Showing posts with label Gorkhas of Uttarakhand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorkhas of Uttarakhand. Show all posts

Cabinet Expansion and Gorkhaland Statehood – An Insight

10:44 AM
By: Upendra
It has been close to 6 months since the General Elections and as can be adjudged from the Cabinet expansion we all witnessed today, the BJP government is starting to spread its wings. The Modi Cabinet as it stands today shows a healthy mix of youth, experience and political opportunism.
From the political hullaballoo what stood out the most for me was the complete absence of the “Old Guards” from any ministerial position. Sadly, for Darjeeling it means that the current MP Shri. S. S. Ahluwalia, who is in fact one of the 'old guards' like Shri. L. K. Advani and Shri. Murli Manohar Joshi, has been literally put out to the political pastures.
Cabinet Expansion and Gorkhaland Statehood – An Insight
Cabinet Expansion and Gorkhaland Statehood – An Insight
So what does this mean for Gorkhaland? Given the shakeup, where does our demand stand?
I will try my best to analyze this as succinctly and objectively as possible, but please note that this is my personal opinion and may not reflect the political realities 100%.
ACCESS TO POWER
Being a Minister means a lot. First it shows that the current leader - in this case PM Modi – has faith in you, and secondly it means you have more access to the Prime Minister than most other ordinary MPs would have.
In the political circles, access to power is everything. It is not who you are that matters, but who you have access to, at the national level, that is more relevant. To put it more bluntly, our MP by the virtue of him being a senior BJP functionary will still have access to the political elite in the country, but not as much as he would have had, had he been a Minister.
The main reason why SS Ahluwalia was overlooked is that he is seen as an ‘elderly statesman’ who is close to political retirement, and given that the focus of the Modi government is to build a team of relatively young stalwarts, the exclusion of Shri Ahluwalia from this phase of Cabinet expansion was expected. However, there is still an off chance that if the Modi government does seriously ponder over and decide to form the Plantation Ministry, then Shri Ahluwalia will be given charge of the office, given his Darjeeling connection.
Nonetheless, what is Centre's loss is Darjeeling's gain, the fact remains that SS Ahluwalia has spent a lifetime in politics, and that is where he is most useful to us. His experiences, his connections, his knowledge and skills will have to be used to the most, if we are to ever see our dream of Gorkhaland statehood being fulfilled.
For some reason, I get a feeling that the GJM has not been able to use our MP effectively, maybe they need to sit down with Hon’ble MP and give a re-thinking to the ‘right approach’ towards our statehood demand.
BENGAL CONNECTION
While the Darjeeling MP has been given a snub, the MP from Asansol ShriBabul Supriyo has been inducted into the newly updated Modi Cabinet. This is a very important development as far as Gorkhaland statehood is concerned.
The message is clear – BJP will now start to focus on Bengal with renewed vigour, and rightfully so, since the 2016 elections are round the corner, and they do not want to spook or antagonize the mainstream Bengali population, by seeing to be siding with those demanding ‘Gorkhaland.’
Sometime back, Bimal Gurung had released a statement saying that ‘Gorkhaland statehood will become a reality only after 2016,’ and he was speaking the truth, at least the partial truth – as far as BJP is concerned Gorkhaland is a ‘no go zone’ till the year 2016. If there will be any movement at all, in favour of Gorkhaland, it will happen only after the 2016 Bengal elections.
BJP is rising in Bengal and there is no denying that, today BJP has gone on to become the main opposition in Bengal and one of the more serious threats facing TMC hegemony than Congress or the Communists. Given this, there is less than ZERO chance that BJP will want to jeopardise their position by raking up the ‘Gorkhaland’ issue.
However, chances are that prior to 2016 elections itself, BJP may end up denying Gorkhaland statehood altogether, unless we ensure they do not do so. But for that to happen, we need to start our lobbying activities in earnest, not sit back or relax.
Indeed GJM has started the lobbying process and this past summer they started their networking seriously, by meeting Baba Ramdev who is a vocal supporter of Gorkhaland statehood [Details here:http://bit.ly/1pGIocO], and meeting top rung BJP leaders – from L K Advani to Ms. Sushma Swaraj. I am not sure if the GJM delegation got to raise the Gorkhaland demand with all of them at all, but I hope they did.
However, they are yet to meet the two most important leaders who can make or break our statehood demand – Shri. Amit Shah and Shri.Narendra Modi. It is well understood that meeting the two most important individuals in India is not an easy task, but today we have a Parliament full of Gorkhaland state sympathisers and if I was leading the movement that is where I would begin.
THOSE IN FAVOUR 
In 2013, when the Gorkhaland demand was at its peak, two BJP leaders had come out openly in our support and they even sat on Dharana with GJM cadres in Delhi, and I am glad to note that both of them are in very important positions – Foreign Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj and the newly appointed MoS Parliamentary Affairs Shri. Rajiv Prasad Rudy. Back in 2010, it was Mr. Rudy who had tabled a Private Member’s Bill on Gorkhaland in the Parliament. [Details here: http://bit.ly/1190RUq andhttp://bit.ly/1xz3YyQ]
Hon’ble Minister Rudy has not only been a vocal supporter of Gorkhaland statehood, he has in fact been a dedicated supporter of the Gorkha cause. Along with Hon’ble MP Shri SS Ahluwalia he can play one of the most important roles in the formation of Gorkhaland statehood. GJM will do well to send him a congratulatory note and establish connection with him as early as possible.
In addition to these two very important Ministers the newly appointed Defense Minister Shri. Manohar Parrikar is also a known Gorkhaland sympathiser. In fact back in July of this year when students from Saptashri Gyanpeeth, Kalimpong got an opportunity to meet him in Goa and invited him to visit Darjeeling and Kalimpong, he had responded, “"I will come to Darjeeling and Kalimpong when GORKHALAND will be a reality." [Details here: http://on.fb.me/1xp84eP]
Another important Minister who is sympathetic towards the Gorkhaland cause happens to be the newly elected Minister in Charge for the Department of North East Region Dr. Jitendra Singh a veteran BJP leader from Jammu.
Dr. Singh is also the Minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office and that is where from all the major decisions will originate. It is important and imperative for our so called politicians, people’s representatives, social workers, national and international level ‘intellectuals’ and anyone who is someone, to meet Dr. Singh and apprise him of the need for the formation of Gorkhaland as early as possible.
GORKHALAND and NATIONAL SECURITY
But the focus of the GJM, other Gorkhali politicians, ‘intellectuals,’ social figures and organizations have to be to impress upon three individuals Shri. Arun Jaitley, Shri. Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi on the need for the formation of Gorkhaland, not only to address our identity crisis but also from the National security point of view.
Indeed the Prime Minister is aware of our aspirations, and even recently he has said that demand for Gorkhaland cannot be swept under carpet [Details here: http://bit.ly/1uUdWhl]. Given this it is our responsibility to make him aware of the urgency for the need to form Gorkhaland.
Currently all of India is shocked and dismayed at the blatant support and protection accorded by the Bengal government to JeMB terrorists, and the fact that our ‘politicians’ and ‘intellectuals’ have not been able to highlight this fact and justify the need for the formation of Gorkhaland, shows how ‘intellectually’ bereft they are.
Supporting the PM’s call for a ‘Swachh Bharat’ is a brilliant move, but making the decision-makers in Delhi aware of the fact that Darjeeling is the gateway to North-East India is equally as important. We need to send out a clean and clear message that, while the Communists and TMC have traditionally allowed the ‘Vote Bank’ to settle in the border districts of Bengal, the state of Gorkhaland will ensure that no terrorists from Bangladesh or elsewhere will get free access and pass to the rest of India. If we can tell the rest of India this, that itself will make for a very powerful argument in favour of the Gorkhaland statehood.
IMMEDIATE NEED TO FORM UNION TERRITORY COMPRISING OF DARJEELING, TERAI and DOOARS
If nothing else, this is the perfect time to demand the inclusion of Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars in the North East Council, so that the region can, for the time being, be declared a Union Territory.
The fact that Bengal is the hotbed of terrorists and has effectively started to threaten the rest of NE India, Darjeeling plains (read Siliguri region), and the lower belts of Assam makes it important that the vitally important ‘chicken neck’ [Darjeeling belt] area which connects the rest of India to North-East is taken under direct control of the Centre instead of leaving it in the uncertain hands of Bengal.
Our ‘politicos’ may not be aware of the fact that the right leaning and nationalistic Bengalis are in favour of according a UT status for the Darjeeling region, as it will mean greater involvement of the Central government in the region.
Furthermore, a UT status for Darjeeling region for the time being will also pave way for Gorkhaland statehood in the coming days. Arunachal and Mizoram were UTs once, now they are full-fledged states and there is no reason why Gorkhaland cannot take the same path.
MEDIA MANAGEMENT 
All of us are swayed by the media, and nowhere was it more apparent than in the past General elections where the unprecedented media blitzkrieg by Team Modi saw BJP win absolute majority in the Parliament.
Their message was clear, their plan of action to achieve their goal was clearer, but the most important of all, the way they connected with the common people across the nation was something that we all could learn from.
Our ‘politicians’ will do well to ensure that the national level media is taken into confidence and encouraged to highlight our cause. Senior journalists like Prabhu Chawla have openly supported Gorkhaland statehood in the past [details: http://goo.gl/0oaVJf] and they can be persuaded to showcase and highlight various aspects of the Gorkhaland demand.
The GTA Chief Advisor Shri. Swaraj Thapa is a senior media personality himself, and should use his good office to good use in highlighting the Gorkha cause.
The days of dharna, protests, zindabaad-murdabaad etc may not have been over, but it is slowly and gradually coming to an end. Today social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp have become a very important platform for disseminating information, and making people aware of Gorkhaland issue.
When was the last time any Gorkhali leader tweeted in favour of Gorkhaland? Yes! Bimal Gurung does have a twitter presence, but his twitter feed, much like his Facebook page, is more concerned with reporting his day to day activities. The fact that the leading political party demanding Gorkhaland - GJM does not even have an official website or Facebook page shows how far behind we are in terms of using technology for our benefit.
The same is true for CPRM, ABGL, DDUDF [Yes, they too have a website which has not been updated since April 2014, and a FB page which like the GJM, only records their day to day activities].
If it was up to me, I would form a dedicated media group/cell – which can be comprised of volunteers or paid individuals who would highlight the Gorkhaland issue on a daily basis in various traditional media, social media and internet platforms.
I would make short features and documentaries highlighting important aspects of the Gorkhaland demand and the atrocities and discrimination meted out to us and distribute those for free across the campuses in India and upload the same in a dedicated 'Gorkhaland Channel' on Youtube.
I would invite media reporters, channels and news makers to all-expenses-paid trips to Darjeeling and the Dooars region and show them the way we are treated in Bengal. I would take them to the homes of tea garden workers and ordinary Darjeeling folks and how we have to make do on a ₹ 90 per day income, how our villages don’t have any water or electricity connection since Independence, how there is no avenue for income and employment generation for the locals and so on.
One of the most ardent supporter of Gorkhaland statehood in the Bengal media Shri. Jyotiprakash Khan recently suggested via TheDC that we organize a "mock referendum" on Gorkhaland like the way Jadavpur University students did recently, and I welcome the suggestion. Our politicians, political parties, NGOs, NGOs that are aspiring to be political parties, social workers and intellectuals should seriously make this happen.
I would in fact hire a PR firm to handle all the media initiatives in order to bring national attention and focus on Gorkhaland statehood.
If we are to be serious about Gorkhaland, all of us need to be serious about it and not just the politicians. If you are on twitter – at least take make sure to tweet one thing on Gorkhaland issue in a day. Anything… even simply writing “I want Gorkhaland” every day will ensure that when others search for Gorkhaland issue, they will see that the demand for Gorkhaland statehood is alive and kicking.
Same is true for your Facebook pages. If you read news relating to the Darjeeling region or Gorkhaland anywhere take time comment on it – reply, refute, reassure – do what you must, but make sure that you are writing something on Gorkhaland statehood. This way people will know that we are all passionate about Gorkhaland and not only when some politician calls for it.
You might wonder will it really matter – trust me, it does!
FINAL THOUGHTS
No matter what we do outside, what we need is unity at home. Instead of saying, you haven’t done this or done that it is time for all of us to come together and say “Let’s do this! Let’s make sure it gets done!” The Gorkhalis, Adivasis, Kamtapuris and Bengalis that are sympathetic to Gorkhaland cause need to work hand in hand to make our statehood dream a reality.
GJM being the leading political party has a moral responsibility to press for Gorkhaland statehood in a far more serious manner than they currently are.
Forming of a Gorkhaland Lobby Group comprising of Gorkhali MPs from Darjeeling, Assam, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, MLAs and Gorkhali and non-Gorkhali intellectuals sympathetic to Gorkhaland from across India to lobby for our statehood is of utmost importance and needs to be undertaken immediately. This group needs to be mandated to meet with all Central and regiongal leaders and lobby for the formation of Gorkhaland.
Given the BJP government with proven track record of supporting smaller states at the Centre and sympathetic Ministers at helm, if we are unable to achieve Gorkhaland then it will be a matter of great loss and shame for all of us, for we would have then let our future generations down.
Once again, I request the politicians, intellectuals, social leaders, critics, commentators and general public like you and I to come together in unison and speak out for Gorkhaland.
It is high time we asked ourselves – “If not now, when? If not us, who?”

Source: DC 

Gorkhas Facing Discrimination in Uttarakhand - GSS

11:57 AM
The Chairman of Other Backward Castes (OBC) Commission Ashok Verma discussed various issues with the office-bearers of the Gorkhali Sudhar Sabha (GSS) on Thursday. In the meeting the members of GSS shared the problems of discrimination faced by them in day to day life.
Gorkhas Facing Discrimination in Uttarakhand - GSS

The president of GSS Col BS Chettri (Rtd) informed Verma Gorkha community people living in Purola in Uttarkashi district  in Uttarakhand faced problems in getting official documents like domicile, caste certificates and ration cards.

Source: The Pioneer

GJM chief Bimal Gurung in Haridwar and Roorkee

12:17 AM
Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung addressed a public meeting at Haridwar largely attended by the Gorkha community of Haridwar and Roorkee to campaign for BJP. 

"The Gorkhas of Uttarakhand should be united so that their voices can be heard. The Gorkhas from Uttarakhand should be proud of their language and culture and steps must be taken to promote it to ensure brotherhood within the community." 

GJM chief Bimal Gurung public meeting in Haridwar and Roorkee
GJM public meeting in Haridwar and Roorkee
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha would organize linguistic and cultural camps for the young Gorkha generation this winter at Haridwar.

The Gorkhas of Uttarakhand should not only remember Sahid Durga Malla in words alone, if his legacy is to be taken forward then a new leadership has to be created in Uttarakhand, for this the Gorkhas will have to first unite to and bring the BJP into power.

The GJM will take up all the grievances of the Gorkha community of Uttarakhand including the issue of domicile and reservation with BJP central leadership once the BJP Government comes to power at the centre.

This is my fourth visit to Uttarakhand and the first time I came here, I met the then Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri B C Khanduri and taken the issue of OBC status for the Gorkhas of Uttarakhand.

The BJP is the only national party which has helped the cause of the Gorkhas so I appeal to all the Gorkhas living in Hardiwar, Roorkee and Dehradun to vote for the BJP so that we can make our dreams true after all Shri Narendra Modi has already said that " The dream of the Gorkhas is our dream". Gurung wrote in his Facebook fan page.

Source: Bimal Gurung Official

Gorkhas of Uttarakhand demand Linguistic Minority status

11:26 AM
A press conference was held between Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP), Zone IV, Uttarakhand and representatives of other Gorkha societies to demand Linguistic minority status to Gorkhali/Nepali Language in Uttarakhand on 22-03-2014 at Hindi Bhawan, Dehradun.

Copy of press release

Gorkhas of Uttarakhand demand Linguistic Minority status 2

 
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