In celebration of constructive politics

By Upendra on September 02,2008

ohn Milton once said, “Anarchy is the sure consequence of tyranny; no power that is not limited by laws can ever be protected by them”….. 20 years of GNLF rule and the least I can say about it… It was tyrannical indeed. We saw it all… be it fear mongering or brutal broad day light murders. People were scared, and there was no way one could dare to go against the tide. 20 long years, it took us to stand together and raise a unified voice of protest against the tyrannical rule.
One question lingers though?? Who promoted the tyranny??? Who allowed GNLF to do as it pleased in those 20 years??? Is it just the GNLF and its leaders who are to be blamed?? Sadly, the answer is no. We the people of Darjeeling are equally to be blamed for all that happened in the past. We watched with muted approval of all that was going wrong, we inspired the so called leaders to reign over us with unlimited power. We accepted their actions by not speaking against them. Look at the election results from those days, they speak for themselves. In every single election, GNLF was given an overwhelming mandate by the people living in DGHC area. In the last count (before Sept 2007) 30 out of 32 DGHC councilors and 3 MLAs were GNLF members. GNLF enjoyed control of around 98% panchayats seats in the DGHC region, besides being given control of all the four municipalities viz: Darjeeling. Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik,. The question I’d like to pose is, if we were so unhappy and unsatisfied with the functioning of GNLF, why did we keep on electing GNLF members to represent us??? 

Perhaps it was fear or perhaps it was the fact that majority of the people preferred the maintenance of status quo as opposed to an uncertain future. However, the recent happenings in the hills viz: social boycott, burning of houses, notice to leave Darjeeling, point to a very interesting social phenomenon, popularly known as “distancing oneself from the past.” Our actions in recent days, were, I feel more directed towards ourselves than the GNLF leaders. It was our way of saying we were wrong and we do not want anything to do with the past, of which we are now ashamed. I find the similarity between our case today and that of Germany after the end of 2nd world war. However, burning houses, social boycotting and ignoring our past is not going to undo what has already been done. I believe, what we need to do is, accept our past and be ready to move forward with more caution and vigilance in coming days.

For some time now, GJMM had been drawing criticism for the actions or rather the inaction of its leaders in terms of growing incidences of vandalism, high handedness and diktat unleashed by its cadres at the grass roots level. Finally, Mr. Bimal Gurung seems to have taken matters in his own hands, and he has decreed that “the politics of boycott and vandalism are now days of past, we will have to work together towards a common goal and common future.” 

This announcement has been welcomed with enthusiasm and vigor by all the Gorkhali’s across the world, who were quite apprehensive of GJMM after the recent spate of incidences. 

The all party meeting called by GJMM in relation to Gorkhaland issue being discussed in Delhi shortly, shows political maturity and desire to work with every section of population in the designated Gorkhaland area. Personally, I would like to thank GJMM leadership and intellectuals who see the need for showing a united front in the face of this crucial meeting.
Most of political and social organizations in the designated Gorkhaland area have welcomed this move by GJMM and called it “mature, sensitive and appropriate.” As always one party (or is it one particular person?) does not seem quite happy with GJMMs decision to take all party delegation to Delhi. AIGL Chief Mr. Madan Tamang has, “started to see conspiracy…” However, he “refuses to be included in the delegation to Delhi”. Instead he has constantly been lambasting GJMM and Darjeeling MP Dawa Narbula for not being open and frank about the discussions in Delhi. Let me put it this way, unless you participate, why should anyone be expected to tell you anything? What harm is there in representing hills people be it on the strength of one’s party or being (as he put it) “sponsored by GJMM”. The main goal should be to represent the people of designated Gorkhaland area, instead of bickering on who was invited and who is being sponsored. His political immaturity is evident from the manner he has been unresponsive to pleas and requests from others. It is ironic though, Mr. Tamang is the person who is most vocal about “collective leadership”, but refuses to accept anyone else’s leadership except his own. If Mr. Madan Tamang is a real leader, if he is really a concerned politician, he will for once forsake his ego and his superiority complex and attend the Delhi tri-partite talk for the sake of Gorkhaland if not for his own. 

One of the most positive news to have come is recent days has been immensely popular, All India signature campaign in favor of Gorkhaland, which has reached Assam. Some of my friends from north-east wrote to me, stating how they would love to support the cause of Gorkhaland and how they are currently sensitizing people in the North-East. Their hard works seems to be paying off, according to one email I received yesterday, there was a huge line up of ethnic Assamese, Bengalis and people of origin other than just Gorkhali’s who happily signed their names in support of Gorkhaland. Unfortunately, when people in most parts of India happily signed the petition, and provided all possible help; Sikkim police arrested the signature campaign team on a flimsy charge of not taking out the permission. But the mistake of Sikkim police was more than made up for, when people from all walks of life turned out in huge numbers to show their support for Gorkhaland, which included all the political parties.

“Gorkhaland Rescue Team” is the name being used by the rafters from Malli and Teesta Bazar area, who have embarked on the noble cause to lend a helping hand to the people who are suffering due to the flooding in Bihar. They collected their own money and volunteer force of 150 individuals to help our country people in their time of need and distress. I am sure; actions like this will generate more good will for us across India, rather than bandh and rallies on any given day.

With sincere vote of thanks to people across India and especially those who have been tireless working for generating mass awareness for Gorkhaland and my prayers and best wishes to the “Gorkhaland Rescue Team”. I sincerely thank GJMM chief Mr. Bimal Gurung for finally putting a stop to the unnecessary vandalism and high handedness of his party cadres, which will undoubtedly usher in a new phase of Gorkhaland movement, that of cooperation, togetherness and constructive politics.

Finally, I leave you with immortal lines as stated by Edmund Burke… “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

Hope! I made some sense


Darjeeling times


One Response

  1. hey upendra,

    well put…again.

    i’m headed home for Dasain, and am totally looking forward to walking the streets of Kalimpong–for the first time since I was a little kid–in a Daura Sural.

    Here wishing everyone the best for the Tripartite meeting!!!

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