Showing posts with label Blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blog. Show all posts

Old Darjeeling Nostalgic Cheers, Never Fails to Make You Smile

9:58 AM
 Bal Krishna for The Darjeeling Chronicle

Memes: Sherab Rabzyor Yolmo

M – 19, Darjeeling Here, ASL plz? F – 21, Philippines

If what’s written above, makes sense to you, then your youth was awesome… to those who are wondering what that title is all about, read on… may be somewhere in this piece, you may find something you can relate to, and if you do relate… please share… spread some nostalgic cheer.
It has been a while since I last wrote; life happened… as our Darjeeling ko popular saying goes… “Dog no work do, no fursad have,” same thing happened to me… I was busy bitthama… that is, till a week back when an old friend dropped by out of the blue…

Him chai America just returned, me chai Darjeeling never left. 

We had lots of catching up to do… in the process of catching up, we talked about growing up days and how things used to be, he wanted to know why I am not on What’sApp, and I wanted to know what that is? He talked about SnapChat, and I am still trying to get over the hangover of Yahoo Chat…

So, I dedicate this write-up to my technologically advanced friend… who at the end of the week went with my bau ko Tongba ko Dhungro, and left me his Tab… I am unable to figure out the tab properly… so my bhatij who is 8 years old is helping me learn how to use it…
This write-up is about technology, and how that has changed over the years… and even though this is specifically meant for Darjeeling region, people in other places could also have gone through the same phases.
Old Darjeeling Nostalgic Cheers, Never Fails to Make You Smile
RADIO DAYS
My earliest recollection of technology is a radio that was mounted on our kitchen wall. It was a small radio, just needed one nail to hold it in place. We had a bigger radio in our sitting-room, still do, that’s bulky. Mom used to tell us how technology had changed from gramophone to bulky radio, to what was hanging in our kitchen a smaller version.

Sadly from my radio days, I cannot recollect much, I was much too young then… but I remember two programs from All India Radio (Akashwani Kharsang) which were my favourites. The 1st one, I guess was called “Sainik Sandesh,” in which those serving in the Army could relay their messages to their families directly. It was fun to listen to them… a typical message would go…

“नमस्ते मा राईफलमेन 077232645 सुधन लिम्बु 1/11 Gorkha Rifles बाट बोल्दै छु... यदि मेरो घर-छिमेक सैलुंग धुरा, दबैपानीको कसैले यो संदेश सुन्नु हुँदैछ भने दया गरेर मेरो घर-परिवारलाई सुनाई दिनु होला... आमा र बाबालाई सेवा ढोग, र सुन्तली लाई धेरै माया भनि दिनु होला.. तल्लो घर को रामे को गाई ले बाछा ब्याउनु अटेको थियो अब त ब्याई सक्यो होला... दुध चै पानी नाफीटि हाम्रो मा पुर्याई दिनु भनि दिनु होला... आले टार को अन्तरे पनी खस्यो हरे... खबर सुनेर सारै दुखः लग्यो... त्येसको काम मा आउनु सकिन, माफ पाउ होला... म जति कुशल नै छु र मेरो साथी भाईहरु पनि सन्चै नै छन्... धन्यवाद अनि जय हिन्द”

For those who cannot read Nepali here is the literal translation

“Namaste I am Rifleman 077232645 Sudan Limbu from 1/11 Gorkha Rifles… If anyone from my family or my village Sailung Dhura in Dabaipani is listening to this broadcast, please relay this message to my family… My Dhog to my Mom and Dad, and love to my beloved Sunthali… Ramey who lives below our house, his cow was about to give birth hope the birthing went well… please tell him to take unadulterated milk to our house… I heard that Antare from Aley Tar is no more, I felt really bad to hear that, I could not be present for his funeral, please convey my regrets to his family… I am fine and all my friends are doing well… Thank You and Jai Hind”

I was so much in love with this program, perhaps having my family members serving in the army made me particularly like this program. Sadly my family members never spoke in Sainik Sandesh.
It was so funny what all these Jawans would say… sometimes they would confess their love for someone; sometimes they would even breakup over the radio – Imagine. But at times they would share heart-breaking news too. This program hit really close to home for most families in Darjeeling whose sons were serving in the army.

The other one was a program where you could write a letter and request songs, sadly for the life of me, I am unable to remember the name of the program right now… hope you guys will help me remember it…
Funny thing about this program was that those reading the names could do so randomly. My brother swears to this day, he literally heard an announcer once say… “ra yas geet ka farmayis karta haru hunu huncha… Bambai bata… Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle ani Sathi haru.” But still it was great fun to send a letter and hope to God they read your request, because if they did read your name, you were the star for the day.

I still remember vivdly it was on our Kitchen radio that I heard the news of Tenzing Sherpa’s passing away.

TAPE RECORDER DAYS
Radio made room for Tape recorders. Almost every house in the village owned one, and there was am amazing pattern to the kind of songs that people would listen to.

Early mornings were time for Bhajan, mostly Anup Jalota ko, followed by some Hindi movie songs, evenings we would' briefly listen to English songs, and at night chai Nepali songs - mostly Narayan Gopal stuffs.
Things changed when tape-recorders came into being. Blank Cassette kindai, dubbing songs was much fashionable. Hamro daju used to gift man pareko keti lai dubbed romantic songs, and when he was doing the dubbing, we were forbidden from speaking, least our voices got dubbed in the cassette.

Kids these days won't understand the joke... which goes like this... a guy was singing facing towards the sky, he sang his hearts out for around 20 minutes, turned around, and again sang for another 20. Curious one guy who had noticed went to him and asked, why did you turn around? the singer guy is supposed to have replied - Side fereko.

TV DAYS
After that, TV happened and the use of radio as a means of information and communication declined considerably.

The earliest I remember of TV was in the 1986 world cup. Back then, like I mentioned above, not every household in Darjeeling owned or could afford to own a TV set. However, each village, locality or neighbourhood did have one or two houses that were lucky enough to be able to afford TV sets. Most of these houses belonged to retired Army personnel, who bought TV after receiving their pension. Majority of the TV sets were black and white, only a handful were colour.

I still remember, in our village there were two houses that owned TV sets during the 1986 world. One was a colour TV and the other a black and white. It’s funny what you remember all these years later hai, I can still visualize that black and white TV set, it had an inbuilt sliding door.

I clearly remember the Argentina-Britian clash of 1986 world cup and Maradona’s famous Hand of God goal, we had to go to our neighbour’s house to watch that game.

The neighbour was crappy.

Why so?
Well, those who did not have TV sets in their own homes would have to go to watch TV in our neighbour’s house... and the neighbour’s wife was a very bitter woman. She would not let us come watch, ‘ghar maila huncha’ bhanthyo... hence the 1986 world cup is the only time we had to go watch TV at someone else’s place.

By early 1987 right before the Gorkhaland adnolan peaked, serendipitously dad had bought a TV and we couldn’t be more thankful. Because that was the year the greatest Indian TV event happened – RAMAYAN.

Having experienced how we felt going to watch TV at someone else’s place, elders in our family were mindful enough not to be anal about having to host other folks. See for those of you who grew up in 1990s this might sound outrageous, but back then the entire village pretty much watched TV programs together. So all of us looked forward to special programs, and especially Sundays.

Back then the broadcast wasn’t 24 X 7 like these days, nor did we have a 1000 channels. All that everyone watched was Doordarshan. If I remember correctly the TV program would start with a Doordarshan ko logo gradually metamorphosing itself into the tune of ‘Sare Jahan se Accha’ [http://bit.ly/1EZ9QVy].

Back then people in Darjeeling were so simple that I heard about this Badee.. who had just entered the house when News was about to start... as she sits down to watch the news, the newscaster comes on and says, "Namastey!!" and Badee being polite goes... "Namastey, Nani" and as the news caster started to read the news, Badee turned around and is supposed to have told the TV owner, "Ammuiiineee katee ramro hau hana... Namastey dharee bhanda raicha..."
Read the entire article here: http://on.fb.me/1GX49uQ

WALKMAN DAYS
Radio was succeeded by TV and then walkman happened. We had an older daju from our village who was rumored to be working in Japan, back then… it was him who carried the Walkman for the first time. I must have been in class 5 or 6 late 1989-90s. It was revolutionary. We couldn’t believe music playing from such a small device, we were unused to earphones – Kut-kuti lagthyo sunda pani.

INTERNET 
Gradually TV led to internet, and internet led to internet parlours. Computers were holy… People had to take off their shows to enter the computer vako room. If I am not wrong, compuset was the 1st internet parlour in Darjeeling, they used to be based in a building near Hotel Shimla.

I remember not knowing how internet worked. I also remember how slow the net connection would be… Tunnnnnnnkaralhyararararararakkkkkkk that’s literally the sound it would make when a computer got connected to internet.

A friend of mine opened my 1st email in Rediffmail, Back then we didn’t have Google or Yahoo even, we had Rediffmail and Hotmail.

You can imagine how old school it was back then, our browser used to be Internet Explorer.

CHAT ROOMS
Internet took off in a much bigger way only after Yahoo introduced Chat rooms. That was when the teenagers in Darjeeling realized we could connect to people all across the world. We could talk to our friends, or flirt with strangers.

Usually the chat started with M-19, Darjeeling here, ASL plz? Hoping that the other end would respond with F-18 or 19…
Me: Male – 19 here
Me: Age, Sex, Location please
Response: Male 25
Me: Bye
Me: Male – 19 here
Me: Age, Sex, Location please
Response: Female 19
Attallyera
Me: Oh… Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii… where from??
And so on…

Many relationships were formed that way… some still last to this day… while most are now lost into oblivion… But I guess, I wouldn’t be wrong to say that most of us learned how to use internet while chatting to unknown strangers over YahooChat.

MOBILE PHONES
The 1st time I had seen a cell phone was in 1996, when I was working in a store. I had seen this rich Delhiite use a cell-phone which resembled a walkie-talkie, and I had asked him, what it is… he looked at me and went, “you don’t know?” I said “no… is that a walkie-talkie?” He said, “no it’s a satellite phone… bahot mahenga padta hai”

Then in 2000 cell-phones came in a big way in Darjeeling. I still remember to this day, I was sitting in Narayan Das when this guy started to hang these small festoons which read “Reliance Mobile Phones – Now for only Rs 250 per month.”

I wanted it real bad…

So I went to find out more about it… It turned out Rs 250 per month was a compulsory fees + we had to buy Sim Cards for Rs 1000 + we had to buy handsets which cost additional Rs 5000 at the least…
Overall it would cost around Rs 7500 to own a cell phone… imagine

I didn’t have that much money, no college going kid carries that kind of money. So I begged, and borrowed…. Finally after around 6 to 8 months I gathered enough to attempt to buy a cell phone. My friends were headed for Siliguri, so I gave them Rs 5000 which I had saved painstakingly. Those two went down and I couldn’t sleep with anticipation.

They came back the next day with cellphone for me – Siemens C 35 – My 1st phone.
I later found out they had to fork around Rs 800 more for the set + connection, but they never asked, so I never paid them… to think of it, I haven’t paid them till date.

What joy was that phone.

Kin-nu ta kinyo tara ghar ma dekhyo vane pitcha… moreover, it was painful to keep as outgoing calls would cost Rs 6.256 per minute, incoming would cost around Rs 3.50, SMS were around Rs 1.20 and the minimum Rs 250 per month chai kin-nui parne.

Imagine for a college kid, that was a nightmare.

So after the initial euphoria, I had the handset with me… tara no calls would come or go… ringtone suni-basthey.

I think cell-phones started to take off really big time around 2002-03. Nokia 3310 was the most popular set when it entered the market and by 2004 Nokia 1100 had come which was the most HEP phone ever (for that time).

Things really took off once Nokia 6600 came, I guess that is when the concept of a Smart phone really entered Darjeeling. People proudly flaunted their 6600s till later Sony and Motorola entered the market, and made carrying Nokia look uncool.

I progressed from Siemens C 35 to C 45 and then to Nokia 6600. After that I stopped. The allure of Cell-phones had left me. I had grown up hola.

When I see the latest iPhones and Black berries and Samsungs… all I do is shake my head and start wishing that life was much simpler back in land-line days, where one family in the whole village would have a phone, and would relay the messages to everyone else.

Technology is changing so much that its impossible to keep up. Things become obsolete in a matter of few months. Nothing is durable these days, including relationships.

So when old friends drop by and talk old stuffs, that’s when nostalgia flows…
I miss the old Darjeeling very much… the one where they didn’t have a giant TV screen in Chowrasta.

Via - The Darjeeling Chronicle

How the day unfolded - Gorkhas protest in Gurgaon

8:51 AM
Dinesh Sharma

Today (21.5.2015), a few concerned Gorkha citizens from across the nation gathered at Gurgaon (Sahara Mall) for a peaceful protest in solidarity with the three youths from Darjeeling who were grievously assaulted (on 16th May 2015) by local goons in Nathupur area. The idea was to hold a peaceful march from the mall to the DCP’s office of East Gurgaon, Deepak Sharan and submit a memorandum with our demands. It was 9:00 AM in the morning and I was perhaps the first one to be there on the field. As I was waiting for others to join the gathering, I observed an unusual movement of police personnel in the shopping mall area. Perhaps the cops had a whiff of the gathering plan through Facebook and other social media. As the number of people started to grow, some of the police personnel came over and question us on our plans and tried their best to dissuade us from carrying on with the gathering. Must say here that they were polite in their behavior and were only trying to convince us that the police is doing their best in the case, and that there is no need for the gathering today. Basically we were exchanging thoughts on the following points:

  1. Why only 5 of the culprits have been booked and where are the remaining 10 plus more?
  2. Why has not the police charged the culprits with section 307 (attempt to murder)?
  3. Why did the police take 2 days to even file the FIR of the incident?
  4. Why has not been Article 153A (racial discrimination) added to the charge? 

Gorkha citizens from across the nation gathered at Gurgaon
Gorkha citizens from across the nation gathered at Gurgaon (Sahara Mall) for a peaceful protest
 in solidarity with the three youths from Darjeeling who were grievously assaulted .
There are ample witness claiming that the perpetrators shouted kill all these Nepalis. In any case, the wounds of the victims prove beyond doubt that the attack by 15-20 guys with iron rods on three people was racially motivated.

The discussion was held with polite exchanges from both the police and us. As we went ahead with the gathering,a couple of police cars and a mini bus filled with police personnel also tagged along. During the march, we were clear that ours is a peaceful protest and the crowd did not at any point forget their discipline. We reached the DCP’s office and submitted the memorandum, after which the DCP confirmed that Section 308 has been added to the charges, and gave us an assurance that the racial discrimination charges will be investigated upon by the police. The crowd thanked the DCP for the prompt action and we were just about to dismiss the gathering on a happily positive note.

Just when we were thinking the day was over, we got to know that an ASI/SI passed an obscene and derogatory remark against the Gorkha community.  One of the protestor had gone to drink water near the gate when he happened to overhear the police official make the remark. Roughly translated, he said ‘The Gorkha men are basically momo sellers and jhaadoo-poochha guys. And the Gorkha women are basically *andis running their Dhanda(with hand gestures) here.’ One hearing the remarks, the witness informed the gathering about the remark. As some from the gathering went to check what was happening, the police official fled from the scene in a Chevrolet Beats car, bearing Haryana registration number 6627. What was disheartening is that the incident happened right inside the premise of the DCP’s office, and that too by a police personnel posted for the solidarity march. That was a blatant case of racial discrimination right on your face.  The witness has given his statement in written as well as video recording and promises to do so whenever required.

We then start another protest right then and there demanding that the official be booked immediately. The sudden emotional sentiment that ran through the crowd was unimaginable. We all wanted to push our way inside the DCP’s chamber, until sanity prevailed. Upon insistence, the DCP came out to meet the crowd again and gave an assurance that the accused police officer will be soon identified and brought to the office for further action. The crown decided to sit on a protest dharna in the office complex till action is taken upon the racist ASI/SI. As we started spreading the incident through the media, social network sites, personal contacts, and bureaucrats, the pressure might have soon rerouted to the East Gurgaon DCP’s office and this time the ACP came to meet the crowd. The indent occurred around 1:00 PM and it was already over 5:00 PM by the time the ACP addressed the gathering. The ACP accepted our complaint and took the witness’s statement and promised swift and appropriate action to the guilty police officer. Though our demand for immediate action was not fulfilled, we respected the ACP’s assurance that the incident will be impartially investigated and will not disappoint us. The crowd had decided to follow up with the case after 48 hours and plan further actions based on the outcome of the investigation. Meanwhile, we proceeded to the victim’s place to enquire about them and assisted the family with whatever little we could collect from the spot, shared a few words with them and call it a day.

Now, that was how the day unfolded for me as I witnessed. Personally, today was a day of retrospection for me. The mix of success, near successes, and some disappointments kept me thinking about my Identity and why should I care about it:

  • Why is it that despite being one of the largest migrant community (above 10 lacs) from the North-East in Delhi, we still do not have a voice that the authorities can hear? 
  • Why do we fail to rise above petty regionalist politics and think of Indian Gorkhali as a whole? 
  • Why do we insist on know which jaati a person belongs to when being introduced for the first time?
  • Why do the bureaucratic and administration circle think of Gorkhali as the most disjointed community in the entire North-East?
  • Why do individual/parties always attempt to politicize such an important social issue? Can we not think beyond our small territory and political affiliation for a while and try and do something positive for the community?
  • Why do we always remain confine to calling ourselves to our place like Darjeelingey, SikkimeseGorkhali, Assamese Gorkhali, Manipur Gorkhali, Nagaland Gorkhali, ShillongGorkhali, Arunachal Gorkhali, and so on? Whats with this prefix to the word Gorkhali? Can we not call ourselves as Indian Gorkhali for once?
  • Why for such an important issue, we only have around 100 people joining us. Where are the remaining 999900 people? At least try reaching out even if you can’t make it. Do something at least.

Enough of these petty politics and jaativaadiamongst Gorkhalis. Let us keep our regional politics to our own respective regions and not carry it wherever we go. In a city like Delhi, we don’t need regional Gorkhalis, we need Indian Gorkhalis. Let us work for a bigger vision and think out of the box for a change. We have been living in our cages for too long a time. It is high time we speak as once as one united voice. Let us all walk as one Gorkha identity and make things better for our generation to come. Like a friend says, we have grown up listening to what people say ‘GORKHALI KO SALLA, KHARAANI KO DALLA’, do we also want our future to hear the same thing? This is our time to change how we look at ourselves and what we want to change within us.

IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN?

FROM "NO WHERE" TO "NOW HERE" - TIME TO UNITE OR PERISH

6:23 PM
Upendra for The DC

Without telling the purpose, when I asked this question my brother, " what comes to your mind when you hear the word "Gorkha..." and asked him to list 5 adjectives that came to his mind, he listed... "Brave, Fierce, Short, Hospitable, Patriotic..."
TIME TO UNITE OR PERISH
If you ask someone what comes to their mind when they hear the word "Gorkha," everyone - almost 99.99% out of 100 will say - 'Brave'.... If you ask them 'ok, what else other than that?' - they will say - 'Loyal'... push it one more notch and ask, 'ok, what else other than that?'.... I will bet they would have run out of things to say about us.

I am yet to hear words like, "Intellectual," "Artistic," "Thinker," "Musical," "Talented," "Ambitious," "Tacktful," "Respectable," "Sensitive," "Versatile," "Confident" associated with us.

Therein lies our greatest glory, as well as our greatest loss.

I can't remember who wrote the lines, "हामी वीर छौँ र नै बुद्धु छौँ... शायद हामी बुद्धु भएरनै वीर भएको होलौं - We are brave, and we are dumb... may be we are dumb, which is why we are brave" but I agree to each and everything stated therein.

We are brave, but for others. We are loyal to a fault, but for others. We will trust a master - in fact any master, but we will rarely trust one of our own. Perhaps it is in the 200 years of colonial construct as being "brave" and "loyal" that we see ourselves reflected, and without realizing that it is the same construct that has confined us as well.

Time has come for us to break out of the narrow confines, which the history, through our glorious ancestors has imposed on us.

GURGAON - A WAKE UP CALL
Three young men got beaten up to an inch of their life in Gurgaon. The police refused to file an FIR. Forget police giving them assistance, they had to escape to Delhi to get themselves treated.

Out of the three boys [amongst four, one managed to hid himself when the attack happened] who were beaten up, one is still in AIIMS trauma center. He has multiple injuries all over his body, and hospital sources are saying even his liver has been badly damaged.

Another was so traumatized that he ran away fearful for his life - imagine he had to run away after getting beaten up - not after beating, and could only be admitted yesterday at Safdarjung hospital, after his sister calmed him enough to be able to bring him to see the doctors.

Had their case been not highlighted through the social media, I am confident that, no one would have given a damn.

As a friend so eloquently put it, "Thank God for the internet this matter came to light, else the guys would have to come home with hearts full of sorrow and marks all over their back... धन्न Internet थियो र खाली... नत्र केटाहरु ढाड भरि लट्ठीको सुम्ला, र मन भारी बेदना बोकेर... घर फर्किनु पर्थ्यो होला... "

As this incident played out, one thing which bugged me the most is the fact that for a whole 24 hours, these three boys who were so brutally beaten up had no one to turn to. After the only authority they knew - the police had turned them down, they didn't have anywhere to go to. They did not have anyone to ask for help.

For me this is a WAKE UP CALL.

DELHI DENIZENS 
In the past 1 year, the reported cases of racism has come down significantly in Delhi. Thanks to the newly developed Delhi Police For North East Folks initiative under the able and dynamic leadership of Jt. Commissioner Robin Hibu, this cell has helped numerous people from across the North East region, and whenever regular police stations have failed to provide justice to the victims from NE, DPNEF have stepped up to the plate and provided justice.

We who live in Darjeeling may not see or feel the need for a specialized cell to tackle issues relating to NE in Delhi, but incidents such as the horror that unfolded in Gurgaon is a good reminder why we need this Cell, and in fact more such Cells to be functioning in every city across India.

DPNEF has given people from NE a new hope, a new friend where there was none before, and this is where the NE people draw their inspiration and strength from.

However, more important than that, it is the individual community organizations that have strengthened themselves so well, helped and assisted by their respective state governments, that only stupid people dare take them for granted.

Sadly for the Gorkhas, we do not have any such community organization in Delhi that would speak on our behalf. It is true that we don’t have a state to begin with, but truer is the fact that even amongst ourselves we severely lack unity.

Here in Darjeeling, politically we are tied to Bengal… but socially, ethnically, geographically and culturally we identify more with the North-East than West Bengal. Perhaps this is the very reason why we are treated with disdain and discrimination by the West Bengal government. Other than Mizoram, the Gorkhas who live in the rest of North-East are treated as “outsiders” by their respective communities.

We are literally “No Where” people

DISUNITY 
But what hurts us more is the realization that even our own do not care. During the Gurgaon incident, when people helping the boys in Delhi could not contact Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia, they contacted Sikkim MP PD Rai and requested help, I have been informed that he said he was in Shillong, and feigned helplessness. All these people needed help with was to ask the Gurgaon police to file a case and take the boys for medical treatment. Mr. Rai who is actually an IIT graduate and a real “intellectual” from our community, failed us when we needed him.

Many people have asked us why did Darjeeling ko people vote for SS Ahluwalia? Because if nothing else, at least he is effective. As soon as he came to know about the situation, since he was in Darjeeling, he dispatched his PA who was in Delhi to render assistance to the boys at AIIMS. He called up the Gurgaon police and demanded action. He has offered to pay the medical expenses for the three boys and promised to help the boys get justice.

Where a Gorkha MP – though from a neighbouring state let us down, a non Gorkha MP elected by US, came through for us…. And I believe that is the beauty of democracy.

The GTA is also doing what little it can, with Bimal Gurung personally getting involved to demand justice for the boys, and has assured full cooperation to the boys and their family for any need that may arise during the course of their treatment and matters relating to police.

Meanwhile, civil organizations that promise pan-India presence such as Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, or the Delhi based Jan Awaz were conspicuous by their absence.

This then brings us to the most important question of all; could all of this have been avoided? Could the boys have been saved?

UNITY – WE ARE ONE
The answer to that question is both yes and a no… assigning fault is easy and we can blame everyone. But we all need to recognize the fact that the most important aspect of this whole sorry affair is – had we had better economic opportunities here at home in Darjeeling, those guys would not have been forced to seek jobs so far away from home.

If those guys were sensitized before going to Gurgaon on the do’s and don’ts… on the difference between lifestyle here in Darjeeling and outside… on the cultural and social difference, perhaps they would not have gotten into the altercation to begin with.

If the Gorkhali organizations and politicians in India were strong and powerful, the police wouldn’t have taken our people for granted, and would have rushed to file a complaint and an FIR, it wouldn’t have required pressure from above to get the police to do their job.

If we had a United Gorkha forum which keeps track of our people spread across India, then perhaps the three guys could have gotten assistance much before they got help this time.

Hence, the panacea to all our problems, as I see it, is to call for UNITY… not only amongst all the people living in Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars region, but also amongst Gorkhalis all over India. If we can unite ourselves, no force on earth will dare to touch us… But as long as we are divided amongst ourselves – on the basis of where we are from, our religion, language, caste, political party we support and so on… we will continue to get beaten up… no only in Gurgaon, but across the length and breadth of India.

Today if anyone from the 8 north east states are beaten up, they rally together… when people from Darjeeling got beaten up, no one came in our support, other than the Gorkhalis. Not because others don’t care, but because others know, our own don’t care to begin with.

I still remember the incident when students from Darjeeling studying in Kolkata wanted to organize a fresher’s welcome for new students from Darjeeling who had joined different colleges in Kolkata, the Salt Lake ko Gorkha Bhavan demanded Rs 25,000 from the students for 8 hours use.

Gorkhalis living across India, were hurt when GTA Chief Bimal Gurung said “Gorkha Bhavan in Delhi will be for the use of people of Darjeeling…” because they are Gorkhas too.

So if we are to deserve and demand respect from others, we need to learn to give respect to our own first. Mr. Bimal Gurung will do well to learn a lesson or two from our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. Where ever he goes Mr. Modi makes a point to interact with the Indian community and ask about their welfare…

Mr. Bimal Gurung, we don’t have Modi, we have you… and I hope you will take actions to develop a strong network with local governments on behalf of the Gorkhalis all over India. Better yet, please take necessary steps to get the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration region + Dooars into North East Council. That way we will have both geographical and political oneness with rest of the North East.

As for us common people, we need to come together and show our unity whenever anyone of us needs, and we can start by assembling today [20 May 2015] at 9: 30 A.M at Sahara Malls in Gurgaon, for a silent rally to demand justice for the three guys.

We need to make sure that the world knows, they should not mess with the Gorkhas.. otherwise “लहरा तान्दा पहरा गर्जिन्छ”... and through our unity is how we will move from being “No-Where” people to “Now-Here” people... who are always there for those who need our help... and if we fail to do that... let us prepare ourselves mentally that our community is going to become the punching bag of India.

Via: The DC

How To Check Your House For Damages After Earthquake Hits

5:31 PM
Many of us are wondering if our houses have suffered any damages from earthquakes, but what do we look for in this case? Will damages show up later?
How To Check Your House For Damages After Earthquake Hits
How To Check Your House For Damages After Earthquake Hits
We gathered some information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Here is a checklist on what to look for inside and outside your house to see if it had suffered damages from the earthquake.

1. Check The External House Structure:

• Survey all portions of your house to see if any part collapsed or sustained damage.

• Check to see if the house shifted on its foundation, or fell away from the foundation in any place.

• Check to see if the house is noticeably leaning, or looks tilted from a distance.

• Look for severe cracks or openings, especially around outdoor steps or porches.

• If inside the house, check to see if you are experiencing seriously increased vibrations from passing trucks and buses.

• Look for cracks in external walls. Check to see if existing cracks in the walls are getting bigger.

• Check to see if mortars are separating from the blocks.

• Look for sink holes or large divots in the ground next to the foundation.

2. Check The Chimneys:

• Look for cracks between the chimney and the exterior wall or the roof.

• Look for cracks in the liner.

• Check to see if there is unexplained debris in the fireplace.

3. Check Utilities:

• Check to see if power lines to your house are noticeably sagging.

• Check to see if hot water heater is leaning or tilted.

• Check to see if all the water connections, dry-pipes, toilets, faucets are secure.

4. Check the Inside Of the House:

• Check to see if doors and windows are harder to open, and if doors do not shut properly.

• Check to see if the roof is leaking. Look for water damage to the ceiling.

• Check to see if the furnace has shifted in any way, and if ducts and exhaust pipes are connected and undamaged.

• If inside the house, check to see if you are experiencing unexplained draftiness. Look for cracks in the walls, poorly aligned window frames, and loosened exterior siding. They can all let in breezes.

• Check to see if the floor is separated from walls or stairwells inside the house.

• Look for cracks between walls and built-in fixtures such as lights, cupboards or bookcases.

• Look for gaps around plumbing pipes that exit the foundation wall.

According to FEMA, the effects of an earthquake are sometimes slow to appear. Residents are urged to inspect their homes for damages that may have just come to light. Officials said walls can separate and cracks start to form weeks after the earthquake strikes.

Via- news9

FACES IN OUR MIDST - GORKHA YOUTH ICON ROSHNI RAI

10:04 AM
Find out why Roshni Rai is no Ordinary Marathon Runner and What She is Doing for YOU!

Roshni Rai of the “Run with Roshni” fame joins Adwiti Subba Haffner in a spirited interview, addressing crucial issues that the Nepali speaking Indian Gorkhas face in their own country and what she is doing to resolve this crisis.
 GORKHA YOUTH ICON ROSHNI RAI
ROSHNI RAI
“A runner must run with dreams in his/her heart.” Emil Zatopek

The Nariman Point in Mumbai glistened as the cool breeze softened the heat of the day, Roshni Rai reflected on her day. She had found new life in Mumbai, yet felt a tug in her heart as she yearned to feel the mountain air and watch the mist move seductively through the undulating hills of Pedong, Kalimpong. She was rudely shaken from her reverie when she heard taunts from the local boys “Oiy...Chinky...minky...” “ Oiy.....Chicken chili” “ oiy...Oiy..kancheee..” “Oieeee Gorkhaa..”

In a fit of rage she strode over to the group and said “I am from Darjeeling, India and yes proud to be a Gorkhali, and an Indian”.

The group scattered, but Roshni knew deep in her heart that she had to do something, to be an agent of change about this identity crisis and urgently. This was only one of the cases. She reflected back on how she had felt uncomfortable and repressed when introducing herself, as she spoke Nepali most people thought she was from Nepal… moreover, a lot of people from the hills introduced themselves as “Nepali,” and there too, confusion was compounded.

How long would she be able to keep slapping people, how long would she keep explaining to people that Nepali is one of the official languages of India, wouldn’t it be better to educate them on a mass platform?

Find out more about how Roshni makes her marathons so unique, race after race, and about how you can benefit from Mr. Pawan Kumar Chamling (Chief Minister of Sikkim) from his clever comment about identity. The organization has got media mentions in more than 15 national newspapers such as Times of India, Mid Day, DNA, Hindustan Times, and The Telegraph etc. She is a girl from Darjeeling with a dream and the courage to run after it!

Adwiti: Congratulations on getting the prestigious Gorkha Gaurav Award! How was it like sharing the stage with such well renowned political and spiritual figures and that too in your own turf?

Roshni: Thank you very much. It was a wonderful experience to receive the award from Baba Ramdev, Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling and Mr. Bimal Gurung. But because I got the invitation for the award function very late, my parents could not join me and I missed them.

Adwiti: Run with Roshni is a very extensive and ambitious venture, spreading awareness about “Indian Gorkhas” and our age old identity crisis. The way you have incorporated a political statement with your marathon running is very inspiring. How was this idea born? What does “Run with Roshni” want, what is its underlying concept?

Roshni:. Thank you for acknowledging that ‘Run with Roshni’ is an extensive venture to spread awareness about ‘Indian Gorkhas’ and our age old identity crisis.

Mr. C B Chettri is the man responsible for introducing me to Landmark Forum, a personal development company which helped me bring a pivotal shift in my life. In Landmark Forum, I understood that unless I am proud of whom I am I will not grow in my life. I did Landmark Advance course and also three months course of Self Expression and Leadership Program (SELP).

While doing SELP, I had to take up a project, about self expression to benefit my community- so I decided to support the Gorkha runners to run different marathons all over India. We have trademark T-shirts with the slogan, ‘WE ARE GORKHAS AND PROUD TO BE INDIAN. JAI GORKHA, JAI HIND’ to bring awareness that Gorkhas are Indians, while we run.

So the vision statement “‘Run with Roshni’ wants to create world class Gorkha runners, who will represent India in Olympic Marathon, so the need to explain that we are Nepali speaking people from India is eradicated”.

Adwiti: I am going to address something that has been a longstanding bone of contention and has riled up heated debates and anger amongst us, Gorkhalis. Every watchman no matter what background they belong to is synonymously addressed or referred to as a “Gorkha”? Through your awareness campaign what changes have you seen?

Roshni:. Since 2012, team ‘Run with Roshni’ is running various marathons with the slogan on our organization’s T-shirts ‘WE ARE GORKHAS AND PROUD TO BE INDIANS. JAI GORKHA, JAI HIND’. We have got many media mentions. During my various interviews, I got the opportunity to inform the audience about the history of Darjeeling which is intertwined with that of Bengal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal. Many reporters, who took my interview, had no idea that Nepali is a recognized National language under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India and it is the 9th language mentioned on the Indian Currency.

So I believe that ‘Run with Roshni’ has created a platform from where we can enlighten the rest of India that Gorkhas are proud Indians and not synonymous to watchmen. We have so much talent in our community that I urge and encourage our people, our locals to have the courage to explore their talents and gifts and express them fully.

I must add that people from our region are in a variety of lucrative careers that they enjoy, I mention Mumbai since that is where I am residing right now. While we should not discount any honest work, be it a “watchman” or a “house help”, the comments that are passed to insult, devalue, underrate and stereotype a whole community causes the problem and the rift.

Adwiti: Gorkhas are famous for their unquestionable loyalty, bravery “better to die than be a coward”, obedience, and their renowned warrior status. These are labels which we carry with a lot of pride, but what do you think? Are Gorkhas just that? How can we remove ourselves from being so stereotyped and also be recognized as artists, musicians, poets, intellectuals?

Roshni: Of course we are a brave community. I am very proud that Gorkhas are known for their obedience and for their renowned warrior status. But like you said we have more artists, musicians, poets and intellectuals in our community than warriors now but unfortunately we have not been able to promote them or they have not been able to promote themselves.

We should band together as a community, acknowledge our intellectuals, and become curators of our culture and language. We should encourage, promote, sponsor, help and support our talents by writing about them, making documentaries of their lives, which will help us remove ourselves from being so stereotyped. I am also subtly trying to say “Khisi nagara...ubho lagney manchey heru lai utsa dew” - Don’t criticise people who are wanting more in life, or trying to achieve more, instead give them support and encouragement.

Adwiti: How do you think people outside of our region are being confused of our identity? What in your opinion is the root cause of our identity crisis?

Roshni: In 1950, India and Nepal signed a treaty known as the Indo Nepal Treaty by virtue of which on reciprocal basis both the countries allowed free entry and settling of their citizens on either soil. This treaty served to aggravate the identity crisis situation of the Gorkhas of Indian origin for we were also seen as Nepali citizens residing on Indian soil. While the confusion or crisis was felt at a smaller scale in areas where the Gorkhas were a majority, it escalated to enormous proportions in regions where we are a minority. It also has to be because of our features and of course our language, but I am not going to let that be an excuse any more.

Root cause of our identity crisis is, like I said before the lack of awareness and also the treaty of 1950 signed between India and Nepal.

Furthermore, many people from Nepal come to the cities like Mumbai, Delhi in India for work. We speak the same language, and more or less share the same culture, and I think this is also another reason why there is confusion with the identity. People assume all Nepali speaking individuals are from Nepal, and not India.

Adwiti: What advice/suggestion do you have for a radical change of this identity crisis at grass roots level? What guidance can you give for the people from our region leaving their homes for the plains to stave off these “racially offensive” comments?

Roshni: When I first went to Mumbai, I used to get very angry with the comments like CHINESE DOLL, CHINKI-MINKI, And CHICKEN CHILLY. I have slapped many people on the roads. But later, I began to slowly but surely understand that those people were passing such comments because they were ignorant. They have no knowledge about North- East India and zero knowledge that many Nepali speaking people are also Indians. Now, if I have time, I make it a point to stop and talk to them and educate them that I am also Indian. If I have no time, I just ignore them.

During Gorkha Gaurav Award Ceremony on 19th April, 2015, I got the opportunity to listen to the speech of Mr. Pawan Kumar Chamling, Chief Minister of Sikkim for last 23years. In his speech he made a very succinct point about this very thing, that when he visits Delhi, any time new Ministers from different parts of India ask him, if his father or grandfather had come to India from Nepal he replies that he came to India along with Gautama Buddha. I hope it will help my brothers and sisters to handle such comments in future because I am adopting this comment. Thank you Mr. Chamling.

Adwiti: You hold a law degree, you have travelled to the UK, Czech Republic and South Africa bearing the flag of a proud Indian Gorkha girl from GTA, you have thousands of followers, you are looked upon as a role model. What advice do you have for the people from our region who are competing in the national and international level?

Roshni: Thank you for letting me know that I am a role model
wink emoticon
It was humbling to internationally represent my country.
As a Bal Vikas (Child Development) Students of Sri Satya Sai Organization, I always follow five Ds, which are
1. Duty
2. Discipline
3. Determination
4. Dedication
5. Devotion.
If anybody wants to be like me, just follow the five Ds.

Adwiti: You have done some leadership training in Landmark Worldwide self development company. How has this helped you in your journey as an:
a) An activist
b) A marathon runner and
c) and as a person

Roshni: I have done the entire curriculum for living and Communication course from Landmark Worldwide. It has helped me to understand my human-ness and I learnt to have courage in my own voice. My voice being my heart, and the words that follow and I own it with pride and conviction.

Landmark taught me to be natural and to express myself fully in any situation.

Two years of the Communication Course, which is known as Team Management and Leadership Program (TMLP), trained me to listen to the greatness of people. I feel I can relate to anybody as a human being and can communicate with anybody.

The roles you have mentioned are temporary roles. Since I have learnt to be comfortable in my own skin, I can play any role, which inspires me in the particular moment. So Landmark education has helped me to understand my own potential as a human being with all my flaws.

Adwiti: Besides Sri Satya Sai Baba and your parents who are your inspirations? What makes you get up in the wee hours of the morning and hit the road with your running shoes?

Roshni: Sri Satya Sai Baba initially said to his devotees that ‘my life is my message’ and later on he said that ‘your life is my message’. Again in Bal Vikas, we were taught ‘MATRI DEVA BHAVA, PITRI DEVA BHAVA’, which means our mother and father are God. I follow this principle very strictly. Wherever I go, I keep myself in touch with Sri Satya Sai Organizations. I get inspired to be fully self expressed from small kids of 2-3years old as well. But if I have to name my inspirations, it is limited to Bhagwan Sri Satya Sai Baba and my parents only.

Adwiti: I believe you are writing a book. Please elaborate.

Roshni: Yes ‘Journey from Mountain to the Ocean- Run with Roshni’. It is about my experiences of growing up in a small village in Pedong, Darjeeling and of course about the political situation we lived through. I write extensively about my experiences of coming to Mumbai and running marathons. I have dedicated a few chapters to Darjeeling and her history and the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland. I have submitted my manuscript to many publishers. I am waiting for replies from other publishers. If I don’t get positive replies, I will self publish.

Adwiti: I am sure you already have an audience who are waiting for your book to be published. Could you share with us the achievements of ‘Run with Roshni’ till date?

Roshni:There are many achievements of ‘Run with Roshni’ but most important, I would like to share are as follows;

Five runners from team ‘Run with Roshni’ was recruited in the Indian Army, which is one of the pathways for them to reach Olympic Marathon.

Since 2012, till now, we have supported 30 runners to run eight marathons which includes, Mumbai marathon, Hyderabad Marathon and Chennai Marathon.

One of our runners became drug free. He says he gets a similar high from running, which he used to get from drugs.

Two runners from team ‘Run with Roshni’, Kamal and Runesh got an invitation to participate in ‘I love my Tiranga Relay 2015’, which started from Mumbai on 26th Jan, 2015 and ended in Delhi on 14th February, 2015.

“Run with Roshni” is organizing Kalimpong’s 1st Marathon on May 1st, 2015 in which participants are coming from all over the nation. They also have another marathon event coming up in January 2016 in Mumbai. She is raising funds to support six runners for the event. Three boys and three girls will be selected from the half marathon held this 1st May in Kalimpong. Her vision cannot be accomplished without the loyal dedication and participation from her own community. Please support her initiative. Her email address is runwithroshni@gmail.com and her Face book page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Run-with-Roshni/431038796960083?fref=ts.

[Adwiti Subba Haffner is an entrepreneur, social worker, writer, freelance journalist, world traveler, mother, wife, meditation instructor. You can find her at https://www.facebook.com/AdwitiHaffner and her website is www.alivewithadwiti.com]


Via - TheDC

Justice Meenakshi Rai the first woman Judge of Sikkim

10:12 AM
Justice Meenakshi Rai bacame the first woman Judge of Sikkim. Mrs. Meenakshi Madan Rai was sworn in as the Judge of Sikkim High Court on 15 April 2015. The oath taking function was administered by the Governor Mr. Shriniwas Patel at Ashirwad Hall, Raj Bhawan. where Rai signed the solemn oath/ affirmation relating to her assumption of office and the Governor attested the solemn oath/ affirmation.
Justice Meenakshi Rai the first woman Judge of Sikkim with Governor Mr. Shriniwas Patel
Justice Meenakshi Rai the first woman Judge of Sikkim with Governor Mr. Shriniwas Patel
Function was witnessed by Chief Minister Mr. Pawan Chamling, Chief Justice, High Court of Sikkim Justice Mr. S.K. Sinha, Judge High Court of Sikkim Justice Mr. S.P. Wangdi, Speaker, Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Mr. K.N Rai, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, HODs of various departments, members of the BAR, and host of other dignitaries.

With her appointment Sikkim High Court now have all its three Judges at power after a gap of more than a year. She is also the third High Court judge who hails from the small border state.



The Childhood Days and Ways

7:05 PM
Binod Pradhan

FLASHBACK ONE

“Khuchhing taala maitala
Dus paisa ko suntala”

This was a fun oriented chant which we choired jerking our shoulders upwards and downwards in order to ridicule someone. But there is a hidden truth in these lines because we literally used to purchase suntala (oranges) for dus paisa.
Childhood Games then
Childhood Games then
Our childhood days were the most joyous one with rough edged half-pants jingling with marbles while we ran with ‘ring gaadi’ stroking dust with Pashupati made ‘hatti chhap chappal’. Girls were usually dressed in ‘putali jaama’ , they stiffened their hair with colourful ‘hairben’ and ‘kilip’.
The official way of establishing friendship was by twisting our small fingers with one another uttering “milung la”. The official trademark of cutting away someone from friend circle was by uttering- “ doodh bhaat maasu saasu aara aara kattil.”

Utterance of ‘kattil’ was simultaneously made by swiping your thumb beneath the chin. The ecstatic melody of ‘amliso ko paat ko pyar pyaraay’ still ignites the flame of nostalgia in me. We played ‘lukki chori’ reinterring ‘kuku…ha” , ‘chor police’, ‘ambal dambal’, ‘bhada kutti’, ‘lakku’, ‘amrite’. There are some muttering words that still echoes in my flashback while we played these games which go like:

-“Ek tupa ek, ek tupa dui, ek tupa tin”
-“Yetti yetti paani ghey ghey raani, chiso chiso paani ghey ghey raani…”
“Ambal dambal khairo paat…”
- “Chingg chhyaang chuush”
-“Khoi mero baasi bhaat ? Biralu ley khayo… Khoi biralu? Musa marnu goyo…..”
-“Inchu minchu London ma, ghoda ko babu paltan ma….”
-“ Badam ko laagi ko auchha…ko auchha ko auchha?…”
-“ Dhuku muku dhuku muku k ko haath?....”

We had self innovated toys such as, ‘baas ko pot pottay’, made of a slim hollow bamboo, punched in by a bamboo stick which would fit into the hollow bamboo and the stick had widened flat base. We used to chew paper and launch it into the hollow bamboo and push it with the stick… two installations and there was a sound- “paaat!” Hence, it had the onomatopoeic epistemology- “pat pattay!” ‘Mali bas’ was regarded as the best bamboo for making ‘pat pataay’ and ‘asaaray’ was considered to be the best bullet.

There was ambience of fun even at the moment when someone farted silently. The smell of fart while being in a group would make you point each individual in a group and call out

aadey paadey nunu chadey tamang paadey thuus
aadeyra gudiya ganda aayo fuuss...”

The last word “fuuss’” would decide who the victim was.
Every chasm of simplicity, truth and happiness surrounded us.

The world was not knotted and entangled with websites, it was not buzzing busy with ringtones nor was it flying speed with Mbps and Kbps. Though we did not have the facility of high-speed and high data storage memory card, the smell of titaaypati is still in our memories; the taste of ‘bhuteko makkai ra fikka chiya’ is still in our memories, the joy of ‘sutli dori ley badheko plastic ko goli’ is still in our memories.

And we have those memories…tons of those memories… “khabaar kagaaz ko khol bhako kitab”, “khoppi ko khicney”, “dip goli ko toppa”, “machaa kaada ko ek khuttey”, “chapleti dhunga ko sulsuley”, “labar, banmara ra tittaypati ko chungi”, “teen chhakay byaaring gaadi”, “ghuraah, pangra ra matengra ghumai” ,“iskoos ma sinka ghochera banako sungoor”, “baas ko khopayta ko fir firaay”. We still can recall back those innocent pauses in “ambiss” and “dumara.”

Flying a kite was another fun which required a devoted skill and vigour. Kites were made either from thin coloured plastic or a thin colour paper… we called it ‘taau’. There were many shops which sold ready-made kites but making it with your own hand ensiled a different taste in you. Slicing a bamboo for the ‘kanni’, fixing it with glue and thread added more to the excitement. If a kite remained still in the air without any swing, we used to call it “laata guddi”.

There were competitions amongst the kite flyers…the competition of cutting away the rival kite…locally termed as “manja khelnu”. Preparing manja for this type of competition was another skill one had to acquire in the art of kite flying. There were ready made manja available in the market, such as ‘Kalkattay manja’, ‘Bombay manja’ etc.

We often made manja by rubbing tube lights’ dust on the thread glued with the paste of flour and ‘saabu-dana’. Our hearts flew with the multi-coloured square shaped papers swinging in the blue sky. And of course, who would forget the excitement that shrilled while you chased a ‘bhageta’.

FLASHBACK TWO

Most of our childhood was spent without multi news channel which dominates the brain decorum and informative calescence today. The only TV channel with which we could entice and entertain ourselves in leisurely time was ‘Doordarshan’. Doordarshan reined our childhood prescience, amusing us with visual delicacies.

We watched seriels like- Kakaji Kahin, Hum Log, Fauji, Circus, Jassos Karamchand, Mungrilal Ke Hasin Sapne, B.R. Chopra’s Ramayan and Mahabharat, Byomkesh Bakshi , Dada Dadi Ki Kahaniyaan, Honi Anhoni, Kahan Gaye Woh Log, Katha Sagar, Malgudi Days, Mirza Ghalib, Nukkad , Tamas, Tenali Rama, The Sword of Tipu Sultan, Vikram Aur Betaal, Wagle Ki Duniya, Bharat Ek Khoj…etc.

There were some informative programmes like Surabhi, Turning Point (I remember Mahesh Bhatt hosting this show). Wednesday night was jostled up with ‘Chitrahaar’. The most interesting part while watching Chitrahaar was engrossing into ‘chittha’ or a lucky draw. People would write down names of actors and actresses on a slip of paper folding it to ask the members and neighbourhood mates to pick any one of it. These folded slips of paper had an equal estimated price and if the actor whose name had been mentioned in your slip appeared to be in the song featured then you would win the prize money.

The songs that featured in Chitrahaar had a charisma of its own. They intensified the stretching treads of our fantasy. One can vividly recall a very lean and thin Sanjay Dutt with over-grown back hair, almost touching his shoulders, and brushed frisk at front dancing in ‘Tamma tamma logey, tamma tamma logey tamma…

”Some may recall Govinda wearing a multi-buckled leather jacket and a leather pant with pointed boots and gloves dancing and singing - “I am a Street dancer, I am a Street dancer…” A grave reminiscecnce of my grandma’s words still hits te unknown zone of my head, she often said, “ yo Mithunaay ra yo Gobindaay chai k saaro nacheko..”Actually she was referring to Mithun Chakraborty and Govinda’s dance but she addressed them as if they were some local and well known lewd inhabitants of her own village.

Sunday was a carnivalesque day. Sunday meant that taking a bath was compulsory but there were amazing prizes which came along with the parallel subsequence. Generally, very few people owned a television during those days. One who did not own a television visited the house of neighbourhood who owned it. To watch television at other’s house was both an act of excitement and disappointment...

The main entrance door of the house which owned television was always occupied with huge stack and piles of slippers, sandals and shoes. One who entered early got a chance to seat on sofa or a stool but as the crowd increased one could hardly get a place even on the floor. So, some were seen peeping from the slight gap of door and some from the ventilation. This was a craze of time, a craze just to get a glimpse of images featured on a black and white screen. This was how we watched ‘Mahabharat’ at our neighbourhood place with watering nose, dried cheeks and peeled knees and elbows.

Much later we were introduced to cartoons. Walt Disney’s Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Mini Mouse, Pluto, Goofey became our favourite visual inhalers. And we had Jungle Book which dozed and delivered the greatest childhood ecstasy.

“Jungle jungle pata chala hai, pata chala hai
Arey chaddi pehan ke phool khila hai phool khila hai”…

…This became our childhood anthem.
Next was ‘Potli Baba’ which stirred an aroma of tales in the flowers of our imagination. We would sing,

“potli me hari-bhari parioyn ke per,
mandiron ki ghantiyan, kalisaaon ka bagh,
hey.. aya aya chhenu wali jhunnu ka baba...
aya aya chhenu wali jhunnu ka baba...
aaya... re baba aaya

And there was also a two dimension cartoon on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ which began thus:

“Tap tap topi topi tope me jo doobe,
Pal pal farmaishen lete hai ajoobe
Ulat palat ralat salat saii
Jubilee jillette ja”

Much later we became glued to Shaktimaan, featuring Mukesh Khanna. We would imitate the great spinning take off of Shaktimaan and reverberate the “Power” of Doctor Jaikal and “andhera kayam rahey” of Tamraj Kilwish. When the show ended, we would run back home singing:

“Adbhut, Asambhav, Anahat Ki Paribhasha Hai
Ye Mit Ti Manavta Ki Ik Aasha Hai
Ye Divya Shaktiyan Wardaan Hain
Ye Avtaar Nahin Hai Ye Insaan Hai
Shaktimaan! Shaktimaan! Shaktimaan”

One of the best mythical tale telecasted during the same period was Chanrakanta. It had a jingling opening sound track and eventually the song went

“Chandrakanta Ki Kahani,Ye Maana Ke Puraani ,Ye Puraani Hokar Bhi ,Badi Lagti Thi Suhaani …Naugadh, VijeyGadh Me Thi Takraar ,Naugadh Ka Tha Jo Raj Kumar ,Chandrakanta Se Karta Tha Pyaar”.

The most remarkable character of this particular serial was Kroor Singh with his signature line “Yakoo Pitaji”.

He made such an impact on our immature mind that one who came to school with uncombed hair was often given a name “Yakoo Pitaji”

And how can one forget those Sundays’ Rangoli and the movie featured on every Saturday and Sunday night.

The most celebrated rite while there was a heavy wind was fixing the television antenna. One would turn the antenna towards different direction to clear the visual and shout- “bhayoo?” from outside. The one inside the house checking the visual on the screen would yell back- “aghi ko patti farka na!” People used to hang “moktu” beside the antenna… because there was a popular belief that it would formidably give a good picture quality. Some would even pierce multiple holes on a steel plate and hang it beside the antenna.

This was the joy of living in the land of innocence.

We had no Mp3 of latest audio gadgets. We listened to the audio square shaped cassettes with rolls in it which was technically played in the audio cassette player (locally called ‘tape’). In order to save the battery or electricity we rewinded or forwarded the cassette by inserting a pen into one of the holes of the cassette and spinning it until our guess met the desired number.

There were no home theatre or surround sound equipments. So the only medium to throw a loud audio was a square shaped “sound box” or a funnel shaped loud speaker called “mike”.

Watching movies in VCR Player was a common pass time. But very few people owned them. So, one had to rely on local video hall to watch the latest movie.

Watching television was even more tormenting at rural areas which had no electricity connection. The only source of power for television at such places was- ‘battery’. Battery was charged at a nearby market or adjacent area which had electricity.

Life was harsh but harshness bloomed into indelible experiences.

FLASHBACK THREE

Though most of our days were spent playing outdoor at ‘amlisho baari’, ‘baas ghaari’, ‘ghuriyan’, ‘siru baari’, ‘khet bari’, ‘galchedi’, sikuwa’, ‘aagaan’, we still spared some amount of time for reading and studying.

I still remember the cover of ‘Nepali Sajilo Pat’ which had a two dimensional figure of a boy and a girl holding a book with a mountain and a rising sun at the background.

That book had ample of such contents which we used to sing aloud while we were at home or when we were in mid of our outdoor game. It contained the poem of ‘Singarey patha’; story which described ‘Padam ko Pencil Harayo’ and, few childlores and songs like:

“Tara tuli batuli, katti ramri putali
Saani pani chaina hai, thuli pani hoin ahai…”
“Dugur dugur kuiro, tero ghaar ma chor pasyo…”
“Aduwa khai pieo mani. Aama bhandai aucha naani…”
“Mero saano pusi, aaja katti khusi…”
“Mero saanu kharayo, aaja kata harayo…”
“Ek- lauro tek, dui-naani buui, teen- cheparo chin, char- machha maar…”
“Ghaam lagyo jhilimili hera sun ko dara
Paani paryo rimijhimi indreni ko maala…”

There were certain English texts which could afford to be mind-friendly and infused our fantasy with multiple visionaries. We had the tales of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Alladin and the Magic Lamp’, ‘Story of Robert Bruce’, ‘Fox and the Crow’, ‘The Hare and Tortoise’, ‘Akbar- Birbal’, ‘Ali Baba and Forty Thieves’…etc.

Comics served in a great way to deliver graphic tales with certain fable story frame and certain parable story frame. We grew up reading comics like Tinkle, Super Commando Dhruv, Nagraj, Doga, Parmanu, Inspector Steel. The famous characyers featured in Tinkle comics were- Sikari Sambhu, Kalia The Crow, Tantri Mantri,Suppandi, Kapish The Monkey, Ramu and Shamu and Suppandi. Other comics included Amar Chita Katha, Cha Cha Chaowdhary and Sabu, Phantom, etc.
We also read certain magazines like Wisdom, Reader’s Digest etc.

There were many dares and challenges that we would pose on our friends such as:

- Challenging your friend to scrub 120 times on the forehead and see what the result would be
- Challenging your friend to touch the tip of nose with tongue
- Challenging your friend to push the thumb backward to touch the forearm
- Challenging your friend to make a house, ship or a wallet with a piece of sheet paper
- Challenging if your friend could do the moving thumb trick
- Challenging if your friend could do the trick which made the piece of paper shift from one finger to the other
- Challenging your friend to make pieces of paper hover and stick to a plastic ruler when the ruler was frequently rubbed on the hair.

FLASHBACK FOUR

The tastiest part of our childhood was sweets and things we ate. Those delicacies still stimulates the saliva gland and fetch a sand of recollected time on the palm of age. We ate sweets like ‘ghurrah mithai’, one which could be twirled on a thread; ‘andaa mithai’; ‘mala mithai’; ‘suntala mithai’; ‘machha mithai’; orange flavoured Boy’s called ‘orange mithai’; mint flavoured Boy’s called “halls mithai”; Banana flavoured Boy’s called “Pahelo mithai”; coconut flavoured mithai called”nariwal mithai”. There were other items made out of jaggary like “laal pathhar” (also called rasta ka pathhar); “til mithai”; badam mithai”’; “kaat mithai” and “dhunga mithai”.
Other items were “murai ko dalla”and “makkai ko dalla”.

We also have the experience of eating raw fruits, seeds and stalks from the nearby forests like: “aishelu”, “kimboo”, “thotnaay”, “bhadrasaay”, “lapsi”, “naspatti”, “ambaak”, “suntala”, “chiuri”, “bhakimlo”, “chari ameelo”, “mell”, “bhotay paan”…etc

We even smoked “sukeko iskoosh ko munta”, “tamarkay ko phool” and “ makkai ko dhord” , chewed "iskoosh ko sukeko patta” as khaini.

We would rush and fight to eat “doodh ko kurauni” or “gheew ko khar” or “mauri ko chakhha”. I can recall how we contributed money to buy a packet of “Thin Arrowroot Biscuit” which we distributed in terms of each row to the contributor. Well, that was the best snack we had after our tiresome game. And of course, “bhuteko makkai, bhatamash”, “gillo rooti”, “kodo ko roti” or “makkai ko dhedo” had a finger-licking quality.

Amongst these all… we literally enjoyed to stand in queue before the village I.C.D.S. center to collect “bulgar”. Eating “bulgar” spreading it all over the cheeks was a pictorial memento that will be patched on the canvas of yesteryears.

We often hear that childhood is dying in. I feel lucky that I lived a childhood which was full of life.
Sometimes I silently hum the tunes these long gone days in following lines of Gulzar Sahab:

“Ye Daulat Bhii Le Lo, Ye Shoharat Bhii Le Lo
Bhale Chhiin Lo, Mujhse Merii Javaanii
Magar Mujhako Lautaa Do Bachapan Kaa Saavan
Vo Kaagaz Kii Kashtii, Vo Baarish Kaa Paanii”

Via- TheDC

Gorkha's Daughter Roshni runs to claim her nationality

9:19 AM
Running with pride of being an Indian comes naturally to this Gorkha girl, Roshni Rai. With her project "Run with Roshni", she wishes to bring her Nepali-speaking community, which has been facing racial discrimination and an identity crisis, to the Indian mainstream. A Mumbai resident for 10 years, Rai will be running at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in January with 10 of her community members from Darjeeling.
Gorkha's Daughter Roshni runs to claim her nationality
Gorkha's Daughter Roshni runs to claim her nationality
Coming from a small village called Pedong in Darjeeling, 34-year-old Rai has represented India at various national and international marathons and races. She claims to be the fastest of the three Indian women at the 2012 South African human race "Comrades Ultramarathon" of 89 km and takes pride in her nationality, but everything hasn't been a smooth sailing for her as she struggled with identity crisis in her own country. "We are Nepali-speaking Gorkhas but we are Indian. Many people don't realise that Nepali is a language listed in the Indian constitution and found on Indian currency notes," says Rai, who began the project with the express purpose of being accepted as Indian.

Run with Roshni began in 2011 to support native Darjeeling athletes and bring them to the forefront. "Athletes in Darjeeling participate in every single race to support their own education and, with this project, I wish to bring empowerment and enlightenment to our community," she says.

Rai began running at the age of 23 when she suffered a heartbreak. "I was heartbroken and bedridden for 15 days. I couldn't eat or sleep, and felt utterly useless. One day, I just went out on a run and cried my heart out. I kept crying and running. At one point, the tears stopped but my feet didn't. I felt so light and kept doing it regularly. That was in 2003 and in 2006, I saw the Mumbai marathon and tried to run it without any practice. I injured myself and felt I couldn't run in future," says Rai, who ran six half marathons in 2009.

Rai is a Powai resident and an advocate by profession. She completed her law degree from Mumbai university and started working at Colgate Palmolive, where she got to know the runners club and her coach Daniel Vaz, who taught her the systematic way of running a marathon. She took up Run with Roshni in 2011 as a part of a leadership course. Ever since she has been collecting second-hand shoes and funds through Facebook and other means to send them to promising athletes back home in Darjeeling. "Most of them come from a poor background and can't afford train tickets sometimes. I know these runners and I am confident that they can run a full marathon under three hours without practice. We want to represent our country so that we get accepted as countrymen," she stresses.

Rai says she is tired of explaining her nationality to everyone. "Even when I practise, exercise or run on the roads, I get called Chinese or chinki. The friendship treaty between Nepal and India further complicates our identity crisis and, for the same reason, we want a separate state of Gorkhaland. The Ghorkaland agitation of the1980s saw 1,500 deaths but nobody talks about it. I only want to spread awareness," she says.

Rai, who has been honoured with the Kalimpong Ratna award back home, has taken a break from work and is focussing on her book that she wishes to publish next year. She wants to become a full-time social worker.

Rai believes that they can compete with Kenyans and Ethiopians as running is in their blood. "Walking 16 to 20 km everyday is normal for people in the hilly areas. I was inspired by author Brandon I Koerner's piece on why Kenyans win all marathons and observed that we could challenge them too in the Olympics. There is a boy in our group who used to be a drug addict but became clean due to running. He says it gives him the same high. Running releases the happy hormone," she says.

Source:DNA

Racism Exist in India and is Thriving everyday! - Gorkha Students JNU

10:22 AM
Gorkha Students, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Condemn the continues harassment and racial violence against Students from Sikkim in Maharashtra...

Racism and the violence associated with it crept its way even to the safe haven that was Maharashtra. In a series of racial violence against people from North Eastern states, five students hailing from Sikkim, studying at the Degree College of Physical Education (DCPE) Maharashtra (Amravati) were brutally attacked by 20 Delhiite students of the same college on 13th December in Amravati, Maharashtra. The injured have been identified as Pemba, Lako, PrayazChhetri, Subhalal, ShishirChhetri (all from Sikkim) and Mayur Kumar (from Delhi). Out of the five injured, the condition of Pema is critical. He was admitted to a hospital in a coma and has been so  for the past two days. A fight broke out when Mayur gave slang against mother (aamakogalee) and Pemba resisted against that statement. In return, Mayurcalled  a group of 20 Delhi students and attacked Pemba with stones and sticks. Pemba ran for his life towards Gandhi Chowk and took shelter in a nearby cracker shop, but his did not stop and pelted shop with stones. In fit of rage they also attacked some passersby and damaged private vehicles parked near area. Nothing has been done to assist the students from Sikkim, while the arrested culprit is being given full facility. The culprits who beat Pemba TsheringBhutia are under police protection and are provided foods.
harassment and racial violence against Students from Sikkim in Maharashtra
harassment and racial violence against Students from Sikkim in Maharashtra

What followed after this incident was showed the true racist character of Indian state apparatus. Five injured students from Sikkim who were admitted in hospital also met with cold response from administration and from police. Students who are admitted in hospitals are neither provided food from administration nor provided any protection. Students have expressed their insecurity and lack of faith in authority and police (both of which are supporting and taking the side of the culprits) via social networking sites and media (Voice Of Sikkim). They have also been harassed in past and have been resisting apathy since very long time. In one message they have expressed their painful experience - “Delhi students stare at us as if we are from alien world. They even shout at us with very filthy words, which I cannot utter here. We aren’t from different world..., We haven’t done anything wrong to them... So why do they treat to us in such despicable manner? We are insecure and we too need the authorities to listen to our grievances as well, rather than listening to the perpetrators only.

In a similar incident in Gurgaon, on the 16th of December,a girl from North east was beaten and dragged by her hair. There can be nothing more demeaning and humiliating than to be thrashed and assaulted and taunted merely on the basis of one's facial features. When we seek justice from police, we are treated with contempt, and we are made to feel that we are knocking on the wrong doors.

The popular reaction from so called ‘mainstream society’ is to continuously deny the fact that racism exists. This can take multiple manifestations. The incident of hate crime is being generalised to such an extent that it is ticked off as just another incident of disagreement/violence. Some even go so far as calling the outburst to racial crimes as the “Romanticisation” of people from North East. However, the manifestations of racism faced by different communities are varied. Racism for people with mongoloid features in India has become almost a mundane activity like getting up in the morning. And it’s not limited to people from North East only. Even non-Northeastern people like Gorkhas, Ladakhis, and Tibetans have to face the same degree of contempt. The non-mongoloid looking proverbial “mainstream Indians” is not asked to dress in a “proper” manner and told their “worth” on of their faces. The police will not bring out a leaflet asking them ‘what to eat’ and ‘what not to eat’ and ‘what to wear’. They will not beaten for hours and their heads won’t be shaved to give the message that they are not welcome here. They do not have to protest for 9 hours just to lodge an FIR when a 14 year old girl is being raped. Their ID cards need not be checked every time they visit parks, museums, monuments to 'prove' are from India. They do not have to face racist slurs at public spaces for no fault of theirs. They don't have to face condescending looks and patronizing response. Oh, yes! Racism does exist in India, it just that some don’t have to bear the heat of the same.

After the death of Nido Tania and the consequent protests of people from North East, the government was forced to form a committee headed by retired IAS Officer M. P. Bezbaruah. The committee has submitted its report recently and suggested various measures to stop racial crimes. The committee refused to include academicians and activists as demanded by the people, and most of the members are seen as least motivated to even understand the daily racist harassment faced by people from North East.

The Committee also suggested that more cultural exchange will lead to decline in racial crime. In such deeply hierarchical and oppressive society, any people outside of “their society” cannot be imagined to be treated as equal. There can’t be any form of meaningful cultural exchange between people who share unequal power relations. All the effort of so called cultural exchange in such unequal power relation will at best end up as being a matter of appeasement.The argument that these deliberate and planned attacks are due to lack of cultural exchange is outrightly frivolous and laughable at best.

Racism in India is deeply institutionalized, which finds its reflections in the lackadaisical attitude of police, biased media reporting, delayed trials and uncooperative behavior of medical staffs. The audacity of these hate crimes can be judged from the incident where a women lawyer from North East and her friends were severely manhandled in front of a Judge in TizHazari court. When two men from Nagaland working in BPO in Gurgaon were brutally beaten and their head were shaved by gang of locals in 15 October, 2014, the Gurgaon Police Commisioner denies that the assault was racially motivated and has instead termed the incident “a drunken brawl”. During the visit of Chinese premier, Mr. Xi Jingping in India the prime minister NarendraModi’s government gave special instruction that people with mongolied features should stay away from the hotel where Mr. Xi Jingping was staying. What motivated this racially discriminatory instruction? What was he is afraid of or ashamed of?

Even after numerous incidents of racial violence government has failed to accept it as the incident of racism. After death of Nido Tania, there have been many more than incidents occurring in India. Two lakh people from the North East have migrated to Delhi between 2005 and 2013 and that about 86 percent of them have faced discrimination. In New Delhi alone, this year the incident of racial violence has gone up to 236.

We condemn this continues harassment and dehumanisation on basis of race in strongest possible words and appeal to all progressive democratic forces to raise their voice against such incidents. We demand that government should immediately come out of denial mode and enact anti-racial law to punish the perpetrators of such hate crime without any delay. For our own representative from our states, time has come when they should break their long salience and raise their voice clear and loud. We believe only the unity among the all oppressed and uncompromising fight can eradicate this social affliction.

Kumar Pradhan and his quest for Indian Nepali Nation in Darjeeling

2:13 PM
This preliminary note is dedicated in the loving memory of Dr. Kumar Pradhan (passed away December, 2013) whose magnanimous contributions helped us understand Nepali nationality question in India with scholarly ease.
Dr. Kumar Pradhan
Dr. Kumar Pradhan 
As a matter of historical revelation Pradhan’s analysis of the history of Nepali nation formation in Darjeeling came handy to us as an expected sequel of his inquisitive intervention into the grave question of Nepali nation making inside and outside Nepal. He cautioned us about the indiscriminate use of such terms like nation, nationality and nationalism the way they occur in the Western academia. He has been a thorough critique of the singular foundation of nation-state – an understanding that drew its intellectual impetus from the Westphalian formulation (read catch) that equated a nation with a state. The tendency to equate the themes like nation or nationality with a mono-lingual/ cultural foundation, which may have its epistemic value in the West, is insufficient to unearth the intricacies of nation formation in the East, he reasoned.

In fact, the issue of Nepali nation in India itself questions, if not nullifies the monolingual foundation of the nation state project. Nationality of a citizen of Nepal is Nepali who speaks Nepali – the national language of the nation; but such terms of reference would turn up as a devastating logic if applied to Indian citizens those who also speak Nepali language (a Scheduled language of the Indian Constitution) and share a Nepalese ancestry of distant past. Pradhan seems to be critical towards those estimations which often framed the nationality question of the Nepalis in Indian situation as a case of ‘sub-nation’, who speak Nepali language and are Indian citizens.

 Who is an Indian Nepali?

Pradhan has elucidated in great detail as to what Nepali stands for him. In Pahilo Pahar he elaborated the three distinctive meanings of the term Nepali. Firstly, Nepali implies a language.

Secondly, the term Nepali symbolizes a political denotation implying those who speak Nepali language and are citizens of Nepal by origin. Thirdly, the term has also been used as a cultural

symbol of a distinctive nation whose members are not confined to the political boundary of the country called Nepal. It is worth noting a point that the use of the term Nepali in his texts has its reference to this cultural sense.

He was of the view that the political connotation of the term Nepali has a reference to the citizenship identity of the subject population of Nepal while the cultural import of the term

Nepali refers to a linguistically unified community not amenable to the political boundary of any nation state. It is argued here that Pradhan’s contribution can be appreciated properly provided one is ready to accept the Nepali nation as a culturally articulated rather than politically evolved

Are the Indian Nepalis ethnic or diasporic?

Pardhan’s Mahesh Chandra Regmi Lecture (2004) clearly indicates that he was thoroughly aware of the genealogy of the term ethnicity and was reluctant to brand the Nepali nationality question in India as an ‘ethnic’ issue. For him the connotation of the term ethnic was more close to what in

Nepali is called janajati – that refers to different community identities like Kirat, Tamang, Newar, Sunwar and so on. As constituting elements of a broader Nepali nation in India these different

janajatis or ethnic groups were appropriated organically. Hence the micro community identities, which were considered by Pradhan as ‘ethnic’, are not to be confused with the idea of Nepali nation in their singularity.

Pradhan begins his analysis by emphasizing that Nepali nationalism in Nepal grew up out of a pluralist (anekata) social fabric whereas syncretic unity (samanyaik ekibhaban) served as the basis of forging the Nepali nation in Darjeeling. He further argues that nation formation in Nepal has undergone a process that may be called Kamila Prakriya (a process in which people forage in group much like the ants) while Mauri Prakriya (swarming of bees) was the actual process that explains Nepali nation formation in Darjeeling.

By emphasizing the Nepali nation formation process in Darjeeling as Mauri PrakriyaPradhan might have hinted at the diasporic foundation of Nepali nation in India. Michael Hutt has also labelled Pradhan as a historian who contributed towards understanding Nepali ethnicity in the so-called ‘Nepali Diaspora’. However, it needs to be qualified as to whether Pradhan himself considered the Nepali nation in India as a diasporic nation.

As is common with any Indian born Nepali intellectual, Pradhan must not be unaware of what it means to be a diasporic nation and the subsequent implications to be borne out of the label ‘diasporic Nepalis’ in India. He in fact, made his critical estimation of such labelling meant for the Indian Nepalis in the essay on Agam Singh Giriko Kabitama Jatiya Bhabna (1982). He did castigate not only the befouling efforts of the Indian national leaders to equate the Indian Nepalis as the citizens of Nepal but also those Nepali leaders who thought that a reference to Nepal would be worthwhile to build up national consciousness among the Indian Nepalis. It is that is why he thought that the use and popularity of the term ‘prabasi’ (non-resident) would unnecessarily complicate the nation building process of the Indian Nepalis.

Hence his emphasis on the Mauri Prakriya of nation formation does not necessarily make him a historian who established the diasporic cause of the Nepalis in India. If one considers hisindefatigable efforts to trace out the pre-independence and pre-colonial origin of the Nepalis in India in general and in the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya in particular, one would surely be convinced that his stress on the Mauri Prakriya was actually aimed at despising the diasporic cause of the Nepalis in India itself. Nevertheless any analysis on the Nepalis in India or elsewhere must begin with a reference to Nepal. On this count Pradhan’s insistence on the Mauri Prakriya and its diasporic overtone has a ‘denotative’ value, which gets reflected through its ‘nominal’ reference to the home country – Nepal. It thus seems quite reasonable to argue that Nepali nationality question in India involves in it a process of status transcendence from being a diasporic nation of the past generation

towards becoming an Indian national in the subsequent generations.

Nepali Nationalism in India: Marxist Critique

It is significant to note that Pradhan’s treatment of the Nepali nationality question in India is based on a critique of the so-called Marxist interpretation of nationalism the way it has been practiced either in Indian academic circle or in the Western academia. In Agam Singh Giriko Kabitama Jatiya

Bhabna Pradhan held the view that in Marxist reading the location of nationalism is captured in the mature feudal states of Europe although it considers that the authentic nationalism could have flourished only with the inception and expansion of capitalism. The role of the middle class has been of utmost significance that has encouraged the growth of the idea of national culture in the moment of rapid transformation in societies where older (feudal) traditions cease to fulfil the task for which they were designed.

Pradhan has also pointed out that the study of nationalist movement in India or for that matter the growth of Indian nationalism has been interpreted by the Marxist historians following almost a similar causal path. For the Indian scholars, aimed at interpreting Indian nationalism, British colonialism appeared to be the analytical pretext. As the argument goes, the very processes of reproducing colonial mode of production has created a native intermediary capitalist class, educated middle class and a greater body of mass exposed to the vicissitudes of modernity that came handy to the natives through the rapid spread of education, communication, science and technology, urbanization and market. All these opened up scope for the native entrepreneurs and intermediary capitalists to flourish, some of them also became quite successful in this regard. The interests of these intermediary capitalists to control the increasingly developing native market by displacing the hegemony of foreign capital and capitalists coupled with the role of the rising middle class have paved the way for the growth of the idea of Indian nation and nationality during nationalist Pradhan however, did not disapprove the significance of Marxism directed towards a materialistic interpretation of the origin and evolution of the questions of nation and nationalism in India or in Europe. He was of the view that the histories of social change and transformation have been most convincingly interpreted by Marxism. By applying Marxist historiography it has been possible in European context to develop fact revealing historical accounts. But his view was that the blind application of Marxist interpretation cannot yield any true to life historical analysis. That is why the national identity of the Nepalis in Darjeeling cannot straight away be considered as the product of feudalism or capitalism.

The earlier generations Nepalis were exposed to feudal exploitation in Nepal and upon their arrival in Darjeeling they had to face colonial capitalist exploitation nevertheless it would be too immature to conclude that the situation approximated the state of affairs outlined by the Marxist historians. The nature and degree of exploitation was different and there was hardly any scope to run away from this exploitation. Sipahi and mazdoors were there in the barracks and towns, peasants were there in the villages, plantation workers were there in cinchona and tea gardens but there were no capitalists and even the rise of the middle class was on a low web. Nineteenth century Nepali society in Darjeeling in this way became largely a working class or a proletarian society. They did not have land rights, any ownership in the trade and business or in any other enterprises. They had only the opportunity to be sold out as cheap labour. Hence, it is absurd to maintain that the nation and nationality questions of the Nepalis in Darjeeling were instigated by the interests of the capitalists or by the aspirations of the middle class.

In such a context of exploitation and domination the emergence of the idea of ‘us’ and ‘them’ divide between the Nepalis and the plainsmen was not at all surprising. Besides the economic standing the notion of ‘us’, according to Pradhan, incorporated in it a downgraded socio-cultural  connotation too. Apart from the British, the educated clerks and the conformist Hindus from the plains did consider the matwalis as mlechhas (untouchables) and the vertical difference between the Nepalis and plainsmen based on caste, religion, culture, and language differential went on increasing.

Educated Babus (Bengali gentlemen) and money lenders from the plains continued considering the labouring Nepalis derogatorily as ‘coolies’. ‘Us’ vs. ‘them’ divide did originate and accentuate in such a historical context.

Unlike Nepal, the origin and evolution of Nepali national identity in Darjeeling was not the result of state unification process rather this feeling of national consciousness was encouraged by the common interest of the working class Nepalis. In other words, the national consciousness of the Indian Nepalis emerged on the pretext of a subjective feeling of commonality in the life experiences of the exploited and subjugated classes.

Analysing the Nepali nation formation in Darjeeling in such a detailed manner Kumar Pradhan expressed his disgust and castigated those who feel overwhelmed in considering the Nepalis as a ‘foreigner’ (bideshi). He maintained rather harshly that those who misconstrue the Indian Nepalis as nationals/ citizens of Nepal are unaware of the history of Darjeeling where they have established themselves as a distinctive nation in Indian context. Several theoretical explanations focusing on the history of this region for the last two centuries have well proved this fact beyond any iota of doubt. Blood (ragat), dress (besh bhusa) and religion (dharma) are insignificant factors in the imagination of a Nepali nation in Darjeeling. There are a variety of bloods, costumes, and religions in this region but the Nepalis have become nation (jati) out of a bond of common experience, shared mentalities, and a single language.

(Dr. Swatahsiddha Sarkar is in the faculty, Department of Sociology, University of North Bengal)

Source: EOI

 
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