The discontentment, bitterness and resentment that had been kept suppressed for 21 long years by the people of the Darjeeling hills finally and fortunately found an outlet in the guise of the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha. Initially the people found this right to expression an anomaly in their restrained and curbed lives of 21 seemingly endless years. But no sooner did the people come to terms with the golden reality, than they started voicing their opinions and beliefs, without having to thin twice of being beheaded or stabbed or shot at in broad daylight.
Within a couple of months the GJMM had unbelievably more than half the population of the district of Darjeeling supporting the issue they had reawakened. The long cherished dream of every Gorkha that had been trampled and manipulated by the astute Subash Ghisingh once again started echoing in the hills. At the outset, people were agitation of 1986 -87. No one was ready and none could sustain another atrocious reality of the 80’s which people preferred to forget as the worst dream ever. But Mr. Bimal Gurung’s reassurance and his decision to adopt the path of Ahimsa and the Mahatma, won the confidence and support of the once disheartened public. By the third month the movement had swept over the entire district and one could see the tricolor flags of the GJMM fluttering majestically atop every house. “The winds and waves are always on the side of the best navigator.” Indeed Mr. Bimal Gurung lives up to this saying.
The journey thence has not been easy. Having overcome numerous obstacles, we have come far and are nearing the shore, away from the island Subash Ghisingh had deserted us, and now there’s no turning back. All that has been achieved so far has been the repercussion of the best navigator with the support of the people. But what pains me most and sometimes even irks me is the way some people still anticipate a wrong move from Mr. Gurung so as to scoff at him. We must not to realize, and sooner the better, that his loss is not his alone, it is yours, it is mine, it is every Gorkha’s.
Rather than criticisms, solutions and keys are the need of the hour. Had Mr. Gurung not intercepted at the nick of the time, the 6th Schedule would have been enforced, and unimaginable chaos and pandemonium would have reigned in the entire hill region. The credit for having jeopardized the Bengal government’s diabolique vision of entirely extinguishing the Gorkha community from India by imposing the 6th Schedule goes to Mr. Bimal Gurung.
The historical gathering at Indira Maidan in Siliguri was a moment of pride for all Gorkhas and the first of its kind in many years. All that Mr. Gurung had said there has been compared to the Nazis by Mr. Ashok Bhattacharya. I’m afraid he has made an error and has not the slightest idea of what Nazism really means. Nazism actually is the Bengal Government’s outrageous fantasy and the holocaust they had envisioned by execution of the 6th Schedule.
The state government has to change its way of thinking, for now they no longer are dealing with Subash Ghisingh for whom “Gorkhaland was his monkey” but with “bay-mol” (priceless) Gurung for whom Gorkhaland is as his dear mother, his very life. He will settle for nothing less than a separate homeland of the Gorkhas. And we can reliably bank on him for the Gorkhaland, let us do away with the feelings of jealousy, envy, ego and pride and instead have just one feeling, the feeling of oneness. We must keep aside to our differences and for once multiple identities, forget that we belong ahead with just one common identity of a Gorkha. Why not help one another to make this crusade for Gorkhaland a super success.
Anindita Dasgupta has mentioned in her “A Study of the Nepalis of Assam” (THE NEPALIS in North east India Ed. A. C. Sinha and T. B. Subba), the arguments of Amalendu guha about “Big Nationalism” based on all India culture and historical heritage, and “Little Nationalism” based on all India culture and historical heritage. She has written about the necessity that arose to protect the “Little National” in Assam when faced with the demand for Assam’s inclusion in Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s six province. Pakistan in the 1940s. Similarly, ‘now’ is the time for us to perpetuate and safeguard our ‘Little Naionalism’ lest we lose our linguistic, traditional and cultural space to the illegal migratory Bangladeshis.
Why Gorkhaland ?
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.
The demand for the separate state of Gorkhaland may be termed as the oldest demand regarding the formation of state. It was raised in the year 1907. In the year 1907 the Indian Gorkhas first put up a demand for the separate administrative set-up in the Dist. of Darjeeling to the British Govt. The demand was again raised in 1917 through Hill Men’s Association but no such positive result was achieved at that very moment.
In the year 1947 India gained freedom for the bondage of British rule. People became free from colonial regime but the Indian Gorkhas, who also had a vital role in making its motherland free, have been ignored from its demand for a separate state with in the frame work of Indian Constitution.
The Indian Gorkhas have always been faithful to their motherland. Whenever the country goes through a period of internal and external disturbances, Gorkhas have always laid their life to save the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
In almost all the spheres of development of the country, the Gorkhas are always ahead but the demand to protect their identity by creating Gorkhaland is not at all looked seriously by the Government.
On the other hand Gorkhas are termed as foreigners whenever the demand of Gorkhaland is raised.
Today, when we are demanding the separate state of within the frame work of Indian Constitution, the West Bengal Government led by CPI M is aggressive to suppress the demand.
When the Gorkha Ex-servicemen were organizing a peace rally in Siliguri for the formation of a separate state in a democratic way, the West Bengal Police under the order of CPI M latthi charged the rally. This latthi charge may be termed as breach of democracy and the extreme violation of Human Rights.
The West Bengal Government has always suppressed the Gorkhas politically, socially, economically and educationally. Therefore, we have decided that we do not want to reside under West Bengal.
Historically, Darjeeling including Siliguri, Terai and Dooars never belonged to West Bengal. This was just a historical blunder and the Gorkhas are suffering. (http://darjeelingonline.wordpress.com/gorkhaland/)