicated in her job, so perfectionist, honest to the core. Like her father late Tse Ten Tashi (TTT), eminent personality in his own versatile manner from gardening to photography to orchids to rhododendrons to entrepreneurships, she was a person in a hurry. Idleness was not in her vocabulary and she did not tolerate one who is idle in his or her job. In many ways, like her father, she was ahead of her times. She accompanied her late husband Reechung Rinpoche Jampal Kunzang, hailing from the illustrious Yapshi Pheunkhang nobility in Lhasa in Tibet – the family of 11th Dalai Lama dating back to 1838 – and also Director of Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, in many of their foreign sojourns. He, a very humble personality, was an authority on Tibetan system of medicines. It was she who persuaded her husband to write a book on it and the outcome was ‘Histoire De La Medecine Tibetaine’ written in French in association with his long-time friend Jean-Paul R. Claudon and published by Wellcome Trust, London in 1989. The book was first of its kind and was very well received and he was highly respected. Temperamentally they were poles apart but yet they had high regards for each other. If Rinpoche was the fountainhead of knowledge on very many intricate Tibetan rituals, Rinchen Doma was the driving force that brought grace wherever they traveled abroad. She was a rare personality with Sikkimese ethos. Aggressive and yet humble and knew perfectly well how to glide in high circles with grace and humility. Sadly, her health deteriorated over the years and led a forlorn life confined in her apartment in the Development Area. Their large families were however always by her side to boost her morale. In her passing away the illustrious Rhenock nobility lost their senior-most member in the family.

We miss her immensely. We pray the Almighty that her soul be rest in peace.

Courtesy: Sikkim Express



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