Showing posts with label Gorkha Students JNU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorkha Students JNU. Show all posts

Rs.172 - Price of blood, sweat and life of a Tea garden worker in Gorkhaland!

12:28 PM
‘All wealth is the product of labor’- John Locke 

Tea plantations of Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai encompass the two extremes of human existence, the unimaginable opulence of Tea garden owners and the abject impoverishment of workers. Behind the idyllic hills, the scenic gardens, the “romance of the two leaves and a bud”, and the “smiling faces” of the workers, what remains carefully hidden is the ugly truth of sub-human wages, more than a thousand starvation deaths, and seething anger.
Tea workers in Gorkhaland

The ongoing wage negotiations for tea gardens in the Hills, Dooars & Terai has yet again brought to fore what the West Bengal government and the industry wishes to brush under the carpet. It is another manifestation of the complicity of the state in depriving the workers of their basic minimum level of sustenance. Darjeeling tea derived its value (even has its own Geographical Indication-GI mark) from its qualitative excellence and high exportability. Darjeeling, Dooars and Tarai produces one of finest and most sought after tea in the international market (Iran, Japan, UK, Russia, UAE). Such is the demand for Darjeeling tea that in the year 2016 the finest quality of Darjeeling tea was sold at Rs 1.12 lakh per kg. Tea industry makes valuable contribution to both Central and State Government coffers by way of different Central and State taxes. The West Bengal State enjoys approximately 1500 crores of revenue generated from tea gardens annually along with the revenue from tea tourism, forest, hydel project etc. However, the contributions of the tea garden workers have been rewarded by hardship, struggle, denial of basic rights, untimely medical facilities, forced lockdown of tea gardens and starvation deaths. This perennial appalling condition has compelled the workers of 273 tea gardens to hit the streets and raise their voice for higher wages. Examining the closest history, the wage of workers’ was Rs.45 per day in 2001, Rs. 90 per day in 2010 and Rs.95 per day in 2011. After repeated pressure from workers trade unions, it was increased to Rs 132.50 in 2016. In February 2018, the wage was decided upon as Rs 150/day. However, following the disagreements and protests from the tea gardens workers trade unions, the planters agreed to increase the wage only to Rs 172 per day on 5th August 2018, which the workers have out rightly rejected.

How low is the wage rate in tea gardens?
First, workers of Darjeeling, Dooars, Tarai and Assam are paid the lowest wage among all tea plantations located in India. Eg. Tamil Nadu pays Rs. 303, Karnataka pays Rs 317 while Kerala pays Rs. 600 per day. Ironically tea produced from these locations are not much demanded in international market and fetches low price, even then the tea garden owners are able to pay decent wages more than that of Darjeeling. Secondly, wages of tea garden workers of Darjeeling, Dooars and Tarai is even lower than the government mandated minimum wages in similar occupations in West Bengal. The recently proposed wage rate by the planters and state government for the tea garden workers of Darjeeling, Dooars and Terai is Rs 172, which is even lower than minimum wage paid in Cinchona plantation located in the same region (Rs. 211), in Beedi leaf plucking (Rs. 255), in Agriculture (Rs 278). Thirdly, the money wage was Rs 90 in 2010 and it was proposed to be hiked to Rs 172 on 5th August, 2018. However, if we take into account the rising living expenses (due to rising prices over time-inflation), the real wage (what money wage is able to buy in terms of goods and services) hike is miniscule in terms of purchasing power. For e.g. the goods and services, which could be purchased using Rs. 90 in 2010, will cost Rs.141 in 2018. Even Rs.90 in 2010 was the lowest wage received by workers among workers in other industries during that time. This implies that workers until last year (Rs 132.5 in 2017) were not even getting wage, which could buy same amount of goods they used to buy with Rs. 90 in 2010. Similarly, Rs 172 of 2018 will only buy the same amount of goods what workers could have bought with Rs.109 in 2010. This means that the wage hike proposed by planters is very low if we take into account the rising daily expenses of tea garden workers. Workers are demanding Rs 239.82 as minimum wage, which is just equal to the purchasing power of Rs 152 of 2010. The minimum wage of Rs 239.82 is not even 40% of minimum wage of tea garden workers in Kerala. In an era where LPG refilling costs around Rs 1000, the tea garden workers are bound to survive on a monthly average income of Rs 5000. Since, tea garden is the main source of income for the families, it is beyond impossible to maintain a decent livelihood with such a minimum wage leading intergenerational poverty trap. Contrary to this deplorable condition of workers, the CEO of a tea company (Goodricke Group Limited, Annual Report, 2017-18) has a salary scale of Rs. 4-7 lakhs per month with additional Rs. 50,000 special allowance per month.
What do various reports say? Nearly 1500 tea plantation workers of Dooars and Terai have died due to starvation in the last ten years. According to the state government’s Labour Department Survey (2013) report, nearly Rs 47 crore rupees of provident fund was unpaid to workers in 75 tea gardens in 2013. Around 80% of the gardens had no medical staff and most of the gardens had no access to basic health facilities. The International Labour Organisation in its 2005 report clearly states that the Tea Board, which is the regulating authority of the Tea Industry, has failed to fulfill its stipulated function. They have continuously ignored wage and provident fund defaults of tea gardens, while portraying this crisis only as a marketing mismanagement. The ILO report also suspects that there is collusion between the planters and the State, which is highlighted by the non-implementation of the Tea Act, 1953. Studies show that 70% of the people of the closed tea gardens suffer from chronic energy deficiency III stage. The scale of deprivation and dispossession of livelihoods is such that the workers are forced to languish till they die of hunger and malnutrition. The Supreme Court’s order (dated 06.08.10) categorically asked the Government of India to carry out its statutory duty under Tea Act 1953. This allows the central government to take over the management/control of sick tea gardens (under section 16 B/D/E of the Act) and take steps thereafter to ensure that the interest of the workers are well protected and dues are all paid in time but such clauses never get invoked to protect the interest of the workers. Such low wages and exploitative conditions have resulted in large migration of workers from the tea estate. Human trafficking is also very rampant in the region. A report of a joint study by Unicef, Save the Children and Burdwan University (in 2010) estimates around 3,500 minors alone were trafficked from 12 gardens of Dooars alone.

We reject the recent offers by the Planters and Government of abysmally low wage hike from Rs.150 to Rs. 172.
We demand: 1. Declare and implement decent Minimum Wage for tea Plantation workers equivalent to that of state of Kerala 2. Grant legal ownership of land rights to workers 3. Reopen closed and abandoned tea estates immediately 4. Casual labour in tea gardens should be regularised as soon as possible 5. Backlog of unpaid provident fund and gratuity should be cleared immediately. We salute and stand in solidarity with the uncompromising struggle of workers for their rightful demand. Any attempt to break the unity of the workers or dilute the demands or betray the struggle must be resisted at all cost.

Gorkha Students, JNU Issued on 13/08/18

JNU students protest against Mahendra P Lama leveling allegations of sexual harassment

6:47 AM

JNU students protest against 2 other professors alleging sexual harassment

ANI | New Delhi Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) staged a protest against professors Mahendra P Lama, and Rajesh Kharat leveling allegations of sexual harassment against them. The students demanded that they should be arrested.

Recently, JNU's another professor Atul Johri was arrested in a sexual harassment case and was later granted bail.
JNU students protest against professors Mahendra P Lama leveling allegations of sexual harassment

A student of JNU filed a case against Lama and Kharat, who work in the Centre of South Asian Studies of JNU. The professors allegedly took the student to China for work and tried to harass her sexually.

She asked the Internal Complaint Committee of JNU to suspend the professor. However, no step been taken against him as yet.

Both the professors were arrested by the Police on the basis of the complaint registered by the victim but were later granted bail. The varsity authority has not taken an action against them since then.

Via B S

Gorkha Students JNU condemns police firing and killing in Gorkhaland

10:16 PM

Condemn the brutal killing of protestors by armed state forces in Gorkhaland

“You can crush some flowers but you cannot stop spring from coming back!”-Pablo Neruda

Democracy died a violent death today in Gorkhaland. The brazen display of "might is right" by the dictatorial West Bengal government and facilitated by central government has been proven once again on the Gorkha people who have been demanding their constitutional and democratic right. The dance of death that has flowed today from the barrels of the oppressive regime in broad day lights is highly condemnable. Innocents murdered, rights and freedom has been crushed by the oppressive jackboots brought on by the WB government. Three Gorkhaland supporters were left dead today and many were injured when police started firing indiscrimantely on the democratic protest. In the ensuing violence a local cop is also supposed to be killed. We condemn this highly oppressive regime where it kills its own citizens for sustaining it's egomaniac leadership. The murder of the Gorkhaland supporters is highly reprehensible and is to be condemned in the strongest form possible. We condemn this mindless violence and the police high handedness. Political demands should be heard and solved politically. Violence, intimidation and killing should never be the choice of a democratic and constitutional state. We also condemn the draconian move of Bengal government to curb the freedom of speech and expression of people through intimidation with the use of armed forces and putting unjustified ban on local media and new channels. The move of deployment of paramilitary forces especially ARMY to resolve civilian issues and complete ban on local media by Bengal government is nothing but daylight murder of democracy. Such brazen display of State power to deal with genuine political discontent of people on issue of imposition of Bengali language and democratic constitutional fight for separate state has shocked everyone. In Gorkhaland, the people’s right to peaceful assembly and protest, freedom of expression and thought, right against exploitation, right to life with dignity is being increasingly curtailed. All fundamental rights of citizens are curbed at whim and fancies of the State forces. Horrid accounts of loot, molestation, intimidation and custodial torture leading to permanent maiming of those arrested by the CRPF during the 1986-88 agitation have etched deep fear which haunts the masses even today. The State has shamelessly conspired and capitalised on the CRPF’s notorious record of the 1980s by deploying these forces again to create a fear psychosis with an implicit warning that any dissent will be CRUSHED AGAIN with same CRUELTY and LEGITIMACY. We are seeing similar occurences at present as well where the police under the orders of the oppressive regime is knocking down doors at midnight, trashing the house and arresting and intimidating people. Now with introduction of ARMY and CRPF, the feelings of the people are aggrieved more than ever. Already with the widespread presence of police, CRPF and other paramilitary forces, bringing Army to deal with civilian issues sets dangerous political precedent. Deployment of Army under pretext of ‘maintaining peace’ is nothing but intimadation. How can Army which is not trained to deal with civilian issues resolve a century old political crises of this region? Can there be any military solution to civil political problems? Are we living in de-facto military rule? Under such hostile and militarised situation, can any citizen exercise his right to freedom of thought and expression without any fear or intimidation? Is democracy just a privilege of few elites and other priveleged regions? Can we take 'silence under intimadtions and threats' as hallmarks of peace and harmony? Why such a zeal to call army in certain regions and against certain people? Will you find army in civilian conflicts in cities of mainland India? Isn't interference of Army and thousands of paramilitary forces a brazen display of State power to muzzle all democratic aspirations and voices of people of Gorkhaland? How can democracy flourish under military jack boot?           
                      
During this entire movement, the dubious nature of central government is also becoming clearer in front of the public. The Party which proclaims to be ‘sympathetic’ towards the cause of Gorkhas does not think twice before sending Army and CRPF to this region to crush the ongoing movement of Gorkhaland. By repetitively sending more and more of paramilitary force and by deploying Army even in civil politic conflict, Central government (BJP) has actually helped the media to profile this peaceful and democratic movement as being ‘violent’ and ‘dangerous’ in front of entire nation. The dubious stand of the BJP is getting clearer when we see that their WB State leadership like Dilip Ghosh and Rahul Sinha have clearly stated in live news shows that they are not in favour of creation of new State of Gorkhaland but will support ‘development’. Then what is difference between TMC and BJP on issue of Gorkhaland? Are we fool to believe that a national party can have different stand in State and then at the Centre? Under Artilce 3 (a) of Indian Constitution any ruling government can create new state even when state government is completely against it. This is the manner in which new state like Telengana was created by central government even after strong opposition by Andra Pradesh government. Why even after having majority in Parliament, BJP have not even tried to table a bill for creation of separate state of Gorkhaland? Now BJP has to make clear their stand whether it’s for or against Gorkhaland? Are we fool to believe that a national party can have different stand in State and then at the Centre? Under Artilce 3 (a) of Indian Constitution any ruling government can create new state even when state government is completely against it. This is the manner in which new state like Telengana was created by central government even after strong opposition by Andra Pradesh government. Why even after having majority in Parliament, BJP have not even tried to table a bill for creation of separate state of Gorkhaland? Now BJP has to make clear their stand whether it’s for or against Gorkhaland? Now is time where every party has to come together to fight this last battle for justice. Any fight for Gorkhaland cannot be fought by any single party on its own, hence all parties should unite and form a Joint Front to democratically decide the direction and future of ongoing movement. At this juncture any act of unilateralism by any party which creates division and suspicion has to be avoided at all cost. When common people are dying on street, a leader going on hiding doesn’t give any confidence to public.

The media which is supposed to be the eye of democracy has always been biased towards the gorkhas. It has always portrayed the gorkhas as violent and their just and legitimate demand as unconstitutional. The community which has been labelled as one of the bravest in the world have been stabbed at the back by the knife of betrayal and repression by violent representation of the gorkhas. The National media is portraying the state as the white dove of peace and the Gorkhas as lovers of violence. By twisting facts, sensationalising news and cherry picking stories, media is deliberately projecting the entire movements as ‘dangerous’ thereby justifying the excess use of military forces on peaceful protesters. Such biasness and unethical journalism should be questioned and condemned.

The bizarre silence maintained by larger civil society especially those of the supposed left parties like CPI(M) etc of Bengal on such grotesque violation of human rights is baffling and beyond comprehension. Display of such level of insensitivity towards loss of life is highly shameful and only speaks of double standards. We condemn the high handedness of the repressive Bengal Government where the democratic movement for Gorkhaland is being termed unconstitutional and is being used as a pretext to curb the democratic right to protest and freedom of expression. Hence, we demand immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all paramilitary forces including ARMY from the Darjeeling and stop gagging of local media. We reiterate our support for the Gorkhaland movement and call upon all progressive people irrespective of party denominations in JNU to come out in condemnation of the Oppressive TMC reign of terror( block n italacise this) that has brought violence and oppression to not just Gorkhaland but Bengal as well. We salute the people for showing incredible compassion, courage and restraint under such brutal assaults on their freedom and appeal all people unite and fight for this just cause. Instead of relying on eternal forces, people should realise that its their strength of their struggle alone which will ensure Gorkhaland. Only if we stand united and fight uncompromising, we can change the course of history!

Solidarity from Gorkha Students, JNU for tea garden workers

10:26 AM

A statement of solidarity from Gorkha Students, JNU to the protesting tea garden workers for their minimum wage

All tea workers unions from Darjeeling, Dooars and Tarai under the broad banner of Joint Forum have decided to go for a 48 hour strike in Bengal against the exploitation of tea garden owners of Bengal, who are living in deplorable condition with less than minimum wage which is insufficient to live a dignified life. It is co-incidentally at the same time when the people of Gorkhaland are struggling against the oppressive linguistic imposition of the Bengal government on the indigenous people of the land.  The Hills, Terai and Dooars of Gorkhaland are gripped in seething angst when it is forced to witness the misery of its own people in the form of hunger and starvation deaths. It is outrageous to see the workers of a multi-million industry (tea plantation) dying a slow and painful death due to hunger and starvation. The irony of this situation is lies in the presence of stark poverty, chronic hunger and exploitation along-side the colossal profits these tea-gardens generate for the owners and the State. According to an estimate by the Darjeeling Chamber of Commerce, tea industry in the hills generates an average of Rs. 450 crores revenue annually, equal to that of the tourism industry in the region. Absence of workers’ rights, non-payment of minimum wages and benefits is not specific to the tea-industry alone but is rather a persistent feature of work in the highly segment labour-market in India. However, it is pertinent to highlight here the starkly Regional Aspects of Discrimination that lies so strongly visible in the tea industry. The minimum wage paid to unskilled tea labour in Kerala is Rs.301, in Assam it is Rs.158.54, in neighbouring Sikkim it is Rs. 200 while the same in Darjeeling comes to a meagre Rs.112. Even the minimum wage paid in West Bengal for MGNREGA is around Rs. 130-151 and for agricultural laborer is Rs. 206 per day. The tea workers in North Bengal are thus made to work for wages which is far below the minimum in any form of work. It is very shrewd on the part of the owners to claim low wages are due to low price being earned from the sales of tea leaves produced from these gardens. If this be the case then why the wages of workers remains same in those tea gardens which fetches the highest price in the world tea market( for instance Rs. 1.1 lakhs per kg of tea is produced by Makaibari tea garden but wages remain still at Rs.112).
In the last decade more than 1400 tea workers have died due to acute malnutrition and starvation. As recent as January 2013, 95 workers of the locked out Dheklapara Tea Estate in Dooars sent a letter to the Chief Minister of West-Bengal seeking her “order” to kill themselves because they were suffering from acute starvation. The tea workers therefore are forced to languish till they die of hunger and malnutrition. Studies show that 70% of the people of the closed tea gardens suffer from chronic energy deficiency III stage. In the gardens affected by starvation death like Red Bank, Bandapani, Diana and Kathalguri tea gardens, it was found that workers and their families have Body Mass Index (BMI) identical to those populations affected by severe famine.
The starvation death in the tea gardens, the crushing of the identity of the Gorkhas and other minorities and the denial of basic rights to oppressed communities in Bengal has been a phenomenon for centuries in Bengal. The hegemonic forces are united to crush every single voice of dissent and so now the time has come that the oppressed be united to fight against this domination for a better tomorrow.
At this hour of crisis, Gorkha Students, JNU stands in full support with the tea garden workers and the Gorkha people in their struggle for dignity, self-respect and a better life. When Oppressors are always united and consolidated, it is a historic responsibility on our shoulders to unite and fight for a just and egalitarian society!
We also demand that:
1. Closed and abandoned tea estates be reopened immediately.
2. Stop privatisation of government operated tea gardens.
3. Declare and implement Minimum Wage for tea plantation workers.
4. Grant legal ownership of housing space to workers
5. Casual labour should also be brought under the purview of Plantation Labour Act, 1951.
6. Backlog of unpaid Provident fund and gratuity should be cleared without delay.

Gorkha Students, JNU

Gorkha Students JNU appeal to people

7:23 AM

AN APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE OF DARJEELING, KALIMPONG, DOARS AND TERAI

After a lot of diversions and contradictory statements from the Bengal government, intending to create ambiguity and confusion, it has been finally declared by Mamata Banarjee in her recent statement to media that Bengali language will be made compulsory in schools for non Bengali communities in the State. 

What we need to understand is that the politics of imposing the language of the majority on the minority communities is neither new nor a region-specific phenomenon. It is a reflection of a new kind of Communal Majoritarian politics in India where powerful communities have overtly started imposing their language, their food habits, their culture and way of life on other weaker and minority communities. In this battle against the imposition of language, Gorkhas are not the only targets of the resurgence of majoritarian politics. Assam government intends to make Assamese language compulsory in school for all communities including Gorkhas living there. Only of people from Barak valley and tribal areas are exempted from this rule. Similarly, many southern states like Tamil Naidu and Kerala are protesting the indirect imposition of Hindi in their region by the Central government. 

We should also get rid of the “Messiah Complex” where we expect some saviour to appear and fight our battle. Such an attitude will not only rob our capacity and agency to fight against injustice but will also make us dependent on others to fight our struggle. Time and again, history has shown us that it is only when people actively participate in collective struggle, that victory has been possible and resolute. We should realise that our struggle has to be carried out by ourselves and cannot be outsourced elsewhere.  We should realise that people and people alone are the motive force of history.

We cannot allow this diktat to crush our linguistic freedom and further pave way for the weakening of our larger struggle for right to self-determination. We should also remain vigilant to those sinister forces that will attempt to portray this struggle as a communal fight between the Gorkhas and the Bengalis. Our struggle is not intended to disrespect either the Bengali community or their language at all. We respect Bengali language and its culture but not its imposition. We welcome and acknowledge the support of those from the Bengali community who believe that the language of the majority cannot be coercively imposed on linguistic minorities. Not only in Bengal, we are completely against any form of majoritarian politics which marginalises and exploits the other vulnerable communities.
Such continuous exploitation and injustice towards people of Gorkhaland clearly reflect that there cannot be any justice as long as we remain under Bengal. We need more than fake pre election promises, empty slogans and defunct government committees on Gorkhaland. Freedom from Bengal Majoritarian rule and formation of Gorkhaland is the need of the hour. It is time for the civil society and all progressive forces to join hands for a unified struggle against this chauvinistic act of the Bengal government.

Gorkha Students JNU, New Delhi

Gorkha Students JNU Call Out Flipkart’s Racist Ad In Strongly Worded Open Letter

9:16 PM

JNU’s Gorkha Students Call Out Flipkart’s Racist Ad In Strongly Worded Open Letter


To,
Flipkart

Dear Binny,
First of all, let us clarify that you are neither hallucinating nor in your dreams. It must be deeply disturbing and astonishing for you to reconcile with this fact that you are reading a letter written by a ‘bahadur’.

Shaabji, we are deeply sorry for not living up to your company’s expectations! We are sorry for this audacity that you may have never expected to see. But shaabji, we must shake you up from your mistaken notions about the Gorkha community.

Even the spirit and tone of your recent clarification letter does not reflect an iota of remorse and self-reflection.

We are hurt but, paradoxically, we are very thankful to your company for this unexpected opportunity to talk about the long history of denial of our political rights and the daily harassment and humiliation which we face on account of our racial identity wherever we go.

You have surely realised by now that your insensitivity and crass competition in the rat race has opened a Pandora’s Box. We argue with hard facts and not just rhetoric. In this letter, we shall be revisiting our political history and our present reality. We shall talk about our economy, freedom, struggle, rights, dignity and individuality. We shall also touch upon ethics (something you seem to be grossly lacking). We hope that you and your employees (including the advertisement team you consulted) are endowed with sufficient mental faculties to be able to follow our arguments in this letter and connect them competently enough to comprehend why Flipkart is guilty of vilifying the Gorkha identity.

The Gorkha community has suffered centuries of exploitation under the British colonial regime. While India celebrated its ‘independence’ in 1947, the Gorkhas are still battling for their rights and dignity. We have survived over sixty years of socio-economic and political subjugation under West Bengal’s blatant policy of internal colonialism facilitated by local stooges. The fetters that curb our right to self-determination are getting stronger by the day. Consequently, the region and community is ravaged by high unemployment, abject poverty and distress out- migration. While a handful of the privileged few always had access to quality education and opportunities to climb further up in the class hierarchy, for the larger majority in our community, formal education has been only recently accessible. A substantial percentage of our people are engaged in back-breaking work day and night to produce the world’s most expensive tea (Darjeeling tea). For the plantation workers, the reward for filling the coffers of tea garden owners and the government has been only a life plagued by poverty, morbidity and a slow but painful death due to starvation. The screams of suffering and death has been silenced and stifled by the continued indifference of a callous government and corporate houses that display the least regard for basic human rights of workers. Any intervention so far has been half-hearted and reflects charity and sympathy rather than delivery of rights and entitlements.

No industrial worker in the history of independent India may have suffered this plight. Adding insult to injury, we are casually and, many a times, deliberately called ‘foreigners’ by the so called ‘authentic Indians’ of our country. The starkest irony being that we are the same community which has time and again received showers of praises for bravery in armed forces by the Indian political establishments. We are again the same community that has been butchered by the same political establishment using paramilitary forces when trying to assert our basic political right to self determination i.e. separate state of Gorkhaland in 1986. Numerous real and fake quotes (from field Marshal Manekshaw, to Hitler and even Osama Bin Laden) valorising the bravery of the community in fighting battles has actually strengthened the narrative of Gorkhas as a martial race. Such a widely celebrated reductionist narrative of Gorkhas as a martial race has been internalised by the community itself without a critical reflection on how it dehumanises the community and encourages more racial stereotyping of the entire Gorkhas.

It is true that many men from our community are employed as security guards but there is nothing to be ashamed of this. We are not the only community in that profession. What matters is that we don’t judge any form of labour (if not forced) by its remuneration or its location on the workplace hierarchy. We leave such prejudiced and judgemental tasks to appropriate hands like yours. Only parasite classes, whose existence depend on sucking the fruits of others’ labour, fail to comprehend the dignity and importance of any form of work.

Apart from disregard for dignity of labour, a larger wrong which is very problematic is to divide and reproduce an entire community in the binary of either security guards or as blood thirsty ‘hyper brave’ soldiers. This kind of representation strengthens the already existing racial stereotypes among the larger population which draws its knowledge (limited) of other communities through popular culture propagated by media. We hope you can fathom the gravity of the damage that your advertisement has thus made by the stereotypical depiction of the Gorkha community as security guards. After watching such commercials and movies (like “Appna Sapna Money Money”), your sons and daughters are at the risk of not only imbibing such stereotypical views but also letting their interactions with Gorkhas in general be influenced by prejudice and bias encouraged by people like you.

Mr. Binny, by generalising such constructed attributes, do you not feel guilty of stifling free thinking, of polluting young minds and of depriving Gorkhas their freedom to express their individual identities and personal attributes that is so unique to each. Such vile attempts are condemnable in the strongest words. As the company head, it is your responsibility to avoid such actions, whether accidental or deliberate.

We do not intend to lecture you on values, but it is worthwhile to reflect upon the so called ‘core values’ upon which you claim Flipkart is based. Not forgetting that the values have been put in a framework to drive the mad rush of accumulation of wealth by a few elitists like you. Nonetheless, should we for a moment reflect upon the value of ‘customer obsession’ then, the said advertisement shows that your firm is far from being obsessed to cater to the needs of the Gorkha community. Instead, it has only alienated and humiliated us. Isn’t it ironic that the value of ‘ownership’ that you claim to uphold has blatantly disowned the contributions of Gorkhas in diverse fields of human endeavor? The ‘impact’ of the value has been such that we have been compelled to write this letter to you. While the value of ‘honesty’ has missed the prefix of –dis-assuming that you are not that ignorant of the fragmentation and ruptures that racism creates on the canvas of societies. Communication has indeed created the impact you wanted, not of content as you wished but the psychological attitude that you harbor. ‘Innovation’ on the other hand has been all but to reinforce the stereotypical mindset of the majoritarian ethos- concretised by the same acts that we condemn in this letter.

Knowing that sole purpose of the existence of your company, for that matter any company, is to amass profit at any cost, we are not in any form of illusion that you are here to address a pressing social issue which is tearing apart the social fabric of Indian society. After all, 200 years of colonial rule and the thousands of painful deaths due to the Bhopal Gas tragedy was a gift from a corporation like yours. Mr. Binny, it is no surprise that a corporation like yours thrives on the consumerism which disregards the very fabric that you feed upon. Far from a symbiotic one, with increasing fortunes, the dynamics of relationships takes a form of a parasitic one, that not only makes the poor poorer but even robs away the basic ‘dignity’ of people. The recent advertisement speaks volumes in this context.

Whenever our fellow Indians are abused and attacked on racial ground in foreign countries like Australia or USA, we were in deep pain and anguish and had pledged to fight against such racial stereotypes. We strongly believe that you and your company employees who probably often land in foreign soil, feel the same. Even after that we fail to comprehend why your company chose to promote such racial stereotypes of a certain community of our own country? Or is it that your principle to fight against racism is limited only beyond our borders where the elite likes of you are more likely to be potential victims? For within India, you are widely recognised as the ‘authentic and rightful sons of the soil’!

Just like a brother who kills his sister in the name of protecting a family’s ‘honour’ or an upper caste feudal lord who chops the hands of Dalit children for touching his field crops and feels no remorse; in your mad profit campaign, you too have failed to comprehend the intensity of injustice you have done by virtue of not being born in a certain ethno–linguistic community. You fail to comprehend the pain and humiliation in bearing the brunt of racial stereotypes as a daily reality.

At last one humble request from our side – expand and grow as much as you can and trade in various goods and services but do not try to thrive in your business by trading another community’s dignity. Your company cannot hold long if you try to flourish by vilifying another community’s dignity and identity.

Thank You.

Via youthkiawaaz

Gorkha Students, JNU in Solidarity with NBU fighting for Gender Justice

9:28 PM
Solidarity Statement from Gorkha Students, JNU to the students of North Bengal University (NBU) fighting for Gender Justice

We students of JNU salute and take inspiration from the historic struggle waged by students of NBU against the recent incidents (15th August, 2016) of sexual harassment in campus premises of North Bengal University. The struggle has unsettled the deep patriarchal anxiety of the administration and will definitely contribute to expansion of the spaces for women (both within and outside campus premises).

   The patriarchal unequal gender relation of society also permeates the work premises. This power relation has its own class, caste and racial manifestations. Under such hierarchical social relation the gender justice cannot be achieved if the perpetrator lies in top of power relation. Failure to deliver gender justice only strengthens the forces of patriarchy and sexual-harassers and jeopardizes the space for women to come up and lodge complaints against similar cases of violence. The administration throughout country has repeatedly used their authority to shield sexual harassers even after they have been found guilty under enquiry, particularly when the guilty is someone with influence. At the one hand laws (Prevention of Sexual Harassment in Work Place Act, 2013) which are supposed to protect and give justice also reflects the same patriarchal attitude. Hence, to look matter of sexual harassment and to sensitise campus on issue of gender, we think that independent and effective body like Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), as per the Supreme Court's Vishaka Judgement guidelines 13th August, 1999, should be constituted in every work place of this country and decisions of the GSCASH should be made binding upon the administration or any person with sufficient influence/power. The ongoing struggle of students in NBU can make sure that such proper institutional mechanism is instated in campus premises. Even regressive act like Prevention of Sexual Harassment in Work Place Act, 2013 makes its mandatory to do so.
 
The procession taken out by NBU students and research scholars on Friday.
 Picture by Kundan Yolmo
We believe promoting a security centric solution to the issue of crime against women (like putting the entire campus under the gaze of CCTVs) will only worsen the situation for female students and hamper their mobility within campus. The security centric approaches reflect the same protectionist patriarchal male chauvinist attitude that will perpetuate the age old unequal gender relations. Such security centric measures are very likely to be used by authority as tool of extensive surveillance and discipline and contrary to initial believe, can be used to further curtail the freedom of students. Definitely prisons are safe, but we don’t want our campus to be that.

We demand speedy trail and prompt justice to be delivered. We demand the perpetrators to be brought to justice, through an impartial investigation and speedy trial in appropriate forum of authority. We extend our solidarity to the uncompromising struggle of students of NBU on issue of sexual harassment and gender justice.

Only the unity among an oppressed can break the chain of patriarchy!  Let us all join hands together and raise voices for gender justice!

-Gorkha Students, JNU                
Issued on 20/10/2010

 
Copyright © Indian Gorkhas. Designed by Darjeeling Web Solutions