Showing posts with label Blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blog. Show all posts

Bikal Rai gets a Laptop and Dongle as gift from Chief Engineer from Mumbai

8:51 PM
Sikkim 2nd April 2016 A person from Mumbai had called Bikal Rai more than four years ago after he saw a first Facebook post about Bikal Rai a self made engineer from Sikkim. After he called Bikal the man from Mumbai had a dream to do something for Bikal Rai. His dream came true when he met Bikal in Gangtok today. He gifted him a brand new Laptop and new Dongle.

His name is Jai Shree Ram he came to Sikkim from Mumbai to meet Bikal Rai. He gifted a Laptop and Dongle to Bikal Rai saying these gift for Bikal bhai is from him along with his two friends from Mumbai and a friend from Singapore. Mr. Shree Ram also gifted Rs. 7500 to Bikal Rai thinking that cash will help him to get his Dongle recharged some time.

Bikal Rai gets a Laptop and Dongle as gift from man from Mumbai
Mr Shree Ram also visited the home of Bikal Rai to greet his mother and to query about her health conditions. He's a Chief Engineer in Mumbai Airport. Shree Ram Sir has more dreams about Bikal Rai. He wants to see Bikal Rai in America someday and to make it possible, Shree Ram shared his views with Bikal Rai. Shree Ram also gifted a rechargeable lamp so that Bikal Rai can study in night, in case if there's no electricity.

Via Sikkim Messenger

Ever Enduring Nostalgia of Road Cricket in ‪Darjeeling‬

3:25 PM
Writes: Bicky Sharma

“Life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans”- John Lennon.

When I look back in time I see a lot of changes that reflect in every aspect and dimensions of my life as well as the life of the hills. Fortunate enough, our childhood days didn’t see the arrival of computers and mobile phones and even more fortunate that a bunch of friends and one laal-patthar each were enough to call it a smooth day.

I look at kids these days and notice how they are indulged in gaming and social networking, they hardly know the fun of outdoor sports, unless of course it is a formal playing at school or sports clubs. Times were different when we were kids. Most of the time was spent outside and we had a variety of games and sports that kept us busy for the whole day.

If I went on talking about all the games that we had, it would take days and still wouldn’t be sufficient. I however vividly remember a few outdoor street sports of our time, just thinking of which gives me a beautiful nostalgia.
Nostalgia of Road Cricket in ‪Darjeeling‬
No cricket field? No problem! This was the "Darjeeling cricket stadium". Pic via nocrustnoproblem
Darjeeling is a football crazy place as we all know and it had an important contribution to our childhood. We would play football through all stages of a ball’s life- from a new ball to tubeless ‘bora haaleko’ ball with all cobbler stitches around. That doesn't mean we didn’t enjoy other sports. We had equal enthusiasm about cricket and we used to enjoy it to the fullest during the cricket season.

Life was not as easy as these days. Cricket bat used to be a rare kit and usually only one guy in a group would have a bat, luxury items of our time. And about ball, playing with a tennis ball would be a once in a blue moon affair, that too if we were to visit somewhere else for a cricket match (bet). Else, handmade balls (kaagaz/plastic ko) would compensate to the lack of funds and ensure that we never went out of play.

The ball, I must say required skilled hands and systematic process to get ready. The process started by selecting a perfect stone for the core of the ball, round and of the desired weight. It would then be wrapped by layers of paper, addition of each layer would be followed by the step of compressing it to make the ball compact. The endless supply of papers would come from the used notebooks of the past (asti ko paali ko khaata haru) or old newspapers. The last layer would be of that of a plastic to save the paper layers inside from the friction of the concrete road. When the ball would be ready with perfect weight and structure, it would be tied up with rubber bands all around, to keep it intact and give it a bouncy finish.

The only thing we needed to buy that way were rubber bands which would cost 1-2 rupees, the amount of money we used to get ‘mithai khanu’ from home those days, to which I am sure many kids these days would laugh. But those were the reality of the days, kids got see a beefy amount only on very lucky days. And sometimes when you didn’t even have that 1-2 rupees, the only alternative left would be to look for “katteko chungis”.

So now having everything ready, the cricket match would start (a serious one). Rules were simple: Generally, the off side would be closed (as for the fear of losing the ball down the off side). The bowler should be bowling round arm delivery without bending the hand (Toppay bowl not allowed). Wicket would usually be a big Tin Box (Pujari Tel ko), or a Chair or Pira held on to the road using a brick, or stump made of cardboard or sticks... and it would be the wicket keeper’s duty to remove the wicket if a vehicle came. The other wicket at the bowler’s end would be a brick. The game would be paused if the vehicles and people were to pass by. The run distribution would be declared in clear words “Straight ma sulkera goko Chauka, Urera goko Six, Maathi vitta ma laageko Duggi (two runs), Off ma sulkera goko run chaina, ball kattako out.”

And the most important rule “Joley kattawcha tesle Ball tipera/khojera lewcha”.

The ball would roll down the culprit side as many a times and searching for the ball would be a normal practice throughout the match. Most of the times, habituated to the exercise of looking for the ball, one would already know where to look first.

In our case, it was the root of a nettle plant where the ball would go and get stuck most often (sisnu ko jhyang vitra).

Failing to find the ball by oneself, the other guys would finally come down to join the search with praises and compliments like “Yesle ta aankha dekhay po ball khojthiyo” and “tero aankha ho ki aalu ho?”

The ball used to be an asset in itself, a way to the happiness.

What remain fresh are the memories of hitting the ball at someone’s roof to losing it into the drains; From making perfect balls for cricket, to making lighter version of the same to play luckoo/pittu (I don’t know what they call it in English or what other names they might use to refer to it).

The road now has beautiful houses on both its sides and no longer serves as a playground. The passerby no longer give expressions like “kasto maanchey hidney baato tira kheleko, aafnu aafnu ghar agari gayera khelnu ni”. Baato muni ko Badi no longer has to say “aabo ball aayo vaney chai kattai dinchu”.

Kids are safe before the screens and no longer need to find an explanation for the bruises on their hands or knees.

Via TheDC

Facebook helps find 22-year-old Gorkha woman missing from Dooars

10:13 AM
Vivek Chhetri

Darjeeling, Feb. 26: From China to Canada, Delhi to Darjeeling, a motley group of people networked across continents to unite a 22-year-old woman with her family almost three weeks after she lost her way from a Dooars tea garden.

Chunnu Tamang went missing from Tulsipara tea garden near Birpara on February 7.

She was tracked, identified and united with her family at Salua in East Midnapore yesterday by several Facebook and WhatsApp users whom she hasn't met and will perhaps never see.

Chunnu had been staying in the tea garden with her mother Bela and three sisters. She lost her father few years ago.

Earlier this month, she lost her way while roaming in the plantation.

Her family lodged a police complaint and while they looked for her in the Dooars, Vivek Lepcha, 23, a graduate from St Xavier's College, Calcutta, got a call from a friend in Siliguri.

"He shared some photographs of a girl with me and said she was seen at the NJP station and added that she must have lost her way. He told me she had been seen in the area for three days. Since my friend is in a government service, he did not want to come out in public. I decided to post the photos on a Facebook page called The Darjeeling Chronicle," Lepcha said.

The Darjeeling Chronicle page lists news and events and it has multiple administrators not only from Darjeeling, Calcutta, Mumbai and others cities of India but also from Canada, the Netherlands and the United States. The page has more than 48,000 followers.

Rinchu Doma Dukpa, one of the administrators, said: "We received the message on February 10 and as soon as we put it up, it was shared 2,400 times. It seems that Rajen Chhetri from Delhi informed Rangu Souriya of Kanchenjungha Uddhar Kendra (an NGO) based in Siliguri, about the message."

Souriya rushed to NJP but by then, Chunnu had left the area.

"She went missing again and all of us were very worried," Dukpa said. "We got information about the girl from Bikash Lama, Ugen T. Bhutia, Simran Sharma (in Calcutta) and Sanjeev Rai."
Facebook helps find 22-year-old Chunnu Tamang missing from Dooars
Facebook helps find 22-year-old Chunnu Tamang missing from Dooars
Bikash, 38, a businessman from Jaigoan in the Dooars, said: "When I saw the post on Facebook, I decided to share it and some of my friends from Birpara told me about the girl's family. Since the FB post said she was seen in NJP, I, along with some of the girl's relatives, went to NJP station but we could not find her."

By this time, other pages on Facebook, like Dooars Express and Hamro Darjeeling, had also shared the posts.

Sanjeev, 30, a travel guide from Alubari in Darjeeling, managed to get in touch with Chunnu's eldest sister, Binu, who works in Chennai.

"I saw a post on FB pages Hamro Darjeeling and Darjeeling Chronicle. I also saw another post stating that someone had gone missing and a contact number had been given," Sanjeev said.

When Sanjeev called that number, he found it was Binu's

On February 21, the DC team received a message from Anmol Mukhia, a international relations PhD scholar from Jilin University, China.

"Anmol had shared the girl's photographs posted by Bishal Tamang from Salua in East Midnapore," said Dukpa.

Anmol in a WhatsApp message from China said: "I had seen a post about a missing person. Once I got the pictures shared by Bishal Tamang, I send those to DC."

Bishal said they got a call from police "saying a girl who spoke Nepali was found walking aimlessly on a highway. They asked if we could help. We tried speaking to her but she could not give proper answers. Sometimes she said she was from Delhi and then she named other places. She was admitted to the sadar hospital here," said Bishal.

Bishal then posted the woman's pictures on the Hamro Darjeeling page. Eventually Amnol came across the posts. "I contacted DC," said Anmol.

The DC got in touch with Sanjeev Rai, who had helped identify Chunnu. "I contacted Binu in Chennai, who confirmed that it was her sister," said Sanjeev.

Binu said: "I heard from my friend that pictures of my sister, who had gone missing from the garden, were being circulated on Facebook. My friend shared the pictures and mentioned my phone number along with that. Later, I was contacted by some people who informed me about my sister. I am relieved that she has been found in Salua (around 800km) from the estate. My mother and relatives reached Salua yesterday. They are on their way home today."

Note Kudos to The Darjeeling Chronicle team, keep up the good work..


Darjeeling mourns the death of Puran Gongba - Rest in Music

1:13 PM
We deeply regret to announce the death of the legendary Puran Gongba a musician from Darjeeling who was admired then, still and will be admired forever.The legend was part of Darjeeling's first Rock and Roll band "The HILLIANS". Puran Gongba, the owner of a famous western style pub none other than Joey's Pub in Darjeeling,

According to social media post he suffered from a massive stroke last night and was rushed to Planters hospital, but sadly he could not be revived.

About Puran Gongba 
Puran Gongba was amazing guitar player and generations of guitar players in the hills looked up to him, what set him apart from others was his simplicity and down to earth attitude. He started playing the guitar out of interest, and learnt it the hard way. He used to tirelessly listen to the radio, watch movies and teach himself to place fingers and strum the strings.he played the guitar with many bands like Extreme Moderation and Hillians.
Puran Gongba
Puran Gongba
In between he went to the United Kingdom for a few years. Here he worked and took guitar lessons. That was when he learnt to read music.He is fondly called "Joey" by the Darjeeling crowd and the foreigners, who visit his pub called "Joey's Pub"

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According to him Darjeeling was a happening place back in the sixties. He cherishes the Jazz,Samba,Ramba dances that used to be held at the Gymkhana Club. People from the North-East used to come to Darjeeling to buy the latest gadgets and ask him about the latest in music.

Inspite of his love for music he stopped playing after his last stage appearance in 1985.When asked for the reason, he stated that guys in Darjeeling have lots of talent but there is one to promote them.So they have to give up their love for music soon and start finding other alternate ways to earn their daily bread and butter.

Bhima & Puja's journey From child labour to Bengal's Under-14 girls' hockey team

9:14 AM
Vivek Chettri

Darjeeling, Feb. 16: Bhima Chettri and Puja Kachu were victims of child labour not too long ago. Today, the two youngsters are representing Bengal in hockey with Bhima even captaining the state's Under-14 girls' team.

Bhima, a resident of Rimbick in Darjeeling subdivision, was seven when she had been sent to Kalimpong, about 100km away, where she had to help a family in domestic chores. "I was told that I would be sent to school but that never happened," said Bhima.

Puja, from Mainaguri in the Dooars, too, was sent to Kalimpong to work as a domestic help at about the same age as Bhima. Puja's story was just similar: "I, too, was told that I would be sent to school but the family didn't keep the word."
Bhima & Puja's journey From child labour to Bengal's Under-14 girls' hockey team
Bhima Chettri and Puja Kachu Bengal's Under-14 girls' hockey team
Life was difficult for the two until help came in 2012.

Sister Subeshna Thapa, director of Bal Suraksha Abhiyan Trust, which is based in Kalimpong, and her team that has been fighting child labour since 2006 managed to bring a ray of hope in the lives of the little girls.

"We want the society to know their stories so that everyone can learn a lesson. In 2012, we approached the family where Bhima was being kept and convinced them that what they were doing was not right. The family agreed to let Bhima go. In Puja's case, we had to conduct a raid with the help of police and rescue her from her employer," said Sister Subeshna.

The two girls were sheltered at the home run by the trust and sent to St Michael's School in Darjeeling. The school changed the duo's life.

Prakash Rai, who coaches the school hockey team, said: "I must say the two girls picked a lot of hockey within a short span."

Such has been their growth rate that the two were among the six girls selected from Darjeeling district to be part of Bengal's Under-14 hockey team.

And it was no surprise that Bhima was made the captain of the Bengal team at the 61st National School Games, which was held at Ranchi, Jharkhand, from January 4 to 8.

Speaking over the phone from Calcutta, Krishna Mondal, manager of the Bengal team, said: "Yes, Bhima was the captain of the team and the two girls were good in their category. It would be great if they could come and stay in Calcutta and pursue hockey."

The team won two games but lost to Jharkhand in the quarter final.

Bhima, who studies in Class VIII, goes to her family once in a while. She has parents, four sisters and five brothers. In fact, just before she was to leave for Jharkhand, Bhima suddenly did not feel like going. "I really thank Sister Subeshna for making me realise the opportunity that lay before me," said Bhima.

While Bhima's family is aware of her success, Puja has never gone home after her rescue in 2012. "We have learnt that her father is no more and mother is untraceable. Still, we are encouraging her to visit the family before the school reopens. She is planning to visit her family in the Dooars this week," said Sister Subeshna.

Puja, a Class VII student, has three brothers and a sister.

Both Bhima and Puja practise about three hours at the school every day. "When it rains, the hockey team trains in the school hall," said Rai.

While hockey is providing a ray of hope to the young girls, the duo have not yet thought of pursing the sport professionally. Surprisingly, both want to join the police and for the same reason. "I want to be a police woman so that all the evils of our society can be ended. I think police can do much but in many cases they look the other way," said Puja.

Source Telegraph

My Dreams, Were Our Dreams........

9:31 AM
Writes: Swadhin Rai 

Somebody truly said that dreams are those which we see with our open eyes rather than eyes closed. Former was the reality to conquer where as latter was just a reflection of our perception and imagination compounded. As I was in growing up the desire to become someone solemnly penetrated in my mind and later on it changed the whole thought process. It made me to leave the playthings, my dearest wooden cycle and I adopted dry books. It was from that moment I am dreaming to bring my dream into daylight.

Life was smooth, fun and so youthful. Gradually passed from school and reached college. Nothing changed, I could do whatever I liked. At last the time came and I stepped out from the safe zone. So as I went on to ponder the harsh reality one has to face, I felt good as my knowledge about the world increased but I felt as if I was lost in the midst of the jeering crowd. I felt anger when they taunted at me. My determination shattered and I was feeling to be afraid.
cartoon on gorkhaland

In every face similar to mine, I saw my reflection. In them I saw the same fear, same insecurity and same goal. I realized my dreams were not mine it was ours.

As every society is made up of genetic factor, cultural factor and most importantly the nature of the social relationship that an individual makes. When I see around me I feel ourselves moving like a railroad. It moves and bends but still it targets to its destination. The problem arises when it diverges into two.

Today, its a crucial, as well as a critical hour has come for us to evaluate our mistakes for the singular dream. Should we diverge like a railroad for a common interest?

There must be a rebellion from our heart and soul rather than from our body. Lets us work to make ourselves worthy for our sajayako sunaulo sapana.

Source TheDC

Assam Gorkha Chandra Sharma awaits clearance to fly self made helicopter

11:53 PM
Assam mechanic builds ‘jugaad’ helicopter, awaits clearance

Writes Rahul Karmakar

Vehicles struggle to reach Shyamjuli, a village 450km northeast of Assam’s principal city, Guwahati. This was the reason why Chandra Siwakoti Sharma, a school dropout, built a helicopter that he says can carry two people 30-50ft above the ground.

An automobile mechanic, Sharma spent more than Rs15 lakh to design the helicopter with metal sheets, car seats and two SUV engines. He has named it Pawan Putra, a sort of a “jugaad”, or innovative fix, he worked on primarily to give his backward area a faster mode of communication.

Shyamjuli is in Dhemaji district, Assam’s remotest and almost always flood-affected.
“My helicopter can fly, though not as fast as the ones in operation for civil or military duty. It can easily move at 50kmph,” Sharma says.
Chandra Sharma's self made helicopter
Chandra Sharma's self made helicopter
He is awaiting clearance from authorities concerned to find out if his aircraft really works.

“We want to encourage a person who has conquered adversities to make a helicopter without any degree in aviation. But we want to go by the rules first,” said Victor Carpenter, the district’s deputy commissioner.

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Carpenter said the district administration would write to the chief of civil aviation regulator DGCA and others who deal with such cases. “We are exploring the possibility of at least facilitating a trial for the chopper that Sharma has built.”

Locals, enthused by Sharma’s innovation, have already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. One of them, Ganesh Karki, pointed out that the helicopter was one of the best examples of Modi’s ambitious “Make in India” project.

“Sharma could not study beyond class 3 because of poverty, but invested all his savings and even sold his land to follow his dream. He needs to be encouraged,” Karki wrote.
Sharma said local officials and officers from an army camp nearby have promised to witness the trial of his helicopter once he gets permission.

“I did run the engines once. The rotor was forcing the helicopter up, but I stopped the engines in order to not violate any rules,” he said.

Source: hindustantimes


9:24 AM
Writes: Tilak Dhungana

The term “GORKHA” refers to the Nepali speaking people living in India. They are spread all over the nation and have large number of population in the state of Darjeeling, Dooars, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri districts in north-Bengal, state of Sikkim and in all the north-eastern states of India, along with a large Gorkha population in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

The Indian Gorkhas always identify themselves as Indian citizens. Gorkhas are a mixture of Indo-Aryan and Mongolian clans. They are peace loving people living in the entire Himalayan region. The estimated population of Gorkhas in India is 1.50 Crores.

Gorkhaland is a century long movement of Gorkhas for a separate state in India. The demand was first raised in the year 1907, after the submission of a memorandum to Minto-Morley Reforms by the Hillmen`s association of Darjeeling. The demand is yet to ve fulfilled. It is a demand of Gorkhas basically living in the area of Darjeeling and Dooars, Jalpaiguri and Kalimpong districts in North-west Bengal in the State of Bengal. The proposed area of Gorkhaland is around 3,150 which is more than the area of state Goa. It is a demand under the section 3(A) of Indian constitution.

Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League is said to be the first political party to demand the greater identity for Indian Gorkhas in the year 1952. Later on the movement for separate state of Gorkhaland was carried forward by Gorkha National Liberation Front(GNLF) led by Late. Subash Ghisingh in the year 1986. The demand was not fulfilled and the movement stopped after an agreement by GNLF and Govt. by the creation of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). In the movement 1200 people were martyred, but the Gorkhas haven`t forgotten their aim to achieve the Gorkhaland state.

As result in 2007 Gorkha Janamukti Morcha(GJM) started the movement under the leadership of Bimal Gurung. The movement gained its momentum and also gained mass support from the Gorkhas living in North Eastern states of India like: Skkim, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh etc. In that movement Manghal Singh Rajput immolated himself shouting “We Want Gorkhaland”.

The large number of Gorkhas living in Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh supported the agitation as the desire to see the separate state for the people who speak “GORKHA VASA or NEPALI LANGUAGE” remains a cherished dream of all the Gorkhas across India. In Assam, organizations like All Assam Gorkha Students Union (AAGSU) and Gorkha Sammelan led the mass processions in the city for the Gorkhaland. But the government of India did not respect the wishes of the Gorkha community to form a new state for Gorkhas and provide a lond due justice to them.

The Trinamol Congress (TMC) government lead by Mamata Banerjee in west Bengal is playing a divide and rule policy in the hills and Dooars to weaken the movement. During the movement slogan of “Jai Hind, Jai Gorkha” showed their patriotism to India. Thus , Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) was formed on 18 July 2011.But Gurung resigned from the GTA and renewed the movement in 2013. The burning desire to see a separate Gorkhaland state has not gone out yet from the heart of Gorkhas.

Bimal Gurung again set out for Padyatra on 3rd October 2015 to create awareness for the separate Gorkhaland state. It is also a protest against the illegal interference of state government on Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).The governments in the states and in the central continues to discriminate against the Gorkhas by not fulfilling our one and only cherished dream.

It is the grievance of Gorkhas that in some parts of north-eastern states of India and in Darjeeling and Dooars in west Bengal they are termed as “foreigners”. It is only because they speak the language Nepali, they are not rich, most of them are not educated and they are labourers working in various farms getting law wages. How discriminating it is the term “foreigners” in the ear of Gorkhas? Have we ever imagined it? Isn’t it unconstitutional?

The Gorkhas who vigils the borders, the Gorkhas who sacrifices lives for the nation every week, the Gorkhas who feel proud identifying themselves as an Assamese, an Indian, the Gorkhas who are working whole day and night for the all round development of the nation and they are discriminated as “foreigners”.

A large numbers of people were martyred during Gorkhaland movement and the government hesitates to form a new sate GORKHALAND. The Gorkhas are living in some north-eastern states of India by rearing cows, goats on river banks. The government haven’t provided them basic needs, since the British rule they were used as labourers and discriminated cruelly. They were not educated. Those illiterate Gorkhas were only used for vote bank unknowingly and their rights were snatched. As they were the inhabitants on the bank of the river, they were swept away by flood every year. In such a condition they were shifted to another place settled in the valley and lost whatever they had.

In the year 1886 under British rule and in 1947 by the govt. of Independent India Gorkhas were given the status of protected class. But it was very discriminating that the same right was null and void by the Govt. of Assam on 27th June 1969 unilaterally. But the Gorkha Sammelan led by ex-MP Mr. Mani kr. Subba in 1993 demanded the then Hiteswar Saikia led government to implement the rights of protected class which was snatched from the Gorkhas. On 19th March 1993 the same right to the Gorkhas living in the region were given again. But the government is still throwing dust in the eyes of Gorkhas and taking some actions unilaterally, which is unconstitutional.

It is mentioned in Suguli Treaty which was signed on 2nd December 1815 that the 7000 sq.mile of land from Nepal incorporated to India. Thus, the people living in that region scattered in various parts of India and its states. It is also said that the 1815 treaty is valid and legally binding even after the Indo-Nepal friendship treaty signed in 1950. So, how long should the Gorkhas living within Indian territories fight for their identity, political right, economic development, and the educational development?

The demand of Gorkhaland is a legitimate demand. Govt. of India and it’s states should fulfill the burning aspirations of statehood for Gorkhas to protect them from the racist discrimination , to provide them the higher education and employment, to provide them various facilities for economic development, to protect them from eviction and for the all round development of the nation. People who have been living in India since time immemorial, who have a century long demand of separate state, who sacrificed their lives to dig various oil fields (like oil fields in …..Digboi, Naharkatiya, Duliajan), who settled in India on their own land under treaties signed between govt. of India and Nepal, so, how discriminating it is to call them “foreigners”?

Tilak Dhungana is from Natun Balijan, Sadiya, Assam

Via TheDC

Facts about Gurkhas or rather Gorkhas

7:06 PM

1) Gurkha is spelled as Gorkha in Nepali, the correct way to pronounce it (Gor-kha).

2) Gorkha is a Sanskrit word which means Protector of Cows, Gau(Cow)+Rakha(Protector)=Gorkha.

3) Gorkha is one of the 75 districts of modern Nepal. It is a misconception that the Gurkhas took their name from the Gorkha region of Nepal. The region was given its name after the Gurkhas had established their control of these areas. In the early 1500s some of Bappa Rawal's descendants went further east, and conquered a small state in present-day Nepal, which they named Gorkha in honour of their patron saint.

4) The Gorkha war cry is "Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali" (Hail Great Goddess Kali, Here Comes Gorkhali)

5) Gorkha are people from Nepal and North East India who take their name from the eighth century Hindu warrior-saint Guru Gorakhnath. His disciple Bappa Rawal, born Prince Kalbhoj/Prince Shailadhish, founded the house of Mewar. Later descendants of Bappa Rawal moved further east to found the house of Gorkha, which in turn founded the Kingdom of Nepal.

6) The Gurkhas were designated by the British as a Martial Race. Martial Race is a designation created by officials of British India to describe "races" (peoples) that were thought to be naturally warlike and aggressive in battle, and to possess qualities like courage, loyalty, self sufficiency, physical strength, resilience, orderliness, hard working, fighting tenacity and military strategy. The British recruited heavily from these Martial Races for service in the colonial army.

7) Gurkhas claim descent from the Hindu Rajputs and Brahmins of Northern India, who entered modern Nepal from the west. Guru Gorkhanath had a Rajput Prince-disciple, the legendary Bappa Rawal, born Prince Kalbhoj, founder of the house of Mewar, who became the first Gurkha and is said to be the ancestor of the present Royal family of Nepal.

8) The legend states that Bappa Rawal was a teenager in hiding, when he came upon the warrior saint while on a hunting expedition with friends in the jungles of Rajasthan. Bappa Rawal chose to stay behind, and care for the warrior saint, who was in deep meditation. When Guru Gorkhanath awoke, he was pleased with the devotion of Bappa Rawal. The Guru gave him the Kukri knife, the famous curved dagger of the present day Gurkhas. The legend continues that he told Bappa that he and his people would henceforth be called Gurkhas, the disciples of the Guru Gorkhanath, and their bravery would become world famous. He then instructed Bappa Rawal, and his Gorkhas to stop the advance of the Muslims, who were invading Afghanistan (which at that time was a Hindu/Buddhist nation). Bappa Rawal took his Gurkhas and liberated Afghanistan - originally named Gandhar, from which the present day Kandahar derives its name. He and his Gorkhas stopped the initial Islamic advance of the 8th century in the Indian subcontinent for the time being.
There are legends that Bappa Rawal (Kalbhoj) went further conquering Iran and Iraq before he retired as an ascetic at the feet of Mt. Meru, having conquered all invaders and enemies of his faith.

9) It is a misconception that the Gurkhas took their name from the Gorkha region of Nepal. The region was given its name after the Gurkhas had established their control of these areas. In the early 1500s some of Bappa Rawal's descendants went further east, and conquered a small state in present-day Nepal, which they named Gorkha in honour of their patron saint.

10) By 1769, through the leadership of Sri Panch (5) Maharaj Dhiraj Prithvi Narayan Shahdev (1769-1775), the Gorkha dynasty had taken over the area of modern Nepal. They made Hinduism the state religion, although with distinct Rajput warrior and Gorkhanath influences. Thus the modern Nepal as we know it today was created as one nation, one kingdom.

11) A Gurkha can be of any caste, creed or race (since there are racial variations in Nepal) but only a Hindu (that includes Nepalese Buddhists) can be a Gurkha, since it is de rigueur that one believes in the teachings of Guru Gorkhanath and the Warrior code of the Ancient Hindus. Without these teachings one cannot develop the mindset, spirit, essence and soul of a Gurkha. 

12) Although Hinduism is a general term encompassing a wide variety of faiths in the sub-continent, both Vedic and non-Vedic, it is worth mentioning that the Bon religion, an animistic, shamanistic faith is also practised by certain ethnic tribes that have also become encompassed and brought into the circle of the Gorkhas and thus should also be noted as being part of the Gorkhali culture.)

13) In the Gurkha War (1814–1816) they waged war against the British East India Company army. The British were impressed by the Gurkha soldiers and after reaching a stalemate with the Gurkhas and making Nepal a protectorate they were granted the right to hire them as mercenaries organised in Gurkha regiments in the East India Company army with the permission of then prime minister, Shree Teen (3) Maharaja (Maharana) Jung Bahadur Rana, the first Rana Prime-minister who initiated a Rana oligarchic rule in Nepal. Originally Jung Bahadur and his brother Ranodip Singh brought a lot of upliftment and modernisation to Nepalese society, the abolishment of slavery, upliftment of the untouchable class, public access to education etc. but these dreams were short lived when in the coup d'etat of 1885 the nephews of Jung Bahadur and Ranodip Singh (the Shumsher family or Satra (17) Family, later to be known as S.J.B. or Shumsher J.B.) murdered Ranodip Singh and the sons of Jung Bahadur and took control of Nepal bringing one of the darkest periods of Nepalese history (104 years of dictatorial rule). This Shumsher Rana rule is regarded as one of the reasons of Nepal lagging behind in modern development and a dark age of Nepalese History. The children of Jung Bahadur and Ranodip Singh mainly live outside of Kathmandu, in Nepal and mainly in India after escaping the coup d'etat of 1885. Relations among family members have now normalized.

14) The Gurkhas from reputed families refused to enter as soldiers and were instead given positions as officers in the British-Indian armed forces. The common peasant/farmer/village Gurkhas entered as soldiers. One Gurkha, the Great Great Grandson of Sri Teen Maharaja Jung Bahadur, was entered as officers, (retired) General Narendra Bahadur Singh, Gorkha Rifles, rose to become aide-de-camp (A.D.C.) to Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, when he was only a young Captain in the British Indian Army. After the British left India Gorkhalis continued seeking employment in British and Indian forces, as officers and soldiers, as well as maintaining the sovereignty of their nation.

15) Under international law present-day British Gurkhas are not treated as mercenaries but are fully integrated soldiers of the British Army, operate in formed units of the Brigade of Gurkhas, and abide by the rules and regulations under which all British soldiers serve. Similar rules apply for Gurkhas serving in the Indian Army.

16) “As I write these last words, my thoughts return to you who were my comrades, the stubborn and indomitable peasants of Nepal. Once more I hear the laughter with which you greeted every hardship. Once more I see you in your bivouacs or about your fires, on forced march or in the trenches, now shivering with wet and cold, now scorched by a pitiless and burning sun. Uncomplaining you endure hunger and thirst and wounds; and at the last your unwavering lines disappear into the smoke and wrath of battle. Bravest of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had country more faithful friends than you". -Professor Sir Ralph Turner, MC, who served with the 3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles in the First World War

17) "For over 180 years the Gurkhas have helped to fight Britain's wars and keep the peace. They have won 13 Victoria Crosses and served in most of the major conflicts of the 20th Century." (The Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.)

18) "If there was a minute's silence for every Gurkha casualty from World War 2 alone, we would have to keep quiet for two weeks

Chandra Sharma to fly self made helicopter on Republic Day

9:04 PM
An Indian Gorkha, Chandra Sharma, from Dimow Syamjuli village in Dhemaji District of Assam, have dedicated himself to building a Helicopter on his own which he will attempt to fly on 26th of Jan, 2016 – Republic Day.

According to reports on The Darjeeling Chronicle Mr. Sharma has been working on this helicopter since 2013 and the project is self financed as he has spent close to Rs 15 Lakhs from his own pocket towards making his dream come true.

The Darjeeling Chronicle on its post wrote "We are inspired by Mr. Sharma’s dedication and we are hopeful that his hard-work will pay dividends with the helicopter flying successfully on its 1st attempt. We are also hopeful that this incredible act of passion will inspire thousands of our Youths to take up their passion seriously and succeed in it.
Gorkha from Assam Chandra Sharma to fly self made helicopter on Republic Day
An Indian Gorkha, Chandra Sharma, from Dimow Syamjuli village in Dhemaji District of
Assam will attempt to fly on 26th of Jan, 2016 – Republic Day.
We wish Mr. Sharma all the LUCK and we are looking forward to reporting successful Flight Test on the 26th."


8:31 AM

Writes: Bal Krishna 

"बैनी मेरो साथी को चिट्ठी थाप्चौ हरे – would you accept my friend’s letter?" if you ever said these words or made someone say it for you, or heard someone say it to you, you have a wonderful moment to reflect upon. 

The other day my wife and I were reminiscing on how things were different when we were young and she remembered the 1st “Love Letter” she received from me. In fact she still has it, and showed it to me. It’s funny, my 1st letter to her is not in my own handwriting, and even she knows that (now ), but as I read that letter, all the nostalgia and memories of my younger days came flooding back, and I was compelled to write this piece… those days truly deserve an ODE.

This write-up is to take you guys down the memory lane, when things were plain and simple and you said or rather you wrote what you felt, in person. This write-up is an ODE to the times we grew up in, when love was meant to last forever, and when the first step towards winning your beloved’s heart was to write her an amazing letter. 

I miss our times, and I am not very old, just crossed the threshold of 35 and yet in this technology driven world, I am already outdated. To the internet generation and smart phone era kids, the idea of writing (literally) and not typing or texting your feelings to an unknown person may come as a surprise and you may think of it as outdated, but for us who were born in the 1980s and grew up in the 1990s – writing a letter baring all your feelings to your loved one, was the only way to connect, often the only way to communicate. 

This is how it worked.

We’d see someone special in school (if you were in a Co-ed), or on our way to school or college or tuition during Madhyamik and start to develop a crush. Often all we knew was the face/person, we didn’t even know her/his name or where they lived… देखेरै लब पर्दिने सीन हुन्थ्यो… I don’t think there is an English equivalence to this phrase; but the closest could be “love at first sight”… 

“Modernism” as we know it today, hadn’t yet seeped in Darjeeling culture, and even though Darjeeling was always an open society, teenagers feared their parents, teachers and worst of all their meeting some elder from their village while trying to woo a girl/boy, as these elders would invariably rush home and complain to the parents, which naturally was followed by a Sisnu-paani treatment. 

So when you saw a girl/boy and started to crush on her big time, you found a way to get your feelings across and the best way to do so was by writing a letter to her/him. Once the letter was ready you would either hand it over to your crush in person or send one of your best mates to do so for you. 

Often the approach would look something like this… you’d go to the person you had a crush on and the 1st thing you’d say is… “Hi… I have been seeing you for a long time, I really like you, will you please accept my letter?” or send your friend to her/him who would start with the lines, “my friend is really in love with you, will you please accept his letter?”

Often the girl or the guy you had a crush on would have an inkling that someone was interested in her/him, so the ball would be on their court and if they said “Thapchu or ok I will accept” it was an indication that they were interested in you as well. 

Imagine the significance of that letter now. Your crush has agreed to read what you have to say, and if s/he will go out with you entirely depends on that letter or yours. Literally the 1st love letter could either make or break your relationship. 

As we all know, not everyone is good with words, so there would naturally be those who couldn’t express themselves well, like me. I was lousy with emotions and lousier with words. I could never bring myself to write an essay or a letter to the Headmaster, let alone write a love letter. This is where the letter writing experts came in. In our growing up days, these people were literally the most coveted and cherished friends, who could not only write amazing letters, they could do so in flowing calligraphy. Which is what explains the fact that my 1st love letter to my (now) wife is not written in my own handwriting. 

Now when I reflect on it, I find it funny that I tried to woo my (now) wife with a Shayari on the very first line raicha followed by equally corny lines… here is the shayari in my letter… 
“देखे मैले एउटा परि…
आँखा अघी झझल्को घरि घरि 
संगै संसार सजाउने सोचेंको छु 
उस्लाईनै मैले रोझेको छु” 

My wife now says, she found these lines super cute, I am not so sure. Reading what I wrote then, after almost two decades, I am not sure if she fell in love with me, or took pity on me or my pathetic attempt at Shayari… funny thing is, that was not even my Shayari, those lines were written by the “expert letter writer” from our class Dawa. 

Dawa was a legend; it was rumored that any girl who read his letter would never say no. He could write letters while sleeping, and the girls would swoon over it. 

Call it ironic, but tragically Dawa did not have the courage to hand over a letter to his crush, he delegated this responsibility to his best friend Santosh, who it turned out also liked the same girl. 

So Santosh went and handed over the letters which were simply signed “Timro Pyaro….” and he never bothered telling her the letters were from Dawa and the girl it turns out kept on assuming it was Santosh writing those letters… This continued for almost 4 months, and when Santosh informed us that THE GIRL had said “yes” to him, there was a huge fight between Dawa and Santosh right there in our class. 

The fight was funny too, as I recall it, Santosh said, “तो बच्चाई छस सोम… तेरो ओंठ निचारेर दुध निकाल दिन्छु… You are just a kid, I will press your lips so hard that they will leak your mothers milk (a reference to being away from breast-milk for only a little while - young kid)” to which Dawa said “तेरो त झन् ओंठ निचारेर खुन निकाल दिन्छु… and I will pinch your lips till they bleed” and he literally pinched Santosh’s lips. Now the season was winter, nearing our final exams, and Santosh had his lips all cracked up - उसको ओंठ फुटेको थ्यो… so when Dawa pressed his lips, they indeed started to bleed. 

I guess, back in the day we were all influenced by Bruce Lee, wherein the hero wouldn’t react till he saw blood coming out from some of his parts… so Santosh wiped the blood from his lips and yelled “तेरो आमा गर्नु खुन निकालेको मेरो” and they started to fight. It was a bloody affair. Somehow, Dawa got a chance to climb one of the desks and he gave a solid kick to Santosh on his chin… I know this might sound like an exaggeration, we had all assumed that Santosh would fall flat following the kick, but he managed to stand upright… all he kept saying was “तेरो गनाउने खुट्टा उता लैजा – take away your stinking feet:” Believe it or not what had happened was this, Dawa had a huge hole on his sole, so when he kicked Santosh, the hole in the sole got stuck on Santosh’s chin, and Dawa’s feet stunk like a dead fish. 

A serious fight between two friends over the love letter and the girl went on to become stuffs that comic legends are made up of in Darjeeling. 

Such were the passions and such were the emotions attached to letters back in our days. 

Another funny incident I recall is of my best friend from Childhood (whose name I cannot write)... 

So he fell in love with this one girl and they had this serious period of "Nayn-Mattaka - ogling over each other"... Finally he decided to give it a shot... and he made Dawa write the letter and he was confident enough to deliver it himself... 

I remember that day like it was yesterday, as it was winters and we were going for Madhyamik tuition and that is where he had seen her. So confident was he, he walked right up to her, put his feet up on the bench she was sitting in and stretched one of his arms to support himself on the wall and used another to give her the letter.... 

I was a witness to this... she did not accept the letter, and said something to him... his whole face turned darkish purple (kale manche rato hunda kasto huncha... imagine a darkish man turning red?)... he came upto me and I asked him what did she say? without batting an eyelid he said, "रड्डी रैछ त्यो केटि... मलाई त तपाई को काखी गनौदै छ... दाजु नुहाएर औनोस ल हरे.. she was brutal... she told me to come after taking a shower as my armpits were stinking... "

Swear to God!! I am not making these up.

So last year that friend of mine did get married, and the first thing my younger brother said was, "Daa नया भाउजु को नाक चै बुछेकै होला है... seems like the new sister-in-law cannot smell properly" my friend had continued to stink all this while 

I often hear kids complain, that relationships don’t last long enough these days. 

Texting, I believe is what ruined relationships. Because you don’t need to put an effort to text, you just type and send in your emotions wrapped in 180 words. 

Back when we were growing up, we had to put in real effort to share our feelings, we had to think, ponder, write, re-write and at times even hire someone to write down our feelings. So we all put in an effort to get into a relationship, hence getting out of it was equally very difficult. 

These days thanks or no thanks to social media, you become friends over Facebook, fall in love over Instagram, get into a relationship on What’sApp and break–up over Twitter. 

In our times, we had to do all of that face to face, in person… and perhaps that is what kept us honest and true… You can write all you want to, but unless you do so in person, it holds no meaning. 

I am HAPPILY (wrote this under instructions from beloved wife) married and I am trying to teach my kid the art of letter writing, the art which I never possessed, and hoping to God that this will one day help her land the man of her dreams… the man who truly deserves her… 

Just the way I met her mother, I wish for my daughter to meet her future husband, face to face and not over some internet site.

Those LOVE LETTER days were golden indeed... and them days of honest love, I will forever miss!!

Via TheDC

Profit Over Human Lives - How Tea Industry is Starving Workers to Death in ‪Dooars

9:19 AM

Writes: Gunjan Rana 

One is born with inevitable consequence of death, certainly no one had gulped immortality syrup”- this were the words of a manager of one of the 14 Goenka owned Tea Estates in North Bengal, when we asked him about recent deaths of the workers in Bagracote Tea Estate (a Duncan owned Tea Estate) due to prolonged illness and lack of health services. 

Over the time we hear such deaths, which is a matter of concern, which the Manager preposterously disrespected, being oblivious to the fact that how he will make an effort to run for his life, if he is chased by people having gun in their hands. 

Well, the situation in the Tea Gardens is no different from this imaginary situation where I put the manager into. Everyone knows that death is a truth, but we also know that if we do not push ourselves to make an effort to prolong it, death will come sooner. So the point here is that, the workers did not died because of the inevitability of death as a natural phenomena, rather they died because of the prolonged illness they were put into, by unhealthy and unhygienic working condition, unsafe drinking water and zero nutrition food that they eat to save the already meager earning. 

Gungaram Tea Estate, one of the Tea Estate owned by the Duncans Goenka Group had to say the same story. The raged workers were somewhat consoled by their newly appointed authoritative (not being judgmental) manager, who promised to open the Tea Garden, which was closed (not officially) since June. The Tea Estate was made functional too as promised; it was the sixth day of opening. The Manager further said that all the dues that the owner owed to the workers shall be paid through installments and the first such installment was already distributed. The workers were too moved by the developments. The actions were very promising to them, making them feel that may be a situation like this will not take place again. 

But Duncan’s other 13 gardens are not yet opened and the death toll increased to 3. All the Duncan’s owned garden stopped paying its workers after the revision in their wages, which happened in one of the tripartite meeting this April. Duncan Goenka Group altogether has approximately 7000 hectors plantation land, 40,000 workers with over 20 crore yearly turnover. 

But the company like Duncan Goenka Group (and others) is/are too infamous for slavery wage that they pay their workers and the haphazard shut downs. When asked the Manager about this, he straightly said that the Duncan Goenka Group is collapsed; if it has to stand its businesses then it has to make stand the Gardens and all the other industries it has invested on. 

But the irony is, Duncan Goenka is already a huge company. And Gungaram Tea Estate is a highest yielding garden in the region. The manager showed in his office, all the certificates that hung on the wall, the Garden had got over time, for really high yield. He himself was amazed, in one such year the production per hector was some 28 quintals. 

How can such a company which owns 15 more Tea estates like Gungaram get into the crisis? It is often alleged that it is because the owners siphon offs the revenues generated from Tea Gardens to other industries, Duncans too had invested in some cement industry, as it went to loss, the worker paid for it. Well, the owner does that because he is an owner! It has got this power and police and administration goes hand in gloves. 

A woman worker was expressing how she felt as a policeman came to them with his laathi and helmet when they were agitating, blocking the highway because they were not being paid for couple of weeks. She felt that the policeman will not shower the sticks on them, as she was more than hundred percent sure that they were correct and the management was wrong. 

But the policeman did shower his laathi on them that too, she said was so brutal. 

Many ration are due said the workers whom we met. Manager on this said that, they asked the Government to distribute some relief, and the government has been distributing 1kg of rice to each ration card holder for Rs 4 per kg. 

But aren’t the below poverty level worker already liable for the ration under PDS, without the management’s requisition to the Government? 

Worker’s social security is put at risk every passing hour by the management, the hospital does not functions and the only assistance available to the worker outside the Garden’s ill functioning hospital is the vehicle which carries the patients to the nearby North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. No refunding of the expenditure is reimbursed to the worker, which according to law is not acceptable. 

But, what is acceptable to the law or general conscience and what is not does not works in the present day slave owing system of Tea garden, be it a Goodrick owned or Duncan’s owned Tea Garden. 

The only thing that plays is the disrespectful supremacist and hierarchical profit motive ethics of the owners. The so called profit mongering industrialist.

Source - Darjeeling and Dooars Tea Workers Relief Organization - DAWN

[File pic of a tea worker who starved to death in 2013]

Game of Blame: Gorkha as Compared to “Aarka”

6:04 AM

Writes Anmol Mukhia

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

A Glimpse of Dussehra in ‪‎Darjeeling

11:00 AM

Writes: Sumiran Ghalay Gurung 

"Om Bhur Bhuwasya Tatsha Witur Warenyam Bhargo Devashya Dhimahi Dhiyoyona Prachodayat"... The famous "Gayatri Mantra" we heard during 90s and early 2000s at Chowrasta, the famous public hub at Darjeeling.

I still recall how we used to impatiently wait for the Dussehra vacations to begin as it was not only the most sought after and longest holiday but also because it meant celebrations, blessings, food and "dakshina" from the elders.

For all those who aren't from Darjeeling, I will try and give a glimpse of how Dussehra or "Dashain" as we Nepalese call it used to celebrate it back in the days. 

As soon as October starts the monsoon starts receding in the hills and the sun starts to shine with all its might (not to worry as it's a hill station and it's never to hot. Even in summers you need to carry either a jacket or a pullover). We have the "Saipatri" (marigold) and other flowers blooming and the whole town is engulfed with an overwhelming festive atmosphere.

When we were kids we used to buy new clothes for "Dashain", as everybody wanted to look their best. Then once the Navaratri started, we used to head for Chowrasta, as everyone from the town flocked there, the elders to receive blessings from the huge idol of Durga Goddess placed at the altar, the kids to play balloons (being the notorious one, we use to burst 'em often resulting in the kids crying and us fleeing the scene not to be beaten by the kids guardian or parents). 

We as teenagers used to go there to "season khelnu, chiksing", literally meaning to check out beautiful girls or just casual flirting. Well, we used to be pretty drunk before that as dashain for us youngsters was incomplete without a little intoxication. Thanks to the local pubs "Washington", "Soaltee", "Buzz", "Joey's Pub", "New Dish", when we had cash and "Uchhyang", "Palas", "Dikila" when we were broke. Yeah, most of the girls we approached either ran away or said they were engaged, in a relationship. We knew it was an alibi for them to just do away with it, but it was fun anyway. But if someone agreed then from the next day, we were sober and spent most of the time with the girl (Pehla pyar ka nasha), It couldn't be called a date as we were either accompanied by friends either from the guys side or the girls. We always had the "masu ma haddi" (bone in the meat) or "phool ma kada" (the thorn in the flower) material, but we never blamed them. I still remember going for double, triple or even quadruple dates. Relax people, I didn't mean I was out with 2 - 3 girls. It was a joint date with other couples joining in.

At our "Gaon" (village), we used to play "Housie" (Bingo), which is a number calling game and if someone crossed out all the numbers either in the lines or the house, we used to hear a "Yes", which meant the game is won and others used to be like, "Ghanta, ewtai number matrai thyo new" (Damn, I just had one number left). Then we had "Jhandi - Makut" Dice (anymore?), which is a game played with six cubes having a flag (Jhandi), a crown (makut), a spade (bhotay), a heart (pana), a club (chidi) and a diamond (ita) on its six sides. We used to place our bets on a board which had the pictures of all the above mentioned signs and depending upon the number of signs the bet used to be doubled, tripled and so on. We also played cards; "Flash" (3 cards), "Rummy", "Hazare" (the first one to reach the one thousand point wins) etc. 

Traditional gambling was permitted by the elders, but it hardly mattered who won, we used to hang around together and the one who has won the most ended up spending even more than that.

As Dashain approached, we had "Ful - Pati", (literally meaning flower and leaves), which was characterized by processions from various ethnic groups, the gurungs, mangars, tamangs, rais, subbas, bhutias etc. Later we had programs in our respective villages, where we had traditional dances, songs, performances of various kinds. I remember performing in one or two occasions although it might have been really hard for the audience to digest the whole thing.Then as "Maar" (festival where a buffalo and goats are sacrificed) approached, we used to head for the "Dali" ground as early as 7 in the morning, because if we were late we didn't get to see the sacrifice.

Finally the most awaited day arrived. Early morning, our elders woke us up and asked us to get ready as it would soon be time for the "Tika" (we use rice, curd and some colour for it). When we were kids, we were hardly concerned about the tika but the monetary blessing, (dakshina) would be much awaited. Once the whole thing was over, we used to get together and have food together which contained delicacies like "khukra ko masu" (chicken), selroti (traditional bread) etc. Then we met our friends and headed for the local pubs and hang around the town gambling with our drunk heads. The days that followed, used to be a repetitive cycle with us visiting our relatives, eating, gambling and drinking.

Dashain was so much fun back in the days. Now far away from home, I realize how much I miss those times. Times have changed and so has the tradition. 

"Time and tide wait for none", but once just once I still wish I could go back and celebrate it the way we used to... Just a Wish!!

[Pic: Aanjup Lama]

Source TheDC

Gorkhaland and Contractor Raj

10:27 PM
Any person who has observed the Gorkhaland movement closely will tell you that the biggest stumbling block before any party that fights a Gorkhaland movement has been the "financial reward" its cadres/fighters seek from the party leadership. GNLF fought an armed struggle in the first Gorkhaland movement and almost all those who were part of the 1986-88 movement were rewarded financially. Since the DGHC that was formed after the movement had no authority to give permanent government jobs, it offered these men and women casual employment (~6000 in number today). But a majority of these people got "contracts" - short-term financial reward that would come in the garb of "development" of the area but was actually a "payout" for the erstwhile fighters and party supporters. The journey from revolutionary fighters to petty contractors was a plunging fall in dignity and self-respect. Even hardcore GNLF supporters agree that there was practically no development in the ~20 years of its rule in the hills. And Gorkhaland still remained a distant dream.
Gorkhaland and Contractor Raj
Cartoon on Gorkhaland and Contractor Raj
Then came the second Gorkhaland movement after the ouster of Subhash Ghisingh. People had hope that the GJM would learn from the mistakes of the past movement and take a better road to Gorkhaland. It turned out that it took an even more treacherous road! The "financial reward" scheme came into full force immediately, even before the movement had ended, and ultimately the GTA was established - a DGHC-like body that did the "payout" job for the Morcha supporters. Contract again became a coveted profession in the hills. The situation came to ridiculous proportions - a contract of building a new public office worth a few lakh rupees was "shared" by 10-11 contractors with a certain percentage to be handed over to the "party" as commission. The few years of GTA's existence has been a nightmare to people who wished well for the hills. Corruption is at its peak today. And there seems to be no end to this nightmare going by what Mr. Trilok Dewan has just revealed - contractors and drivers control the party, take all decisions, and take part in meetings with government.

When the GTA was formed, against all wishes, I had requested the top GJM leaders to curb contractor raj, stating that it later would lead to the downfall of the party like that of the GNLF. But perhaps no one was listening. Madan Tamang spoke about this contractor raj openly. He was killed in broad daylight and it was revealed that most of his attackers were petty contractors or goons of contractors of GJM. Today, these contractors “make” top decisions in GJM. No wonder they have little interest in Gorkhaland and more interest in GTA – their payout system.

Via Gorkhaland Premi

Mirik lad Prabhat Thapa, was he a victim of injustice?

12:05 PM
Prabhat Thapa was an ambitious,hardworking and diligent son of Mirik who died yesterday. He was a helpful person always looking towards the upliftment of the society and fighting for the right of the people. The whole of Mirik is shocked at the sudden demise of a youth who could have contributed so much for the upliftment of our society.
Mirik lad Prabhat Thapa, was he a victim of injustice?
Mirik lad Prabhat Thapa
He was in Kolkata at the time of his death. He was there to file a case against what he thought was an injustice done to him.

Was he really a victim of injustice? I am leaving this decision at the discretion of the readers to decide.

The matter is related to examination for "Recruitment of SI/LSI in West Bengal Police - 2013" (Preliminary Examination).

Prabhat Thapa had appeared in the examination as an OBC (B) candidate.
On declaration of the result Prabhat's Roll No. was not in the list. As Prabhat was expecting good marks he filed an RTI application asking for the cut off and the answer key.

The details in the reply for his RTI were:
1.The cut off for the Unreserved Candidate was- 103.5
2.Prabhat had obtained 115.5

But still he had failed because the cut off for OBC(B) candidate was 119 i.e. more than the unreserved candidate. Whether the cut off of reserved OBC (B) candidate can be more than the unreserved candidate is a legal/constitutional matter and we are laymen. If any expert has a knowledge over this matter. It will be a great favor on us if they illuminate us over this matter.

This matter regarding cut-off is a different matter where a knowledge regarding legal/constitutional norms are to be known. Let the experts comment over it. The next part of the matter is where I would like everyone to pay attention to.

Prabhat matched the answers keys received through RTI with the Question paper. He found two keys wrong:

1. Question no.21 - A salesman sold 20 cars in the month of July and 40 cars in the month of August. What is the percent increase in the numbers of cars the salesman sold?
(A) 50%
(B) 100%
(C) 150%
(D) 200%

***The official answer key showed that option "D" i.e. 200% was the right answer Prabhat was of the opinion that option "B" i.e.100% was the right answer.

What do you think is the correct answer?

2.Question no.97 - Who was the first Indian Woman President of the Indian National Congress?
(A) Rajkumari Amrit Kaur
(B) Annie Besant
(C) Vijaylakshmi Pandit
(D) Sarojoni Naidu

****The answer key showed that option "B" i.e. Annie Besant was the right answer.
Prabhat was of the opinion that option "D" i.e. Sarojoni Naidu was the right answer.

Which do you think is the correct option?

If what Prabhat has argued as the correct answer was the right one in the two cases above then even after deducting the negative marks for other wrong questions his total score would have been 120.5.
That is he would have been qualified for the mains.

Prabhat thought an injustice has been done to him and it was against this injustice Prabhat wanted to appeal in the High Court/SAT and had gone to Kolkata for this. But as we now know destiny had other plans for him.

This article is not being posted to get justice for Prabhat. He is now beyond this worldly concept of justice and injustice.
This article is to highlight how unaware a person may be falling victim to some injustice. It is to highlight that one has the "the Right to Know" and how one can use the Right To Information Act to seek the information he wants. It is to highlight how to stand and fight against any injustice one feels has been done to him. It is to highlight how to have faith in justice and courage in one's heart to stand against an unjust adversary however mighty it may be.

Prabhat could not complete the fight. The Almighty had a different destiny waiting for him. But one day some one else will win the fight. Just will prevail over the unjust. That will be the day when we will find Prabhat once again smiling among us.

Via: MIRIK in Photos

Recognition program for Bikal Rai by Sikkim Rehab family

9:09 PM

Sikkim Rehab family organized a small simple recognition program of the neighbourhood boy Mr. Bikal Rai, the Sikkim's Wonder Boy.
Mr. Bikal Rai, shared his experiences of his life on how he overcame the problems of his life and diverted his thoughts and intention to do something constructive and pursue his dreams in life inspite of his poverty, where he too like any frustrated and broken down teenager could have walked down the path of addiction as an easy way out to escape the realities of his life. But he choose to pursue his dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer with or without support of anyone. His sharing has made a deep impact on the hearts and minds of our boys and open interaction between them has made Bikal a ROLE MODEL amongst our boys.
Bikal Rai has been hitting the social network arena past three years due to his amazing engineering skills. 23 years old Bikal Rai after completing his Class Ten in 2012 from Middle Camp Govt Sr Secondary School at Battish Number (32 No) in Nimtar East Sikkim could not continue his studies due to family problem and financial crunch after his father expired. Bikal Rai looks after his mother, granny and young brother who is studying in Class Eleven getting some earning out of agriculture farming and produces.
Despite having abandoned his schooling Bikal is passionate for assembling things to make it lively scientifically, that’s a reason he’s born talented engineer and an extraordinary boy of 32 No. village. He is fond of engineering mechanics as his previous projects which he built from junkyard stuffs caught the eyes of millions of readers who lauded his work in Facebook. This time Bikal comes up with an Eco Friendly concept car out his house based miniature workshop, which operates on IC Engine and Electric Motor technology.
According to him, he started off project seven months back, he did it by collecting spare parts of vehicles from garage junk and some parts he purchased from his savings, that which amounted him around Rs 40,000 Indian Rupees ($640).
He adds, after planning rigorously it took him last one and half month to make assembly and attach the parts giving a sounding structure finally.
Bikal Rai gave a life to scrapped 149 CC dead IC engine of motorbike with petrol as a combustion fuel for module one, he then added electric motor powered by a battery for his second module of his dual characteristic concept car.
He demonstrates his car running on the road which breaches speed beyond 40 kmph depending upon the power of engine and chassis of his car. Speaking to Bikal Rai, he told VOS that he wants to learn more, but he need to look after his family also who are totally dependent on his earnings.
Profoundly Sikkim should boast to have a talented boy like him for whom nurturing can levy him out of his circumstances making state proud someday if he could go further with his skill in a relevant engineering field where this ‘Genius Boy’s’ destiny awaits for glory.

Via : Sikkim Rehabilitation & Detoxification Society

How a 4th generation Gorkha in Manipur feels

10:03 AM

Dinesh Sharma

Before you even start reading the article, let me be clear that I am a 4th generation Gorkha settled in Manipur. And I will accept criticism if you at any point feel that the article is a little biased. I am a confused person right now. Suddenly, after having lived for 31 good years of my life, my belongingness and loyalty towards my motherland is being questioned.
 Manipuris protesting against racism in Delhi Via ePao
 Manipuris protesting against racism in Delhi Via: ePao
I do not write this article with pride. Infact, it is shameful that despite having been born and brought up as a Manipuri Gorkha, today I am having to publish an appeal to clarify that I too belong to Manipur. From time immemorial, it is always the majority who create history. We have never read or heard about the story of the minority. Today, I will narrate the story of the minority, the voiceless and the helpless.

Recently, there was a video circulating on social media it showed a lady who was being delivered a mob justice. She was being slapped, hit by a shaft, and ever had her hair chopped in public. Whatever be the reason, that was not the right way to vent dissatisfaction in the wake of such political crisis. Tomorrow, some other crowd might just want to do the same thing on another individual. Who is going to take the blame then? As a civilized society with such rich history and culture, a more matured approach would have given a dignity to the agitation.

Watch the video - Helpless Non Manipuri woman beaten mercilessly

We are accused of encroaching the land. We are accused of being a threat to the social fabric of the state. We are asked to pack up and leave the state. How is it even possible? We are not here staying in a rent house that we pack our belongings and move to another house. My family has not grabbed any land or encroached upon anyone else’s territory. We have papers for our land as per the law of the land. We also grew up listening to our grandmother narrating us stories of the Japanese drones flying above the roof. We have heard stories of our grandfathers fighting to protect the land alongside the British and the maharaja’s army. Are our stories any different from the stories of a Meitei, Naga, or a Kuki kid?

They say that our contribution to the land is zero. Turn any pages of history of this land and you will find a Gorkha, Major Subedar Niranjan Singh Chhetry amongst the earliest martyrs of the land. He was hanged to death alongside Bir Tikendrajit and General Gambhir Singh by the British on 13th of August 1847.

They must have also conveniently forgotten that we are the most peaceful community in the state. We live happily with all other communities, be it the Meiteis, Nagas or the Kukis. I have studied Meiteilon throughout my childhood, I can speak a bit of Kuki, and I have lived with a Naga friend for about 7 years of my life.

Like you all, we have recited Ougri Sheirent, listened to Khamba-thoibi with awe, enjoyed the colours of Yaoshang, celebrated Lai Haraiba with equal enthusiasm, and cannot live without Ironba, Nga-Thongba and Ooti as our daily staple. What makes me less Manipuri than anybody else from my state? Perhaps we are the only community in Manipur which never had any law and order problem with the state. We don’t have any armed struggle or resistance to any government policies. We have been one of the most hospitable community both to the armed forces and the rebels. Yes, in the interiors we have stories of people who wake up in the middle of the night to cook and feed rebels who are passing by the village. The same villagers also prepare team when government forces pass by.

Despite all this, we are time and again asked to cite history of our existence in the state. Below are some historical records of the settlement of Gorkhas in Manipur to put across the point that we are not just land grabbers and that we have taken equal part in the nation building process in Manipur:

1. On recorded history, the first batch of Gorkhas came to Manipur during the time of Raja Gambhir Singh. In 1824, the Gorkhas of the 16th Sylhet Local Battalion, later to become the 8th Gorkha Rifles, were included in the Police Levy of Gambhir Singh. During the first quarter of the 19th Century, Manipur was much troubled by Burmese intruders and troops. To secure Manipur, Gambhir Singh raised an army in 1825 and recruited Gorkhas from Sylhet for it. The militia was named the ‘Victoria Paltan’. (Source: The Role of Gorkhas in Making of Modern India)

2. Before the beginning of the 20th century, the Gorkha/Nepali Gwalla (cowherd community) was confined in the Manipur valley. And since the Meitei community were not a great consumer of milk and ghee and land was becoming scarce in the valley, the Govt of Manipur decided to shift the Gorkhali/Nepali Gwalla to the northern part of the Manipur Valley creating a Gorkha/Nepali reserve (18 miles long) in between Sekmai and Kangpokpi in 1915 and later on partially extended up to Maram, Siddim Pukhri and lrang Part-I & II (Source: Manipur State Administrative Report 1915-16 Chapter – V, No. 2 Para V. Durbar Resolution 1 dated 17th February 1915).

3. That, the creation of the Sekmai Kangpokpi Gorkha Grazing Reserve the Nepali graziers began to settle within the reserve areas of Kurapokpi, Sapermeina, Shriwani, Keithelmanbi, Paspati, Kalapahar, Santolabari, Chandraman, Kangpokpi, Irang, Maram Siddim Pukhri. In 1918, a survey of the Gorkha/Nepali Reserve area was done wef. 19th June 1918 to 7th January 1920 and Patta was issued for the Gorkha/Nepali graziers who applied for agricultural land.

4. The 1st Assam Rifles was raised in Manipur in 1915, and had over 80% Gorkha personnel.

5. First Manipur Rifles, raised in 1946 also inducted huge number of Gorkhas. Still today, the family quarters of the battalion has several Gorkha families living there.

6. Even eminent scholars like MK Binodini, the royal family of Manipur confirms that the Gorkhalis have long been a part of Manipurs cultural milieu. She says “…in fact I do not know at what time so called Nepali community actually came to Manipur. Since my childhood beginning from Mantripukhri to Kangpokpi, I have seen their settlement to be in existence long before many years. At the time of my father Maharaja Churachand, when he was in drive on the Dimapur road, I still remember the joyous welcome and applause accorded by the Nepalese children near by the road and I saw many Nepali personnel in the post of high rank and files of the Manipur State Police” (Source: ‘A Yaipha Paojel’ in a journal called ‘Netee’; published by Manipur Nepali Sahitya Parishad in 2006)

7. When the World War II reached till Kanglatongbi-Kangpokpi, the Gorkha community was evicted by the Govt. Many of them left their land temporarily and got back when the war was over. However, the government had by then ceased the Nepali grazing reserve (26th August 1946), giving effect from 1st December 1946. Many who failed to comply with the government order or returned late to their land lost their land and had to seek shelter with their neighbouring tribal brothers for their livelihood.

The Gorkha community is settled for nearly 2 centuries and have lived in an area of 140 sq. miles till 1915. Besides the army settlers, we could rear more than 10,000 cattle and buffaloes. An entire stretch of road named in Jiribam was named as Man Bahadur Limbu’s Road. Today, after almost 2 centuries, our population is not even 1 lakh. How could we possibly disturb the social fabric of the Manipuri society or even snatch away opportunities from the locals?

Today, we are as much a victim of historical circumstances, miscalculation and manipulation as all of you. We too would want to be part of the decision making process which will segregate the outsiders from the insiders. Sadly, despite being a part of the greater Manipuri society for nearly 200 years, we have been pre-leveled as “outsiders”. Look into your hearts and think for once, how would you react, if you and your community were labeled as such?

Most of the Gorkha youths from Manipur today are working in the defence or in the metro cities. This also brings in revenue to the state. How can we possibly exploiting the wealth of Manipur? I would love to know if you have seen anything unjust being committed by any Gorkha in Manipur.

Today, we live outside the state in metro cities. Ask one of your own ‘inside Manipuris’ about how does it feel to be humiliated. If you have no idea of how humiliated your brothers and sisters feel when faced with racism outside the home state, maybe you should go and speak to them. While we outrage over “racism “against our Manipuri people in Delhi and other cities, we have turned a blind eye and deaf ear to numerous instances of racism here in Manipur itself, isn’t that hypocritical?

In this city, we only have people; there is no Meitei, Naga, Kuki, Gorkha, Bengali, Bihari or Marwari. If someone asks me, I proudly call myself Manipuri Gorkha. Here no one accuses anyone of stealing opportunities or ancestral land. No Bihari cries of innocent people being killed, no Meitei accuses a Bihari of depleting his economy. We share rooms to save money, lend and borrow money when we are broke, we share pizzas and drinks together, we contribute for the electricity bills, we wait for each other to walk back home after office, We cook together, we laugh at each other’s jokes, we fall in love, we get married. We live happily here, but we never talk of our problems back home. Why?? Because it divides us.

We are happy out here, but why this indifference back in our own homeland?? I leave this for you to ponder upon.

[Dinesh is a senior member of Gorkha Youth and Students' Association of India - GYASA

In Manipur, currently non-Manipuri's are being persecuted against, and the community which is facing the most vlatant form of Racism are the Gorkhalis... please speak out against this RACISM against our community in Manipur..

Via- TheDC

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