Showing posts with label Gorkhaland issue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorkhaland issue. Show all posts

Dr Subramanian Swamy Calls for Formation of Gorkhaland Union Territory

10:38 AM
Dr Swamy Calls for Formation of Gorkhaland Union Territory

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subramanian Swamy has called for BJP to fulfill their promise, and to keep Gorkhaland as number one priority.

He tweeted, "Time for the BJP to start looking at our 2014-to date the party’s organisational culture. In many. States we had made promises we could not keep. Gorkhaland is top priority. Must make it a Union Territory as promised.'
Subramanian Swamy Calls for Formation of Gorkhaland Union Territory

One of the readers Vishal Singh questioned  "Sir its neccessary to make gorkhaland????" (sic)

He responded with, "We should not have promised and got elected BJP MPs from Darjeeling."

Another reader, Zaid Ahemad asked, "Sir , If BJP makes Gorkhaland then whatever it has in Bengal will vanish !" (sic)

Dr Swamy wrote, "Gorkhaland is not being given to Pakistan. It will be still part of India like Bengal."

A crisis within crisis: The fault line of India’s longest statehood demand- Gorkhaland

3:54 PM

100 years and more, the longest statehood demand in India’s history, the demand for Gorkhaland has, many times reached its peak; and yet has always come tumbling down. Time and again, the unfulfilled aspirations have been doused by temporary promises and in 2017, the ‘Queen of Hills’ was under siege as Gorkhas all around the world stood in unison against this incessant predicament of proving their identity as Indian citizens. Despite dating back to 1907, why is it that the demand for Gorkhaland has fallen into deaf ears? Why is it that despite agitations and protests, the issue still lays unresolved, pushed into the corner of nothingness- like a dormant volcano that erupts from time to time, only to be silenced again. What is it that reignites this movement time and again at regular intervals and leaves it without any solution?
India’s longest statehood demand- Gorkhaland
India’s longest statehood demand- Gorkhaland

History of Gorkhaland demand

The demand for a separate administrative unit in Darjeeling has existed since 1907, when the Hillmen’s Association of Darjeeling submitted a memorandum to Minto-Morley Reforms demanding a separate administrative setup. Also, it may be mentioned that in 1947, the undivided Communist Party of India (CPI) submitted a memorandum to the Constituent Assembly demanding the formation of Gorkhasthan comprising Darjeeling District and Sikkim.

In the 1980s, under Gorkha National Liberation Front’s (GNLF) Subhas Ghising, the movement reached its peak. 1986-88 were on of the most violent years of protest: approximately 1,200 people died. The agitation ultimately led to the establishment of a semi-autonomous body in 1988 called the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) to govern certain areas of Darjeeling district. Eventually, Ghising faded from the limelight and in 2008, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) began spearheading the movement. In 2011, GJM signed an agreement with the state and central governments for the formation of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, another semi-autonomous body that replaced the DGHC in the Darjeeling hills.

The 2013 agitation was also one to remember wherein for the first time in 106 years, all the major political parties of the hills agreed to come together and jointly take the agitation forward. Even in 2017, the agitation bore no fruits. Protests first started on June 5, after the West Bengal government announced an intention that the Bengali language would be made mandatory in all schools across the state. People of Darjeeling and the adjoining areas who are predominantly Nepali speaking, saw this as an imposition of an alien culture upon them. Fuelled by the determination to preserve their own culture, identity and language, this protest soon turned into a full-fledged resurgence of the agitation for a separate state of Gorkhaland. July 30, 2017 saw the culmination of Gorkhas (and also some non-Gorkhas) all over the world taking part in a Global Rally for Gorkhaland. And as the Gorkha Global Rally completes a year in 2018, the issue still remains at large.

Where the problem lies
As is evident from history, agitations and semi-autonomous bodies have not been able to provide any respite to the Gorkhas’ demand. What is clearly lacking here is an accountable and transparent leadership- one that inspires not only a group of people but that which motivates everyone to come along with him/her and move forward for a common cause with renewed strategies and fresh perspectives.

On these lines, Shankar Pandey, a lawyer from Shillong opines, “Talking about leadership, accountable and transparent leadership is the need of the hour. It may be recalled that during Subhash Ghishing’s time, everybody looked up to him in the hope that he would give them Gorkhaland in a platter but the results proved otherwise. In 2017 again, it was the same state of affairs. However, a close look in the 2017 agitation will show a difference in strategic approach. It has been seen that people have learnt their lessons and GJM chief, Bimal Gurung was at the centre of the storm as people were on the lookout for accountability and transparency.”

It has been seen time and again that the major problem with Gorkhaland movement is the attitude of shifting responsibilities to one person or a group of people who display a level of ‘so-called’ leadership which is not even visible to common masses. It is significant to realise that the onus of Gorkhaland falls upon each and every Gorkha residing in any part of the world. Another major problem with the Gorkhaland demand is the presence of power corridor- A sense of democracy needs to be instilled in the minds of leaders.

“Gorkhaland is purely a matter of safeguarding identity”, Mr. Shankar adds. “When we compare the demand for Gorkhaland to those of Telangana, Uttarakhand and the likes, we see that the demand for these states was solely made from developmental point of view but this is definitely not the case with Gorkhaland. However, this does not mean that development is not a major factor in Darjeeling Hills, but identity is a primary force while all others feature subsequently”, he states.

The problem of identity crisis has been haunting the Gorkhas in India since times immemorial. Hence, this is not a fight for a separation from India but a fight of Indians to retain who they are!

Mr. Shankar makes an important point when he says, “The issue of identity can only be solved by statehood and not by any form of autonomous body of governance that has been seen as a solution to douse previous agitations. This is an attempt to dilute the greater demand”.

What is the solution?

“There is a need to set up a mass network of which each and every Gorkha can be part of a larger platform. The movement should not be confined to only the hills of Darjeeling but to all over India. Everybody should come together and take responsibility. There should be Gorkhaland campaigns and we should hold leadership accountable to us. There is no proper information dissemination. Knowledge is power and lack of knowledge makes the people and movement weak”, says Mr. Shankar.

The need for alternate leadership with young people from all fronts of life is the need of the hour. Youth should take up responsibility to cover up the limitations in the movement. A fresh approach is needed. Darjeeling is lagging behind in every front in terms of overall development as compared to other states of West Bengal which all the more justifies the need for demand of separate statehood.

It is a test of endurance and this is not the time to fade away into oblivion. This is infact the only movement that says that Gorkhas want to be part of India with an identity of their own. It is not about ‘Azaadi’ here, it is about ‘Identity’ while upholding the saying ‘Bharat Maata ki Jai!’

“Gorkhaland is not only about protests and agitation. It is time to understand that there are other more influential methods of demanding the same. It is high time we change our approach and work together smartly for a common cause. Even at the grassroot level, it is important for people to know what the movement is all about so that they can form opinions and work towards attainment of a larger cause. Ignorance in this case is definitely not bliss”, he adds

Founding Vice Chancellor of Sikkim University, Mahendra P Lama, while addressing a gathering in Shillong, Meghalaya on the Gorkhaland movement last year also drew focus to an important point when he said, “The problem of Gorkhaland does not belong to only Darjeeling alone but it is a national issue. The identity problem with Indian Gorkhas has increased manifold as we do not have a proper state representation”. Mr Lama was the pro vice chancellor of IGNOU and at the age of 45, he became the youngest vice chancellor of a central university in India.

He emphasises on the need to create a central committee to bring matters concerning all Gorkhas into the fray. For this, Mr. Lama stresses on the need for an organizational structure in the form of a central body that would overarch the national body and the inclusion of a national negotiating team as well. Following this, the next step would be to take the Gorkhaland issue to the National level with Parliamentary discussions on it. The issue should reach political parties, national civil society and other stakeholders including industrial and business houses.

He goes on to state that the orientation of the movement should undergo a major shift from emotional outpourings to more concrete discussions and debate. Tangible restructuring and reorientation of leadership pattern and political action should be carried out while also focusing more on central government to solve the issue rather than approaching the state government thereby confining the movement only to local fronts. It is important that a central committee should comprise of credible faces and influential minds so that the union government will take the plunge and be serious about negotiations.

Gaurav Lama, a supporter of Gorkhaland movement adds, “The movement in 2017 gained much more attraction due to social media. While it is good that the common man was honestly and strenuously involved, we must strive to strike deep into the BJP camp to make inroads. We must try to convince top BJP heads to push this matter forward.

The ruling government must prove to be more than just another power greedy party. They must come forth and stand by their promise of working on making Gorkhaland a reality. This can be achieved only if the senior BJP leaders are serious about Gorkhaland and if there are a bunch of people who shall talk to and remind the BJP senior hierarchy that they have their promises to keep.”

As is rightly said, “We have to tread the unorthodox path. A desperate situation requires a desperate solution”-Mahendra P.Lama

DISCLAIMER- The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TNT- The Northeast Today. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of TNT- The Northeast Today

The writer can be reached at &

Via The Northeast Today

Paradoxically Popular: Poisoned People, Polluted Politics

3:10 PM

Writes: Vanira Khati

The Chief Minister of West Bengal declared, ‘Pahaad Haaschey!’ and to elucidate the point she put up huge digitally printed banners across the length and breadth of the State with her own  ‘haaschey‘ face. While here in Darjeeling our own  Pahaad hasaaunchey GNLF politicians Aapa ko chora Mann Ghising and Bish-Purush Neeraj Zimba are pulling all kinds of laughable spins from their old ‘Appa hat of tricks.’

For an understanding of this Gorkhey Laurel-Hardy Jodi with a thoroughly detoxifying laugh, let’s recount these two jokers’ dramatically random moves:

On behalf of the Gorkhaland Movement Neeraj Zimba drinks poison and sends a letter to his Didi

Firstly, who had even asked GNLF to send a letter to Nabanna? No one! Mind you, GMCC was in collective charge of the 2017 movement up until the time Zimba in a totally Bollywood move, apparently while drinking some imaginary poison called for a videographer who captured him doing the ‘poison-drinking’ hand gesture while he choked begrudgingly on it (for effect) and his hands moved in fluid motion on the keyboard…and that’s how he typed that fateful letter to the State asking for Bipartite talks.


Now with the acting done successfully and having segued into a bipartite talk mode swiftly – off went our political leaders – not as a unified unit of crusaders for Gorkhaland, but as divided as could be, and we witnessed the movement meet its first roadblock with acting-induced intra politics right there. The result was, every party was on its own and hence there would be no one answerable to and no one to speak for the cause of Gorkhaland.

After his method acting video, Zimba went completely silent. And surprise of all surprises, Mann Ghising got his appointment letter from Nabanna to the GTA 2 BoA.

It was now his turn to act.

So with his eyes hung from all corners of his face, young Mann, our very own dynast displayed exemplary integrity and squeaked a little louder than usual while saying, come what may, he would not be accepting the order from Nabanna that was returning (GTA) to the hills what the hills had relinquished. And we, in the chaotic midst of Binay & Anit falling headlong into Didi’s bear trap and accepting her appointments, almost applauded for young Mann’s stellar display of mettle… waah! waah! hera paraai!

We ‘ALMOST’ applauded, but maybe too soon because thence came to the Hill Area Development Council – an estimated 10Cr property bequeathed to our dynast of the GNLF, probably for having broken the GMCC so effectively and with such hammed precision.

Aah well… let’s move ahead.

Didi gives an antidote HADC (antidote) to the (poisoned) ZIMBA

What is HADC hou? The dallai hills ko development board? Kasari? Ke ho? Kina? Nobody knew.

Forget our 1st generation educated, not even the illustrious 2nd generation educated among us could crack this cryptic HADC, and for some other cryptic reason again, Neeraj Zimba used tears this time to dissolve the uncertainty surrounding it. He called in a videographer (again) and went a step ahead of Poison with this crocodile tears exclusive.

His round face clenched tightly at his nose, poignantly he said, “HADC ta baato ma aansoo pucheyko jasto maatra ho.”


That’s right! He said HADC was akin to wiping hot tears on the way to Gorkhaland. The 1st and 2nd generation educated were again flung by the symbolism in the statement. There was profound meaning in his tears on the journey to Gorkhaland. There was passion, there was a deep sense of travel, a destination, a journey… it was all there, but sadly there was no point in trying to understand that statement, there still isn’t… so why don’t we just cut to the Jan Sabha?

Now with the GNLF letter sent, Nabanna letter received, letter unaccepted, new letter received, new letter accepted… GNLF had, through a forceful smash successfully made its comeback on the back of 104days of Strike & 13 hapless martyrs.

What was next? A show of strength! And why not?

A ‘bhavya’ GNLF Jan Sabha was organised in the middle of Darjeeling town. The venue although decked with a morbidly celebratory cornucopia of green looked like it was standing there holding its breath… just like most of us watching were.

After all, our sacrifices for the cause of Gorkhaland had just been sold. And all efforts were being raised and implemented to bring about a semblance of peace. And worst of all, we couldn’t act as well as our politicians could. Our hurt was real and we were struggling to heal.

Recently poisoned now revived Zimba in green Gorkhay topi holds a Jaan Sabha in Darjeeling.

The show always goes on for Neeraj Zimba, the day of the Jan Sabha was no exception. He waxed eloquent like he had just won the elections & thanked our lataa siidhaa people for the turnout. Watching Zimba & Mann in the Jan Sabha was like watching Don Quixote and Sancho Panza winning an imaginary people’s mandate and quite literally killing it with their make believe leadership. Many in the crowd got confused and ended up applauding. Spurred thus by the crowd, Mann compared himself to a sugarcane, he explained the symbolism that we could if we wanted, smash him or squash him, all that would come out of him wasguliyo ras (?)

Zimba on the other hand, in an artistic moment combined with a sleight of hand technique, flashed a green Gorkhey topi and wore it atop his head amidst his party workers’ cheering. His acting prowess thus displayed again, he went on to say that he had promised himself that he would wear a topi only when the hills would once again be covered in his party colour, green.

And hence it came to pass that barring logic, the Jan Sabha had everything that worked for these GNLF leaders.

Nattily dressed Aapa ko Chora goes scouting for party members.

Next, armed with the HADC and the Jan Sabha to show (yes, pun intended), GNLF set out to grow its strength.  Unsuspecting locals inkamaan-busty welcomed them with the typical Gorkhey warmth and respect…and the newly launched GNLF Facebook page saw pictures of Mann smiling, Mann folding hands, Mann overwhelmed with the love, Mann drinking tea etc etc. Their Twitter handle blossomed with information and also, an Instagram account with pictures of Mann smiling, Mann folding hands, Mann overwhelmed with the love, Mann drinking tea etc etc

Now, where was Zimba when all this happened? Nobody knows…

The thing was Mann had come across as a leader and that was all that mattered!

Ex- Bish-Purush proclaims that he wants to hit the streets once a week for 6th Schedule – while we want Gorkhaland

Now in a recent turn of events, Neeraj Zimba called a Press Conference and without an iota of doubt rattled off that his party has the ‘Darjeeling Hills’ best interest at heart & mind and will demand Sixth Schedule for us’.

Watching his video, his unflinching confidence makes for such elevated stance and his stellar performance resounds with such commanding rhetoric that it seemed almost real even to our illustrious 2nd generation educated folks.

Gasp !!!

Phew! he almost pulled that one off!

To sum up, the GNLF random drama has been larger than life, the script has been killing, the plot has been turned and twisted to being projected as an almost real account. But we think and we think with damning clarity….where does their authority come from?

Have we voted them to power? NO

So can they speak for us? NO

Have we voted their 6th Schedule agenda to power? NO

So can we tell them to shut their theatrical mouths? YES

Go ahead, do it!

Tell those poison/drinking, letter-writing, Jan sabha-organising, street-crying, topi-wearing forcefully appointed leader/s to respect the basic tenets of democracy and win the people’s approval first, only then will they ever have the authority to speak for us.

GNLF has no business whatsoever demanding whichever schedule for us because THEY DON’T HAVE OUR MANDATE. And in spite of not having our approval, if they go ahead with presenting their idea of what’s good for the Darjeeling Hills, it’s their very own kitty party meeting with the West Bengal Chief Minister, we the people have no involvement in it. Because this is still a democracy we live in, we the people still have a say in it and that’s how it should be done… and that’s the only way it should be done!




4:58 PM

Writes- Subroto Basu

Any movement in the world, whatever maybe it’s agenda, when becomes truly public, the wise sit up and acknowledge. Because if ignored, it turns out to be a revolution. One may agree or disagree, but Gorkhaland has already become a movement of people. It has become a revolution.

What is Gorkhaland all about? The Gorkhaland Movement was never against Bengal, nor is it hatred against Bengalis.

This is a revolution for the identity of #Gorkhas, this is a about a dream which people of mountain have lived with for last 4 decades. Gorkhaland movement was never restricted to achieve ONLY development of hills and its people, it was primarily meant to give Gorkhas the true identity that they deserve, within the constitution of India. GTA was, to put it very modestly, a prostitute’s compromise. I shall postmortem GTA and it’s leaders later in this article. But let us first understand what was the infamous Article 7 and how did it create the identity crisis for Gorkhas. I am taking a cue from Manoj Giri.
Post independence, India entered into an infamous treaty with Nepal in 1950 - The Treaty of Peace and Friendship. The Article 7 of this Treaty reads: “The Government of India and Nepal agree to grant on a reciprocal basis to the national of one country in the territory of another the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of properties, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of similar nature”.
This treaty ambiguates the citizenship of the Indian Gorkhas, and it led to the loss of their Indian Identity. It makes a Gorkha’s Indian citizenship a reciprocal one. The present Gorkhaland movement is a search and fight for this lost identity.
Now let us try to understand why would Bengalis want to oppose this movement?
Bengalis are a celebrated class. They worship their mother tongue like goddess, in word and in spirit. On 21st February 1952, the students of Dhaka University - Mohammad Salauddin, Abdul Jabbar, Abul Barkat, Rafiquddin Ahmed and Abdus Salam did something which changed the history forever. They sacrificed their lives for their mother language. Today 21st February is declared by UNESCO as International Mother Language Day. My chest is puffed with pride. But the immediate following question that comes to my mind is, if I respect my mother language as goddess, why do I not respect the mother language of Nepalis? Why do I want to forcefully impose Bengali on Nepali speaking people? Does it not remind me of the situation pre 1952 when Pakistan Government forced us Bengalis to speak in Urdu and we stood up in sheer defiant rage and created a river of our own blood? The world witnessed in awe, with their eyes wide open in disbelief…and a new chapter was written in the pages of world history with golden words…!!!
Then why such double-faced approach for someone else’s mother language? Should I conclude that most of the Bengalis are opposing the movement of Gorkhaland because either they are not aware of the true mission of the movement & misguided by paid media, or they are afraid to lose Bengali dominated areas like Siliguri etc to Gorkhaland? If the answer is yes, then the think tank of the Gorkhaland movement will have to take the responsibility to educate them, clear the doubts and form larger public opinion in favor of Gorkhaland.
There are reasons why I am saying this. I receive reports of tens of thousands of people marching the roads of Siliguri against Gorkhaland. This is exactly what Mamata Banerjee wants. She wants to use the tool of Gorkhaland to win the 2019 election…!!!
Let’s understand that there is a much bigger game at play, the game of politics. Let’s look at Option One – separate Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong from Bengal to form Gorkhaland. What does Mamata lose – one MP seat which was in any case not a TMC seat. What does Mamata gain? She showcases BJP as the main villain for dividing Bengal and wins complete trust of the Bengali voters in the rest 41 MP seats.
Why do you think BJP would knowingly want to divide Bengal and become a proclaimed villain in the eyes of the Bengali voters in the 41 MP seats? They would not. If you have closely watched the mewing down of the voice of Dilip Ghosh within 24 hours, you would realize he must have been whipped by his super bosses sitting in Delhi. As an alternative arrangement, BJP will offer higher power, spending authority and autonomy to Bimal Gurung and team. If I put my ear to the power corridors of the parliament, they are already negotiating this with Roshan Giri. Mark my words, Bimal and Roshan will come back to you with a compromised model and again sell off your dream.
In my previous article I described Bimal Gurung as a cheater and fraudster who compromised with the dream of the people of mountain and profiteered from the deal. Many objected. I have few basic questions for them:
When people were facing bullets in Singmari, why was Bimal Gurung hiding? And why is he still hiding? Is he really so afraid of arrest? Why in the first place is he absent from the GMCC meeting?
Bimal Gurung is charged with the murder of Madan Tamang. He is also charged with Singmari killings and instigating riot. Court has ordered to prepare charge sheet against him. Have you ever wondered why is Mamata with her entire machinery and intelligence agencies, not being able to nab Bimal? Is he Osama Bin Laden? Or is Mamata willingly avoiding arrest of Bimal because she doesn’t want to make a hero out of him? Or are they keeping the doors of bargain open?
Meanwhile stand-up comedian Roshan Giri appears in NDTV to stage an extremely poor representation of the case of Gorkhaland. The world saw a mockery of a precious dream on the television.
There are also different thoughts relating to the actual map and geographic boundary of Gorkhaland. To my mind, Gorkhaland should be formed based on two things A] Language – It should include areas where Nepali speaking people are dominant B] Geography – mountains, the natural habitat of Gorkhas. Conclusively forming Gorkhaland with Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, looks feasible. When I said this, some vehemently protested. They said we have a different map which includes Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar as well. For a moment I thought I watch watching Kapil Sharma Show.
At the cost of sounding bitterly hostile, I strongly recommend that the GMCC spokesperson should announce the proposed geographic boundary of Gorkhaland which should not include Siliguri and other parts of plain like Birpara and Malbazar. This one act will kill 70-80% of hostility and opposition from Bengalis. Let’s not make fun of the movement by dreaming to include Siliguri and other parts of plain like Birpara and Malbazar in Gorkhaland, it will not only defer the realization Gorkhaland, it will become a day dream.
The positives of the movement
1. It has become truly public and does not need a leader any more
2. Gorkhas from all quarters are uniting, for the first time, for a cause
3. Nation has heard the noise
The challenges of the movement
1. We have dearth of leaders who can speak in media, participate in national debates and present the case of Gorkhaland in front of the whole nation. Poor show in media by the self appointed leaders is making the movement lose its momentum.
2. You have to learn to use social media more responsibly. A section of irresponsible people are already misusing the social media by uploading abusive videos, fake photos etc and thus earning a bad name for the movement. Remember momentum is the life of a movement. Any wrong step may kill the momentum
3. Mamata will step up the pressure by stopping state government staff’s salary, supply of ration etc. You need to have a strong back up plan to survive the oppression
4. While I respect your decision to continue indefinite strike, it is indeed a tough decision and extremely difficult to continue for a long period. Are people in hills really with us on this? Sending videos from Nepal, Bhutan and Assam is very easy. But living right there in Darjeeling and going to bed hungry every night is not so easy.
5. The democratic ways of revolutions like Street Plays, songs etc are missing. These bring in more folks and keep the momentum high. Let the student section take this up.
6. This has to be an inclusive movement and not an exclusive movement – I do not wish to elaborate more on the last point and rest my case to the reason and wit of the Gorkhas.

[ File Photo]

Via C24

Central panel on Gorkhaland Issue

9:42 AM

Central panel on hill talks

-Imran Ahmed Siddiqui 

New Delhi, Oct. 11: The Union home ministry has formed a negotiation committee of its officials to initiate a composite dialogue with the Mamata Banerjee government and representatives of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on the Gorkhaland issue, government sources said.

The sources said the Centre was committed to help the Bengal government find a permanent solution and ruled out any direct intervention in Darjeeling.

"We are working out the modalities and parameters before initiating the process," a home ministry official told The Telegraph.

He did not spell out the terms of reference of the committee, its tenure and which of the two factions in the Morcha -- the Bimal Gurung camp or the Binay Tamang-Anit Thapa group -- would be called for the talks.

"After holding the talks, the committee will submit their recommendations to the Centre," the official said.

Home minister Rajnath Singh had announced on September 26 that a meeting would be convened within a fortnight (the 15-day window closed today) to discuss all related issues and issued an appeal, following which Gurung had called off the 104-day-old strike.

"Certain issues have to be sorted out before kick-starting the composite dialogue process with the stakeholders," the official added.#Another official hinted that Rajnath might speak to chief minister Mamata Banerjee. "Before initiating the talks, the Bengal chief minister will be taken into confidence and the dates of the meeting will be decided only after the state government consents," the official said.

The Centre has been adopting a cautious approach, given the region's strategic borders. "In a federal structure, the state government needs to examine it (the statehood demand) and take a call. We are more concerned about the security aspects."


Darjeeling agitation: Why we Gorkhas feel deceived and dishonoured

1:38 PM

Writes: SEBIKA SONALI TAMANG @sonaligolay

The people's movement has once again been quashed by the government. Or is it our own leaders?

Hundred days are usually spoken of as milestones by political parties and new regimes – 100 days of the Modi government was a big cause for celebration. The first 100 days of the Mamata Banerjee government too didn’t go unnoticed in West Bengal. But when we touched the 100-mark in Darjeeling, there were no celebrations - because it was a shutdown. 104 days and 11 deaths later, we hear it’s been called off now.

News reports have been claiming that life is limping back to normalcy since yesterday, especially after the internet services resumed. Some even claimed that the weary residents are finally getting ready for Dasain, the biggest festival of the year in Darjeeling hills.

It’s true we are weary, but not because of the long agitation for Gorkhaland. After all that the people have witnessed and endured, now I am not even sure whether those 105 days should be called an “agitation”.

We have been staunch and silent for the past 105 days. The hardships that people like me faced were inconsiderable compared to those who earn their livelihood on a daily basis. Astonishingly, no one died of starvation. We have all survived. Everyone of us has had to fight this battle for survival at their own level.

But now it seems like we took a full circle and came back to where we started from. We now have Gorkhaland Territorial Administration-Part 2, as they call it, with Binay Tamang as its chief who has found renewed favour with the state government, and clearly the reasons don't have to be given in black and white. GJM chief Bimal Gurung has been on the run since day one of the agitation.

Weary we are indeed, of the deceive, the dishonour. Not for the first time though.

Gorkhaland has been and will always be dear to us. The generation before us was a part of it (the fight for Gokhaland), now we have been a part of it and our children too will surely partake in it. The voice for Gorkhaland has always found support and our leaders know it only too well.

On June 15, an indefinite strike was called by the GJM that was followed by sporadic instances of violence and arson. As I said, 11 people lost their lives. The demand for statehood was fuelled by the resistance that the people were facing from the state machinery.

For once it looked like we had shaken the very foundation of the state and the central governments. With a BJP government at the Centre -  a party which has always heralded the creation of new states - we were positive that our demands would be met. The strike continued and we made it a way of life. It was never easy though having to compromise with basic necessities and the luxuries of our daily lives that would normally go unnoticed.

As the days went by laboriously, we were only made to realise how futile it has all been. How meaningless those struggles turned out to be. How for days people went about their lives amid the shutdown. How women in the neighbourhood hopped on to the hospital ambulance to reach their offices, how housewives made sure not to miss the demonstrations even amid the police crackdown. We did all that and much more for Gokhaland.

But the leaders on whom we had invested our faith were only too "confused". Apparently, they had no idea who they needed to address their problems to.

As foreseen, the state pounced on the first given opportunity which brought GJM’s Binay Tamang to the fore. He came as a “messiah” claiming to rescue us. He called off the strike till September 12, which started another agitation.

GJM supremo Bimal Gurung announced from his undisclosed location that the strikes will continue and there was no question of suspending it at any cost. He even removed Tamang from his party post of convener.

We were confused what was happening within the GJM. A few days later, Tamang and Anit Thapa were made the chairman and vice-chairman of a nine-member “board of administrators” to run the GTA. (All 45 elected members of GTA, including its chief executive Bimal Gurung, had resigned from the administrative body in June.)

Two days back (on Tuesday, September 26), Bimal Gurung decided and announced to call off the indefinite strike. It was also announced the decision was taken after Union home minister Rajnath Singh’s appeal to him.

Back home, we couldn't have been more surprised.

Would we now support the leader, who claims to be in the jungles, and who we have not seen since the agitation found ground? Or would we go with the one who says he will help us get rid of all disgruntlements?

I don't know which one of them will emerge a bigger "hero". But I do know that for now Bimal Gurung is still that hero. Confused and lost he may be, but we still uphold his dominion.

The people's movement has once again been quashed by the state government. Or is it our own leaders?

We want Gorkhaland and so we tried to keep the agitation alive. Lives have been lost and legacies been inherited, but Gorkhaland has remained ever so elusive.


GORKHALAND DEMAND: 100 Days Bandh and a Gorkha's inner-turmoil

10:19 AM

Writes: Noel Giri.

Successfully or unsuccessfully we have completed 100 days of indefinite strike over the hills without exemption or relaxation. Is this our success or failure! the question remain unanswered and hovering with different opinions or views (it might differ on politically, socially or personally); lets not make argument on it because it is a personal choice and personal freedom of evaluation of it.

Here, I just want to highlight some of the important issues or matter of concerns after observing our course of Gorkhaland agitation in the hills. And I strongly believe we must have habit to do assessment of what we have achieved or not!

1. 2017's Gorkhaland agitation itself created a history with such a long and continuous strike over the hills. It proved solidarity and an unshakable unity among the Gorkha community. Despite of political barriers or principles, religious and cultural barriers, we did it with strong unity among each other.

2. Participation of every level of community of Gorkha and other communities who are resides in the hills is another milestone of our agitation. Every level and every section has shown mark respect, sincerity and sacrifices (leaders are exempted) with our long-pending demand of Gorkhaland.

The above mentioned positive sides of our agitation till dates, gives more courage and strength to go forth. But unfortunately, while having assessment we must not have to be selective with good gains only, we have to accept or evaluate our failures too!

It doesn't mean we all are anti-Gorkhaland. It doesn't mean I do not support Gorkhaland. I do support whole heartedly. But healthy criticism is demand of healthy politics.

I have highlighted some of our weaknesses or setbacks during course of our agitation which I have observed closely as follows:

1. Political conspiracy and lack of legal-knowledge: As we have seen political conspiracy among hill parties, which made it easy for state government to play 'divide and rule' policy. Some of our leaders only thought about their own political benefits and played blame game among each other. We have also seen lack of legal advice to some of our political leaders on legality and how to make himself or herself clean throughout the agitation! It is necessary for a leader to make himself/herself clean-handed during agitation to lead the people's movement. Because, without leader, movement doesn't have longer life span. 

Unfortunately, our leaders only trapped with illegible allegations and conspiratorial acts of state government by using government machinery and force unconstitutionally.

2. Lack of strategy: First half of our agitation (15th June to 1st of July) was very crucial. When we have got nationwide attention via national media houses, that time our hills' political parties/leaders must needed to make a solid strategy(s) to make it more effective. But due to violation and internet blackout by the state government, remained unable to highlight our movement nationwide. And our agitation slowly crippled down by the state government within our jurisdiction. Violence and damaging public and government properties made a bad impression on our agitation (we must agree with it). Due to lack of strategy during first phase only made our agitation flexible and strategically failure.

3. Lack of will-power among political leaders for demand: God knows why this agitation been started and for what purpose (s) it would be for our leaders!

Agitation remain doubtful throughout its course of movement due to lack of political will-power. Common inhabitants of the hills put all their efforts with sincerity for Gorkhaland demand but isolation of political leaders from same movement made our movements flexible and weaker day by day. Failure of GMCC, aimless agenda and strategies, repeated interference by majority party in the GMCCs' functions, lack of collective decision, irresponsible and aggressive comments and reactions by the local political leaders, lack of frontline leadership during agitation are the major setbacks of our agitation.

Now, after completing 100 days of Bandh, still we are empty handed and feeling we the people of hills are betrayed by the leaders and some of the opportunists. Many of us laid their lives, many got injured, so many stories to tell about our people's sacrifices but, still we are speechless and empty-handed.

What can we do now?

It is not over. Still we can reach to our destination. But,

1. We need to up bring educated people/leadership to lead our movement strategically with a real goal. Most importantly we need a sincere leader with our ultimate demand for the hills, nor an opportunist.

2. I must say, Gorkhaland is a long-run battle. Gorkhaland demand is a marathon nor a 500mt race. So we need long-term strategy, political diplomacy (because we have to fight this battle constitutionally in between central and state government) and visionary builder of Gorkhaland.

During last 100 days of Bandh, we have missed long course of education system. Students missed education and learning skills. Here I am not emphasizing only academic curriculum, I emphasised learning because education doesn't mean only finishing annual academic curriculum, it is beyond of that. If we do not build our future foundation of upcoming generation strong (educated) then I do not think we can even imagine a fruitful Gorkhaland for common and deprived people of the hills irrespective of castes, regions, religions and parties. Education is key to open the doors of opportunities and it can change anything. Therefore, neglecting education is great loss of ours only.

Strike only is not an effective movement or solution for Gorkhaland demand. Now we need to be constructive otherwise, after 100 days of bandh, why still our demand is pending!

Youngsters are frustrated and depressed. They already missed many.

There is a strong possibility of human trafficking and anti-social activities (some of it we have witnessed already). I myself heard following lines by saying "  I will go outside of Darjeeling, if I will get 6k salary also I will do that." "wish I could get job somewhere out of Darjeeling...."  "....Nothing is here, my future is dark."

These are not wishes, if we ponder on it sincerely, we will find a big compulsion, which makes them away not only from movement but away from the hills itself. I think this is one of the big failure of our leaders that they are unable to connect youngsters with ongoing movement of Gorkhaland. Youngsters are tired with filthy and opportunist politics played shamelessly over the hills.

Now, let us unite as before, lets impart a new vision and awareness among the common people of the hills, about our demand and destination. Need to spread value of awareness of demand among upcoming new generation too, because they are the ones who lead us in future. And lastly, let us make our Gorkhaland on the safe hands of educated, skilled, honest, empowered and able leaders of the hills.

Then our martyrs of Gorkhaland, who laid their precious lives for it, will smile and take rest peacefully!

"We shall overcome one day!"

Via The DC

Mamata Banerjee's Greter Bangla Conspiracy

7:08 PM

I am a Gorkha and I am not a terrorist...

Mamta Banerjee in her press conference today almost said that GJM is a terrorist outfit. Her evidences? She said she has intelligence report that underground outfits from North east are in contact with Bimal Gurung. Even some countries are helping Bimal Gurung. Suppose I say Mamta Banerjee is conspiring for Greater Bangla with the areas of Bangladesh and Bengal? She has been trying very very hard to colonize Bengal and her last strategy of imposing Bengali as a compulsory language in entire Bengal. Her strategy has been foiled completely by the current agitation for Gorkhaland. She started with division of Gorkha community with the formation of various caste based development boards. Secondly she allured some political outfits like JAP, GNLF. She was successful to some extent in dividing the mass. That is why the vote percentage of TMC in the hills improved. She was convinced that she will be able to grab the hill mass under her tentacles. Formation of Mirik Municipality board with the help of GNLF fuelled her conviction. So she fired the language bomb. The language bomb boomeranged.

During her cabinet meeting at Darjeeling when a small violence erupted she in haste called the Army. Was there a need to call the army? The demand of GJM was simple: pass the resolution in cabinet that Bengali Language is not compulsory. When she could pass so many developmental schemes for GTA without the consent of the GTA chief why didn’t she pass the simple resolution on language imposition? She has something dirty in her mind.

She failed. From today’s 15 Development Board chairpersons’ meeting and press conference she is hell bent to prove GJM as a terrorist outfit. But let me tell you madam we are Gorkhas and Gorkhas are not terrorist. On one hand she says there was intelligence failure and on the other hand she alleges that plan was hatched to hurt her ministers. She labels farmer’s tools, children’s archery tools as arms. Her disinformation strategy has started. With the Lepcha board chairperson she formed a peace committee. What a joke. Does she not know all the board members are Gorkhas and they too will die for Gorkhaland. They attended the meeting because you are giving them fund. Today you avoided the Gorkhaland question. Did you ask them what do they want? Gorkhaland or Development board?

GJM’s agitation has been transformed into a mass movement. Every citizen
irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, profession are supporting the cause. It is not Bimal Gurung’s programme but it is our issue. At this juncture what could be the rational steps our leadership can take? Let me suggest few:

Do not allow any actors to dismantle the all party forum. This is the platform which will make Gorkhaland a reality. Leave aside the egos. Bring the actionable strategy on the table.

Continue with the agitation no matter what form it takes and how far it goes.
Do not comply with the shallow offer of centre and state.

Participate in the meetings with centre and state if Gorkhaland is the ONLY agenda.
Now onwards message should be clear and speak in one voice. No GJM or GNLF or JAP etc

Strengthen media cell. Appoint skilled spokesperson.

During freedom struggle there was Gandhi and also Bose, there was table conferences and violence too, there was Dandi March and bomb too. Learn from the history.

Two pronged strategy should be in place. Delhi centric and Hill centric. Delhi centric strategy needs lobbyists, intellectuals, media experts, networkers. Involve people who can influence the ruling government, lobby with the opposition, market the cause to capitalists. Hill centric strategy needs people who can fuel the movement, give momentum to agitation, encourage mass, resist police and CRPF and state’s high handedness.

Get ready to counter the propaganda of Mamta that the agitation is a terror act. She will certainly make Darjeeling a battle ground like Kashmir.

Lastly, everything has its own time – time to sleep and time to awake, time to laugh and time to cry, time to fight and time to flight. Now is the time to fight and fight till GORKHALAND happens. Till today we have been fighting for the cause of others, now is the time to fight for our own cause. Dear Mamta didi we are Gorkhas and we are not terrorist. We will not help you to make your greater Bangla conspiracy a success.

Jai Gorkha, Jai Gorkhaland

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