By Mende Lama
The issue of Gorkhaland has come back with a bang this time amidst much protest from Nepalis and Non-Nepalis alike. The Gorkhaland issue was not just a fight for a separate state but it was a battle of identity for the gorkhas of Darjeeling. The people in the hills of West Bengal have been very touché about the separate identity that they have been craving for, since the early 1900’s.It of course did not help that some leaders both regional as well as national in the shadow of ignorance, one would like to believe have called the gorkhas “illegal immigrants”.
As I write this, I receive a mail from my friend in Bombay and it reads: Dear all, India Today a leading magazine has started a survey if Gorkhaland demand is justified… This poll will have a huge impact on the decision makers in Delhi… so far the Naysayers are winning… I request you all to kindly vote in favor of Gorkhaland.
Please forward this mail to everyone you know…
Please vote in favour of Gorkhaland. I go to the site and vote. I try to vote again it says “You already voted for this poll today!”
And I am torn between my desire to see a separate state of Gorkhaland, the state that I so badly want, and seeing our people back home suffering because of the strike.
Ever since I could, I’ve been reviewing the political situation in Darjeeling. Every time I think it’ll get better it manages to get a little worse. I still remember the Gorkhaland agitation of 1986 although I was never exposed to the violence that followed. I didn’t know anything about the issue then, I didn’t even try.
Finally the agitation was called off after the formulation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council whose chairman was one so-called “Subhash Ghising”. This man ruled our land for nearly two decades and what we got years later was water at Rs 20 per litre, potholes, rampant corruption and no elections.
Darjeeling is rightly supposed to be a part of democratic India but which India is it where elections go unheard of, for four years after the expiry of a five-year term.
Darjeeling supposed to be the ‘Queen of Hills’, which I hold so close to my heart, has deteriorated so badly that I hardly feel like going back to the place I love. Once famous for it’s tea, tourism and the toy train it is not what it was, anymore. Darjeeling has become synonymous with strikes.
I do not know what will come of the political talks that are happening between the hill parties and the centre but I do know that if ever Gorkhaland becomes a reality I, will be glad.