Darjeeling’s Prashant mania


Darjeeling is famous as one India’s popular hill stations, her Toy Train (a World Heritage) and of course, the famous Darjeeling tea. But then this Queen of Hills is in the news in recent days for something entirely different: one of the local boys has made it to the Top 10 of Indian Idol 3, a reality talent show based on American Idol, and watched by millions in India and around the world.

In a celebratory mood and with the enthusiasm that comes from seeing “one of us” making it on such a big national platform, the Darjeelinges are busy organising various programmes in connection with the Indian Idol and of course the golden voiced boy from the hills Prashant Tamang.

The people of Darjeeling, and of other towns in the hill district of West Bengal like Kalimpong, Kurseong, Sunadha, Ghum, and neighbouring state of Sikkim are actively working (read SMSing mostly) to see Prashant crowned the next Indian Idol. A massive signature campaign has been launched in all the above mentioned places in Prashant’s support.

JL Lepcha, Prashant’s frie-nd from his school days sa-id, “Prashant has become the glory of all Gorkhalis. We are confident of Prashant being crowned the next Indian Idol.”

And Lepcha added that it is God’s blessing that Prashant with no training in music has made to the Idol Top 10 list.

Prashant, a sepoy in the Kokata police, has become a hero overnight. Large banners urging people to vote for him are seen hanging in each junction and road of the town.

Even tea-shop owners, taxi drivers and porters are urging people to vote for him. Locals are

lighting earthen lamps everyday to wish Prashant good luck.

Juli Lepcha, one his fans, said, “Though his performance was the best, I was shocked when he was listed as one in the bottom four in piano round. Now the situation is that of ‘do or die’ for Prashant.”

Friends, family and fans apart, social organisations and even the police have been publicly urging everyone to vote for Prashant through SMS.

Inspector of Darjeeling Police, Sudeya Gurung said, “We have urged all our juniors to vote for Prashant, who is the pride of Darjeeling Police.”

The passion to make Prashant win through SMS votes was such that violence broke out after cell phone subscribers found it difficult to send votes for him. Besides the support that he has got from the people, prayers haven’t stopped at his home.

“He has been singing from the age of four. He has great passion for music but he has had no formal training. We would be very happy if he wins,” says Prashant’s mother, Rupa.

And the love, support and enthusiasm for this 21-year-old shy boy from the hills has only just begun.