Writes ANMOLE PRASAD
The bogey of Kalimpong as a tract of Leasehold Land, rented from Bhutan raises its bald wrinkled head once again; back in the nineties, its inventor, Sri Subhash Ghising used it successfully to boycott the vote. Three decades later his own disciple, who since deposed him, has pulled the same issue out of mothballs in a bid to obfuscate and belittle the declaration of Kalimpong as a district. In their speeches at Mela Ground on the 28th of January 2016, Messrs R. Moktan and Bimal Gurung roared that the District of Kalimpong could not be declared unless and until the area was integrated into the territory of India from Bhutan. They even threatened to internationalize the issue if necessary. They did not discuss the effect of such a statement on the demand for the creation of a separate State [which includes the territory of Kalimpong in its map] within the Indian Union, a cause they profess to champion.
|The chickens neck area|
Few writers now are old enough to remember that the word "Hague" popularised by Ghising in a similar canard, became a byword for bullshit in Darjeeling parlance. Any windbag who spoke too much used to be quickly deflated by someone else retorting "ऐ , Hague न गर्न है ।"
But nostalgia clouds the vision, and now, years later, one obviously young writer gushes : "Never before in the history of politics from Darjeeling region did we ever have a leader with the political acumen, and impeccable sense of political timing as Subash. From a very close quarter I have observed him use various political terms to his advantage, with which we wouldn't even be familiar today if it wasn't for him - terms like "Gorkhaland," "Leasehold land," "Ceded land," "No Mans land," "Hague," "Article 371," "Sugauli Sandhi," and "Schedule Sixth." [sic]
One fully expects a cottage industry to grow up around Messrs Gurung and Moktan's announcement that the territory of Kalimpong belongs to Bhutan and needs to be incorporated into the Indian Union. Amateur historians will now hold forth on the various clauses of the treaties between British and Independent India with Bhutan; the definitions of lease and leasehold will be lavished microscopic attention and much time will be wasted over an issue that committed hara kiri without much persuasion years ago.
The Jan Andolan Party's invitation to Gurung for a public personal televised debate on the question has not been responded to. A debate, which if it takes place at all, will waste further time flogging a dead horse. One cannot help wondering though, whether the Hon'ble Member of Parliament from Darjeeling is not now musing over the possibility that he may have been elected partly on the strength of Bhutanese votes from Kalimpong. Intellectuals [a description none of us deserve] of all hues would do better to apply their own bald wrinkled heads to the more pressing and explosive issues of unemployment and drought exacerbated by the corruption and mal-governance of the past thirty years.
History repeats itself. But then, so do windbags.