Frequently Asked question on Gorkhaland

What is the basis of the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland?
It is the aspiration of Indian Gorkhas seeking their Indian identity, who want to live as Indians and die as Indians with a place to show where they belong to.

 
 
Who are the Indian Gorkhas?
The Indian Gorkhas are people who were assimilated into British India along with their land under the Treaty of Sugaulee of 1815 and also descendants of those people of Nepali origin who migrated to India since the pre-British era. They are fiercely nationalistic and have contributed to the Indian Freedom Struggle and nation building.  
 
   
Why are they demanding Gorkhaland?
Since the Indian Gorkhas share similarities of anthromorphology, culture, language and ethnicity with the people of Nepal, they have always been misconceived and misconstrued as being outsiders, settlers and sometimes even foreigners. If they have a place within India that establishes them as being Indians, only then will these misconceptions and erroneous perceptions be forever resolved. That is why getting a separate state of their own is imperative for the Indian Gorkhas. 
 
 
How old is the demand?
The first demand for a separate administrative unit for the Gorkhas was made in 1907 and reiterated many times until Independence. Even after 1947, the demand was raised on several occasions before different governments, both at the state and the Centre. It is now 101 years since the Gorkhas have desired a state of their own. 
 
   
What is the proposed area of Gorkhaland?
The proposed state of Gorkhaland comprises the district of Darjeeling and the adjoining areas of the Dooars in North Bengal.
 
   

Why this area?

  1. These areas were historically never a part of West Bengal. The district of Darjeeling formerly was a part of Sikkim, ceded to the British for a special sanatorium in 1835. And the Dooars belt was again ceded to the British by Bhutan in 1865 under the Treaty of Sinchula.
  2. Demographically, the density of Gorkha population in this area is the highest compared with other parts of the country.
  3. Culturally, ethnically, linguistically, and even geographically, these areas are different from the rest of West Bengal.
  4. The Government of West Bengal has already recognised this area as being special and different to the rest of the state by setting up the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council since 1988.
 
 
Is the demand for a separate state secessionist in nature?
Definitely not. The demand for a separate state is being raised by the Indian Gorkhas under the provisions of Article 3 (a) of the Indian Constitution. Furthermore, the Gorkhas are demanding a separate state in order to assert their Indian identity. So, how can it be a secessionist demand? Also, the proposed state of Gorkhaland will have a population of 25 lakh approximately, while the Gorkha population in India exceeds 1.25 crore. How can one- fifth of the total population of Indian Gorkhas imagine they can secede from India, leaving in the lurch the overwhelming  majority of Gorkhas living in other parts of the country?
 
   
Why divide Bengal again?
The creation of a separate state is not a division of Bengal. As already mentioned, the areas proposed for the formation of the new state were never a part of West Bengal as such.
 
   
Why a state? Why not autonomous region? Or a Union territory?
The main reason for the demand for a separate state is the assertion of an Indian identity for the Gorkhas. Such an identity cannot be bestowed by any locally envisaged administrative systems. These are meant only for economic upliftment and social development. 
 
 
How will merely getting a piece of land in the name of Gorkhas serve to establish their national identity?
It is not a question of merely a piece of land. A separate state means the Gorkhas get the opportunity to engage in national governance which they have been denied so far. In other words, a new state facilitates the acceptance of Gorkhas in the national mainstream, thus assuring them a national identity.
 
   
So Gorkhaland is not about development and economic issues as the West Bengal government thinks?
The view of the West Bengal government is that the agitation for a separate state has arisen only because of lack of development in Darjeeling. This view totally ignores the wish of 1.25 crore Gorkhas of India, nearly 80 per cent of whom live outside Bengal, and who are striving for a national identity.  As for development, the creation of a new state will in any case spur development activities of its own.
 
   
What if Bengal says no to a bill on Gorkhaland?
According to the provisions of the Constitution, before the President gives assent to a bill on the creation of a new state out of an existing state, she has to refer the bill to that state’s Assembly. But the opinion of the state Assembly is not binding on the President. The will of Parliament is paramount. 
 
 
The proposed Gorkhaland will have a large non-Gorkha tribal population? What about them?
For the tribals, specially in the Dooars region, the formation of a new state will offer them a bigger opportunity for socio-cultural and economic development outside of West Bengal. The people of this area, both Gorkhas and non-Gorkha tribals, currently are victims of official neglect and apathy. In the new state, the tribals will also have the opportunity of being partners in administration and policymaking, which is not the case today. That is why the tribals of Dooars are in favour of Gorkhaland.
 
   

What will the nation get out of it?

  1.  
    • The acceptance of this demand by the nation will not only be a tremendous morale booster for the 1.25 crore Gorkhas in India but will also positively impact the rank and file of the armed and paramilitary forces, which has a large number of Gorkha troops. As the saying goes, “It is good to die for a country, but it is better to have a country to die for.”
    • Given the Gorkhas’ history of participation in the Freedom Movement and in the protection of its territories, Gorkhaland implies the creation of a loyal and nationalist state in a region that is strife-torn and politically unstable. A Gorkha state in the Northeast will enhance the process of the region’s integration with mainstream India.

5 Responses

  1. simply by saying that we are indian and proud to be it, it makes no sense,,,,if u think that we owe the country then turn up as an army ,,the way gorkhas are when it comes to protect the country and leaves everything behind {fmly,frnd and to most one’s own live) and fights like a real soldier and hero….that’s why GORKHALAND IS OUR BIRTH RIGHT”

  2. if the government can acknowledge a gorkha regiment in the army when it comes to serving the nation and to lay down your lives…..where is the problem for them to acknowledge a gorkhaland??…you demand our blood in times of need but then you dont give us a house which we can call it ours…!!

  3. if the government can acknowledge a gorkha regiment in the army when it comes to serving the nation and to lay down your lives…..where is the problem for them to acknowledge a gorkhaland??…you demand our blood in times of need but then you dont give us a house which we can call it ours…!!

  4. what is the nature and scope of the “gorkha” identity? does it only include the original gorkhas i.e. to say people of nepali descent? what about the people of non-nepali descent who have been living in the darjeeling area for as long as the “gorkhas” and share similar grievances? there are many tribal and other communities that may subscribe to the “gorkha identity” simply because of the fact that they are in the same proverbial boat. how can these communities be expected to share the same level of commitment to the movement if it simply means the replacement of one majority for another? has the gorkha identity evolved so as to encompass all these communities? it may be a good idea to address this issue for reasons of solidarity and also for the widening of the support base, even if there may be inherent risks in the widening of the scope of this identity

  5. EXCELLENT PIECE OF WORK

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