Why Gorkhaland? From Darjeeling Gupshup

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Almost everyone from Darjeeling District and parts of Dooars Terai irrespective of their caste, race, and linguistic difference are demanding Gorkhaland because: Gorkhaland is our birth right, guaranteed by the Constitution of India. People from Darjeeling have always been a victim of social, political and economical experiences under various administrations levied upon them. People of Darjeeling feel that it’s the ripe time that the people of Darjeeling should be given the right of self determination under the Constitution of India. Majority of Indians does not recognize the people of Darjeeling as Indians just because the people of Darjeeling speak Nepali language. Historically Darjeeling belonged to Sikkim. Darjeeling was gifted to East India Company by Sikkim and then it’s Passover to the British Crown and the Indian Republic. The people of Darjeeling Hills and Dooars Terai have combined and fully assimilated into mainstream India, they feel the need to be recognized as India’s own. Gorkhalis feel that as a constituent fabric of the Indian Union like the Bengalese, Tamils, Punjabis, they can as Gorkhas from Gorkhaland serve Indian Union to their fullest capacity. Politically Darjeeling Hills and Dooars Terai is the epi-centre of Gorkhas. However, Gorkhas make up a sizeable population in Bhagsu, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and other parts of India. For Gorkhas, Darjeeling has always been a homeland of choice. Thus the formation of Gorkhaland would signify recognition and legitimacy and most importantly acceptance in India as a whole, no matter where they reside. Since Sikkim is a separate state for Sikkimese, the Gorkhas also want their own state Gorkhaland of their own as they feel overshadowed under in a state called West Bengal. The Gorkhas has different culture compared to the culture of West Bengal. Economically Darjeeling Hills and Dooars Terai has never received economic aid proportion to the resources, potential and revenue garnered or could be garnered in the region. West Bengal has never found itself interested in helping the Hills and Dooars Terai to rise up to its optimum potential. Darjeeling Hill with its abundant resources, including world favorite Darjeeling Tea and Tourism never got noticed by West Bengal Government and the Central Government. Gorkhalis have always been victim of identity crisis more so because of the existence of the Republic of Nepal with whom India shares a porous border. The lack of the need of visa while traveling through and fro the two nations have also lead to belief in most of the Indian circles that Nepalese wander in India freely and hence giving a second thought that Gorkhali people must be from Nepal. This leads to major complications for Nepali speaking people that are originally from India and not from Nepal. In fact, this vision has found root not just among commoners and the lays but also the highest of leaders in India. In the 1970s when the then Prime Minister of India, Morarji Desai visited Darjeeling, he was submitted a petition by a delegation of the Bharatiya Nepali Bhasa Manyata Samiti (Indian Nepali Language Recognition Committee). The Prime Minister went through the petition and remarked rather care-freely, “I think you should be offering this petition to your King?” While the delegation lay dazed the Prime Minister further remarked, “Don’t you have a country of your own?” Yes, he was referring to Nepal and to His Late Majesty Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev. And yes, there was and is a country called Nepal but surely, it never occurred to the Prime Minister that he was not talking to Nepalese Delegation from Nepal but to the Citizens of India. Identity is thus a very big issue! There have been news and various newspapers carried out numerous reports of Nepali speaking Indians being not given access to the most basic of amenities such as issue of ration cards, voters identity cards etc in the rest of the nation just because they were Nepali speaking Indians. Certainly, Gorkhaland would solve a lot of problems. (Darjeeling Forum)

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