Showing posts with label Guest Posts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guest Posts. Show all posts

Mothers and Her Gender: A Pledge to Renew

3:25 PM

Writes Animesh Rai

European Sociologist Robert Briffault in his three volume book “The Mothers” claims that in the early phase of human civilisation the institution of family was constituted by only a woman and her children. Human race was characterised by social promiscuity and marriage as an institution did not exist. The matured males were mostly engaged outside for hunting and collecting food. Many times, they had to spend weeks and months far away from their community. It was only when women consented their trust on men for security and socio-economic reasons that man was included into the household. It gave birth to a new institution called the family which was characterised by unity, love and harmony. Mothers have been credited for institutionalising this vital human social institution – the Family.

In modern times the notion of Mother has been used to symbolise other things as well.  Like we talk of the Mother Earth, Bharat Mata - Mother India, worship ‘Cow’ as a Mother, of late the conception has also penetrated and spread into the political structure of West Bengal. The political spells like  “liberating the captive Ama” – Mother in case of Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling hills and Trinamool’s ear splitting “Ma-Mati-Manush” for Paribortan – The “Mother-Earth-People” for Change, whatever the expressions are meant to represent it does contain the gracious term Mother. Unfortunately, the contemporary political conceptualisation of ‘Mother’ at times tends to shake the political fabric of our nation-state.
Mothers and Her Gender: A Pledge to Renew
Mother representational image
The terminology Mother is constantly being used in the modern society to mean many good things and condone bad equally. The linking of political vices and defaming the pure character of the birth giver has brought a pitiful shame and pain to her, whom Briffault had allusively referred to as the developers and designers of a family. Patriarchs and chauvinist males have already started to attack on the gender of the Mother – the Women, to whom the majority of mankind worships, admires and adores in our nation. The growth of hatred, exploitation, cases of female child molestations to abuses of various kinds on women is increasing in the nation and within the local circles as well. The painful Delhi rape case of December 2013 to the recent ruthless rape of a Gorkha girl in Assam, the saffron Member of the Parliament asking a young girl to unfasten her jeans zip in Uttar Pradesh along with heightening problems of women trafficking are all affirmative of the growing brutalities against women in our country and region.

If the number of such patriarchs and chauvinists are on rise, let us also not forget and underestimate the number and strength of that the worshippers and lovers of Mothers too. The civil society at large has the capacity and power to unify the intensity of guarding our Mothers and protecting our co-gender groups from those limited lousy crooks. These negative forces would be easily dismayed, defeated and disappear in the love spell of a Mother – for her pure and unconditional love is enormous to empower and equip us in defending her and her gender.

Coming to the empirical ground, the sex ratio of Darjeeling district is one of the best in the state and nation. According to the Census of 2011, it is 97 per cent that is 970 females per one thousand males. We may not be at par with the state of Kerala in terms of education, income and other indexes but we are bit higher than them in terms of sex ratio. It is a representation of an equal society and of course, a positive sign indicative of prosperity and harmony. Let us continue to embrace our Mothers and our female counterparts and help them live their life in equality and dignity. Let us continue to rejoice and accept our baby girls for she is natured to nurture– a new family in future and to bless it with the values of human morality. On this Mother’s Day, let us take a pledge to respect and support our Mothers and womanhood at large and thank them for showing the way forward for the society. – Thank You and A Very Happy Mother’s Day!


Animesh Rai ia a Research Student Sikkim University

Gorkhas So far...: No Land’s Wo/men in India (Part-III)

8:11 AM
Writes Tikendra Kumar Chhetry
Department of Peace and Conflict Studies
Sikkim University

"I believe slogans like Bharat ki barbaadi or Gorkhaland should be treated as an attack on the integrity of India. I can't say whether its sedition or not but its definitely an attack on India and steps should be taken to curb it."
-Chandra Kumar Bose, A Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader

“My blood and sweat smell the soil of this land. My body is painted of the soil of this land. I am born and shall die in this country. Assam is my motherland. I cannot leave this struggle which is for the freedom for crores of people like me in this country”.
-Chhabilal Upadhyaya,The First President of Indian National Congress Assam Provincial Committee

“Though I am overjoyed on the occasion of my country’s long awaited Independence, at the same time thinking about the future of the thirty lakh Gorkhas spread all over India makes me deeply concerned and worried”.
-Damber Singh Gurung, Leader of All India Gorkha League, 15th August, 1947

Second and third of the above placed statements were made by two ardent Gorkha freedom fighters of Indian freedom struggle in two different situations.  The second one was by Chhabilal Upadhyaya as mentioned above, the valorous freedom fighter from Assam and, one who is claimed to be the first president of Assam provincial congress committee. He was found making this statement while he was interrogated by colonial Police superintendent in relation to his (Chhabilal’s) efforts to organise a meeting to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s first ever Assam visit. Chabilal Upadhyaya had attended the meeting at Tezpur polo ground, Assam organized on occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s visit in August 1921 as a part of Non-Co-operation Movement. After the adjournment meeting, the district Police Superintendent (SP) of colonial administration took Upadhyaya to Hazarpar Park in his own (SP’s) car and made lucrative offers to him. Police officer said, “Do not oppose the Government. I will pay you Rs. 500/- per month, I will return your seized gun.” Upadhyaya boldly replied: “I am born in Assam and shall die in Assam, Assam is my motherland. I cannot leave the Congress”. At that juncture, Gandhi was resting in Parmananda Agrawalla’s house. When these words reached to Gandhi, he appreciated Upadhyaya in two valuable words- “Achchha Kiya”.
Chandra Kumar Bose - Gorkhaland an attack on the integrity of India
Chandra Kumar Bose - Gorkhaland an attack on the integrity of India
The third one, as mentioned, was by Damber Singh Gurung, the then leader of All India Gorkha League (AIGL). Gurung had made this statement while he was addressing the triumphant crowed on occasion of freedom of India on 15th August 1947.

Apart from above mentioned two different moments, Damber Singh Gurung and Chhabilal Upadhyaya led Gorkha community had a great contribution in keeping the then Assam which comprises considerably a large part of present northeast intact within present boundary of India. In the year of 1946, when at the threshold of moment of free sky, India was encountering oversized problem created by proposal of Cabinet Mission. On proposal of Cabinet Mission subscribing Jinnah’s ‘two nation theory’, the colonial government wanted to club up the then Assam with East Bengal (the then proposed east Pakistan and presently Bangladesh). To counter the proposal, some local congress leaders attempted to convince national leaders as well as tried to mobilize all sections of people in region against the move. Gorkhas stood by the side of whole community with all lovely attachment to region. The Assam Provincial committee of All India Gorkha League (AIGL) opposed the colonial plan. Damber Singh Gurung the central president of AIGL gave a written assurance in support of Congress. Gopinath Borodoloi sent two Congressmen, Vijoy Chandra Bhagawati and Mahendra Mohan Choudhury to meet Mahatma Gandhi to avoid Assam’s inclusion into East Pakistan. Gandhi replied, “Assam’s quietness would finish it. Only Assam can do what it wants”. Assam stood at a critical juncture. By the time, Chhabilal Upadhyaya, a Gorkha of the affected region was selected as the president of central body of the AIGL in its 4th central conference held at Tezpur of Assam in April, 1947. Under his leadership, the Gorkha League strictly denounced the inclusion of Assam into the Eastern part of proposed Pakistan that was being designed under Jinnah’s ‘two nation theory’. Chhabilal declared “Jinnah would not be allowed to decide the future of Assam. The AIGL opposes Jinnah’s plan of Pakistan and inclusion of Assam. And to avoid it, if necessary, thirty lakh Gorkha wrists with khukuris would be used to save our motherland India”.

The first one of above statements is by Chandra Kumar Bose, known to be the grand Nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) candidate who is probably contesting against present West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee during the upcoming Assembly election that is going to be held in five states in India including West Bengal.

The second statement portrays that how Gorkhas were committed for the freedom of the land being visionary for self and community while country of love was in the jog of freedom struggle. The third statement reveals that how a Gorkha leader, an ardent freedom fighter of country foresaw the possible status of the community that he belonged, on the very first day of the Independence of country. It is difficult to grasp that what were the circumstances those compelled Damber Singh Gurung to depict his frustration about future of a community that he belonged. Whatever might be the situation, Gurung’s forecast about the future of Gorkhas that he made at the first day of exultant free India slowly started to be proved. The first of the statements above ( which is very recent one) is one of the evidences that how contribution of Gorkhas in architecting India has been disregarded time and again causing misery, adversaries and on the top, no land’s people in own country.

 Aggravating situations against Gorkhas in free India started to undervalue the vision and sacrifice of leader like Chhabilal Upadhyaya. The members of community that freedom fighters like Chhabilal Upadhyaya and Damber Singh Gurung belonged gradually started to face the rejection and reduction in own country where lakhs of their ancestors sacrificed pouring sweat and blood to paint the colour of freedom. In this regards, so-called leaders like Chandra Kumar Bose, times and again, are deliberately creating situation for let Gorkhas’ be excluded and attacked in every sphere of state’s every day practices.

However, in a long list of the messiahs of divisive politics in India, Chandra Kumar Bose is not the only face but just a new face to provoke the some ill-minded citizenry to attack Gorkha community in India.

The initial defamation that came to Gorkhas was from none other than the first Deputy prime minister of country, Sardar Ballavbhai Patel on 14th December 1949. On question of Pandit Thakurdas regarding the creation of a province with Gorkha populace Darjeeling, Patel had made a very numb and insensible reply. Patel’s argument deemed his derogatory and suspicious perception on Gorkhas when he said that proposal to create Darjeeling as a province was harmful for the welfare and integrity of country but, he failed to explicate his argument in parliament and baselessly crushed the proposal.

The misdemeanor that Sardar Ballavbhai Patel made against Gorkhas was followed by the office of National language commission. Anand Singh Thapa, the chief editor of Jagrat Nepali, a magazine, and his two associates Bir Singh Bhandari and Narendrasingh Thapa had submitted a memorandum to Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first president of Indian republic demanding the constitutional recognition of Nepali language under Eight Schedule of the constitution in January 18, 1956. But, B. G. Kher, the then chief of National Language Commission of India had made a controversial remark against Nepali speakers.  B.G. Kher in his reply to memorandum of Anand Singh Thapa, Bir Singh Bhandari and Narendrashingh Thapa remarks that Nepali is a foreign language; hence it cannot be recognized as a language under the eight schedule of the constitution of country.

Even the some prime ministers of country had very discriminatory and indifferent attitude towards the bona-fide Gorkhas, the Nepali speaking citizens. In 1979, Morarji Desai, the then Prime Minister of India had placed ridiculous and irresponsible commentary backlashing Nepali as foreign language when a delegation of Akhil Bharatiya Nepali Bhasa Samiti was tabling a demand to include Nepali language under eighth schedule of Indian constitution. Morarji Desai responded discourteously stating that the Gorkhas can be thrown into the Indian Ocean when the said delegation was trying to draw his attention to the contribution of Gorkhas, the Nepali speakers in country, particularly in protecting country as crucial custodian of defense sector of country. Also Indira Gandhi had very vague and insensitive outlook over Gorkhas in country. Ms. Gandhi tried to ignore the issue that pertained to demand for inclusion of Nepali language in eighth schedule of constitution and she rhetorically stated “vehicle is moving forward’. It is difficult to decode the rhetoric phrase she used as reaction over the demand of Akhil Bharatiya Nepali Bhasa Samiti but, a common and laymen understanding can interpret it as reduction of the value of Gorkhas’ contribution in building this nation. During 80s of last century when the Gorkhaland Movement was on its peak the then ruling left front in West Bengal, using all tools, tried to brand the Gorkhaland movement an anti-national upsurge. Attempts were seen to provoke non-Gorkha people against Gorkhas in West Bengal labeling a constitutional demand of Gorkhaland as an anti-national insurgency or foreigners’ shakeup. With the motive to brutally crush a popular movement for a constitutional demand, the Left Front West Bengal government put pressure on Rajib Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India to consider the movement a threat to India. He did not give any heed to the staging of West Bengal government. However, the Prime Minister gutted his sympathy, while he also fall in Gorkha (Nepali speakers) slurring convoy while he lost the balance of his tongue and lips and made the ‘Nepalese of Darjeeling are foreigners, thus some political arrangement to be made’. Undeniably, despite the fact that his initial response towards Gorkhas was not concrete but it was somehow compassionate latter. Though he did not sort out any plan over the demand of Gorkhaland (the aspiration of all Gorkhas living across the country for the identity of their inclusiveness in India) yet his moral commiseration towards the issue of Gorkha community was someway reflective.

Sardar Ballavbhai Patel, B.G. Kher, Morarji Desai, Indira Gandhi and Jyoti Basu led Left Front West Bengal Government are only a few examples in a long cue who enjoyed and roasted their political bread glooming the glorious history of Indian freedom struggle while they excluded, demeaned and rejected derecognizing Gorkhas’ nationality in their own land. In the pace of time in Indian politics, leaders with insufficient knowledge of Indian history appeared and left in pages of past and, avatar of similar leaders in face like Chandra Kumar Bose is still occurrence to disregard the Indian history worsening the nationality status of Gorkhas. In relation to Chandra Kumar Bose, it may observably be added that in BJP too he is a next name after standing PM Narendra Modi and Rahul Sinha who are playing with the innocence of Gorkhas. In a mass gathering at Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency during Lok Sabha election 2014, PM Narendra Modi had assured that the issue of Gorkhas would be taken into consideration after BJP acquires parliamentary power. Gorkhas trusted him/his party throughout the country rightly starting from Darjeeling constituency. It is now two years of BJP’s power in parliament. Modi is not seen flipping back the page of his assurance to Gorkha. After few days of his assurance, the then president of West Bengal unit of BJP openly declared BJP’s disagreeable position on Gorkhaland. Rahul Sinha is beating the same anti-Gorkha aspiration drum still, and now, Chandra Kumar Bose projects constitutional demand of Gorkhas as threat to the country.

As mentioned here, these are only few names from a large cue of national leaders in India who disgustingly design/designed the tickets for minority Gorkha community in national political circle to roast their political breads defaming national history of India. Apart these mentioned figures, there is another large cue of journalists, film stars, columnists, civil servants, social workers local political leaders in various parts of country and so on, who glue/glued stickers of foreign nationality on the forehead of Gorkhas in India. These maturely immature bunches of people hoodwinking the rest mass of citizens in India while they talk/write/work in the fields academics on nationalism/constitutionalism, politics, journalism, film, performing arts, civil services, social services, games and sports and so on, in one hand and, glued/glue stickers of foreign nationality on the forehead of Gorkhas in India in other. For every conscious/concerned citizen of India these bunches of citizens are maturely immature because, talking/writing/working on these fields cannot be completed without placing the names of Gorkha ancestors like Durga Malla, Khadga Bahadur Bista, Dal Bahadur Giri, Indreni Thapa, Sabitri Thapa, Damber Singh Gurung, Ari Bahadur Gurung, Sitara Devi, Laxman Shrestha, Shasi Shekhar Jung Bahadur Rana, Chandra Singh Rawat, Bir Bahadur Gurung, Amar Bahadur Gurung, Upendra Singh Rawat, U B Thapa Shyam Thapa and so ahead… Some of readers might be curious to know these people are about. Definitely, contribution of these historical figures will be discussed in next number of this series.

There is a large list of Gorkha names pending in the history of India who had contributed firmly to prepare India to the present stand. Right now, before quieting the key board and cursor here, it is to add, some so-called Indian citizens like Chandra Kumar Bose, time and again make/made mockery of Indian history gluing stickers of foreign nationality on the forehead of Gorkhas in India. The glory of India is severely incomplete until Gorkhas contributions are mentioned.

Also Read
Gorkhas So far...: The No Land’s Wo/men in India (Part-I)

Game of Blame: Gorkha as Compared to “Aarka”

6:04 AM


Writes Anmol Mukhia

Why are Gorkha compared with “Aarka”? Many have compared Gorkha internationally with the brave soldiers of Germany for their superiority, while in India- Gorkha are compared with the X for its vulnerability. Sometimes this comparison with “Aarka” (‘Aarko’ or others words in Nepali) have psychologically weaken the Gorkha.
There has been a game of blame or comparison with “Aarka” in Gorkha’s life in different ways- comparison of Sikkim and Darjeeling for one being rich state and one district under the victimization of West Bengal government. Darjeeling hills parent blaming their own children by comparing with the sons and daughters of Bengali for their educational devotion. Various leaders proclaiming that I’ is the only right person; I can only do this… I… I… “I” has become the illusion of their hypocrisy. This game of blame has always leads to accusation of their own people, as you are the wrong person to do this or that. Thus, knowingly or unknowingly the game of definition by individuals/groups has played the crucial role in weakening the status quo of Gorkha. There is a need of reform for someone to rise up for this purpose. Example, organization such as GYASA, have played an important role in the past, in unifying the Gorkha in Delhi- whose aims and objectives are towards the philosophy of upliftment of the Gorkhas as identified. Instead of blame to “Aarka”- there is a need to live for “Aarka”. Because of the bounded rationality individual/groups think that they are rational; that is, they are goal oriented and adaptive, but because of human cognitive and emotional architecture, they sometimes fail, occasionally in important decisions. Therefore it is important to identify the proper information of what they are doing and with what they are dealing with.
Again the intension, action and each statement have to be a goal-oriented or problem-oriented. Not every time accusing the individual or groups will help in changing its position, which will sometimes lead to misperception- but the healthy criticism have to be problem-oriented. The teaching of no one is enemy but everyone is friends was taught by no leaders till the date in the slogan of politician political campaign. Gorkha cannot be taught with the lesson of deception to achieve its goal. The Gorkhali saying “Afu Bhalo Tah Jagat Bhalo” teaches Gorkha to deconstruct the “Kautilyan model” of Arthasastra, which is based on treachery and deception. Moreover if Kautilya model would have been successful, India would have been adopted in their state foreign policy as China did with the Sun Tzu “Art of War”.
Lesson can be learnt from China, as Chinese people do not criticise Chinese, which are sometimes seen from their Confucius culture of maintaining hierarchical order for growth and peace. This model has been used in their political life to personal life, which have also been psychologically supported each other in rising globally. China have used the term “Peaceful rise”, “Harmonious World”, “China Dream”, all for the psychological support for their people. So what does Gorkha need?
Psychological backup have played an important role in the history of histories. Every soldier is supported with psychological backup of State to win the War, students are supported by their parents/teachers to succeed their exams, and leaders are supported by the psychological backup of the followers to run the revolution. Similarly Gorkha needs the psychological back up from every well-wisher to achieve their goals. Histories have proved that during war women were raped, children were killed for the humiliation or psychological weakening the enemy states. Therefore psychological backup is vital to achieve goals. The seminar/conferences/programmes has to be goal oriented of what can be done in next five/ten years, with both short term and long term goals based not only with financial backup but also with psychological backup, which would be wrong to use interchangeably. Most importantly strategy and tactics (higher and lower politics) have to be clear with its vision. In addition political leaders have to use the slogan of Gorkha as brave instead of Gorkha was or being subjugation to “Aarka,” which will lead only towards emotional rise rather than rational. Successful politics are fought rationally rather than emotionally.

An Appeal: Manipuri Gorkhas - The orphan among the orphans

12:21 PM
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
George Orwell, Animal Farm (1945)

This statement by Goerge Orwell perhaps best reflects the status of Manipur Gorkha community in the current scenario. Having been abandoned by the state government and any hope of support from other indigenous communities, the ongoing ILP imbroglio and its impact on the community could perhaps be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. Despite having a history of 200 years in Manipur, the approximately 60,000 strong Gorkha community is today facing de-recognition and possible eviction from the state.
Independence Day Celebration in Manipur by Gorkhas
On recorded history, the Gokhas first arrived in Manipur during the time of Maharaja Gambhir Singh in 1824. As Manipur was much troubled by Burmese intruders and troops, the Maharaja raised an army in 1825 and recruited Gorkhas from Sylhet and named the militia as ‘Victoria Paltan’. Later when the British arrived, Gorkha settler were given grazing ground in the northern part of the state and the community was issued land ownership documents (pattas).

The community is settled for nearly 2 centuries and have lived in an area of 140 sq. miles till 1915. Besides the army settlers, there were the gwala (cowherd) or grazers community. There used to be times when an entire stretch of road named in Jiribam was named as Man BahadurLimbu’s Road. Today, after almost 2 centuries, our population is not even 1 lakh. We are still considered ‘outsiders’ or ‘foreigners’ and we have been relentlessly victimized and targeted by one political group or the other.

This is not the first instance of such uprising in Manipur. Between 1979-83, close to 40,000 native Gorkhalis were forced to leave Manipur and sadly the then government of Manipur and India did not take adequate measures to protect them from this forced expulsion. In fact, between 1977 and 1983 up to 100,000 Gorkhalis were forced to leave from various parts of North East which created widespread anguish and fear amongst Gorkhalis living across IndiaThe current demand of a separate state of Gorkhaland has its roots in such displacement and sense of abandonment by the government of India.

Reports of Gorkhas being subjected to various forms of humiliation and threat is something we have heard on a regular basis in the current ILP imbroglio in Manipur. The proposed ILP bill sets the cut-off date for identifying the population as per the census of 1951. Majority of the Gorkhapeople at that time lived in remote places people collecting census would not have even bothered to venture back in 1951.

What is even more disheartening is the stoic silence of our community leaders from across the country and their unwillingness to take notice of the helplessness. Today, we feel we are being treated as second class citizens even amongst the Gorkha community. The long silence of our leadership to take note of the situation and speak up for the downtrodden Gorkhas has made us run around like a headless chicken, not knowing which door to knock and whom to plead for our case.
Let me also remind you all that we are no less Gorkhas than any of you. Our history says that we have the 1st Gorkhali freedom fighter, SubedarNiranjanChhetri who defended Manipur under the revolutionary Manipuri hero JubrajTekendrajit Singh and was hanged by the British in 1891. His last words were, “my birthplace is my Motherland, I am ready to die for this land, and I am ready to kill for this land... but I am not ready to accept surrender and subjugation of my own land.” Till this date, his martyrdom is celebrated across the country by the Gorkha community.

We have alsorallied across the streets of Manipur during the Nepali BhashaAndolanproudly donning and singing the same chorus like our brethrens in Assam, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Meghalaya, Dehradun, Himachal, and everywhere else in the country. We did not bother to care when the bystanders jeered at us saying how can ‘foreigners’ demand for a language recognition. Bhasha Divas is today one of the biggest celebration and social gathering for Gorkhas in Manipur.

We still travel all the way from Manipur to Darjeeling or Delhi whenever there is a national solidarity for Gorkhaland or any other cause relating to the language or other social cause. Now and again, a few organizations come to Manipur during their membership drive and they leave after collecting the fees. We have donated for every Gorkha cause, be it for installing Saheed Durga Malla’s statue in the parliament, or to finance for any Gorkhasocial and political struggles, or for the landslide victims in Darjeeling. Yet, where did we go wrong, that no one is willing to speak for us today?

Throughout our history, we have been a victim of political manipulation by the crooked few. We once had a glorious past with representation in the legislative assembly and the panchayats. Those people who pretended to be our leadersand were elected, collected all our welfare money and secured their future outside the state. The moment there is even a sign of a problem, you will find them nowhere near but in the luxuries of their home far away from the trouble. What is left now is the ruins and shambles of the glorious past we had. We are still hanging onto it but are slowly losing our grip. This is a desperate cry for intervention and guidance by our leaders from every part of the country.
We thank and acknowledge leaders who are slowly rising up to our call and are standing with us. We need all of your support to ensure that the once respected and dignified culture of Gorkhas is not erased from the history.

It is Manipur today, it can be anywhere else tomorrow. This is the time which calls for us to rise beyond our narrow political agendas and regionalism, and stand in solidarity with our brothers in Manipur.

By: Dinesh Sharma
dineshcold@gmail.com

What's in a Name? I'm a proud Bahadur. Are you?

1:25 PM
Writes Dumi Rai

Last weekend I was invited to my friend Birthday party. He lives some miles away from me in the heart of Siliguri. The party was a show in itself. Bright and lively. People dressed rich flocked in and out. I checked myself in the mirror. Smelled myself fearing the worst. I then realize that sometime being with the best simply makes us self-conscious without any reason to be. I knew I needed to do something. But what? I don't move and sing like Michael Jackson. Or act like Amir Khan. Or even the ultimatum I can't even perform comedy like Kapil Sharma. So, I decided to do what suited the best for a 22 year man like me. Watch the crowd, specially the beautiful ladies. And this is one thing I knew I could do right.

What's in a Name? I'm a proud Bahadur. Are you?

It had been only sometime, when I sense someone watching me. I turned to see Aavnay standing next to me. So which one attracts you? He said looking at the crowd. That girl in the red top and the blue ... I paused. What was the thing even called? Skirt, he completed my incomplete sentence. I smiled.
“Drink?” He offered me one. “No”, I said. He then gulped the drink meant for me at one shot. “So have fun, I need to attend the guest.” Then he was gone. And I was back again to where I had left behind. The DJ playing really nice number and with the liquor flowing everywhere, the guests were indeed having a great time.

“I will drop you home. Let me at least do this,” Aavnay grunted. His eyes had that shade of red and he smelled alcohol. I smelled myself. I still smelled the cologne. The perfume did really worked as it claimed to in the ads. Except one sad lie, no girls came running to me. Not even one. But that's OK.  I can live with it.

As we were coming out of his building, I could see an old man opening the main gate. Maybe in his 50's. “Bahadur, Mein bahar jaa raha hu.” “Thik hain Saab,”  came the polite reply. I watch the silhouette until it faded in the dark.

“Bahadur,” I whispered to myself.

“Do you know what "Bahadur" literally mean?”

“It is a title. An honor conferred upon an individual.”

“And who has beautify this legendary title better than us.”

Among the Gorkhas, we are proud of this title which symbolizes bravery and courage. Believe it or not, but our ancestors had a "Bahadur" in between their names. Maybe some of us still do. We are one community who are regarded as very brave and equally loyal. The Gorkha regiment under the Indian Army speaks legends about us. Also the Gorkha soldiers serving in the other foreign countries have carved a name for themselves. Gallant acts of courage has made us a respectable community. And hence the title being conferred upon us.

But ironically, we are using the same title to humiliate our community, our brothers and ultimately the sacrifices of those brave souls who redeemed us. We are depriving them of their honor. And to add to the woes, if we were not enough, even other communities have chosen to share our stupid task of humiliating ourselves. For god's sake , stop using that name.

Call the watchman a watchman. Or the servant with his name. I say so because he didn't fight battles or is sacrificing himself for a greater cause. He isn't any brave soldier neither an honored freedom fighter. He is just a common man like us who's trying to survive. And I say that he is not worthy a contender for the title. If he was, so are we. Why not call yourself a Bhahadur? No. Why? Because that would be a mockery to your high profile. Ironically the very honor that appreciates us globally  is considered discreetly inappropriate for us. Why? We misused the title. We made it cheap like some fabricated gold ornaments that can be found for some twenty or thirty rupees in the markets stalls. They Shine brightly but are worthless.

And to great astonishment, you would find "Bahadur" who are not Gorkhas. Kudos to us, we have finally made "Bahadur" a successful brand name of which everyone are so fancy about. For instance, watch a movie and you will find the actor calling for a watchman Bahadur. Great, isn't it?

We were a poor community once. Our ancestors had been brought in this land as workers for the Tea plantations. We bowed our head low and folded our hand into a "Namaste" to every Britishers.  And when they left the country, we bowed to the rich Indians. But, now the time has changed and the coin has been flipped. We are no longer cow herds or servants. We are a proud community which boast of many great personalities and legends.

We are no longer that simpleton who don’t know how to read and write. We are no longer those Innocent mass who had never seen a computer all their life. We are no longer those unlucky few who are still a servant in someone's rich man house. We're the new face of change. We are the smart bureaucratic class who know how to read and write and even brag like the west. We no longer wear tattered clothes. We work in big international companies. We have a rich taste, wear rich clothes. Drive premium cars.  We no longer have to bow down to anyone anymore. We have transformed from a naive and poor community into respectable citizens.

We have respected people of our community expertise in every field. Be it arts, technology, medicines, science etc. Be it dancing or singing beautifully in the reality show that are aired in the television we have achieved it all. And we all love it absolutely.

But when would we love ourselves? Not the success or the riches that we have accumulated. But the true virtue of being who we are. When would we embrace our traditions and our culture? When would we quit impersonating being someone else and be completely honest with our Identity?

Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe the next spring.

But promise me, no matter whenever you decide to. Please begin by honoring the title "Bahadur".


I'm a proud Bahadur. Are you?


Via gyasa.org

"The Khukri Braves" Book Review by Anmol Mukhia

10:37 AM
Anmol Mukhia for IG

Book Review on Mani, Jyoti Thapa (2015), “The Khukri Braves: The illustrated history of Gorkhas”, Rupa Publication, New Delhi, Page 407.

The author (Jyoti Thapa Mani) has illustrated the book entitled “The Khukri Braves: The illustrated history of Gorkhas,” not only from the pictorial representation but also from the rich encyclopaedia of Gorkha histories. The book is divided into six parts with its sub chapters, each dealing with the Gorkha in association with his formation, struggle for unification and engagements in service, which makes unique in understanding the Gorkha community. The author says “But it must not be forgotten that the Gorkha name was earned by the sweat, blood and sacrifices of millions over centuries.” What makes this book unique in the relation to Gorkha is ‘double-b’ as pride, which I understood according to author, as the transformation of bravery to brand. Gorkha has become a brand as Trax Gurkha, Gurkha Cigar, Khukri Rum, and Khukri known all over the world.
Anmol Mukhia with Jyoti Thapa Mani
Anmol Mukhia with Jyoti Thapa Mani
Most important part of this book is the illustration of Gorkha from three phases. Firstly, the 19th Century shivetis Baba Gorakhnath whose influence are found from Gorkha district in Gorakhpur (Nepal) to Gorakpur in Uttar Pradesh (India) and the followers or the people living in the surrounding was known as Gorkhas. Secondly, mighty Shah Dynasty ruler Prithvi Narayan Shah was successful in unifying the Gorkha in 1742, where he himself claimed as the king of Magar before dying. During his rule, Gorkha also worship lord Bhairav and in 1785 king Prithvi Narayan Shah raised a company in his army called Bhairav Dal. However historian believe in the genealogy of Raiputs from Parmar Rajputs of Narsinghgarh state in Malwa and Chittore Rajasthan, and the Shah or Sahi were given the title of respect to the warrior. Thirdly, famous Gorkha army encountered by the British in 1815 with the birth of Nurseerree Battalions and the Sirmour Battalion drives them to fight for the foreign nation.

In relation to the Khukri Braves, the book has also justified the Gorka community in association with his Khukri, where majority of Gorkha worship Kali which is also known for Kal Yug. Again the Kal Yug is known for the end days where ‘the evil man kills the evil man’. Therefore the slogan started as Jai Mahakali! Ayo Ayo Gorkhali, which inspired the Gorkha soldiers in different fields as an inspiration during the various wars. Thus the Gorkhali with his khukri became associated with his pride.

However, the book also shows the misrepresentation of Durga Malla statue as the khukri soldiers with his horse, when the author shows the history of Malla as Gorkha intelligence. Also khukri was used for the foot soldiers and not the horse warriors. There are many errors in the Gorkha history with multiple gaps and the book The Khukri Braves are successful in linking the gaps with logical illustration. This book shows Gorkha association not only with the Hindu religion but also with Buddhism and Christians. The final impressive hypothetical assumption made by the author is the Buddha antique statue at the Nepal National Museum, where she shows the elongated ear lobes indicate that he had grown up in a culture which wore circular discs or tubes in the ear holes.

‘Janta’ and ‘Darjeeling’

10:38 PM
Vivek Ghatani           (In Second Opinion for Indian Gorkhas)

‘Janta’ meaning public is the focal point in defacto Gorkhaland. The other political moves can remain in the hindsight when leaders are in trouble. Or when leaders are in the midst of a rigorous agitation, it is wise to put the gun on ‘janta’ shoulder because courage needs big hearts. Sincerity though gets exposed.
Janta in Darjeeling
Janta in Darjeeling
The posters warning ‘arrest of Bimal Gurung could boil the hills’ signed by ‘janta’ reaffirms political inefficiency in the hills. There have been ample instances when leaders mostly from party in command in hills have shifted responsibility to the ‘janta’.

When there is an undeclared bandh, it is the ‘spontaneous’ public response. When you have to show your strength, a ‘janta curfew’ is enforced. When a clash occurs between two political parties, it is the ‘janta’ word that is used to defend a party or its supporters. A few days back similar poster in the name of ‘janta’ had surfaced in Mirik. The poster, under the banner of ‘Darjeeling Janta’, read “Subash Ghisingh must climb up to save the Hills and protect the people of Darjeeling.” The irony though, the Darjeeling MP also belongs to the ‘Janta’ party (read Bharatiya Janta Party).

Darjeeling has a decent understanding with the word ‘janta’. There is a famous ‘janta’ restaurant in the hill town. For visiting tourists, if you are looking for accommodation there is a ‘Janta Lodge’ at Chowk Bazar. ‘Just Dial’ – a local search engine in the net shows ‘Janta stores. A person from Darjeeling has created a profile in the name of ‘Janta Gorkha’ at Paisalive.com. The person is yet to be traced. So much so an online shoppe which attributes that their tea is ‘Darjeeling’ has its website named www.jantateecafe.com.

Understandably, the word ‘janta’ was used for business purpose in the hills until some years ago. Today paradoxically any move you want to make in politics of hills, the ‘janta’ word has become a handy tool. Perhaps, a best tool to get out from trouble of any kind. The expected turmoil in the days come may not have a direct link with the public as misdeeds are misdeeds. The ‘janta’ tool if used this time around can invariably have diversified effect. It may have worked in the past on numerous occasions but not anymore it seems.

When Leaders lack sincerity and acts confused

2:06 PM
Vivek Ghatani for Indian Gorkhas

The day when Gorkhas scattered in India hankered for a homeland must have surely been a hapless day. Because if it takes more than 100 years to achieve statehood – infact still agitating for a dream homeland --- then there is certainly lack of quality leadership and the leaders are either acting confused or muddled.
Subash Ghishing and Bimal Gurung when Leaders lack sincerity and acts confused
Subash Ghishing and Bimal Gurung when Leaders lack sincerity and acts confused
So when leaders are confused or muddled, they happen to be in a centre of hullabaloo somewhat like a clown in a circus adored and laughed at, ultimately forgotten after the show.  For a clown performing trick allows him to earn bread. Once he under-performs, you can read he is in the last day of his career.

The consequence therefore is crammed at one place prowling to find a way out but with no major triumph. Unfortunately, the Madan Tamang murder case is serving not just as good a trick for Calcutta but a curse for the Gorkhas scattered in India; leave alone the godly leadership which is no less than a clown.

In India where you get zero unless you ask for it, making even the slightest mistake can leave you deserted. The Gorkha homeland issue has got profuse slip-ups right from when the agitation began in the late eighties. The leaders, who were given charge by the mass, have no less been a clown in the circus. They earned and then perished leaving things where they were. In other words, they are short of tricks to woe people or their stock of tricks is on the verge of expiration.

When it comes to homeland issue in the hills of Darjeeling people are sober, leaders inopportunely jumble them. When they agitated in late eighties, they were forced to accept an autonomous body. When they agitated in 2007-2011, they were again forced a similar body as earlier.  The blame is not to be bestowed upon Delhi or Calcutta. It is only that the tricks are not working. The trick tactlessly is of paramount significance to a leader not for the spectators.


 
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