Pawan Kumar Chamling – From govt contractor to Chief Minister
From working as a government contractor at one time to being the current and 5th Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Kumar Chamling is the founder member and also the president of the Sikkim Democratic Front.
From working as a government contractor at one time to being the current and 5th Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Kumar Chamling is the founder member and also the president of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) - a party that has governed Sikkim for four consecutive terms from 1994.
Born to Aash Bahadur Chamling and Aasharani Chamling in Yangang, South Sikkim on September 22, 1950, he got his primary education in Yangang. In addition to academics, he was proficient in sports, cultural and literary activities.
Chamling got into politics in 1973, though his actual political journey began in 1977 with him becoming the founder member and vice-president of the Sikkim Prajatantra Congress, the core philosophy of which was guided by the understanding of the rural masses and the working people. Chamling continued as secretary and president before he was elected as the President of Yangang Gram Panchayat in 1982.
Three years later in 1985, he was elected as an MLA and became a Cabinet Minister in the Nar Bahadur Bhandari cabinet and was given Information & Public Relations and Industries portfolios. His past experiences of operating in the grassroots level as well his obsession with the planned development of Sikkim’s rural areas quickly made him a key member of the party.
However, after a series of major political upheavals in Sikkim in the early nineties, Chamling was forced to form the Sikkim Democratic Front party on 4 March 1993. The party was set up with the core principle of fostering democracy, justice, and development aspirations of the people. With Mr. Chamling as the unanimous leader, SDF came to power after sweeping the State Assembly election in 1994 and all the subsequent State Assembly polls in 1999, 2004 and 2009.
Apart from a highly active political career, Chamling equally contributed to literary and cultural activities in his home state. In 1977, he established Nirman Prakashan and began the publication of Nirman, a monthly literary magazine from his home town. Pawan Chamling is a poet of the masses, having published numerous literary works under his pen name Pawan Chamling Kiran. Antahin Sapana Mero Bipana, Perennial Dream and my Reality, Damthang Heeja Ra Aajah, Sikkim Ra Narikoh Maryadhyaa, Democracy Redeemed, Meroh Sapana Koh Sikkim are only to name a few.
Throughout his career, Pawan Kumar Chamling has received several awards and honours. Some of the awards bestowed on him are Chintan Purashkar (1987) by Sikkim Sahitya Parishad, Thekong Ambassador of Peace (2010) by the Pang Lhabsol Committee; Bhanu Puraskar (2010) by Sikkim Sahitya Parishad; Leadership and Good Governance Award (2009) by the Universal Peace Federation; Doctor of Philosophy (2003) by Sikkim Manipal University; Poets` Foundation Award (2002) by Poets Foundation, Kolkata; Manav Seva Purashkar (1999) by Institute of Economic Studies, New Delhi; Man of the Year (1998) by Biographical Institute, USA; Greenest Chief Minister of India (1998) by Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi; Bharat Siromani (1996) by Shiromani Foundation, New Delhi.
There are many achievements that one can find in Pawan Chamling’s journey from a boy born to a humble family in a small village in Sikkim to being the leader of Sikkim Legislative Assembly, but one may say that his greatest achievement has been to integrate Sikkim emotionally with the rest of India.