Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Is this why Gorkhaland is not being granted?

9:05 AM
Writes: Jyoti Thapa Mani*

Gorkhaland is a huge question mark shaped cloud in the sky. The region never belonged to West Bengal. Yes. The demand for the Gorkha people’s recognition in the Darjeeling Hills is more than 100 years. Yes. The Nepali-speaking Indians need their distinct ethnic identity is India. Yes. So where is the problem? Why is the Government of India still pussyfooting over the issue? Bharat Rakshak, the official website of the Indian Army provided an interesting insight to the fears of the Indian Army drawing parallels between Khalistan and Gorkhaland movement. Jyoti Thapa Mani essays where the comparison on Sikhs and Gorkhas begins and ends.

Text begins:…/237-historical-overview.html
‘Today India is at the crossroads. In some spheres, we have creditable progress, but in many others there has been alarming deterioration and are facing mounting crisis. Divisive and secessionist forces have been increasingly asserting themselves. Various contradictions in our society not only persist but have accentuated. The Army cannot remain totally isolated from these developments. The Sikh problem had its repercussions in the mutiny of some Sikh soldiers. The Gorkhaland problem may have ramifications amongst the Gorkha soldiers, if proper care is not taken. The Sikhs and the Gorkhas have been our finest soldiers and their record of loyalty and gallantry should not be allowed to get tarnished.’

The above extract indicates that the Army is clearly concerned about protecting its highly reliable Gorkha soldiers from political influences. Now why would they have reason to worry unless history has indicated so? Years ago, British India acclaimed the Sikhs and Gorkhas as the two martial races in its vast multi-ethnic Indian army. Side by side the two fought major battles earning an almost equal number of Victoria Crosses. Let us look at their commonalities and differences.

Originating from the undivided pre-partition Punjab, the Sikhs were formed as the followers of the Sikh religion founded by Guru Nanak (1469-1538). They were roaming rival misls or tribal groups of which the renowned Maharaja Ranjeet Singh (1780-1839) belonged to the Sukercharia clan. Under him the Sikhs were bound as a powerful Confederacy of Punjab with boundaries touching the Khyber Pass and enclosing Kashmir, Ladakh and Peshawar.

Similarly, in the Himalayan region, the Gorkhas consisted of various tribal clans gathered by the conquests begun by Prithvi Narayan Shah (1730-1775), the ambitious warrior king of a small hill kingdom called Gorkha. Subsequently, his descendants formed the dynasty of the House of Gorkha under which evolved the Gorkha/Nepalese Confederacy of Nepal. Their army called the Gorkha Sena led fierce campaigns, which extended Nepal’s boundaries till the rivers Sutlej in the west and Teesta in the east. While Punjab became the most powerful empire in the northern plains and foothills, Nepal was the most powerful Himalayan kingdom. The Khalsa Sikhs and the Gorkha warriors were the most inimitable armies of their time forming military protectorate rules at remotest of places.

The battle cry of the Sikhs is ‘Bole Jo Sonihal, Sat Sri Akal’ and their traditional weapon is called the Kirpan. The battle cry of the Gorkhas is ‘Jai Mahakaali, Ayo Gorkhali’ and their traditional curved knife is called the Khukri. During this era, the growth of such armies bound by their religious oaths developed to counter result of series of invasions from the North-Western Islamic Provinces.

The association of the Sikhs and Gorkhas
In the early 1800s, the paths of the Sikhs and Gorkhas first clashed at Kangra (in today’s Himachal Pradesh) where they both had interests in acquiring the Kangra fort. The Sikhs won the round and the two settled to a pact of peace on either side of the Sutlej River as neighbours. Circa 1814, when the war clouds with the East India Company loomed on the horizon, the Gorkhas sought coalition with the Sikhs to face the impending battles. Gorkha Commander Bada Kazi Amar Singh Thapa believed that together they could rout out the British from North India. But secure under the 1809 Treaty with the British, Maharaja Ranjeet Singh declined to accept the Gorkha appeal. With no strong allies, the Gorkhas fought the Company’s forces with admirable spirit but finally had to bow down to signing the 1816 Treaty of Sugauli, by which they to cede 1/3rd of its territory comprising of today’s Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Southern Sikkim and tracts of the Tarai region. Despite the losses, Nepal retained her monarchical independence and never came under British colonial rule. Punjab did not share the same fortune.
Is this why Gorkhaland is not being granted?
The association of the Sikhs and Gorkhas
Soon after Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s demise in 1839, the Company’s forces attacked the bastions of the crumbling Sikh stronghold. The Sikhs lost their empire, the Kohinoor Diamond and crown prince Duleep Singh was also taken away to England. Both the British-Gurkha Battalions (called the Nusseeree Battalions) and two Sikh Battalions were raised before their respective wars were concluded. Thus began their service with the Company’s forces.

1857-the test of duty for Sikhs and Gorkhas
The 1857 Sepoy Mutiny was then attributed to Muslim rulers trying to reassert their weakening powers and the Marathas Hindu rulers seeking to regain theirs, leading to an united front against the British. The Sikhs and Gorkhas had no connection to these factors so were neutral to the causes of the mutiny. Overrun by rioting, looting, arson and violence; the need of the day was to first bring about law and order where the Gorkha and Sikh Battalions played major roles. However, in a stray incident, a battalion of the First Gorkha Rifles then called had also rebelled in 1857 from their headquarters at Jutogh near Shimla. This mutiny was quickly quelled at Kasauli. The British kept moving the Gorkha centres to faraway places where they would be away from political influences.
The Sikhs also had a personal agenda in the mutiny. Erstwhile Mughal emperors such as Aurangzeb, Shah Zahan and Muhammed Bin Tuqhlaq to name a few, had been hard-core radicals bent upon oppressing minority religious groups such as the Sikhs. Several Sikh Gurus had been killed in the process. The 9th Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded in 1675 under the orders of Emperor Aurangzeb at Gurdwara Sis-Ganj at Chandni Chowk, Delhi for refusing to convert to Islam. The Mutiny ended with banishment of the Mughal Emperor at Delhi, Bahadur Shah Zafar to Rangoon in Burma after found guilty of orchestrating the revolt. The Mughal rule of Hindustan sank away and India changed hands to the direct rule of the British Empire with headquarters moved from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911. Post 1857, the Sikh leaders had begun actively looking at their identity. The 1920s saw the rise of the Akali or Gurdwara Reform Movement and the introduction of the Sikh Gurdwara Bill, which placed all historical Indian Sikh shrines under the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

The INA battles- Cause vs Commitment for the Gorkhas and Sikhs:
By the 1940s the Indian Struggle for freedom was at this zenith. The Indian National Army (Azaad Hind Fauz)-a military alliance with the Japanese was established in 1942 to form an armed struggle against British rule in South-east Asia. The arenas of the then raging World War II provided opportunities for INA allies to influence the Prisoners Of War of the British Indian Army. It was a big shock when the entire 2/1 Gorkha Rifles captured on January 1942 in Malaya signed up with the INA. Most of them were Nepal-born. Two India-born Gorkhas, Durga Mall and Dal Bahadur Thapa were commissioned in the INA as Major and Captain. Later, captured by their parent Indian British Army, they were deemed ‘deserters’ and hung to death for treason in Delhi. Ex 2\1 GR’s Band-major Ram Singh Thakuri became INA’s bandmaster composing all the stirring Kaumi-Taraanas (patriotic songs). In terms of statistics, the major martial races who joined the INA were northerners the Pathans, Dogras, Baluchis and the Sikhs. Prominent leaders of the INA movement were Punjabis such as Giani Pritam Singh Dhillon, Prem Sahgal, Mohan Singh, Gurbaksh Singh Dhilllon and Shah Nawaz Khan. Of the INA Gorkha soldiers, three are still alive and living in Dharamshala, HP. They are Hoshiar Singh Thapa, Babbar Singh Burathoki and Charan Singh Thapa.

Gorkha civilian freedom fighters in the east
As of now, the Northern and eastern Gorkhalis are still trying to trace and gather names of their freedom fighters. The ones who have emerged on record so far are Sabitri Devi (Helen Lepcha), Gaga Tshering Dukpa, Dal Bahadur Giri, Mahabir Giri, Babu Damber Singh Gurung, Chabilal Upadhyaya, Bishnulal Upadhayay, Indreni Thapa, Dalbir Singh Lohar, Bhakta Bahadur Pradhan, Jungbir Sapkota, Krishna Bahadur Mukhia and Pushpa Kumar Ghising from Darjeeling Hills. Way back in 1891, Subedar Niranjan Chhetri from Manipur was hanged by the British as he led the Manipur king Tekendrajit Singh’s contingent of Nepali bodyguards.

The socio-economic settlement of the Gorkhas and political displacement of the Sikhs:
The Gorkhas and Sikhs are God-fearing, fearless, and hard working races whose traditional occupations are as farmers or soldiers. On a macro-scale, they are also known as Punjabis and Nepalis. The 19th-20th century saw major migration patterns emerging. The British colonies required rapid infrastructure building whether in India, Africa or the plantations of Malaya. Everyone was moving. Tamils and Gujeratis moved to Africa to build railroads. The western Nepalis moved into the ever-growing Gurkha army, and the easterners towards the Northeast to tea plantations, road constructions and mining. The concentration of Gorkha people developed around these occupational points. While the Gorkha movement was a natural socio-economic one, the Sikhs, Punjabi Hindus and Bengalis faced one of the worst political exodus in Indian history. In 1947, the Sikhs homesteads from Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Peshawar and allover the northwest was granted to Pakistan. They were now foreigners where what was once the citadel of their glorious empire. The border became the dreaded word for all.

New State for the Sikhs 
1947 was a very dark period for the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims as they moved in and out of India and Pakistan. It was a religious division where people lost their homes, belongings and families with anguish leading to severe violence, sorrow, anger and frustrations. During this time, the British-Gurkha soldiers stood guard to help the refugees, provide escort to safety and curb violence. Many refugees who survived and arrived safe still remember with gratitude the role of the Gurkhas. The process of creating a separate state for Muslims had began way back in 1889, the details of which will make this essay too lengthy, but resulted in the Muslim majority in Punjab given separate electorates and reservation of seats compared to none for the minority Sikhs. Baba Kharak Singh in 1929 publicly opined that no single community should be granted political hegemony in Punjab. In 1940, the Sikhs received a jolt when Mohammed Ali Jinnah called for a separate state for Muslims to be called Pakistan, carved out of Punjab. In August 1944 Master Tara Singh declared that the Sikhs were a nation. Two years later, the Shiromani Akali Dal passed a resolution for the creation of a separate Sikh state. In 1947, The Sikhs opted for India and the period saw years of losses and rehabilitation programmes. Bhutan and Nepal were declared independent states by the British and thus remained unaffected by the partition of the British India Empire. The partition saga continued till 1971 with the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan.

The 1960s demand by the Sikhs for a state based on their lingua franca unfortunately led to fresh communal frays as Hindus were targeted to be ousted from Punjab. Finally, the Punjab region was divided along the present area of Punjab for the Sikhs, and for the Hindu majority the states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and part of Rajasthan were segregated. Based on claims of Sikh discrimination and marginalization by the Congress party, Sikh politics began to get active again in the 1970s. The background to this was the Khalistan movement, which sought to create a separate country called Khalistan from within India. By the 1980s, the movement had become a militant one calling for counter-insurgency operations from the Indian Security Services. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared Emergency rule against a backdrop of escalating violence with prominent Sikh leaders such as Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale on the field. Finally, she had to call for Operation Blue Star, an armed attack on Amritsar. In June 1984, it was an ironical day when a Sikh General Kuldip Singh Brar led the Indian Army into the Golden Temple to flush out militants who were based inside. Sacred structures such as the Akhal Takht were damaged; innocent lives were lost but Bhindranwale and his men finally annihilated. The operation received worldwide criticism and hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs. Mutiny is the nightmare of any Army, and it happened. Revolts struck in the Sikh Regiments. Brigadier General R.S. Puri, the Commander of the Sikh Regimental Centre at Ramgarh, Bihar was killed by his angry troops. Two senior officers and some soldiers were also killed in the firing. There were also incidents of hijacking of buses and trucks. Another rebellion took place at Pune, where firing from Sikh soldiers in military vehicles resulted in the death of one person. About 5,000 Sikh soldiers are said to have rebelled.
In a stern reprimand, the then Chief of Staff of the Indian Army, General A.S. Vaidya said “Those who acted in a mutinous manner will be dealt with severely under the laws as enacted for the army”. He also stressed that “It was a matter of shame that some of you forgot the oath of allegiance you took to this country of ours and chose to get instigated by the enemies of the land, both internal and collectively did an act of disloyalty”.

1984-The Assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi
On the 31 October 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated. To the horror of everyone the deed was committed at her residence by two of her faithful Sikh bodyguards called Satwant Singh and Beant Singh. Shock turned to anger towards the Sikh community and over the following four days, thousands of Sikhs were killed as arson, violence and looting erupted on the streets of Delhi and outside. The issue simmered with Sikhs demanding justice for the victims of the anti-Sikh riots and the progress of Punjab.

The Demand for Gorkhaland State-Darjeeling unrest
The Nepali-speaking population in India had issues of their own. They desired ethno-linguistic rights and official recognition as Indians. Way back in 1907, during the British rule, the people of Darjeeling had demanded a separate administrative unit. In 1917, the Hillmans’ Association of Darjeeling submitted a memorandum (the first of many unheeded ones) to the governing bodies centred in Calcutta for a separate administrative unit for Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts. In 1947, memorandum was submitted to the Constituent assembly of India’s interim government demanding Gorkhasthan. The series of memorandums continued to successive Indian Prime Ministers demanding separation from Bengal. Post 1947, Prime Minister Morarji Desai considered of the Gorkhali people as ‘foreigners from Nepal’ reflecting undeserving ignorance and dismissal. The selfish attitude of the politicians hurt the sentiments of the Gorkhali people who decided to continue their fight for recognition nevertheless. By 1988, the issue gained momentum to blast into a violent agitation demanding the state of Gorkhaland. In 2007, a semi-autonomous body called the Darjeeling Hill Council was granted for certain areas in the Darjeeling district. In 2011, the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration also a semi-autonomous body was granted replacing the DGHC, but no statehood.

On April 7, 2014, the Bhartiya Janata Party mentioned in its manifesto that the party will “sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long-pending demands of the Gorkhas”. However, the uploaded version on their website does not mention this. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Party has been always on the job of reminding the BJP this promise, which seems to do the disappearing act now and then. The promise of delivering Gorkhaland was never inked and has remained a matter of verbal assurance now almost becoming hearsay. To address the issue point-blank does the Government of India fear another Khalistan in the Darjeeling Hills? Will the loyalty of Gorkha troops remain unaffected as long as there is no state of identity granted especially in the delicate Chicken’s neck corridor of India?

Different nerve points for Gorkhas and Sikhs
The Sikhs are extremely sensitive to their religion. It is believed that what upset Satwant Singh and Beant Singh and the Sikh Mutiny was the attack on the Sikh holy shrine of the Akal Takht under the orders of Mrs Gandhi. The Sikhs also said that they were hurt by the alleged reports of innocent women and children killed in the operation. The Sikh sensitivity is a result of his history. The Gorkha history is different. What hurts Indian Gorkhas most is to be considered as ‘foreigners’, when as a race they have shed their blood for India time and again? The Gorkha issue is about being recognised in his homeland India. This is where their similarity with the Sikhs ends and therein, rests the answer to the fears of the army.

*Ms. Jyoti Thapa Mani is the author of Illustrated History of the 1st Gorkha Rifles (1815-2008), and The Khukri Braves.

Via TheDC


4:58 PM
There is occasional controversy regarding the term ‘Gorkha’ or ‘Gurkha’ or ‘Goorkha’. We are mostly dependent on the definition assigned by British authors. The Britishers being the holder of colonial power, always interpreted or wrote the history in their favour. An example of mis-representation is Second Anglo-Maratha war of 1720-1740, in which Chhatrapati Shau Peshwa conquered Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajputana and Haryana area, but Wellesley’s account of “battle of Assaye” claimed British victory. Whereas, Indian archives, Peshwa History and memoirs of Patwardhan generals bring out the facts that Marathas inflicted heavy casualties on British forces and Marathas were the victorious. Notwithstanding the historical misrepresentation  by the Britishers, one has to depend on British historians/authors .

Eden Vanisttrat defines term Gorkha (Goorkha or Gurkha) “a generic name for all the Nepalese employed in Indian Army, though strictly speaking the name should apply to those who came from regions around the district of Gorkha about fifty miles West of Kathmandu” (Notes on Goorkhas, Calcutta, 1890, page 10). Further, he mentioned in his book – “The Goorkhas” (Classical Publishers & Distributor, A/91/2, Naraina, Phase-1, New Delhi 110028), that the district of Goorkha is situated in the North-West portion of the basin of Gandak, occupying the country between the Trisulganga and Sweti Gandak. The chief town is called Goorkha and is 55 miles of West of Kathmandu. This town and eventually the district is said to have obtained its name from a very famous Saint called Gorakhnath (11th Century) who resided in a cave, which still exists in the hills in which city of Gorkha is built. Gorakhpur  and Gorkhath temples in India further lend  testimony to the term of Gorkha to a particular class or clan, who resided in or around the city of Gorkha, and extended their conquest far and wide over the eastern and western hills. Baba Gorakhnath was their spiritual guide. Prithvi Narain Shah (or Sahi) 1742 – is considered first powerful king of Gorkha and founder of the Gorkha dynasty. In March 1792 Lord Cornwallis entered into commercial treaty with the Gorkhas. In 1793 the Gorkhas conquered Kumaon (Uttarakhand) and their exploit in Western and Northern India started. Azad Hussain “British India’s Relation with the Kingdom of Nepal 1857-1947, George Alen and Unwin Ltd., London 1870, page 234” wrote that “the term Gorkha is applied to the majority of inhabitants of Nepal, but strictly  speaking it belongs to those races who formed part of old kingdom of Gurkha, a comparatively small part of the Kingdom.” The oxford Encyclopedia Dictionary defines the term “Gurkhas” as “one of military people of Hindu descent and Sanskritik speech, who settled in province of Gurkha, Nepal, in the 18th century and made themselves supreme member of one of the Gorkha regiments of the British Army”.
Gorkha Rifles khukuri dance
Gorkha Rifles khukuri dance
In independent India, the word “Gurkha” was changed to “Gorkha” and it was adopted so in Indian Army in Feb. 1949 (Reference History of 5th Gorkha Rifles, Chapter 12, Page 102), while changing the designation of King Commissioned Indian Officer and Viceroy Commissioned Officer to Indian Commissioned Officer and Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) respectively.

Tracing back the history and origin of Gorkhas in India, through North-East, in brief, it dates back to many centuries. Shri B.A. Das in his book, “The Sikkim Sagar” traced the Gorkha (Lepeha) history to the year 1641. The Nagaland-Nepalese is traced to 1635 A.D. One Gorkha ‘Rai’-boy was found in a jungle near Chiechama village in Nagaland and was married to a beautiful girl of Angami class. The descendant of Rai is called Metha Trophies i.e. Non-Angami Mehtama class. Till today one of the children in the Angami class is named as “RAYI”. These facts were narrated by one Mr. Hari Prasad Gorkha Rai of Chanmari, Kohima, Nagaland and the old land-record also bear its testimony. I shall not dwell much on north-east states, since my talk is restricted to “Paschimanchal”, i.e. Gorkha dwellers in State of J&K, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Gorkhas settled in J&K in 18th Century and majority of them were those soldiers and families who had fought war alongwith Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, a great warrior, who fought many wars till his death. Gulab Singh a land-lord of Jammu was his Commander-in-Chief. After the defeat of Sikhs in their march to J&K after Afgan-war, Gulab Singh purchased Kashmir valley for Rs. 36 lakhs and became Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir. It was Maharaja Ranbir Signh, the ruler after Gulab Singh, who organized the Army in J&K and enlisted Gorkhas. Notable amongst them were Brigadier (General Staff) Bhagat Bir Thapa, his son Brigadier Bhagwan Singh Thapa and General Khadak Bahadur of Nepal Army who migrated to J&K and was rewarded with a post of General Officer.  Major Badri Nar Singh showed outstanding valour in battle of Chitral (Now in Pak Occupied Kashmir POK) and was awarded IOM. Gorkha troops also fought shoulder to shoulder, with Dogra troops in conquest of Chitral, Hunza, Nagar & Haveli  (Now in POK). A familiar story  is recalled in J&K of a brave Gorkha woman who swam Indus River and informed the headquarters of presence and concentration of a large force of enemy. The timely re-informcement of the troops saved the situation. She was nick-named as “Bhutni’ (devil) because of her dare-devil courage to cross Indus river at night.

Gorkha of J&K took part in Great War (1914-18) and excelled in the battle of “Beho-Beho” and “Kilmanjoo” in East Africa. Colonel (Later General) Durga Singh received gallantry award and Jagir with the honour of “Sardar Bahadur”, OBE, IOM for the bravery and extra-ordinary courage against German troops.

Gorkhas of J&K faced worst kind of communal violence in 1947-48. At that point of time, Gorkha regiments of J&K had mixed troops, and class-composition largely comprising of Mirpuri Muslims and Dogra troops. The communal frenzy and prevailing situation in 1947 made them enemies over-night. Those misguided elements (muslim troops) who joined Pakistani troops alongwith their arms and ammunition, trained their guns on Gorkha troops and completely wiped them out. Capt. Prem Singh Bist was brutally murdered at “Ban Bridge” (now in the commercial route open for trade with Pakistan) and another officer Major Ram Saran Karki was also killed while escorting Hindu refugees from Mirpur (POK). There were hardly any Gorkha  survivor to tell their tales of woes and valour. During J&K OPs, 1947-48 at another front Gilgit-Sakardo, through Zozila pass , Brig. (then Major) Sher Jang Thapa fought bravely for  six  months with his troops seiged inside at Sakardu Fort (POK) and was awarded gallantry award of Mahavir Chakra (MVC). In 1962, Indo-China War one Havildar Sire Thapa put up a brave fight with his machine gun at Rio-Bridge (Subansari Division) and met a heroic-death. The Chinese troop burried his body on the spot and left a written note appreciating his courage and fighting qualities.

The bravery of Gorkhas were sung by street singers of Kashmir and the old Cantonment (Now J&K Police Lines and Head quarters) was named as Magar-Mall Bagh (presently the army Cantonment has been shifted to Badami-Bagh). The Gorkha- Nagar in Jammu also came into existence on the bank of River Tawi in the early fifties. The Gorkhas have to toil hard and clear the dense forest to turn the entire area to a small township (Gorkha Nagar), a small identity symbol for Gorkhas in J&K. The list of first allottees of land by Govt of J&K is annexed for the convenience of readers
The Gorkhas though have made supreme sacrifices towards integrity of India and safety of J&K, but their miseries have increased mani-folds. They are economically, socially and educationally backward. They face a great problem of getting permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) or State-subject Certificate of J&K, without which, Gorkha young boys and girls cannot get any good job or admission in educational institutes. They are kept away from the main-stream.  No politician or any mainstream political party or administration care about them. Their population is about 10-15 thousand, spread over entire j&K, ncluding  Kashmir Valley. J&K Govt. should take immediate step to grant them PRC because most of the families who have not been able to purchase land or house due to their poor economic condition are considered foreigners/non-state-subject. where shall they go? Bhartiya Gorkha Parisangh has an important role to play to ameliorate their sufferings. This perspective was narrated to me by Lt  Col  Kaloo Singh Kanwar, an Ex-officer of J&K Rfles (86 years old), presently residing at Dehradun (1, Bakralwala, Dehrdun).

I wish to club these two states because the majority of Gorkhas, who are presently living in HP, till recently, was a part of Punjab. One of the oldest associations of Gorkhas in Dharamshala (HP) was “Himachal Punjab Gorkha Association” whcih was established  on 29th October, 1916. Its first President was Madho Singh Rana  (Magan Pathik – Hamro Sanstha Pachachattri Barsa, Himachal Punjab Gorkha Association , page 11). The settlement of Gorkha in HP has a long history of nearly two hundred years. In this context, Shri Sat Mahajan, ex-minister of HP & MP of Lok Sabha, wrote: “the first regular settlement of in Dharmasala is known to have taken place sometime between 1879 and 1882, when the pensioners lines, some area in pine groves known as ‘Chilghari’ was earmarked for the poor pensioners. ……” (Bindu – quarterly magazine 1987, Page-17, article “Gorkhas : Personification of courage” by Sat Mahajan.)

About the earliest settlement, Grokhas settled near Village Sahura in Kangra during seige of Kangra Fort (1805-1809). In this context Shri Khushwant Singh wrote in the “History of Sikhs, Vol. 1, Oxford University Pres  – 1987, at Page 1”, that Sansar Chand Katoch, ruler of Kangra had approached Maharaja Ranjit singh for help against Gorkha invasion. Ranjit Singh had no love for Sansar Chand, but feared Gorkhas, as a potential threat to Punjab, if they succeeded in taking Kangra Fort (20-24 Aug. 1809). General Amar Singh  Thapa had also approached Ranjit Singh  but the later spurned his request. Gorkha troops suffered from epidemic of cholera and could not face for long the might of Sikh troops. Gorkhas  retired to Mandi (HP) swearing vengeance on Ranjit Singh and freed King of Mandi from the archaic rule of Sansar Chand Katoch. Later on, in the famous battle at Malaun Fort (14, 15, & 16 April, 1815),  under the brave commander  Bhakti Thapa (70 years old warrior), the Gorkhas inflicted heavy casualty on British Forces but succumbed to the superior weapon and artillery power of British Forces. The Gorkhas surrendered on 15th May, 1815. By then,  treaty of Saguali, between Nepal and East Indian Company was in offing . Thereafter, on 24th April, first NUSSEREE (Friendship) battalion was raised at Sabathu (hp) by the Britisher and enlisted the brave Gorkha soldiers of Gen. Amar Singh Thapa, which later on became 1st Gorkha Riffles. General (Kazi) Amar Singh was considered crownless King of States (History of Sikhas by Khushwant Singh). The Gorkhas fought with British Forces at Nahan, Subathu, Maulan, Taraarh, Nalagarh, Kangra & Jatok.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh suffered reverses in his expedition to west Kashmir from Afgans in the middle July 1814, and lost his brave Commander Main Ghausa and Afghan army pushed out Ranjit Singh forces from hills. This unsuccessful campaign compelled Ranjit Singh to recruit Gorkhas in Khalsa Army because he knew that Gorkhas are excellent in hill – warfare. Gorkhas who went to Lahore for recruitment, since then has been termed Lahure (who goes to Lahore) by the Gorkhas. However, during Anglo-Sikh war 1846, the British Gorkhas faced a battalion or two of the Grokhas in the Khalsa Army. This reinforces the peculiar characteristic of Gorkhas that they serve their master and motherland faithfully, irrespective of their temporary affiliation. In March 1823, in battle of Namshera, the renowed Sikh General Phula Singh and Gorkha Commander Bal Bhadra Thapa died (History of Sikhs by Khushwant Singh).

Himachal Pradesh is very rich in Gorkha heritage, culture and custom and has many places named after Gorkha vocabulary – such as Chanmari, Cheelghari, etc. HP has unique privilege of associating with, Martyrs Durga Mall & Dal Bahadur Thapa of INA, Musician Ram Singh Thakur, Singer Mitter Sain & Master Dalip Singh (Harmonium accompaniment of Mitter Sain hailing from Joginder-Nagar). Gorkhas who had settled in the areas around Maulan fort consists the forefathers of one of the prominent families of Arjun Singh Bist, who was a former legislature from Nalagarh.
Gorkhas of Himachal Pradesh have merged well with the customs, dialect and culture of Himachal Pradesh, without loosing their own distinct mother-tongue, culture and identity. Govt of HP has created Gorkha Kalyan Board, to help the Gorkhas economically, socially and educationally. But they also live in shadow of doubt of being labelled foreigners and equally desire for a home-land for Gorkhas in the map of India, to end the identity crisis.
Dharamsala and Bakloh were home station of 1st Gorkha Rifles and 4th Gorkha Rifles till recently. Gorkha population is predominant in these two pockets of Himachal Pradesh.

India has a common border of about 1750 Km. with Nepal, and 20 percent of it adjoins the State of Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand is considered a natural home of Gorkha due to its geographical location, “Dev-Bhumi” for Hindus, commonality of Hindu culture, old temples and historical monuments, and above all the dwelling of about 10 lakhs Gorkhas, spread over in 13 districts of Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand is linguistically and culturally divided into two mandal; Garhwal and Kumaon mandal.
Gorkha influence in this region can be traced back to 1119 AD, when a Raja from Mall Dynasty of Nepal erected a ‘TRIHUL’ at Rudranath- Shiv Mandir at Gopeshwar, Chamoli (Uttarakhand), the mention of which has been made in the broucher of National monuments, published by Archaeological Survey of India, Dehradun – 2008 at page 6.

The history of Gorkhas settlement in Uttarakhand goes as back as to two hundred years. The district of Kumaon went to the hands of Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa in the year 1790. A fort “Bhauali-ki-Garh” exists at Pithoragarh even today, with inscription of its construction during 1790., Govt of Uttarakhand at the request of Gorkhas through the efforts of a political party, Gorkha  Democratic Front, has indicated it to be a protected monument alongwith Khalanga site, where Anglo-Gorkha war took place in the year 1814. At Khalanga battle-site, a Gorkha war Memorial (45 feet high’satup’) is being constructed by Govt of Uttarakhand. The site is  expected to draw tourists from all-over the country and abroad, besides its historical importance. The inauguration of Gorkha War Memorial is being planned at a large scale in the near future after completion of the works.
Gorkhas fought with British Forces at three places/forts : (1) Khalanga (2) Almora (3) Khurbura (Dehradun) in Uttarakhand.

All India Gorkha league under the Presidentship of Thakur Chandan Singh of Dehradun, was formed at Dehradun on 15 Feb. 1924.

The important sites are : Gangotri Shiv Temple (constructed by General Amar Singh Thapa), Gopeshwar Shiv Temple, Datkali Mandir (Tamar – Pattar awarded by Commander Bal Bhadra Thapa), Jhandaji Darbar Sahib (Tamar – Pattar awarded by Commander Bal Bhandra Thapa), Ghuchukpani (natural spring-water), Ghate-khola, Nalapani etc. (common name given by Gorkhas.
Shaheed Maj. Durga Mall (INA) and Kharga Bahadur Bist, Dandi marcher along with Mahatma Gandhi, are inspiration to Gorkhas in Uttarakhand Gorkha organisations : (1) Gorkhali Sudhar Sabha, 17th April, 1938, (2) All India Gorkha Ex-serviceman Welfare Association established in the year 1950, by Ministry of Defence to help out Gorkhas, educationally and socially. Shri Ari Bahadur Gurung was its founder-President and Shri D.S. Thakur from Shimla was its first General Secretary. Their far-signtedness has created this prestigious organisation, (iii) Khalangan Bal Bhadra – Vikas Samiti, (iv) All India Nepali Bhasa Samiti, (v) Uttarakhand Nepali Bhasa Samiti, (vi) Nepali Parshad, (vii) ‘Gurans’ Sanskiriti Kala Manch, (viii) Gorkha Democratic Front, a political voice of Uttarakhand Gorkhas.

The first and fore-most is Indianness of Uttarakhand Gorkhas. The major community in Uttarakhand, more often that not, view Gorkhas as citizens of Nepal, not withstanding their moorings in Uttarakhand for the last two centuries or more. No main-stream political party openly espouses the cause of Gorkha for the fear of back-lash of major community, in vote-bank politics. The proximity and open border (approx. 170 Km.) with Nepal has caused a thin veil of suspicion to the Indainness of Gorkha in Uttarakhand.

One Karam Chand Baral in Pithoragarh has been denied approval of his building plan, inspite of the fact that he owns a land, mutated in his name in land/revenue records. He has been branded out-sider and faces an eviction notice issued by District officials. Gorkha Democratic Front came to his rescue and the matter has been put in abeyance and hopefully, it shall meet its natural death.
46 families in Uttarkashi suffered due to withdrawal of their ration card, gas connection etc. The mater was forcefully raised by GDF and since then it has subsided.
Nepali labourers are murdered, cut into pieces and thrown in jungle. Persecution of Gorkhas occasionally take place mostly in Tueni, Chakrata, Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Pithoragarh districts.
Even those who are bonafide residents of Uttarakhand are branded outsiders. One Gorkha municipal Parishad from Rishikesh faced embarrassment on this score.

Exploitation by main-stream political parties as a vote-bank without any reward.

By:-  Lt Col (Retd) V K Sharma, Advocate, President – Bharatiya Gorkha Parishangh, Dehradun,

Via thegorkha

Chhabilal Upadhyaya (Nepali:छबिलाल उपाध्याय) Indian Gorkha freedom fighter

8:00 PM
Indian Gorkha freedom fighter Chhabilal Upadhyaya (Nepali:छबिलाल उपाध्याय), popularly known as Chhabilal Babu was a prominent leader of the Indian Freedom Movement from Assam. He was the first president of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee.He presided the historic meeting of the Assam Association held at Jorhat on 18 April 1921 which decided to convert itself to Assam Pradesh Congress Committee.Upadhyaya played an important role in the education of the indigenous Gorkha community of Assam to which he belonged to by establishing many schools and libraries.Chhabilal Upadhyaya set up Behali School at Tezpur in Assam in 1941. It was Chabilal Upadhyay under whose presidentship the then Assam Association was converted into now Assam Pradesh Congress Committee(APCC)
Chhabilal Upadhyaya (Nepali:छबिलाल उपाध्याय)
Chhabilal Upadhyaya (Nepali:छबिलाल उपाध्याय) 


Babu Chhabilal Upadhyaya (Ghimire) was born in 1882 A.D. He is the second son of Late Kashinath Upadhyaya (Ghimire) and Late Bishnumaya Devi. At the time of his berth his parents were residing at Burigang area near Biswanath Chariali of present day Sonitpur District of Assam. Like other Assamese-Gorkhali people they were also in search of a suitable place preferably a high land for their residence and a grazing land for their cattle. The primary source of income of such Gorkhali people was cattle farming and cattle rearing and as the time passes they started cultivation. Upadhyaya’s family also falls in the same stream. Chabilal Upadhyayas shifted from Burigang area to Borgang Sukansuti area and finally came to Mazgaon (Gangmouthan).This was some time in 1886 when Chabilal was at the age of four. It is said that his primary education started at Hatibondha Primary School in Bengali medium. But this Hatibondha Primary School was not there in present day location; rather it was in old Hatibondha village which was located about two to three miles distance in the south-east direction from the present School. The village was eroded by the river Brahmaputra or washed away and the school was later shifted to present day location.  As there was no other higher educational institution in the nearby locality, he had to finish his academic studies just in his primary level. But his alert and kind father had searched for a teacher to give him knowledge of Sanskrit, Assamese and also for English language. He also got necessary knowledge of arithmetic and geography by the same teacher. Meritorious master Chabilal was extra-sharp and equipped himself with moralities. He studied Amarkosha, he learned the Anhik Padhati, he recited the morning prayers and he practiced Karmakandas (from the Yayur Veda). He was so eager to acquire knowledge that despite of the evils created by his age, when there was British Raj flourishing everywhere in India, when it was not easy even to listen a radio, or to go to a library to read a book or a paper, he somehow managed to read few Bengali daily newspapers: “The Ananda Bazar Patrika” and a weekly Bengali medium newspaper “Basumati”. He collected these papers from a Bengali gentleman Post Master of Behali Post Office though these were stale enough. He also showed his interest in studying Bengali novels. He got those novels from a kind and generous Bengali doctor of Borbheel Tea Estate. He had his family like relations with these gentlemen, for all of them used to come and go to the houses of one another for quite a long time. And in the process Chabilal was well versed with Bengali language and literature and Bengali people around him, As he was in the threshold of his manhood he was well acquainted with different news papers of the said language, he had studied the works of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya , Saratchandra, the essays and novels of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya,  the Lives of Swami Vivekananda and Raja Ram Mohan Roy. He studied the Bengali version of Krittibasi Ramayana and Kashidasi Mahabharata.  He was able to feel the taste and the usefulness of literature, and he felt the need of social reform from his above reading. He had also formed for himself a good concept of Hindu religion.

He bore practical worldly knowledge. He had a good number of companions with whom he practiced swimming, rowing boats, catching and transhipping wood and logs that were brought by the flooded water of Borgang and the Brahmaputra river, to the river bank and so on. His long limbs and tight muscles, his big forehead, his long and not a small nose, his bright eyes and a pleasant face with manly moustache fit his tall and healthy figure. It well expressed his personality. He was brave and intelligent, he could think and analyze and could give decision and accordingly he could lead his companions, and on the other side he belonged to a well-to-do family. And that’s why he was invited and he was obeyed with honor.

The mighty Wheel of the Time revolves round. During the year 1919 the Upadhyaya family was residing in permanent nature at Mazgaon (Gangmouthan) but their buffalo farm (locally called Goth or Khuti) was in Kaziranga Reserve Forest with due Professional Grazing Permit. There were many other graziers of different communities, namely, Miri, Assamese and Gorkhali; with due permits. As in the case of the landed property was brought to book to for primary purpose of collecting taxes rather than to regulate it, the cattle property was also brought within the purview of The permit system by the British Administration to levy taxes. Before this system, graziers were asked now and then to shift their farm to other locations called “tapu”- the river island or char area of the river Brahmaputra, on the plea that their present Char area falls in the Kaziranga Game Reserve, which was whimsical, wantonness and unlawful. And hence, the graziers bowed their head on the system for they thought that if they would pay the Grazing Tax they would not be disturbed. The time wheel was moving smoothly, but how could an ill habit of evil spirit calm down merely for a system! Under the influence of such uncalled-for spirit, suddenly a bolt was thrown from the blue with a thundering sound “Be off with your buffaloes! This is only for wild animals!” The Administration not at all considered that these graziers have their due permits issued by the administration itself, the tyrants burnt their Khutis to ashes. The blazing flames of the fire not only laughing arrogantly by burning their Khutis but also burnt their sense of security, hopes and aspirations. The simple shepherd like people cried for help. All the people came to Chabilal, who himself was suffering from the atrocities of the British administration. He thought the action was illegal and interference on the means of livelihood. So he discussed with his people and decided to fight against the unlawful act of the government. He moved for Justice. He met Chandra Nath Sharma, an intelligent and patriot advocate. Upadhyaya briefed the matter to Sharma and Sharma in turn gave him solace. Chandra Nath also talked about how people of all over India are going against British rule. He also stated Upadhyaya how Gorkhali people can participate and contribute to the mother land. Chabilal realized that time has come to serve the Mother land and he too gave his commitment that all the Gorkhali people residing in Behali and other adjoining areas will come forward. Chabilal came out successfully in the case that graziers could continue to keep their buffaloes in their own place. Now, Chabilal explained people how British Raj is doing wrong to Indian People and the public in turn dissatisfied, stand against British Raj and how they are willing to get freedom from the foreign rule. He stated that all these movements were under the leadership of Gandhiji who was later known as Bapu and Mahatma Gandhi. It is worthy to mention here that Gangmouthan-Mazgaon became residential area prior to 1886 and at the end of the nineteenth century Gorkhali people were inhabiting in villages and localities like Batiamari, Kamal Pokhari (now Kamar Pukhuri as Revenue village), Kouri Pathar, Gomiri, Teleni, Dipura in the eastern side of Mazgaon, and Burigang, Pani Bhoral, Bhanganbari, Panpur,Gorpal, Koldarighat, Lokhra (Lakhara), Bura chapari, Bhurbandha, Naubil (Nabil),Teligaon, Singri, Sittalmari in the west, that is to say, everywhere there is in the then sub-division of Tezpur, Gorkhali people were mixing themselves with Assamese, Missing, Boro, Koch and Rajbanshi people. So, after his victory in the case as stated, Chabilal, irrespective of any race, visited the areas, informed the people and motivated them to come forward in the National interest. The public, as they realized that it is a chance to do something for the mother land extended their full support.

Chabilal Upadhyaya went to Jorhat,1921.

Chabilal Upadhyaya was already in the field of Non-Cooperation movement lead by Mahatma Gandhi and was known among the leading personalities of greater Assam. He was invited with his colleagues to Jorhat conference of Assam Association representing the people of the Kaziranga Game Reserve viz. the Khuti people irrespective of all races as well as all other people of Tezpur Sub-Division including Nepali community. There were many other people in the leading role in the area and all had supported Babu Chabilal on the great cause of National Freedom Movement. The Assam Association was the first and foremost political organisation of Assam at that time. Many talented leaders from different parts of Assam, to name few of them were – Tarun Ram Phukan, Nabin Chandra Bordoloi, Dr. Hem Chandra Barua, Amiyo Kumar Das, Kuladhar Chaliha, Faiznur Ali, Prasanna Kumar Barua, Lakheswar Barua,, Lakhidhar Sharma, Gopinath Bordoloi, Bishnuram Medhi were devoted to the cause of National Interest and except Tarun Ram Phukan all were present in the conference venue in Jorhat. The above conference of the Assam Association was presided over by Babu Chabilal Upadhyaya. That was the last meeting of the said Association and by the Resolution taken on the meeting making it a historical event, the Assam Association was merged for ever into Indian National Congress. Karmabir Chandra Nath Sharma thought that the Graziers’ problem should be treated as the problem of the state and all the Khuti People should be made active member of the nation wide Non-Cooperation movement. As he thought, so was the declaration of Chabilal that “I would try my best until my death” to bring the problem out from its miniature state to the level of provincial problem. Accordingly all the Nepali people joined as active members in that great cause of Nation. The thoughts and feelings and endeavours of Chandra Nath Sharma were expressed and executed and the conference achieved its aims and objectives.

If the soul of Mahatma Gandhi was in search of freedom from the tyranny of British people and British Rule against fellow Indians, the heart of Chabilal Upadhyaya cried for the cruelty of British Administration and British machinery on Kaziranga people. Both of them thought for their people. Chabilal with all the leaders in Assam joined actively with the non-cooperation movement lead by Gandhiji.  He did not leave any stone unturned in the nation wide non-cooperation movement. The blazing flame of brute fire of Kaziranga turned into ever greatest protest as Non-cooperation movement against the British Empire. And Chabilal, was sent to imprisonment for three months. To keep him away from the movement and pro people activities, they tried to tempt him, they tried to divide him with his leaders and followers, they tried to punish him, but of no avail, he remained unmoved in his decision. For his capacity to take right decision in right time, for his heroic manner and bravery, for his pains taking attitude and for his patriotism he became popular among the people and in the state and national level elite society.

He actively participated in the Swaraj Fund of Lokmanya Tilak, and gave company to Karmabir Chandra Nath Sharma. There was a requirement to be fulfilled by the people of Assam which was known as ‘quota’ of the Fund. It was fulfilled before the due time. The British administration could not help itself but snatched back his gun with cartridges and a notice of expulsion was served under the Foreigner’s Act stating Chabilal is a Nepali of Nepal. Chandra Nath Sharma felt sorry for such an act of ‘immorality’ and ‘meanness’ of British bureaucrats. Chabilal exclaimed with joy in such action and said, “   ” meaning “I become happy” (for I have done something for my motherland).

Chabilal thought it appropriate the call of Non-cooperation after the incident of Kaziranga embezzlement and massacre of Jalianwala Baugh. He started with devotion to enlarge the books of record with the new name of volunteers, to boycott the foreign garments, to motivate and emphasize the people to give up the habit of intoxicant material like ale and liquor, puppy and ganja    etc. and to start establishing Swadeshi schools. To help him his companions were Bogiram Saikia, Molan Chandra Sharma, Powal Chandra Bora, Pandit Duttaram Das, Ramlal Upadhyaya, Hari Prasad Upadhyaya, Tikaram Upadhyaya, Brihaspati Upadhyaya, Hari Prasad (Ram Babu) Upadhyaya, Bhishma Prasad Upadhyaya, Troilokyanath Sharma, Kanak Chandra Sharma, Bijoy Sharma, Ram Prasad Agarwala, Jwala Prasad Agarwala, Nabin Chandra Bhattacharya and many more willing workers. To give him timely advice and blessings there were district level leaders and well-wishers who were Chandra Nath Sharma, Lakhidhar Sharma, Amiyo Kumar Das, Mahadev Sharma and Gunabhiram Barua.

Chabilal, when he was in his manhood, full of his morals and creative ideals, his life was moulded and prepared for the benefit of all. He learnt from and experienced with the environment of the state that what was the value of education and culture. He realized that education and culture could only improve the condition of Nepali as well as the greater Assamese community. As was thought, so was the action. With the help of his friends and fellows, he had taken steps to improve the No. 41 Hatibondha Primary School to Hatibondha Combined Middle School. He then took next step to give education for girls and in 1935 Gangmouthan Girls’ M.V. School was established. To give the taste of education and culture he encouraged the youth who were educated and set up an institution called Mazgaon Nepali Theatre Party in 1929, a full- fledged platform with a library which was at that time the second only in the entire North Bank of Brahmaputra leaving Baan Theatre at Tezpur (1901). Step by step he forwarded, he thought, there were no higher education centre from Boronga Bari to Biswanath Chariali. Without a higher educational institution the people could not go ahead. So he thought of a High School and discussed the matter with local people. He explained the need of a high school. He had to appease and convince them all. He proposed to donate the Mazgaon Nepali Theatre Party with its well furnished library for the school, the fiscal value of which at present day would be Rs. 2.5 lakhs . After flowing much water on the subject, a General Body Meeting was held on 26th of February, 1941 at Hatibondha CM School and it decided unanimously to establish “Gangmouthan High school”. Later this was renamed as Behali High School and was upgraded in 1985 to Behali Higher Secondary School. He further added a feather to it by constructing an auditorium in memory of his parent – “Kashi-Bishnu Prekshyagriha”. He extended his help to Biswanath college with a purse of Rupees Thirty thousand only.
He worked for society. In 1928 with the help of his good guys a committee called Abhyuthan Samity was in existence. It cordially received Godan, Bhumi Daan, artha daan or Bastra daan (donation of cows, land, money and clothes respectively) and such donated amount and materials were used for schools, library, theatre and rest was treated as contingency amount for the society. He worked to stop child marriage system from the society. He also acted for women education.

Behali High School had just been completed its first anniversary, on 8th of August,1942, the Congress , at Birla Bhawan, Bombay declared its Quit India Movement. On the way to imprisonment Gandhiji raised his slogan “do or die” to get freedom.

Chabilal Upadhyaya too took the chance. There was movement everywhere in the country. The Second World War was opposed. The demand for freedom was seen everywhere. The teachers and students of Behali High School also went on strike. Village level Primary committees became active. The training of Shanti Sena (Peace Keeping Force of public) started in different places. The Mrityu Bahini or Death Squad were formed and trained in different remote places. They all decided to hoist three numbers of the Congress flags bearing the symbol of Charkha from three different directions. Yet there was non-violent motive. For the people thought if the police or military force peacefully allow them they would offer them garlands and do their pious work of hoisting their beloved Flag  and if any bullet hurt them they would still unfurl the Flag at the roof of the Behali Police Station. So on 20th September,1942 they started for Behali Police Station. The Mrityu Bahini was in the front followed by Shanti Sena and thousands of village people moved with a garland in one hand and a placard on other and on their tongue “Vande Mataram” , “Inclub, Zindavad”, “Swadhin Bharat Ki Jai”. At that time in different parts of India people had a very popular patriotic song which they used to sing  – “Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja,/ Khusi Ke Geet Gaye Ja, / Yah Zindagie Hai Koum Ki, Tu Koum Par Lagaye Ja….”. Unlike Gohpur nothing unwanted was happened at Behali. People won their coveted victory. But the joy and happiness of this victory could not last long. The police started to suppress the movement. On the day of Bhatri Dwitiya (Just a day after Deepawali) the police arrested Chabilal Upadhyaya, his two brothers Ramlal and Hari Prasad followed by Bogiram Saikia, Kumud Chandra Sharma, Rabiram Saikia, Molan Sharma, Dr. Ananda Prasanna Dutta, Sarada Prasanna Dutta, Magur Barua, Baliram Duara, Nandeswar Barua, Roopram Barua, Budheswar Bora, Bishnulal Upadhyaya, Keshab Chandra Sharma, Punyadhar Bora, Baneswar Saikia, Kamala Kanta Bora etc. But others like Lakheswar Hazarika, Mitralal Upahdyaya, Jagannath Bhattarai, Debidutta Poudel, Durga Sharma, Debi Prasad Sharma etc. were working underground.
It would not be out of place to mention here that the three first ladies who joined the Mrityu Bahini (Death squad) and they were Tileswari Mahanta, Gujeswari Devi and Padma Saikia. One Jaman Singh Gole was accused and escaped from the Police custody. He was, it is said, himself a “Platoon”.

Such a great soul of this part of land, Babu – Father of All Assamese-Nepali of the state, left us all on 24th of January,1980. We all the public,  pay our deep regards on this auspicious moment of Platinum Jubilee, 2015-16 of BEHALI HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL.

“ I have many things to do. I hope, I would come again to complete my work.” – CHABILAL UPADHYAYA

Ref. Chabilal Upadhyaya- by Late Bishnulal Upadhyaya,
        Shailaputri- Ed. Uma Pokhrel, Gangmouthan
        Behali Darpan-  Behali HS School, Golden Jubilee , Ed-Renu Saharia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Prepared by: Kishore Khatiwarah, Gangmouthan                                                    

Sources - , Wiki

Theodore Manaen first Gorkha General Secretary of All India Congress Committee

9:18 AM
Theodore Manaen - The first Gorkha who became the General Secretary of the un-divided All India Congress Committee and represented Darjeeling Constituency in the Parliament.

Theodore Manaen was the first Gorkha General Secretary of All India Congress Committee. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was then the President of All India Congress Committee and the Prime Minister of India.

He was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) from Darjeeling Constituency on the Second Lok Sabha election during 1957-62 and also on The third Lok Sabha election 1962-67.

Theodore Manaen is one of the forgotten heroes of the yesteryears and the living history of Gorkha consciousness in the country. Hope present generation will remember him and learn from his rich experienced.

Theodore Manaen  first Gorkha General Secretary of All India Congress Committee
Theodore Manaen - first Gorkha General Secretary of All India Congress Committee

As ‪‎Netaji‬ Files Declassified - the ‪‎Gorkha‬ Connection Emerges Stronger

3:55 PM
Today the government of India had declassified 100 files relating to Netaji Subash Chandra Bose... unsure of what to expect, as one of our editors logged into the site, he was met with an emotionally pleasant surprise...

The site opened, with the song "Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja.. Khushi K Geet Gaaye Jaa..." by one of the Gorkhali stelwart - Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri.

Thanks to the Government of India and PMO India, we can all check out the files at:

Listening to "Kadam Kadam" as we opened the site, not only gave us goosebumps, but also left us teary eyed.

Here is why this is so important... The Gorkhali contribution to freedom movement has never been acknowledged...

Not many know that the Indreni Pul (Indreni Bridge) over Sumendu Lake (Mirik lake) was named after the great Gorkhali freedom fighter Indreni Thapa and the Garden surrounding Mirik Lake is named after Saheed Sabitri Thapa.

Saheed Indreni Thapa and Saheed Sabitri Thapa were teenagers when they joined the ‘Bal Sena’ or ‘Janbaz Dal’of the Indian National Army led by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. One of the main functions of the “Janbaz Dal” was akin to modem day suicide squads or human bombs.

Indreni Thapa and Sabitri Thapa, the two Gorkha teenagers of ‘Janbaz Dal’ attained martyrdom by blowing up British tanks. They did this by virtually making themselves human bombs by strapping mines on their bodies and crawling under the British tanks camouflaged as bushes, and blowing up the British tanks.
As ‪‎Netaji‬ Files Declassified - the ‪‎Gorkha‬ Connection Emerges Stronger
‪‎Netaji‬ Files Declassified
Reportedly Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was the eye-witness to this act of supreme sacrifice by our brave hearts.

The bridge over Mirik lake was thus named “Indreni Bridge” and the garden was named after Saheed Sabitri Thapa in honour of the brave heart teenagers who sacrificed their present for our future.
Moreover, Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri's contribution towards our National Anthem and even INA songs like "Kadam Kadam" was never given due recognition...

We had earlier covered that aspect....
Netaji and Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri: Muddled Legacies
A veteran had once observed, "We wish Netaji were alive after India gained independence, had he been, history would have treated Gorkhalis much more kindly, for he knew the truth about how Gorkhalis fought alongside him for INA."

The loss of Netaji was felt by everyone, but most of all it was felt by those who served directly under him. The INA vetrans never got their dues, and those who were left behind had to face enourmous humiliation. Perhaps the person who directly served under Netaji and yet was most humiliated was none other than Gorkhali great Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri, the soldier who gave music to INA songs like "Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja."

Capt. Thakuri was asked by Netaji to re-compose Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's version of Jana Gana Mana in a martial tune to which INA soldiers could march to. On Netaji's request INA Capt. Abid Ali with the help of Mumtaz Hussain rewrote Gurudev’s Gana Gana Mana (which he had written in Sanskritised Bengali) in Hindusthani as “शुभ सुख चैन - Subha Skhuh Chain ki Barsha Barse” which was adopted as the national anthem (Qaumi Tarana) by the Provisional Free Government of India (Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind) led by Netaji. The original tune for Jana Gana Mana was composed by Gurudev Tagore, however it was Capt. Thakuri who gave it the form we sing it in today.

शुभ सुख चैन was first played as the national anthem of free India first time on 11 September 1942 at Hamburg, and Capt. Thakuri was especially invited to play Jana Gana Mana when Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru unfurled the Tiranga from Lal Quila. In 1950, it was decided that Jana Gana Mana will remain India’s national anthem, the version of the tune was the one that had been composed by Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri [original version can be heard here:]

However, when the then DGHC brought out an AD crediting Capt. Thakuri with giving tune to Jana Gana Mana, many “bhadraloks” were rattled, and they went on to abuse Capt. Thakuri, one of Netaji’s own nephew even went on to the extent of even saying, “[the tune] could not have been composed by a Gorkha." Another Rabindra Sangeet exponent Subinoy Roy had even said, "The anthem was set to tune by none other than Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore; just imagine a Gorkha soldier doing that; after all it requires some knowledge of that class and its basics," which had then prompted CPRM to file a defamation case against Subinoy Roy, one wonders what ever might have been the outcome of that case? [details here:]

Capt. Thakuri continued to serve his vocation in music and he always cherish his Netaji Gold Medal which he had been awarded personally by Netaji in 1943, over George VI medal he had won in 1937, or later the President Police Medal he won in 1972.

Netaji had cherished Capt. Thakuri and his music and it is evident from the fact that Netji had gifted Capt. Thakuri a violin and a saxophone as gifts.

Had Netaji been alive, the controversy over who gave tune to India’s national anthem would never have arisen, and perhaps Gorkhalis would not have to clamour for the right to self-determination so much. He knew the truth and chances are he would have supported the soldiers who fought alongside him. Netaji’s loss is not only a loss for West Bengal, but a loss to all Indians who are patriotic, sincere and honest.

Thanks to Ms. Jyoti Thapa Mani ji, we have this letter from INA Capt Laxmi Shehgal ji who acknowledged that Capt. Thakuri and other INA soldiers were never given their due.
So hearing "Kadam Kadam" today when one opens up the Netaji files, we felt that the Gorkhali contribution towards our Freedom struggles is finally getting recognized.

Via TheDC

VIDEO PROOF Capt Ram Singh Thakuri Gave Tune to National Anthem We Sing It Today

3:46 PM
Setting the Record of Our National Anthem Right - Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri Gave It The Tune We Sing It in Today - VIDEO PROOF

Writes: Upendra

Yesterday after we(The Darjeeling Chronicle) shared the report on Classified Netaji files being released by the Govt of India, we had also mentioned how Gorkhali contribution to Indian Freedom Struggle was never reported. In particular we had shared three names Saheed Indreni Thapa and Saheed Sabitri Thapa, who were teenagers when they joined the ‘Bal Sena’ or ‘Janbaz Dal’ of the Indian National Army and who attained martyrdom fighting against the British.

We (The Darjeeling Chronicle) had also highlighted how Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri the Director, Music of Indian National Army had in fact given the tune to our national anthem in the form in which we sing today [Details:].

Capt. Thakuri was asked by Netaji to re-compose Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's version of Jana Gana Mana in a martial tune to which INA soldiers could march to. On Netaji's request INA Capt. Abid Ali with the help of Mumtaz Hussain rewrote Gurudev’s Gana Gana Mana (which he had written in Sanskritised Bengali) in Hindusthani as “शुभ सुख चैन - Subha Skhuh Chain ki Barsha Barse” which was adopted as the national anthem (Qaumi Tarana) by the Provisional Free Government of India (Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind) led by Netaji. The original tune for Jana Gana Mana was composed by Gurudev Tagore, however it was Capt. Thakuri who gave it the form we sing it in today.
Captain Ram Singh Thakuri (extreme right) playing the violin in Gandhi's
presence, during one of Gandhi's visits to INA prisoners at Red Fort, 20 June 1946
photo- wiki
शुभ सुख चैन was first played as the national anthem of free India first time on 11 September 1942 at Hamburg, and Capt. Thakuri was especially invited to play Jana Gana Mana when Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru unfurled the Tiranga from Lal Quila. In 1950, it was decided that Jana Gana Mana will remain India’s national anthem, the version of the tune was the one that had been composed by Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri [original version can be heard here:]

While our report got numerous positive comments from those who care, including this kind comment from Mr. Debangshu Sen who wrote: "An eye opener for me, I was aware of Capt. Thakuri, but not much. Knew today about great sacrifices of saheed Indreni Thapa and Sabitri Thapa. My request to Admin or any other fellow members to shed more lights on these brave Indians. Please let us know more about them. Please publish their photographs too. Thank you again for this excellent article."
However, we also got this comment

"Pro gorkhaland page aal baal likhe diyeche...kono nepu ram er dewa music e amra national anthem gai naa...juto pitti dite hoy ei gulo ke...limits to spreading lies...tao Netaji r naam use kore"
In Bengali same thing reads "Pro গোর্খাল্যান্ড পেজ ইটা.. কি আল বাল লিখে দিয়েছে।.. কোনো নেপু রামের দেব মউজিক এ আমরা ন্যাশনাল অনথেম গাই না... জুত পিটিয়ে দিতে হয় এই গুলো কে... limits to spreading lies... তাও নেতাজীর নাম use কোরে"

Which translates to, "this is a Pro-Gorkhaland page... they have written all crap... we don't sing our national anthem which contains any music written by any Nepu Ram... need to beat them up using shoes... limits to spreading lies... that to using Netaji's name.."

Watch the Original tune of Jana Gana Mana as composed by Gurudev Tagore 

Well to all the skeptics here we are glad to reproduce the Jana Gana Mana as sang by Our Beloved and Most Respected Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in person... This was recorded in Germany.
Hope the skeptics realize that in music, tempo, meter and tune matter... Though the original tune for Jana Gana Mana was composed by Gurudev Tagore, however it was Capt. Thakuri who gave it the form we sing it in today.

Via TheDC

First Gurkha officer in the British Indian Army

1:18 PM

Writes Pratap Chhetri

In October 1915, when a young Gurkha officer with royal blood, was recuperating at a London hospital, from wounds sustained in action at the famous Battle of Loss in the course of the First World War, a reporter chanced to interview him. Having heard about khukris of the Gurkhas, he asked the convalescing officer whether his boys got a chance to use their feared khukris. To this, Jodha, the officer said: “They do not often get the chance of using them. When they get near, the Germans hold up their hands. They have heard of our kukris.” Such was the fear of the simple but fierce khukri among the Germans. This brave and gallant soldier was Rana Jodha Jung Bahadur – the first Gurkha officer in the British Indian Army.

For the almost two hundred thousand Gurkha soldiers who fought in various theatres of the First World War, the name - Rana Jodha Jung Bahadur might have just passed off fleetingly as the name of just another soldier-comrade. Very few perhaps might have known about his accomplishments then and very few perhaps today know about his special place in the history of Gorkha soldiering in the past 200 years. Or the fact that he was one of the first nine Indians and the first Gurkha to receive a King’s Commission in the British Indian Army, who preceded even Field Marshal K.M. Carriapa’s batch. Or that, he gallantly fought and saw action in Egypt, France, Belgium and Mesopotamia during the First World War; was awarded the Military Cross and was Mentioned in Despatches, twice.
Rana Jodha Jung Bahadur was a product of the Imperial Cadets Corps (ICC), an exclusive preserve based in Dehra Dun which provided military training to young men from the aristocratic families of the princely Indian states. The ICC was a limited and deliberate experiment by the Raj to appease its Indian subjects particularly the rulers of the princely states, who had military expectations, of their wards or relatives being commissioned as officers in the regular British Indian Army, also known as His Majesty’s Army. Though the Corps was a failure, the Imperial Cadet Corps in some ways paved the way for the establishment of the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College in 1922, known today as Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) and the Indian Military Academy in 1932; these two institutions were pioneers in the slow but gradual Indianization process of the Army during the British rule. One fact which pointed to failure of the ICC was that of the 68 graduates that ICC produced; only eleven were granted Commission in the Native Indian Land Forces.
First Gurkha officer in the British Indian Army
 'Rana Jodha(seated far right) with British officers of the Garhwal Rifles at Pont du Hem France 1915'
- Photo credit Ashok Nath Foundation Sweden
Rana Jodha Jung Bahadur was one of the several grandsons of Sir Jang Bahadur Rana who founded the Rana dynasty in Nepal – the system of hereditary Prime Ministership. Jodha Jung Bahadur’s father was Padma Jung Bahadur Rana, one of the thirteen sons of Sir Jung Bahadur Rana. His father fled to India in 1887 following an unsuccessful palace coup in Kathmandu and settled in Allababad. It was in Allahabad that Jodha was born in 1890. He perhaps had his early education in one of the four chiefs’ school established to impart British system of education. In 1910 he gained admission into the ICC and in 1913 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in His Majesty’s Native Indian Land Forces (HMNILF). He had initial training with the 1/3rd Gurkhas and the 1st King George’s Own Sappers and Miners and in February 1914, he was appointed as the Commandant, Tehri-Garhwal State Sappers. The Native Indian Land Forces were the standing armies of the princely Indian states.  They were also known as Imperial State Forces and served in various theatres of the First World War along with the regular Indian Army.

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, India was dragged into the War unwillingly while the Indian rulers, of their own volition offered their troops for war service. As the War progressed on the Western Front in France and Belgium, the British forces and the Indian Expeditionary Force ‘A’ consisting of cavalry, infantry and Imperial service troops suffered devastating losses. Reinforcement drafts were urgently required. One such reinforcement draft was a contingent of 108 men of Tehri Garhwal State Sappers commanded by the young Lieutenant Rana Jodha sent to bolster the 39th Garhwal Rifles, who had suffered heavy casualties on the frontline. They reached France in March 1915 via Egypt.

Earlier in 1914, major battles such as the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Festubert and Givenchy had been fought while in 1915 offensives like the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the Second Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Aubers Ridge, the Battle of Festubert and the Battle of Loos took place on the Western Front in France and Belgium.

It was in the Battle of Loos – first, in the action at Pietre, not far from Neuve Chapelle on September 25th 1915 and the second at La Bassee on October 13th 1915 that his bravery was noticed. During both these instances; he was Mentioned in Despatches. Subsequently, Jodha was awarded the Military Cross (MC) in November 1915. He was then just a young 25 year old officer.

On October 12, 1915 he was hit by a rifle bullet in the arm but it luckily missed his bone, so he got the unit doctor to bind the wound and was ready for action the next day. However whilst heavy fighting the next day, a bomb explosion wounded him on the neck and he lost consciousness. It was during his treatment for this that the famed newspaper interview too place.
Rana Jodha Jung Bahadur
Photo credit to Wikimedia Common
An extract from the official War Office account of Jodha’s winning of the Military Cross reads: “During a feint attack made by the Indian Corps to the north of La Bassee Canal on October 13, this officer commanded a double company with great ability and conspicuous gallantry in the face of fierce fire from rifles, machine-guns, grenades and bombs……… His bravery was previously observed on September 25th last, when he led his company with marked gallantry and dash right up to the German wire under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire.”

Rana Jodha and Captain Zorawar Singh were the only Indian officers(Commissioned) to get the Military Cross during the First World War. It may also be worthwhile to mention Darwan Singh Negi, the second Indian to be awarded the Victoria Cross (1914), and another Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross in 1915 – Gabar Singh Negi both belonged to the 39th Garhwal Rifles. It was this unit, which Jodha was attached to, as young officer on the Western Front.

It was also in the Battle of Loos that Jodha was Mentioned in Dispatches (MiD) for the first time and the following MiD published by the British Military London News mentioned: "Rana Jodha Jang Bahadur, who, in spite of being wounded, continued to lead his men against the Germans, and did not desist until a second wound in the neck rendered him unconscious. The Rana displayed great tenacity, leadership and conspicuous gallantry by leading his company right up to the German defenses in the face of heavy fire".

In August 1917, the War Cabinet deliberated on granting of King’s commission to the natives of India and they accepted in principle the appointment of Indians to commissioned rank in His Majesty’s Army; the nature of which was to be finalised later. The War Cabinet also agreed granting King’s Commission (seven captaincies and two lieutenancies) to nine Indian officers of the Native Indian Land Forces who had served in Imperial Service Troops in the War, immediately. One of the lieutenants was Rana Jodha Jung Bahadur. Their appointment was published in the London Gazette on the 25th August 1917. Thereafter, he was attached to the 3rd Brahmins and served in Mesopotamia from September 1917 to October 1918. For his service in Mespotomia, he was made a Member of the British Empire (Military Division). He was also appointed as Honorary Aide-Camp to the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford from 1916 to 1921.

In 1919, Jodha served in the Afghan War and later in the Waziristan Campaign of 1919-1920, serving there till 1924. Thereafter he was posted with the 1/23rd Sikhs, 12th Bombay Pioneers and Madras Pioneers and retired as a Major from the Indian Army is 1933. After his retirement, he served as Commandant, 1st Mysore Infantry from 1933 to 1936. In 1936, he was appointed as Commandant, Tripura State Forces and in 1940 was promoted to Colonel and made the Commander-in-Chief, Tripura State Forces.

Despite being such a decorated and accomplished officer, it is intriguing and surprising as to why Jodha was not given more important appointments of greater responsibilities in the regular Army during the post World War I period. The British were very reluctant to give Commissions to Indians from the start and this perhaps made them skeptical of Indians officers in the Army. This could have been one of the reasons. By his retirement in 1933, he had served for 20 years and maybe he was due the normal course of retirement. Or, was he just unlucky. Or was it that since, Jodha was not a Sandhurst trained officer, the younger officers edged him.

1. The Imperial Cadet Corps and Indiansation of the Indian Army’s Officer Corps, 1897-1923 : A Brief Survey – Dr. Chandar S Sundaram, formerly with CAFHR, USI of India.
2. Online resources of CAFHR, USI of India
3. Ashok Nath Foundation, Sweden

 'This article was published in the November 2015 issue of Eastern Panorama'

Why Khalanga is important for the Gorkhas

8:45 AM
DEHRADUN: For the Gorkha community, the nippy November air marks the turning point of their 200-year-old history in Dehradun. In 1814, it was during this time that a fierce battle for the Nalapani fort which took place around the Nalapani fort, near Dehradun, turned out to be the first battle of the Anglo-Gorkhas war, was fought between British forces and the Gorkhas on the eastern fringes of the city.

The imperial army was under the command of Major general Robert Rollo Gillespie who had come from Meerut to take over the fort but was killed on the very first day of the battle, giving the British a massive jolt and making them aware of the valour and fierce fighting spirit of the Gorkhas.

Historical accounts say that the battle of Nalapani began on Monday, October 31, 1814 when British troops started the assault on the fort which held by the Gorkhas. Armed with khukris, bows, guns and muskets under the command of their general, Balbhadra Kunwar, the Gorkha army fought ferociously but the British, who as per an old field order of that time, had sophisticated weapons like howitzers, guns, mortar etc that was ferried up the hill on elephants.
Khalanga War Memorial
Khalanga War Memorial
The Gorkhas made full use of their vintage position on the hill top as was evidenced by their fiery retaliation to the British advance which killed Gillespie. Using alternative tactics, the British army cut off the water supply of the region. The Gorkhas put a valiant month-long resistance but the British eventually took over the fort, reducing it to concrete debris. Even though the British won the battle, they recognized the valour of the Gorkhas by erecting a memorial for them - the only instance where a victor had thus honoured the vanquished. The Khalanga war memorial stands on what is Sahastradhara road today.

Khalanga War Memorial - A Salute to Gorkha Regiment by Britishers

Famous Gorkha War or Anglo-Nepalese or Anglo-Gorkha War was fought between Britishers and Gorkha regiment of Nepal. In Battel of Nalapani, 600 Gorkhas fought bravely against 3000 odd soldiers in Khalanga Fort near Nalapani, Dehradun. For six weeks, Gorkhas were protecting the fort without food and water. Impressed by the unmatched bravery, Britishers erected the Khalanga War Memorial to honor Gorkhas. After that Britishers recruits Gorkhas in their army too. This memorial is under conservation of ASI.

The fighting around Nalapani, more than any other battle, established the reputation of the Gorkhas as warriors, and won the admiration of the British. Gillespie had been killed and Balbhadra and his 600 men had held the might of the British and their native Indian troops for a month. Even with only 70 remaining survivors after his water source had been cut off, Balbhadra had refused to surrender, and instead had charged out and successfully fought his way through the siege. It set the tone for the rest of the campaign.

The battle also had significant political repercussions, shaking the British Army's confidence. The fact that the siege had taken so long exposed the British forces' vulnerabilities and encouraged the native Indian states – in particular the old Maratha Confederacy in central India – to continue their resistance against British imperialism in the hope that they could still be defeated.

With inputs from TOI, Wiki

Gorkha youth from Darjeeling spied for wanting to know if ‎Netaji‬ was alive

12:26 PM
Boy Who Spooked the Netaji Spooks
Writes: Vivek Chhetri

Intelligence agencies had put a 15-year-old Darjeeling boy under surveillance after he wrote a letter to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose, according to one of the files declassified by the state government.

According to information gleaned so far from the 64 Netaji files declassified on September 18, Prithilal Subba could be one of the youngest persons to be put under surveillance in connection with the freedom fighter.

The file does not mention the contents and date of the letter. A Darjeeling resident who runs an NGO that seeks to unearth the truth behind Netaji's disappearance said that in the letter, Prithilal had asked Sarat Bose whether the freedom fighter was dead or alive.
Boy Who Spooked the Netaji Spooks
The File declassified by the state government.
The file contains a report of the district intelligence branch of the CID, Darjeeling, dated November 15, 1949. The report spells the name as Pirthi Lal Subba.

"A thorough enquiry has been made about the writer of letter. His name is Pirthi Lal Subba, aged about 15 years, S/o Late Dhan Prasad Subba. He is a student of Class IX... of the Govt. H.E. School, Darjeeling. He resides with his brother Sri M.S. Subba at Ghoom under Jorebungalow P.S. He was formerly a student of "Turn Bull" M.E. School, Darjeeling. He took his admission in the Govt. H.E. School on 6.4.48," the report says.

"It is learnt from the Headmaster of the Govt. H.E. School, Darjeeling, that the attendance of the boy in the school is irregular. He is not in the good notion of the school masters for his desperate character. There is nothing against him politically or otherwise," the report adds.

The report mentions that there was "nothing on record against the writer of the intercept in this district". "It seems that he has got some leanings towards the U.S.P. of Sri Sarat Basu," it adds.
The report concludes that there is "nothing against him politically or otherwise".
Prithilal, a resident of Ghoom in Darjeeling, died in 2000.
Prithilal Subba and his wife
Prithilal Subba and his wife
He had joined politics and had been associated with the CPM and the Congress, but quit when the statehood movement started in the Darjeeling hills in 1986.

Anuj Dhar, a founder member of the NGO Mission Netaji and author of the book India's Biggest Cover-Up, had a few days ago tweeted about the report. Speaking over phone from Delhi, Dhar said: "A 15-year-old boy being snooped on is definitely serious and shows how paranoid the establishment was then. The boy had written a letter only wanting to know whether Netaji was alive or dead."
At Prithilal's Ghoom residence, one of his sons, Panna Lal Subba, was surprised when told about the report. "It is interesting. We did not know anything about this (the surveillance). It is also surprising that he was under police surveillance when he was studying in Class IX."

Via: Telegraph

Comparing demand for Gorkhaland with that of Telangana

4:41 PM
Comparing demand for Gorkhaland with that of Telangana – We should call them demerger not separation..

A brilliant piece by Prof. Bivek Tamang and Prof. Sangmu Thendup of Sikkim University, Gangtok. One knows so little about India political system that it is shameful really. Thanks to the focus of most history textbooks on North and Central India. Even South India is being covered but North East remains virtually ignored.

In this piece, authors write about the demand for a seperate Gorkhaland and how it is similar to Telangana movement. They also say instead of calling it separation it should be called as demerger. Both Telangana and Gorkhaland were merged with Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal in the initial organisation of states. And now they are just being demerged. Seperation invokes anger, violence etc whereas demerger is just a much more normal process:

The Darjeeling Hills and surrounding areas were merged with West Bengal in 1947. This article argues that the formation of Telangana opens the door for accepting the century-old demand of the Indian Gorkhas for a separate homeland. It also argues against the use of the term separatism to describe the demand of the Indian Gorkhas and instead suggest the terms “merger” and “demerger.” Darjeeling, whose merger with West Bengal was, at best, a post-independence administrative exigency, could now be demerged, much like Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.
Comparing demand for Gorkhaland with that of Telangana
Gorkhaland Telangana
The authors start with history of how Darjeeling first emerged as a Gorkhaland and then merged into West Bengal. It should be demerged now:

After India became independent, Darjeeling, which was never a part of Bengal, was absorbed into West Bengal only in 1954 under Schedule V of The Absorbed Areas (Laws) Act 1954 (Act No 20 of 1954). The district lost all special privileges, and all statutes, except the Bengal Tenancy Act in certain areas, applied to it (Banerjee et al 1980: 95).

With its hundred year-old movement for separate homeland, Darjeeling has many similarities with Telangana. The Gorkhaland movement may not actually be a movement for separation; it would be apt to see it as a case of merger and demerger. Ideally, Darjeeling should have gone back to Sikkim in 1947, which was a separate country then. The Absorbed Areas (Laws) Act 1954 proves that the merger of Darjeeling with Bengal was only for administrative purpose and convenience.

The first petition for a separate homeland was submitted in 1907 by the leaders of the hill people led by Sonam Wangel Ladenla, the first hillman to retire as assistant superintendent of the Darjeeling police. The petition demanded a separate administrative set up for the district of Darjeeling (Lama 2008: 199). Thereafter, there have been numerous petitions, memorandums and demands including two major movements, one in the 1980s and the other from 2007 onwards, demanding a separate state within the Indian union for the Indian Gorkhas of the Darjeeling hills and the surrounding areas.

The dynamics of India’s political scenario has led the discourse of the statehood demand to revolve largely around linguistic differences, but it has also encapsulated economic and developmental differences. However, with the formation of Telangana, a discourse patterned on “merger and demerger” has emerged.

Separatism may be defined as an instance of political disintegration, wherein political actors in one or more sub-systems withdraw their loyalties, expectations and political activities from a jurisdictional centre and focus them on a centre of their own (Hass 1968: 16). Linguistic separatism, cultural separatism, regionalist separatism based on economic and political grievances, aboriginal separatism and separatism based on the notion of sons of soil have been recognised as different forms of separatism (Wood 1981).

The first era of separatism or reorganisation of territory in India began in 1956. Such separatism had a linguistic basis. Needless to say the era opened up a plethora of demands for statehood in India. The second era of reorganisation was initiated during the 1970s with creation of north-eastern states from the division of Assam after the formation of Nagaland in 1963 and Meghalaya in 1972. The third phase, in 2000, was marked by Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh being carved out of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, respectively (Chadda 2002: 44–61). The fourth phase may have just begun to unfold with the creation of Telangana and could be followed by the creation of newer states in the country.

Ironically, reorganisation of the political boundary of a state or creation of a separate state within the Indian union itself and an extremist exercise to separate from the Indian union are all labelled as separatism in existing political literature and discourse (Horowitz 1981: 65–95). Some modern theorists view separatism as detrimental to national integration and as conflicting with the process of nation building (Datta 1988: 517–36; Nag 1993: 1521–32).

Separatism invariably brings back the “collective memory”5 of struggle, trauma, separation amongst kin, violence, death, genocide, resource sharing struggles, hurt ethnic ethos and other similar memories precisely to those who have witnessed and experienced the terrible side of separatism. Thus, reorganisation of Indian states is often viewed as separation and disintegration of India (Chadda 2002: 44–61).

The concept of demerger customarily reflects the history of merger and association. But unlike corporate merger (and acquisition), political merger invariably brings the need and relevance of history and administrative rights. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru once said, “where merger is not desirable, let divorce take place.” This statement has been quoted a number of times in the context of Hyderabad and Telangana (The Hindu Centre for Politics & Public Policy 2013). But in the context of Gorkhaland it may be pertinent to say “where merger has not pleased, let demerger take place.” In order to relate the use of the terms merger and demerger for the creation of Gorkhaland (or any name), it would be fitting to compare it with the case of Telangana and its merger and demerger from Andhra Pradesh.

Hmm..something really worth thinking about.

As demands for seperate states is growing, we could look at this concept of political demerger than the more painful concept of seperatism..

Via mostlyeconomics original article here

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