Writes: Privat Giri
Human beings are by nature political animals because of their power of speech and moral reasoning. Therefore there is no reason why the people of Darjeeling would not celebrate or condemn particularly when talking about a new political formation at helm. After all Darjeeling is the land of political intrigue. And people here are gradually becoming smart enough not to take everything at face value. While we wait to see how things will unfold in near future, what we may do now is speculate, comment or presume foreknowledge of what might come next. This is what I will attempt to do further, try and sketch and comment on two pertinent challenges concerning the political fraternity and the people of Darjeeling at the moment.
Through news reports and statements from the leaders of the newly formed JAP, it has been coming to our knowledge that the new party desires to maintain a healthy relationship with the State. We do not yet know how this so called ‘healthy relationship’ will look like but yet attains significance now mainly because of two reasons.
First, it has come as the heavy criticism from the ruling front who is questioning the sincerity and authenticity of JAP. Secondly and surprisingly, criticism is coming from a party who themselves frequently changes colours when it comes to their relationship with the State. It seems this dichotomy is baffling our leaders and people alike. More importantly the people should be concerned because it is their aspiration for Gorkhaland and their quest to come out the present state of socio-cultural and economic backwardness which is always at stake. It also signifies that hitherto we do not yet have a proper and lasting framework on how to deal with both the State as well as the Centre.
There is a popular thought in Marxist Philosophy namely the triad thesis-antithesis- synthesis. THESIS is a simple statement or an argument. For example, on the question regarding the nature of our relationship with the Government of West Bengal, saying NO we should be antagonistic to State is its thesis. Counter-arguing in favour of maintaining a healthy relationship with the State may be called its ANTITHESIS. When there are two or many different set of ideas on a single matter, conflict is bound to happen. It is indeed the sign of a true and vibrant democracy and it is where the importance of SYNTHESIS comes. Synthesis strives to solve the conflict between thesis and antithesis by making them arrive at an agreement or consensus through reconciliation and negotiation.
However, if we take the historical account of the case of Darjeeling, either thesis or antithesis is missing or both are the same. Such arrangement makes democratic deliberation on any issue one sided and is prone to easy manipulation. It may be remembered that there is nothing like absolute truth. Truth arrives out of consensus and remains a living dogma if it goes unchallenged.
I am hopeful that GJMM, JAP and all other political parties respectively and sincerely acts as a potent thesis or antithesis on every matters concerning Darjeeling and Dooars so that the common people gets the best fruit of them. Small place like Darjeeling has very little space in parliamentary form of democracy like India. We cannot afford to adopt the policy of give and take alike Telangana or many other places having ample representation at the Parliament and State Legislatures. So only way forward is to talk. Instances from the history of bilateral relations between India and Pakistan suggest that tables have only been a way forward in spite of numerous provocations from other side of the border. Similarly, it is through eighteen years of negotiations and talks the Naga issue is soon expected to come to a happy conclusion.
However, it is very important for us to have a concrete strategy or model or framework or any bargaining point. This is something our political leadership and all of us should ponder upon.
On 27th Jan, the first time released manifesto of JAP calls for attainment of SEPERATE STATE bearing in mind twin concerns of national integrity and security. The very first point of the manifesto attracted skepticism because no party has ever been formed (excluding Pranta Parishad and Swantra Manch) in post colonial Darjeeling without the Gorkha tag. However, in colonial Darjeeling, starting from 1907, the demand for separation surfaced several times but with no specific name. It was always demanded as “separate administrative set-up” by various organisations without having any Gorkha tag.
The fundamental rationale behind demanding separation during pre-independence was mainly the increasing realisation among the hill people regarding their state of subservience and socio-economic backwardness. Post independence, the demand for statehood was largely guided by increasing crisis of identity suffered by the Gorkhas after they were mass expelled from Burma and North-eastern States.
What we can draw from above is the demand for statehood in Darjeeling has both facets of identity and development and people needs both of them equally. But still this dichotomy is being made problematic and used for timely gains.
I sincerely hope that our political leadership stop this and instead work towards synthesising them in a manner that both our quest for identity and developmental needs are fulfilled.
On 27th Jan, the first time released manifesto of JAP calls for attainment of SEPARATE STATE bearing in mind twin concerns of national integrity and security. The very first point of the manifesto attracted skepticism because no party has ever been formed (excluding Pranta Parishad and Swantra Manch) in post colonial Darjeeling without the Gorkha tag. However, in colonial Darjeeling, starting from 1907, the demand for separation surfaced several times but with no specific name. It was always demanded as “separate administrative set-up” by various organisations without having any Gorkha tag.