Showing posts with label Amar Rai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amar Rai. Show all posts

Gorkha MLAs took their legislature oaths in Nepali

10:03 AM
All the hill MLAs Mrs. Sarita Rai from Kalimpong, Dr. Rohit Sharma from Kurseong and Mr. Amar Rai  Darjeeling took their legislature oaths in our mother-tongue Nepali in the West Bengal Legislature Assembly. The entire Gorkha Community have praised their action and effort to preserve our language Nepali as their voice will be representing the entire Indian Gorkha Community. We, on behalf of the entire Indian Gorkha Community has requested the 5 gorkha MLAs to take the oath in our mother mother-tongue Details here (Request to Gorkha MLAs to take an oath in Nepali Language). Thank you all for taking our request into consideration.

This is the 1st time in the History that all the three Hill MLAs have taken their oath in Nepali.

As such various Gorkha Community pro organisations, associations and institution have been repeatedly highlighting instances of Linguistic Imperialism imposed by Bengal on our land and our people and this gesture of unity and solidarity by our MLAs will go a long way in letting Bengal know that they cannot continue to take our Language and our people for granted.

From the left Mr. Amar Rai from Darjeeling Mrs. Sarita Rai from Kalimpong  and Dr. Rohit Sharma from Kurseong
From the left Mr. Amar Rai from Darjeeling Mrs. Sarita Rai from Kalimpong
and Dr. Rohit Sharma from Kurseong 
Similarly, The Gorkha MLA from Barchalla LAC Shri Ganesh Limbu took an oath in Nepali language administered by Pro-term Speaker Sjt Phani Bhusan Choudhury in Assam Assembly. We thank him for fulfilling the wish of not only the Gorkhas of Assam but entire Indian Gorkha Community.

Bimal Gurung  on his FB Wall Wrote:
दार्जीलिङ पहाड़का तीनजना विधायकहरू क्रमैले श्री अमर सिहं राई( दार्जीलिङ), डा. रोहित शर्मा (खरसाङ) अनि श्रीमती सरिता राई (कालेबुङ)-ले आज विधानसभामा विधायकको रूपमा आफ्नो मातृभाषा अर्थात् नेपाली भाषामै शपथ ग्रहण गरे।

20 अगस्त 1992 सालमा नै भारतीय सविंधानको आठौं अनुसूचिमा अन्तर्भुक्त भइसकेको नेपाली भाषामा नै शपथ ग्रहण गरेर आफ्नो मातृभाषालाई सम्मान अनि गरिमा प्रदान गरेकोमा म तीनैजना विधायकहरूलाई बधाई व्यक्त गर्दछु।

नेपाली भाषाको प्रयोगलाई लिएर गोरखाल्याण्ड क्षेत्रीय प्रशासन अघिदेखि नै निक्कै गम्भीर रहेको छ। जीटीएको अधिकारक्षेत्रमा रहेका कार्यालयहरूमा धेरै अघिदेखि नै नेपाली भाषालाई सरकारी तौरमा प्रयोग गरिदै आइरहेको छ भने प्रधानमन्त्री, मुख्यमन्त्रीलगायत अन्य मन्त्री तथा विधायकहरूलाई पनि जीटीएले नेपाली अनि अंग्रेजी भाषामा पत्राचार गर्ने गरेका छन्।

आज विधानसभामा नेपाली भाषामा विधायकको रूपमा शपथ ग्रहण गरेर पहाड़का तीनैजना विधायकहरूले नेपाली भाषाको उच्च सम्मान राखेका छन् भने यो क्रमलाई निरन्तरता दिँदै दार्जीलिङ पहाड़का समग्र विद्यार्थी, शिक्षक, अधिकारी, कर्मचारीलगायत सबैले आफ्नो मातृभाषालाई नहिच्किचाइकन प्रयोग गरेर यसको प्रतिष्ठा अनि सम्मान बनाइराख्ने पनि म आह्वान गर्छु।

Request to Gorkha MLAs to take an oath in Nepali Language

1:08 PM
21st May 2016: We, on behalf of the entire Indian Gorkha Community, first of all congratulate the newly elected Gorkha MLAs Bhaskar Sharma and Ganesh Limbu from Assam and Amar Rai, Sarita Rai and Dr. Rohit Sharma West Bengal and request you all to Kindly take Oath in Nepali Language as your voice will be representing the entire Indian Gorkha Community. We want the language, "Nepali Language", which is recognized by the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution to be used in such an event. The recognition achieved through such a historical  struggle popularly known as Bhasa Andolan.

Fighting for Nepali Language Recognition in Indian Constitution  - File Photo
Resham Sharma posted the following open letter on May 20 at 8:01pm in "The Gorkha Times Assam" FB fan page

As the Oath Ceremony is going to take place on 24th May, 2016 at Khanapara Field, Guwahati, We "The Gorkha Times Assam" request our two Honourable MLA Bhaskar Sharma and Ganesh Limbu Sir to take Oath in Nepali Language and make our existence feel in the Assam Assembly. Your voice will be representing 24 lakh Gorkha Peoples of Assam.

[Writes in : Resham Sharma]

Dear Sir,
We Got recognition of our Language by the Indian Government on 20th August, 1992, but the use of the language in Parliament or Secretariat Bhawan is very less. We don't get much opportunity to hear our language in such Important places. As you both have finally made it to the Assam Assembly, we want to hear you taking oath in our mother language.

Previously, Honourable MLA Sanjay Raj Subba Sir did it and took oath in our language. So, the 24 lakh Gorkha Peoples of Assam is waiting to see you both taking oath in our language.
Its a Request from all of us.

Thanking You,
With Best Wishes.
Jai Hind
Jai Gorkha
Jai Aai Asom

Here is the other version of the open letter to  MLAs Bhaskar Sharma and Ganesh Limbu from Assam Rupak chetri.

Writes Rupak chetri

As the Oath Ceremony is going to take place on 24th May, 2016 at Khanapara Field, Guwahati, We "The Gorkha of Nagaland blog along with Gorkha Civil bodies of Nagaland request our two Honourable MLA Bhaskar Sharma and Ganesh Limbu Sir to take Oath in Nepali Language and make our existence feel in the Assam Assembly and other States where our Gorkha lived. Your voice will be representing 24 lakh Gorkha Peoples of Assam as well as the other states where our Gorkha citizens lived .

Dear Sir,
We Got recognition of our Language by the Indian Government on 20th August, 1992, but the use of the language in Parliament or Secretariat Bhawan is very less. We don't get much opportunity to hear our language in such Important places. As you both have finally made it to the Assam Assembly, we want to hear you taking oath in our mother language.

Previously, Honourable MLA Sanjay Raj Subba Sir did it and took oath in our language. So, the 24 lakh Gorkha Peoples of Assam is waiting to see you both taking oath in our language.
Its a Request from all of us.
Thanking You,

With Best Wishes.
Rupak chetri
Jai Hind
Jai Gorkha

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Win is a Mandate for Hill Unity

9:02 AM
Darjeeling, Kalmpong and Kurseong 19th May 2016 The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has won all the three seats from the three constituencies in the hills, defeating the allied forces of the Jan Andolan Party, the Trinamool Congress and the Gorkha National Liberation Front. However, the victory margin was a far cry from what the party had achieved in the 2011 Assembly election.

- Amar Singh Rai, the GJM candidate from Darjeeling, polled 95,386 votes to defeat his closest rival Saradha Subba of the TMC by a margin of 49,913 votes, with her polling 45,473.

- In Kurseong, GJM candidate and former MLA Rohit Sharma got 86,947 votes as against 53,221 polled by TMC candidate Shanta Chhetri, with the win margin standing at 33,726 votes.

- Kalimpong witnessed a close fight between GJM candidate Sarita Rai and JAP president Harka Bahadur Chhetri, with the former garnering 67,693 and the latter 56,262 votes. Rai managed to win by a margin of 11,431 votes.

Thursday evening saw euphoric scenes in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong as GJM supporters who had gathered near the counting centres started singing and dancing after the results were announced. In Darjeeling, GJM supporters burst firecrackers and distributed sweets. In Kalimpong, GJM president Bimal Gurung walked nearly 2km from the counting centre to Dambar Chowk distributing sweets, and in Kurseong, GJM supporters gathered at the railway station to celebrate and savour the moment of victory.

Bimal Gurung after  Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has won all the three seats from the three constituencies in the hills
Bimal Gurung after  Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has won all the three seats from the three constituencies in the hills
The GJM welcomed the victory but party leaders appeared a bit thoughtful with the margin of win as in the previous election, each party candidate had won resoundingly over their rivals, by at least 1 lakh votes. The GJM president though reacted realistically to the outcome saying there were several things to be addressed. “We were confident about our victory as the people are with us. A win is a win nonetheless irrespective of the margin. However, we will definitely identify our lapses and mend them,” said Gurung in Kalimpong.

The GJM chief also congratulated TMC chief Mamata Banerjee for retaining power and expressed hope that the two sides could work together for the welfare of the hill people. Meanwhile, Chhetri, the JAP candidate and party president, expressed optimism at the outcome. “In such a short span of time we have received good response from the people. We could have fared better had the election been conducted fairly. However, our party was not formed for elections and as such we will continue to work for the people,” Chhetri said, adding his party would contest all elections in the hills henceforth.

Amar Singh Rai said, “We respect the decision of the people but we have observed that votes in favour of the opposition have increased in comparison to previous polls.” Political observers said the lower victory margin for the GJM was the outcome of several factors and it has cast a shadow on the GJM even in victory. “Overall, the GJM’s vote bank was affected by the formation of the community development boards and the TMC-JAP- GNLF alliance. In Kalimpong, the JAP played the separate district card to their advantage and managed to snatch votes,” an observer said.


Gorkha Janamukti Morcha Wins all 3 Hill Constituencies in Assembly Election 2016

3:15 PM
19th May 2016 Gorkha Janamukti Morcha has won all three Hill Constituencies, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong in Assembly Election 2016.‎ Morcha candidates Amar Rai won from Darjeeling Dr Rohit Sharma won from Kurseong and Sarita Rai from Kalimpong.

Amar Rai, Darjeeling Municipal Chairman, secured  95386  votes and won by 49913 votes in Darjeeling where TMC Sarad Rai Subba got 45473 votes.

GJM‬ candidate Sarita Rai with 67693 votes Won by 11431 vote at ‪Kalimpong‬ Constituency where she had to face a tough fight from former MLA Dr Harka Bahadur Chettri Jan Andolan Party ( JAP) with around 56262 votes.

Similarly, In Kurseong  Dr. Rohit Sharma was able to retain his Legislative Assembly seat. Dr Sharma got over 86947 and comfortably won by 33726 votes. Shanta Chhetri for All India Trinamool Congress got around 53221 votes from the constituency.
 GJM candidates Amar Rai won from Darjeeling, Dr Rohit Sharma won from Kurseong and Sarita Rai from Kalimpong.
 GJM candidates Amar Rai won from Darjeeling, Dr Rohit Sharma won from Kurseong and Sarita Rai from Kalimpong.

With GJM winning in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, Congress is winning in Matigara, Phansidewa and Islampur and CPI(M) winning in Siliguri there is no trace of TMC in Darjeeling District.

The tie up of GJM & BJP secured the alliance a total of seven seats in West Bengal, the best so far for BJP in the state. While BJP won Kharagpur and Baisnabnagar, its alliance with GJM sealed the victory in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Kalchini and Madarihat.

GJM TMC joint press conference - Rare bonhomie

8:12 AM
Via Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, May 4: A rare political scene unfolded in Darjeeling today when Amar Singh Rai, the chairman of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-controlled municipality, held a joint press conference with the Trinamul Congress (hill) leadership in his chamber.

The Trinamul leaders met the chairman to submit a memorandum that dealt with issues like the collapse of a staircase in Darjeeling town last month and settlement of hawkers. Nobody could recollect Trinamul and the Morcha displaying bonhomie at least in the recent past as was shown today.

Although there had been ups and downs in the equations between the Morcha and Trinamul, for a couple of years, both the parties have been on a warpath. In fact, one of the Morcha's main mottos in the Assembly election was the defeat of Trinamul which the hill party alleged was dividing the region.
GJM TMC joint press conference - Rare bonhomie
Darjeeling municipality chairman Rai and Trinamul leaders hold the
 joint news conference. (Suman Tamang)
Rai was the Morcha's candidate for the Darjeeling Assembly seat, while one of the Trinamul delegation members, Sharda Rai Subba, was also in the fray.

N.B. Khawash, the general secretary, Trinamul (hill), and Milan Dukpa, a nominated GTA Sabha member, were also part of the delegation. The Trinamul leaders, who had obtained an appointment to submit the memorandum, reached the Darjeeling municipality office around 3pm today.

Rai, along with vice-chairman Suk Bahadur Biswakarma, and other officials met the delegation for more than an hour in the chairman's chamber. Soon after the meeting, Khawash met the waiting journalists outside the chairman's chamber. At that particular moment, Sharda Rai Subba suggested that the media could be addressed jointly by the chairman and the delegation on the outcome of the meeting.

Khawash then returned to the chairman's chamber with the proposal which was instantly agreed upon by Rai.

Rai said: "TMC leaders today came to submit a deputation as concerned residents of the town and we had a very fruitful discussion in a congenial atmosphere."

The memorandum was on the collapse of a staircase connecting HD Lama Road and Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling, possibility of a sabotage in the recent fire at a municipality building at Daroga Bazar, steps against high-rises and the issue of permanent settlement of hawkers.

"The municipality has informed the delegation that the staircase collapsed because of the construction of a market complex. We have filed an FIR against the builders, directed them to construct the staircase and stop the work on the market complex now. The municipality will also be monitoring the construction at every stage," said Rai.

Trinamul said the width of the staircase should not be narrowed. On the Daroga Bazar fire, the Darjeeling municipality said an FIR had been filed and it was looking at the police's investigation.

Khawash said: "We thank the municipality for giving us time and hearing our grievances. We just want the municipality to show the political will to tackle the issues and Trinamul will also support the civic body."

Asked if the move to raise municipality-centric issues was prompted by the civic election which is due at the end of the year, Khawash said: "No, we simply raised the issues today as concerned people and it has nothing to do with elections."

Via Telegraph

Darjeeling demanding Gorkhaland - Story of every election in West Bengal

6:34 PM
Why Gorkhaland is still a hot issue in Darjeeling when azadi from West Bengal is a non-starter

Delhi and Kolkata have both effectively shut the door on a separate hill state for the Nepali-speaking district.

It is the story of every election in West Bengal: Darjeeling demanding Gorkhaland, a separate hill state, partitioned from the plains of Bengal. And it is the same as it votes on Sunday in the West Bengal Assembly elections.

Political demands are always contested, but it is true that the Darjeeling region was never politically a part of Bengal in any form. It was annexed by the British Raj in 1850, taken from an exceedingly weak Sikkim, a princely state itself annexed by India in 1975. Bundled into the Bengal presidency by the British, Darjeeling has remained in Bengal even after 1947. This is even after the 1955 States Reorganisation Committee had successfully arranged Indian states according to language. Nepali-speaking Darjeeling district, therefore, is an incongruous part of Bangla-speaking West Bengal.
Darjeeling demanding Gorkhaland
Amar Singh Rai, the Darjeeling constituency candidate for the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha is clear that the demand for Gorkhaland is based on ethnic identity. “We want a homeland for ourselves ­–­ for our own identity,” he said. “Although we are bona fide Indian citizens, we are still called ‘Nepali’. To get rid of the stigma we feel it’s essential that we have our own state.”

Popular demand
The Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha is the largest party in Darjeeling and it campaigns on almost a single-point agenda: the creation of a Gorkhaland state. The popularity of the Gorkhaland demand can be seen from the fact that in the 2011 Assembly elections, the GJM picked up 79% of all votes caste across the three constituencies in Darjeeling district. In Darjeeling town, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), widely seen as a Bengali party in the hills, received all of 3.5% of the votes cast.

Rai alleges that there is ethnic discrimination at play here, with the hills being ignored by the Kolkta's Bengali rulers. “Gorkhaland is a right of self-determination for us since West Bengal is oblivious to us,” Rai charged. “They don’t care about the tea industry or the rights of the tea garden workers.”

Support for Gorkhaland is starkly visible across Darjeeling town. Stores invariably list their address as “Gorkhaland” rather than the “West Bengal” it officially is.

Anup Chhetri sells winter wear in the busy Chowk Bazar area of Darjeeling town and is clear in his support for a new state. “We who live here need to decide what will happen with our land,” he argued. “How can people sitting in Kolkata or Delhi decide things about our home?”

Pie in the sky
In spite of this fervour, the Gorkhaland demand is now widely seen as a pipe dream. The demand has existed in some form or the other for a century now, culminating in a violent agitation in the 1980s led by the Gorkha National Liberation Front. The agitation led to the creation of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, a local government body to which the state government transferred some administrative powers. A 2007 agitation led by a new party and current incumbent, the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha, led to the formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, with its powers expanded vis-à-vis the earlier Hill Council.

The revenue from the tea and tourism industry, though, means that Kolkata is extremely reluctant to let go of Darjeeling completely. And while the final decision to create a new state rests with the Union government – and not West Bengal – given the tiny population of Darjeeling, no ruling party in Delhi would wish to antagonise Kolkata. The political trade-off in terms of support from Darjeeling is simply too small.

Cracks in Gorkhaland
Recognising this ground politics at play, critics of the all-or-nothing demand for Gorkhaland have also emerged. From the Kalimpong constituency, the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha is being opposed by Harka Bahadur Chettri, who broke away from the GJM in 2015, complaining that their voluble demand for Gorkhaland was simply a ploy to garner votes and one that was actually harming the development of the region.

This is not the only dissension at play. During her term as chief minister, Mamata Banerjee created multiple “development boards” aimed at specific minority ethnicities, other than the majority Gorkhas ­– a move that Amar Singh Rai angrily characterised as a “policy of divide and rule”. In the past five years, Kolkata has formed six boards for the Lepcha, Tamang, Rai, Sherpa, Bhutia and Mangar communities. Even the Trinamool candidate from Siliguri town, another Gorkha-Bengali contested space, is a Bhutia – India’s best-know footballer, Baichung Bhutia.

These ground realities mean that no matter the fervour on the ground and its use as a vote catcher, the creation of an actual Gorkha state seems quite unlikely.


The Darjeeling Chronicle Editor's Interview That Was Never Published by Catch News

10:23 PM
In the process of their election coverage, Catch News had interviewed TheDC Editor Ms. Rinchu... but perhaps her answers were not what the national media were looking for... perhaps they wanted to hear her rants on GJM vs. JAP rivalry again, perhaps they were not happy with the fact that our editor highlighted the TMC failures instead of going on anti-GJM or anti-JAP tirade... they didn't publish the interview... so we are putting out the same...

Thanks Catch News, our time was well spent after-all

The Darjeeling Chronicle Editor's Interview That Was Never Published by Catch News

CATCH NEWS: In the past 5 years, how much development/improvement in infrastructure have you seen in Darjeeling?
RINCHU: One of the most visible signs of improvement in the infrastructure is in the sphere of road constructions; relative improvement has been seen in the road connectivity from Siliguri to Darjeeling. Our’s is perhaps the only border region in India which touches three countries Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, and Tibet (China) is just beyond a hill, and yet our National Highway – 55 is shut down since 2010. Given this, we did not have a proper highway connecting Darjeeling with the rest of India. Thanks to powers that be, they repaired and widened the existing Rohini Road which has gone on to become the lifeline of Darjeeling hills. Of late we have seen slight improvements in the subsidiary road connectivity as well. Even within the Darjeeling municipality, the roads are finally being looked after, after many years of utter neglect.

Most important infrastructure development has been in terms of rural electrification, where numerous villages that had never gotten electricity finally got connected to the grid. Earlier around 167 villages did not have electricity connection in Darjeeling region, today around 60% of those villages do.

In terms of education new College buildings have been completed in Mirik and Bijanbari, and other colleges are being constructed in Pedong, and Gorubathan, model schools have been constructed in Sukna and other parts of Darjeeling hills.

In terms of Darjeeling municipality region, they have started a few pay toilets which were much needed, and over all cleanliness of the municipality region is currently being undertaken.

Other than these there have been minor improvements in terms of provisioning drinking water and proper drainage in small streams, cemented roads or stairs that reaches right up to people’s doors in rural areas and so on.

However, I must highlight that there is way more avenues and scope for improving infrastructure in our region. There are numerous villages that don’t have road connectivity, numerous villages that don’t have basic infrastructure in place – access to drinking water, proper hospitals, schools and colleges, roads and so on.

Even Darjeeling town reels under acute water-crisis every winter, and so do the town of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik. So the infrastructure development we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg in relative terms of what needs to be done.

CATCH NEWS: How happy are the locals since the implementation of GTA?
RINCHU: To be honest, NO ONE is happy with the formation and implementation of GTA. Everyone feels that GTA is a premature baby that was thrusted upon us as a compromise, that our idiotic politicians conceded to. GTA does not fulfill any of our aspirations, and it does not do justice to the sacrifices numerous Gorkha brave-hearts have made for our nation as well as for the cause of Gorkhaland.

However, the blame primarily lies with Bengal government, as they did not live up to their side of the bargain. They did not transfer all the departments that they were supposed to, they also did not transfer the powers associated with the functioning of those departments they had transferred to GTA; they continued and have continued to interfere in the day to day running of the GTA.

Moreover, with the Bengal government establishing the so called “Development boards” on divisive ethnic lines has created a huge chasm in the hills, and these boards are being run as a proxy representation of Trinmool party in the hills.

Furthermore, Darjeeling region hasn’t seen Panchayat elections since 2005, we are perhaps the only region in India where the provision for Panchayati Raj Under Article 40 of our Constitution and guaranteed by the73rd Constitutional Amendment Act (1992) has not been implemented. Even after the formation of GTA in 2011, the Bengal government hasn’t taken any initiative to implement Panchayat raj in our hills, which is why our rural population is suffering as none of the Central government schemes have reached our rural regions.

The youth are particularly unhappy, as the Bengal government was supposed to have established a separate Subordinate Services Commission, School Services Commission and College Services Commission for GTA region, yet in the past 5 years none of these have been done. All our educated youth are today forced to head to other parts of India or abroad for employment opportunity.

I feel that GTA is today much less powerful than the Zilla Parishad, hence none of the locals are happy with GTA.

As if that was not enough, the party in power Gorkha Janmukti Morcha ran GTA as their fiefdom and allegations of rampant corruption and nepotism abound against GTA and its functionaries.

Having said that, there is a section of population, I call them “Perpetually Optimists” that is moderately happy with GTA, as they feel that even though the real power is vested with Bengal, yet for them GTA represents (to some extent) a degree of autonomy and authority that the Gorkhas have earned for ourselves. Moreover, GTA provides a political space where we can elect our own representatives, whose aspirations align with the aspirations of the majority of the local people.

Most important of all, people are thankful that we don’t have to rely on Bengal to meet our basic needs and wants. GTA is after all something we have earned through our struggles, and to a certain extent it has kept the focus on Gorkhas and our aspiration for Gorkhaland state in the national psyche, imagine in a country with over 1.2 billion populations - that is something which we keep in mind.

CATCH NEWS: Among The Candidates In Darjeeling, Who Do You Believe Is A Better Bet For Darjeeling?
RINCHU: I think from among the choice of candidates that we have, definitely Prof. Amar Rai is hands down the best candidate for Darjeeling MLA seat. He is first an educator, and has over 35 years of experience teaching Political Science to graduate students. From what I have heard from his students, he is very popular among his students. Unlike some other “intellectuals” who require appointments to meet them made through their PAs, Prof. Rai is grounded and accessible, with no unnecessary airs or sense of “intellectualism” about himself. He is the current Chairman of the Darjeeling Municipality so he has enough administrative experience as well; moreover he is perhaps the only Municipal Chairman in Darjeeling’s history who does not use government issued vehicle. He walks to his office and back and uses his private vehicle for all his personal needs. He is widely respected and with this background he is more inspiring as compared to all other candidates.

CATCH NEWS: Do you want the TMC to find its ground in the hills? Do you think that will be good or bad or the people of the hills?
Rinchu: NO I would never want any Bengal based party to find grounds in the hills, be it TMC or earlier CPI(M), as the moment they gain power in Bengal, they tend to treat the hill people as 2nd class citizens. They tend to distort our history, narratives surrounding our place and people and threaten our language, diverse culture and tradition, our unity, question our identity – in short our very existence.

TMC, Good?? Hahaha... what worries me is the fact that TMC has already through its various proxies started to dig its roots in the hills. The formation of so called “development boards” is in and of itself an indication of how low they are willing to stoop to gain power in the hills. What the British did in India, TMC is already doing that – divide and rule. One of my main concern is that TMC is a autocratic party and has no room for dissent, we have already seen how they managed to curtail all voices of protest and dissent during the Gorkhaland agitation. We have seen how deceptive they can be in their not living up to the GTA agreement. We can feel how divisive they can be in the boards that they are forming, I fear that if TMC comes to power in the hills, then the Gorkha community will be divided in such a way that the umbrella term Gorkha which defines us will cease to exist, eventually our very existence, our history, our connections to our place will be eradicated... we will become so distorted that we will cease to exist. It will be genocide of the other kind, a more modern, a more evil and a more pervasive form of genocide.

TMC doesn’t has a fixed ideal or ideology, they are the most opportunistic and power hungry party that will never stop till it devours all that stands between them and power. Sadly some of our hill leaders, particularly of the “intellectual” variety are paving the way for TMC to walk on.

CATCH NEWS: How will the formation of Gorkhaland help the cause of the people of the hills according to you?
RINCHU: Gorkhaland statehood itself is the primary cause of the people of the hills, Terai and Dooars. In India, the Gorkhas are seen as immigrants, where as our history is proof that the majority of us did not immigrate, rather we came with the land. When someone says they are a Bengali, people in India naturally assume they are from West Bengal and no one asks them if they are from Bangladesh. If someone says they are Punjabi, people naturally assume they are from Punjab, and no one asks them if they are from Punjab in Pakistan. If someone says they are Tamil, everyone assumes they are from Tamil Nadu, and no one questions if they are from Sri Lanka. Whereas when we say we are Gorkhas, people ask us if we are from Nepal. When we say we are from Darjeeling in West Bengal, people ask us if we are Bengali, then we say no we are Gorkhas, then they ask us when did we immigrate? This is the “CRISIS OF RECOGNITION” that we have lived and continue to live with. Ironically we are asked this question even in Kolkata, which is supposed to be the capital of the state we live in. We do not have a place-based identity - Our identity was derecognized, when Bengal colonized us after absorbing our district on the 13th of April 1954.

Moreover Bengal has always treated Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars as its colonial outpost, from which they have drained out our resources and wealth for the past 7 decades without making any repatriation. We are literally to Bengal, what India was to the British, a colonial outpost meant to be plundered, robbed and pillaged from.

So formation of Gorkhaland state means restoring back our existence, our control over our land and resources, our control over the wealth that we have always created through tourism, hydro, trade and other avenues.

Our languages will get due recognition and respect. Though Nepali is one of the recognized national languages of India under the VIIIth Schedule of our Constitution, recognized so since 1992, and it is also the Official Language in West Bengal since 1961; and we can choose Nepali as an optional paper in IAS examination, yet till date we cannot opt for Nepali as an optional paper in WBCS. Our language is treated as a 2nd class language, just as we are treated as a 2nd class citizen. When Gorkhaland is formed, this discrimination towards us and our language will end.

Gorkhaland statehood will ensure that we will be able to “live the kind of life that we value living.”

CATCH NEWS: Who will you vote for and why?
RINCHU: I won’t tell you who I am voting for, but I will tell you what I am voting against. I am voting against the division of our community on the lines of development boards. I am voting against the injustice – discrimination, apathy, indifference and subjugation that our people have had to face under Bengal for decades. I am voting against the systematic and systemic marginalization of our community. I am voting against the short-sighted vision of the “intellectual” leaders. I am voting against those people who are power-hungry and put themselves before the cause of Gorkhaland. I am voting against those forces and alliances that are threatening our very existence.

I am not voting for change this time, I am voting for the continuation of the 100 year old struggle that our forefathers had initiated, so that we – the Gorkhas could live the life with dignity, equality and opportunity that our great nation has promised us.

I am voting for Gorkhaland.

Via TheDC

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