Showing posts with label Gorkhas in India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorkhas in India. Show all posts

Congress Leader Pawan Khera Apologises to Gorkhas

4:40 PM
Congress Leader Pawan Khera Apologises for his Comments on Gorkhas

Recently during a TV debate, Congress Leader Pawan Khera had gone on to make a shocking comment on the Gorkhas calling them separatists and anti nationals.

The comment didn't go very well with the Gorkhas and thus Pawan Khera had received a huge backlash on twitter over the issue. Following the incident, he had issued a tweet where he had apologised over his comment.

Mr. Khera has today issued a formal written apology in over the issue where he writes,
"Respected Gorkha Sisters and Brothers,

In the loud cacophony of the studio debate, there was a misunderstanding caused due to some words, definitely not caused for valiant Gorkhas, I regret that.

I apologize for any inadvertent misunderstanding caused to my Gorkha sisters and brothers.

I salute the sacrifice of Veer Shaheed Major Durga Malla, as the bravest example of what Gorkha Community has done for the motherland. They are patriotic and as Indians as the rest of us.

I salute your courage and patriotism."

 Where we believe that as humans we do make mistakes, we also believe that owning up our mistake is the first thing we can do to make things right. We appreciate Mr. Khera for admitting his mistake and coming up to apologize for the same. We believe that our Gorkha Brothers and sisters will forgive him, as we have always had hearts bigger anything else.

Via TheDC

Congress Leader Labels Gorkhas as “Separatists, Anti-Nationals, Traitors, anti-India

9:09 PM
SHAME: Congress Leader Pawan Khera Labels Gorkhas as “Separatists, Anti-Nationals, Traitors, anti-India” – GORKHAS DEMAND UNCONDITIONAL APOLOGY

In another instance of humiliation meted out to the Gorkhas, Pawan Khera senior Congress spokesperson and former Political Secretary to Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit clubbed Gorkhas with Khalistan Separatists and went on to label the Gorkhas as “separatist and anti-nationals.”

The offensive comment was made by Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera in NDTV debate program Left Right and Center.

Reacting to the BJP accusation of Congress joining hands with Popular Front of India, which has been deemed to be a militant and extremist organization, Congress leader Khera started to count the alliances that BJP had made, and counting his fingers claimed, “Bodo, Naga, Gorkha, pro-Khalistan elements, IPFT in Tripura – six states in which you have joined hands with separatists, anti-Nationals, traitors, anti-India.”

This slur on the Gorkha community was immediately condemned on Twitter, by @BiswadeepTamang who wrote, ” @Pawankhera how irresponsible of you to equate the entire #Gorkha community with Khalistanis and Naga rebels. You are totally ill informed by Jyoti Basu and his brigades on what #Gorkhas in India stands for. Educate yourself, before you speak rubbish. @Nidhi”

He also uploaded the following screenshot to inform the ill-informed Congress spokesperson.

” @Pawankhera Read what Congress and the former PM Rajiv Gandhi had then said on Gorkhaland. October 15, 1986 India Today https://bit.ly/2wumvqc”

Another Gorkha twitteratti Dinesh Sharma who tweets under the handle @OyeKeta wrote,

“Dear @INCIndia, please clarify what your official @PawanKhera means by calling #Gorkhaland #Bodoland #NagaIssue anti-national conspiracy. Your politics of #appeasement and #MongoloidPrejudices has pushed democratic movements in the #NorthEast to the brink of extremism #Apologize”

Taking strong exception to the lies spewed on national TV, one of the most followed Gorkha twitterattis @DipendraDipzo wrote a series of tweets, among which he asked Pawan Khera to apologize,

“Hello half-informed idiot @Pawankhera APOLOGIZE ASAP. Since when Demanding statehood within the UNION of INDIA became Anti India?? Hello, @INCIndia @RahulGandhi make this moron @pawankhera to APOLOGIZE ASAP. You are a traitor, not us. Idiot.”

The outrage felt by all Gorkhas on twitter, is gradually turning  into a gradual movement to ensure that no one throws Gorkha name to muck again, as this tweet by @VaniraKhati states,

“In a moment of absolute brain freeze @Pawankhera labels Gorkhas as anti nationals. He cannot get away by tampering with our reputation thus. #CongressMustApologizeToGorkhas”

Following the intesne pressure put forth by Gorkha twitterattis, @Pawankhera issued an apology, in which he clarified, “Highest regard for Gorkhas and their valour. The words were dedicated to the RSS/BJP for their double standards on electoral alliances.”

However, Gorkha twitterattis want Pawan Khera to issue an unconditional apology for slurring the name of our community. As this tweet by @GorkhaCheli explained,

“U drew parallel with anti nationals. Named us along with Separatists. Called us Traitors. FYI, there is dedicated regiment of Gorkhas protecting our nation at the borders and thats why you are able to raise your voice in Studios with comfort.”

Another leading Gorkha twitteratti @sudlimbu tweeted,

“On what ground this ill informed ignorant @Pawankhera labelled us separatists and antinationals? Is demanding a separate state under UNION OF INDIA antinational? We condemn his malicious statement maligning our repute and seek his Apology ASAP”

Another twitteratti @mamathaparoy1 added,

“These kind of lies are misleading, and makes ones blood boil. He doesn’t know what he’s saying. The right thing would be to apologise to the ever loyal Gorkha’s, who are sent, first in every war.”

The support for Gorkhas is coming from others as @MarkKumar3 writes,

“We support Gorkhas demand for their own state separate from West Bengal. This @Pawankhera won’t learn like this. Teach him some manners in Gorkha style”

Time for Pawan Khera to issue a proper apology.

http://thedarjeelingchronicle.com/shame-congress-leader-pawan-khera-labels-gorkahs-as-separatists-anti-nationals-traitors-anti-india-gorkhas-demand-unconditional-apology/

Distinguishing "Gorkhalis" And "Nepali" Immigrants

3:08 PM

In terms of migrants and immigrants, it is well acknowledged that due to the open border policy shared between India and Nepal, people from both the nations have emigrated from one nation to the other.

While immigration has continued freely post Independence, what majority of the people in India fail to realize is that prior to the British invading various parts of India, Nepalis were already living in across the length and breadth of India. Places like Darjeeling, parts of Sikkim, Kangra, and Garhwal were actually parts of Nepal until 1816 when these tracts of lands were handed over to the British. The land which were usurped by the British also contained a healthy population of Indigenous Nepali speaking population – today these people who did not cross the border, but for whom the borders crossed them back in 1816, are recognized as GORKHAS in the Indian context.

The term "Gorkha" is used in India to identify the Indian citizens of Nepali ethnicity including the indigenous Lepchas and Bhutias (in the Darjeeling and Sikkim context), from the citizens of Nepal who are referred to as "Nepalese."

Treaty Blues

Due to Indo- Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1950 (INFT) – the term "illegal immigrants" does not apply to people from Nepal entering India or Indian citizens entering Nepal. Every Indian citizen who moves to Nepal or every Nepali who moves to India does so legally and is protected by the INFT of 1950.

Article 6 and 7 of the INFT – 1950 state the following

Article 6: Each Government undertakes, in token of the neighborly friendship between India and Nepal, to give to the nationals of the other, in its territory, national treatment with regard to participation in industrial and economic development of such territory and to the grant of concessions and contracts, relating to such development. Article 7: The Governments of India and Nepal agree to grant, on a reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature.

Sadly it is these two clauses which were written to safeguard citizens from India and Nepal in each other's country, which creates misunderstanding and problem for Indian Gorkhas.

Most of the people across India naturally assume that all "Nepalis" are from Nepal, and start calling us "foreigners," "immigrants," and "outsiders" in various parts of India, and particularly so whenever we have demanded our rights to a separate state – Gorkhaland here in Darjeeling.

Via Hamro Manipur

पहाडमा रोहिङ्या अनि गोर्खा जाती

9:52 PM

थुलुङ भाई

अहिले घरी सामाजिक संजालहरुमा कतिथ रुपले रोहिङ्या मुसलमान पहाडँ(कालेबुङ) भित्र पसेको भिडियो चर्चाको बिषय बनेको छ।

यदि साच्चै नै ती सबै ब्यक्तिहरु रोहिङ्या मुसलमानहरु हुन भने यो समग्र पहाडँ अनि गोर्खा जातीको निम्ति मात्रै नभएर देशको सुरक्षा ब्यवस्था माथी नै हमला हो।के भिडियोमा देखिएको ब्यक्तिहरु भारतीय  मुसलमान हुन अथवा पहाडँ घुम्न आएका साधारण पर्यटकहरु मात्र हुन?कहाँ छन् उनीहरु अहिले? के गर्दैछन्?

पुलिस प्रशासन अनि गोर्खाल्यान्ड क्षेत्रीय प्रशासनका अधिकारीहरुले झट्ट यो बिषय माथी ध्यानसंग छानबिन गरि सत्यता के हो जनता सामु ल्याउन नितान्त आवश्यक छ।कारण यस्ता घटनाहरुले पहाडँमा फेरि अशान्ति शृजना गर्न सक्छ भन्न सकिन्दैन। गोर्खाल्याण्ड क्षेत्रीय प्रशासनको प्रवेस द्वार सुकुना देखि केही मिनेट टाडो सालबाढीमा पनि बिगत दिनहरु भन्दा धेरै संख्यामा अवैध बंगलादेशीहरुको प्रवेस भएको कुरा प्रकाशमा आएको छ अनि उनिहरुले हेर्दाहेर्दै एउटा नयाँ गाउँ नै बनाएको लेखक स्वयं लाई अनुभव छ।तब प्रश्न उठँछ यहा,के यस्ता घटनाहरु प्रशासनको जानकारी बिना घटन सक्छ?के राज्यको खुफिया विभागलाई यस बारे जानकारी हुदैन? प्रश्न गम्भीर छ।अनि त्यो भन्दा गम्भीर कुरो यस्ता कुराहरु प्रकासमा आएपनी प्रशासन किन मौन? राज्य सरकार होस अथवा केन्द्र सरकार दुवैले यो बिसयमा चासो न राखेको झै देखिन्छ।

केन्द्र सरकारको एक रिपोर्ट अनुसार पश्चिम् बंगालमा मात्रै २ करोड अवैध बंगलादेशीहरु बसोबास गर्छन्।
आसाम राज्य पनि अवैध बंगलादेशीहरुको समस्याले ग्रसित छ भने उडिस्सा पनि अछुतो छैन।सन १९७९ सालमा अल आसाम स्टुडेन्ट युनियनले अवैध बंगलादेशीको मुद्दा सरकार सम्मुख उठाएका थिए।तर सरकारले गम्भीरता पुर्वक लिएन,फलस्वरूप वर्तमान समयमा आएर केन्द्र सरकारलाई हस्ताक्षेप गर्न कर लाग्यो अनि असली भारतीय मुसलमान अनि अवैध बंगलादेशी छुट्टाउने प्रक्रिया आसाममा चलिरहेको छ।यी तीन राज्य मध्ये अवैध बंगलादेशीहरुको निम्ति पश्चिम् बंगाल राज्यमा प्रवेस गर्न सबैभन्दा सजिलो रहेको पनि बिगतका कतिपय भाइरल भिडियोहरु अनि घटनाहरुले स्पष्ट बुझाएको छ।

अन्तमा कालेबुङ शहर भित्र रोहिङ्या प्रवेश गरेको कतिथ घटनालाई कुनै राजनीतिकरण नगरी गम्भीरता पुर्वक छानबिन गरि सत्य कुरा उजागर गर्न अहिलेको परिवेशमा आवश्यक छ।

जय हिन्द जय गोर्खा

Aqui Thami's travelling library putting the spotlight on women’s books

1:19 PM

Meet Aqui Thami from Darjeeling, whose travelling library is putting the spotlight on women’s books

‘Sister Library’, founded by the artist and activist, is going to several cities and sparking conversations around the representation of women in literature.

Aqui Thami is an artist and activist from Darjeeling, currently based in Mumbai, who is known for work that brings together both of those worlds. She put up one hundred posters with the words, “A woman was harassed here,” or “You aren’t giving me a compliment. You’re giving me the creeps,” in places around Mumbai where she and people she knew had been harassed. She has been working in the Dharavi Art Room with the founder, Himanshu, since 2012 to provide women and children in the community with a place to express and heal themselves through art.

In Bombay Underground, they promote and publish zines – a low-cost artistic production that allows them to, in Thami’s words, “break the epistemological hierarchy.” One of her zines about periods featured women’s reflections and stories about menstruation. Her latest project is the Sister Library – a travelling library of one hundred books from Thami’s own book collection that focuses solely on women’s writing. The library will tour Mumbai, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Goa, and Cochin with accompanying talks and discussions. She spoke to Scroll.in about the role of libraries, the desire to share books and zines that took her a long time to find, and what a permanent collection of these works might look like. Excerpts from the interview:

I want to start by asking about your personal connection to libraries. Did you have access to libraries growing up? Can you tell us about a library experience that has been meaningful for you?

The project comes from an absence of spaces like these in my life. From longing to find books written by female authors at the roadside bookwallahs to fancier bookshops in the city – a variety of books, not just that token bestseller. Also, Sister Library is not a conventional library, it is an evolving and generative artwork that engages with the visual and reading culture of our times.

Underground Bookhouse (a bookshop-cum-library with books on art, culture and activism) was an experience like no other when it came to reading and writing. As an artist, activist and a scholar it was the only space that triangulated my interests. It was from this place of syncretism that I started to reflect on a possibility of a space just like that but one that celebrates women.

Is there a criteria besides female authorship for inclusion in the library? What would you say drives this curation?

It is a curated library of a hundred works by women writers, artists and zine makers. I have curated a mix of things that I really enjoyed. It came from a place of sharing. Having scouted numerous places in search of these works and knowing how difficult it is to procure them, I feel like it is only fair that I share them with everyone that thirsts for them like I did.

Is the role of a librarian a political one to you? You’re choosing to focus on women’s literature. When the size of the collection is still relatively small, every book or zine becomes a reading recommendation.

I wouldn’t call myself a librarian. Sadly, in our times libraries have become places of exclusion, not only in the sense of who might have access to these high walls and gates but also whose works are celebrated, cited and awarded as the most valid and credible.

Sister Library is more an act of reclaiming libraries – celebrating works that don’t find mention in the mainstream media and re-examining the idea of what a library could be. The fact that this project is an interactive work that will be travelling in all its DIY spirit and glory is a step towards redefining what a library could be.

At Sister Library, we will also be celebrating orality. Being an indigenous person, I feel a sense of restriction that writing has brought about amongst us. While we cannot ignore the importance of written text, I also look at it as a colonial legacy. Our libraries were our ancestors. Oral literatures were not just a cultural heritage but also a way of teaching language, rituals and knowledge.

I have over 1000 books in my collection but since it is a travelling library it limits me to a certain number. I have decided on 100.

The books featured on the project’s Instagram include a lot of non-fiction, graphic novels, zines, and poetry. Could you talk to us a little about why the library is drawn to those genres, what it gains from them?
It is curated mix of fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, zines and periodicals.

I am a zinester and have been drawn towards their straightforwardness. Content is the only thing that sells a zine. How nice the paper is, how great the print is are all secondary. Since these works are produced independently, they are so very refreshing, from their themes to deconstruction of language. Zines made by women talk about things that we never really get to read about anywhere else.

Non-fiction works of women are harder to find in my experience. Historical factuality from a woman’s perspective is not considered important, but to understand and reflect on where our world stands it is important that we read non-fiction. Reading nonfiction helps unlearn and deconstruct that internalised male gaze you know we all have after years of consuming male perspectives of everything.

And I do enjoy non-fiction as much as I enjoy fiction. But because women were historically denied epistemic validity when writing non-fiction, I was moved to reading more and more non-fiction which in turn enriched my work and life processes.

I can’t ignore the relationship between women’s movement and poetry. Poetry has been medicine to me at various points in my life. I wanted to share it with the visitors of Sister Library too.

The library is set to tour from the end of April to Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Goa, and Cochin with accompanying talks and discussions. Do you expect that the different personality of each of these places will affect how they interact with the library?
I cannot predict how each city will interact with the SL. I can only say that it will be constantly modified by its interaction with the people.

At the moment, the library draws from your personal book collection. If people are interested in the project and want to donate books written by women, how would they go about it?
All contributions are welcome. There have been zinesters sending their zines from all over the world, there have been authors wanting to send their books and there have been older feminists and activists who want to share books that drove them in the struggle that paved a way for us. It has been such a blessing.

At every venue, there will be a collection booth for interested people to drop their books. They could also ship books to this address in Mumbai: Art Room Foundation, Flat No 1, Shangri-La Apartments, Khandeshwari Mandir Marg, Mount Mary Steps, Bandra West, 400050.

The goal, I’ve heard you say in another interview, is to have a permanent collection if enough support and interest is generated by the tour. What would this permanent collection where people can borrow books look like?
I have dreamed of a feminist library, it’s true. It will be everything the travelling Sister Library is but in a permanent space. Open to people to come and read, as well as become members and borrow books. It will be a new place to see and understand the world – providing a unique experience to be immersed in works created by women exclusively thereby creating new narrative, providing the space to ask questions, and to look and to think about the answers. It obviously must be community-owned, volunteer-run and a safe space. It will all depend on how much funding I will be able to raise to make the permanent space happen, but ideally, it should be a big enough space for the books, zines and other publication as well as other activities such as story telling, reading circles, book clubs, and zine making. It should be accessible to people with disabilities. People can get in touch with me if they are interested in supporting Sister Library with money, space or books.

Source - Scroll.in

Shaurya Chakra to Lance Naik Deepak Ale

2:52 PM
GORKHA PRIDE: President presents  Shaurya Chakra to Lance Naik Deepak Ale

Honourable President of India Ram Nath Kovind presents Shaurya Chakra to Lance Naik Deepak Ale, 1st Battalion, 3rd Gorkha Rifles. He displayed courage, selfless devotion and gallantry beyond the call of duty in killing four militants in Kupwara, Jammu & Kashmir.

Watch the Video here.


Shakti Gurung favours "control" on the Indo-Nepal border

11:59 AM
Darjeeling: Lt General (retd) Shakti Gurung, who is heading the National Gorkhaland Committee (NGC), an apolitical think tank looking into issues of the Gorkha community, said on Sunday that they were in favour of some "control" and "regulation" on the Indo-Nepal border.

Gurung's comment comes at a time an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) appointed by the governments of Nepal and India are reviewing the India-Nepal Friendship Treaty 1950 that has provisions for free movement of India and Nepal citizens into each others territory.

Shakti Gurung NGC
Shakti Gurung (NGC)
 Asked about the NGC's stand on the open border, Gurung, said: "There is a general feeling among Indian Gorkhas that we get questioned because the borders are open. There are some reasons why the country (India) has kept the border open, we share similar culture, traditions, Nepal is a friendly neighbour, but we believe that the treaty should be reviewed in light of the identity (of Indian Gorkhas)."

The EPG was formed in 2016 and its mandate runs till June this year. EPG members from Nepal include former foreign minister, Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, former lawmaker Rajan Bhattarai and constitutional and legal experts Nilambar Acharya and Surya Nath Upadhyay.

The demand for the scrapping of Article VII of the treaty was first raised by GNLF leader Subash Ghisingh when he led the statehood agitation in 1986. The GNLF had wanted the clause to be scrapped as it felt the rights given to the citizens of Nepal - a country contiguous to Darjeeling - under this treaty were blurring the distinction between Nepalese citizen and Indian Gorkhas who speak the same language.

Gurung said on Sunday: "There should be some kind of control, regulation (at the border). This is a general feeling, talk to any Gorkha community member in India, whether from here or Uttarkhand, they all feel that an open border raises questions on their (Indian) identity."

The NGC clarified that none of its members would be encouraged to contest elections.

"We will also form regional committees but we will only take those people who are not attached with political parties," said Gurung.

Via Telegraph

where is my Home?

8:45 AM
Writes:  Binayak Sundas

There are those Nepalis in India who are from Nepal and hold Nepali citizenship and then there are others who live in India and hold Indian citizenship

In the last few decades there has been a steady rise in literature on experiences of people visiting those parts of their socio-cultural spaces separated by partition. Hence people discover that the land that they grew up thinking as the quintessential other and enemy was not after all so different. The people, that they always thought of as the evil incarnate could have easily been neighbors, friends or even family. Such is the complicated history of the subcontinent and the problems of the concept of the nation-state in the region.

A person from Kolkata may find that he has far more in common with someone from across the border in Dhaka than he has with someone from his own state in Darjeeling. Similarly, a person from Lahore may find that Amritsar is far closer to home than Quetta or Karachi. These dilemmas and complexities have led to a plethora of beautiful, yet melancholic stories that have captured the imaginations of readers and caused them to rethink certain aspects of nature of nationalism and renewed connections across the border.

The partition of Punjab and Bengal in 1947, a tragic event of Himalayan proportions, and its aftermath are very difficult to be compared with anywhere else. It was an incident that was a product of specific historical events that were unique to the region and yet one cannot help, but wonder if similar literature is possible to be written between Indian Nepalis and Nepal’s Nepalis.

I have over the years of my research come across many academic literatures that have tried to clearly make the difference of Indian Nepali from those in Nepal. They have suggested the use of terms such as Nepa-mulya and Bharatiya Nepali, but nothing seems to have quite captured the imagination of Indian Nepalis, as that of the “Gorkha” since nothing speaks of pride like a colonial imaginary construct, used to garner cheap military labor. The two kinds of Nepalis in India are those who are from Nepal but are in India to work and earn their livelihoods and hold Nepali citizenship and the other who have lived in India and hold Indian citizenship.

The common perception is that the accents in their Nepali are the main marker of difference. This is, of course, a mistake since Nepal does not have a unified accent, neither do Indian Nepalis.

During my stay in Delhi, I had the privilege of making a lot of friends from Nepal, the picture that they painted of Nepal and its socio-economic dynamics seemed to be very different from the one that I remembered from the tales of my mother or my brief visits to Dharan and more importantly from the socio cultural and economic scenario in Darjeeling, the hub of Indian Nepalis. The language too seemed different; Bahuns, Ranas and Shah friends spoke a form of Nepali, that they claimed was the equivalent of King’s English. They were mortified when they heard me speak in Nepali, some were out rightly offended, some laughed and one friend said I spoke like a Taba Keta (drug addict) from Thamel.

Tracing the root

On my father’s side, my family was from Dolakha. Once, as my grandfather narrated the story to me, one of my ancestors, a Damai, accidentally touched a Brahmin bride on her wedding day, which caused her to lose her caste and the marriage was called off. By the evening the entire village was gathering for traditional Jhar Katnu (hacking him to death). How else would the groom’s and bride’s family regain lost honor and the rest of the village salvage the entertainment denied to them?

Maybe someone informed them, my family left the village with whatever little belongings they had before the mob arrived.  Realizing that they could never go back home they made their way to the only refuge for the wretched of Nepal: Darjeeling, along with the Brahmin bride. This was a hundred years ago, during the same period the ancestors on my mother’s side were facing a different dilemma.

After the Gorkha state’s victory in Limbuwan hills, the state’s appropriating class were vigorously taking over Kipat (communal land holding) lands of Limbus and converting them to Jagirs (land grants given in lieu of salary). The Limbus rose in rebellion several times but failed. The only two way left for Limbus were: accept the Gorkha rule, new land revenue structure and a debt trapped life or leave the region altogether. My ancestors made way to Munglan (India) in search of the promised life.

The British at that point of time were perpetually caught in one conflict after other both in the western and eastern frontiers and were expanding Gurkha regiments to include the Rai and Limbus as well. This was a departure from the earlier policy of only hiring Magars, Gurungs, Thakuris and Khas. In the Gurkha regiment my ancestor was introduced to the brilliance of the martial race theory and how it manages to gain cheap military labor and can repeat it over generations. My family has served the British and Indian armies for the next hundred years.

I made my way across the River Mechi, but graves of my grandparents were on the other side of the border. I paid a visit to my great aunt and uncle’s graves on Nepal’s side of the Mechi River. Buried on the border, was perhaps a fitting metaphor for what I was to discover in the coming days. On a lighter note, it was a bit ironic that they were buried next to each other. In life they could never stop bickering.

Journey to Nepal

A few brief anxious moments circling Kathmandu and then we landed. My first steps in the city that I had read and written about but never visited. I looked around and saw what the Malla rulers must have seen, large hills surrounding the valley, like massive walls that could never be breached. A fortress that had stood the test of time, of course until Prithvinarayan Shah came. Prithvinarayan too saw the hills and he too realized they were walls, except they were not the walls of a fortress but that of a prison.

He imprisoned the Mallas within the valley until they did not even put up an effective fight, choosing to rely on faith than in a final battle as the Gorkha army walked into the city.  My introductions to the city were the taxi drivers and they were exactly like the ones back home. Their Nepali was exactly like mine, perhaps a bit more polite, which made me wonder where were those who spoke in “King’s Nepali.” I never had a problem with the language while my stay there. The only problem though was that the people in Katmandu and even in Pokhara for that matter spoke too softly and I realized that I must have sounded like I was screaming half the time.

The driver started to complain about administration and corruption. I felt at home again. The night of course belonged to Thamel, I had heard a lot about this place, but nothing prepared me for what I experienced. The Sarangi players made me realize how amateurish the ones in Darjeeling and Sikkim are. The people, the shops, the bars, they could trap anyone here for a long time. I walked around aimlessly until late at night and I made my way back reluctantly to my hotel.

The next day I made my way to the old city and this place felt alien. Don’t get me wrong I loved the place, the culture, the architecture and the people but none of it seemed familiar to me. It was beautiful but foreign to me, the Newari accent seemed curious and it was not one I had heard before, well at least in real life. The Newars in Darjeeling and Sikkim have long given up the language and no hint of this accent remains in their Nepali. The smell and the sight of this place seemed odd. I wondered if the first soldiers of the Gorkha army felt this unease and strangeness of this place.

Perhaps the strangeness of this place was what caused Prithvinarayan to lament about the simple life of home, where people drink from streams than this valley where water comes in cisterns. As I placed my hand on the old walls with the sun uncomfortably on my back, history was alive for me. The debates over socio-economic structures, class relations, the impact of new ruling class, modes of production etc were all forgotten and a different kind of history took its place—the one that had the thrill of living through it, of extending your hand through time to capture a moment gone by, a history of emotions so to speak.

I did not go to any of the palaces though. I watched all of them from across the road. A hundred years ago I would have been flogged for just being this near the royal palaces or any other palaces. I have been inside palaces elsewhere of course, but somehow the resentment here seemed very personal, anger with these Rajput status claiming rulers went back far too long back in history, I doubt if anyone else could even understand it.

The structures as magnificent as they were, just did not impress me, every brick of these palaces was wet with the tears of some indebted peasant who was forced to sell his children to pay the Sarkar and Sahukar. As I blew my smoke towards the palace I smiled to think of the fact that they no longer lived there, at last they would know the pain of leaving their homes behind. All that money, all that eulogies and all that false status, and son had killed fathers and brothers had killed brothers, in the end just dust in the vast expanse of history, like the rest of us.

My mother had lived in Pokhara for two years in her youth, back then when teachers from Darjeeling were in demand in Nepal. A visit to this town was mandatory, but nothing about this place seemed like the stories I had heard. As mesmerizing as the lakeside was it was easily eclipsed by the next place I visited, Mustang. You could write several books about this place and still could not do justice to this desolate beauty.

My mind could not help, but think of all the Newari traders and Tibetan scholars who might have passed through this place or places like this, what they must seem what fears they had and how this place looked to them. My heart also could not but think of all the soldiers of the Gorkha army as they first crossed to invade Tibet and how frostbitten defeated they retreated with the great Chinese general Fu’ Kwan hot on their heels, on his way to invade the Gorkha empire.

Muktinath temple deserves an article by itself, a great remnant of the syncretic traditions of the Himalayan region, perhaps a remnant of the Khas Empire itself. The place perfect for worship, it reminded me so much of the Mahakal Mandir in Darjeeling, thought it also made me lament thinking of the commercialization of the temple at home.

We are all Nepalis

In most places I was asked of my caste, though I don’t think it was so much of the apprehensions but mostly due to curiosity, my Limbu and Damai heritage has given an interesting face. The fun part was when I told them I was Damai, one shopkeeper laughed and when he realized I was serious he quickly diverted the topic, a security guard turned all shades of yellow and some went on  long monologues how caste didn’t matter in modern Nepal, which sort of proved to me that it did.

The one thing I realized was Darjeeling accent was not a unique accent and it was a mere extension of the eastern accent of Nepal with a bit of Janjati and a perhaps a little bit of Madhesi accent. We were not different at all. We are all a part of a larger socio cultural space. We are all Nepalis. As I made my way back across the border leaving behind a place where everyone spoke in my language, into a place where people spoke languages that I did not speak, I wondered where home was.

The author is a PhD researcher at Centre for Historical Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Via: My Republica
Author can be reached at: binayaksundas@gmail.com
 
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