Showing posts with label Gorkhas of himachal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorkhas of himachal. Show all posts

Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) Gorkhas facing identity crisis

9:21 PM

Writes Yudhvir Rana

BAKLOH: Few people know that the eight tiny hilly villages nestled in the lap of Dhauladhar Ranges in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh bordering Punjab is the abode of nearly five thousand Indian Gorkhas - the very name personifies courage and loyalty and brings to mind the image of khukhri (curved knife) wielding warriors and their blood curdling war cry "Ayo Gorkhali (The Gorkha's are coming) resonating through the ear or a friendly loyal Bahadur.

Though, originally, their forefathers hail from Nepal, in present day they are proud Indians having a fusion of Indian and Nepalese culture and cuisine which reflects from their ways of living.
Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) Gorkhas facing identity crisis

Tucked away in mountains, the Indian Gorkhas are concentrated in the lesser explored villages of ¼ Bazar, 2/4 Bazar (Chilama) (named after Gorkha regiments), Ghatasani, Kakira, Kalu Ganj, Kumlarhi, Barmoola, and garrison village Bakloh, nearly 70 kilometres from Pathankot.

Despite having been born and brought up here and having served the nation all through their lives, the Indian Gorkhas living in these village are fighting their own battle of identity crises.

"No doubt our forefathers arrived here from Nepal, but we, our fathers were born here, yet we are generally dubbed as Nepalese which is incorrect and hurt our feelings. We are Indian Gorkhas and not the Nepalese Gorkhas," explains Vijay Kumar Gurung, president, the HP Gorkha Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association (Gorkha Sabha), Bakloh while talking to TOI.
He recalls an incident when a young Gorkha boy was turned away from an interview for his appearance of a Nepalese. "This is what hurts us. We are Indians and people should know that we are Indian Gorkhas," he said.

Association vice president Krishan Singh Thapa was of view that a 'tribal status' to Gorkhas would help them maintain their identity and would also provide certain benefits given under the category. "We have passed through all kinds of predicaments including poor education and health facilities in these remote villages. A tribal status will give us some relief," he said.

A veteran Gorkha, G S Gurung, said, "You can witness a unique amalgamation of Himachali and Nepalese culture in these villages. For example, the Gorkhas have adopted tradition of Dham (lunch served in traditional marriages of Himachal Pradesh). Similary, the locals have also adopted several Gorkha ways of living "adding that many Gorkha families speak Punjabi and Himachali as fluently as Gorkhali language".

Meera, a Gorkha woman who speaks fluent Punjabi finds no difference in cultural, social and while finding linguistic similarities between Himachalis and Gorkhas except when they were pinpointed for their 'Nepalese' looks.

Source TOI


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Via thegorkha

Lets give it a final push: Granting ST status to Gorkhas

9:54 AM
Writes Swaraj Thapa

There has been immediate, widespread reaction within the Gorkha community to the BJP led Central goverment's decision to set up a high level secretarial committee to look into and recommend granting of Scheduled Tribe status to 11 Gorkha communities in India, much of it heartily welcoming the move but some doubting it.

The single page order issued on April 2, 2016 by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, states that a committee is being set up headed by Shri Ashok Pai, joint secretary in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to “examine and recommend” regarding granting of ST status to eleven communities namely Bhujel, Gurung, Mangar, Newar, Jogi, Khas, Rai, Sunwar, Thami, Yakkha (Dewan) and Dhimal living in Sikkim and other Gorkha dominated States and areas. The committee has been given a time frame of three months to submit its report to the government.

Coming in the face of ongoing assembly elections when the model code of conduct is in operation, it is obvious that the decision is being viewed with suspicion while also encountering protests from the Opposition, particularly the TMC. Sections opposed to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha think its a political ploy aimed at garnering votes in the elections. The TMC, on the other hand, have contended that the decision will distort the level playing field in the assembly elections, providing an advantage to the BJP and its alliance partner, the GJM in North Bengal region.
GJM Swaraj Thapa
GJM Swaraj Thapa
The charges do not carry much weight. The Centre is well within its jurisdiction to take such a decision in the overall interest of Gorkhas residing in different parts of the country as assembly elections are being held in only four states. There have been a number of precedents in the past when the Centre has taken decisions when elections are underway in a couple of states. Governance and administrative decision making cannot stop simply because assembly elections are being held in a few states. Then agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had announced sugar policy when assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh were underway.

Moreover, it was the very TMC government, which, through its state cabinet, had approved granting of tribal status to the 11 Gorkha communities and sent its recommendation to the Centre in 2014 just before the Lok Sabha elections got underway. No one then complained that the move was aimed at earning political dividend in the Lok Sabha elections. There have been other similar decisions, like the UPA government's move to go ahead with the announcement to create separate state of Telengana just before the 2014 general elections, clearly with the objective of electoral gains in that region. Mamata Banerjee's announcement to carve out a separate district of Kalimpong too was for the same reason and the fledgling JAP and its president, Harka Bahadur Chettri, is in fact contesting the assembly election from Kalimpong on the very plank of Kalimpong being made a district .

So it will not be surprising if Prime Minister Narender Modi speaks about the issue on Saturday when he visits Siliguri as part of his campaign tour. After his previous visit to Siliguri before becoming Prime Minister when he had said “Gorkha ka sapna mera sapna hai”, his likely assertion that Gorkhas will soon be granted Scheduled Tribe status is certain to be given more than a rousing welcome.
Politics apart, what is more important is that the decision is a milestone in the Gorkha community bid to seek inclusion as scheduled tribes. Like the West Bengal state cabinet's recommendation to the Centre, the setting up of the committee by the Centre is another important step in this direction. The issue is critical to the crore or so Gorkhas residing in the country, a majority of them in Sikkim, GTA region, Assam, other North east states, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as they feel they are yet to get justice despite working equally for the country.

The will of the people is supreme in a democracy. And the Centre's decision does not find any objection whatsoever on grounds of merit from the small Gorkha community, who have been seeking ST status for decades. In fact, the GNLF was even quick to stake claim for the decision, contending that the late Subhash Ghisingh was the first to write to the Centre on the subject two decades ago. That they are only trying to bake their own political bread on the side when the fire is burning is obvious by the fact that they have not given any representation to the government either recently or in the last few years.
Elections will be over in the next fortnight, but what is critical now for the entire Gorkha community is to get together and make a final push to ensure that the decision gets recommended by the committee and sent for approval upwards. Although the terms of reference of the Ashok Pai committee are yet to be outlined by the Centre, Gorkhas living in Sikkim, GTA region, Assam, other northeast states, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand should not lose any time in getting their act together and make representations before the committee. Of course, the primary Gorkha leadership—Shri Pawan Kumar Chamling who heads the Sikkim government and Shri Bimal Gurung, who heads the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration will play a stellar role in devising a strategy and pushing the matter forward with the committee and the Central government.

But other political parties, non-political organisations, individuals as well as other outfits from all over India too should write to the committee outlining the reasons why Gorkhas need to be categorised as scheduled tribes. There is a need to absolutely convince Shri Ashok Pai and other members of the committee that the miniscule Gorkha community has not been able to get due justice in this country as they do not stand any chance when it comes to competition with the majority population because of their backwardness and other traits. There is no need to be garish or outlandish like the late Subhash Ghisingh when he held Jhakri parades and created his own plethora of Devis and Devtas but make a strong case for granting of ST status.

At present, there are five criteria-primitive traits, distinctive culture, shyness of contact, geographical isolation and backwardness that define who can be a Scheduled Tribe. But these characteristics are colonial in nature and the government is reworking them to include neutral socio-economic elements like educational backwardness, historical injustice and deprivation. Even autonomous religious practices can be one of the criteria, as per media reports. We, as Gorkha community, have to keep all this in mind, while making representations before the Ashok Pai committee.

For the record, Shri Gurung had raised the matter in a meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year, where I too was present as a delegation member. The GTA chief executive also met Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram on the subject and in a number of the meetings, I also attended as a member.

The onus of deciding who can qualify as a scheduled tribe is also shifting from the Registrar General of India to the Tribal ministry, which is a positive step. It is also a fact that the Central government has been flooded with several applications from several communities to grant ST status. Howeever, the case of Gorkhas appears to have been fast forwarded—we have been picked from the line and taken to the front—only because of the fact that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is a steadfast alliance partner of the BJP at the Centre. The GJM has left no stone unturned in assisting the BJP at all levels. It has allowed BJP to field candidates in its in stronghold areas in Terai and Dooars region of North Bengal. Parties like the GNLF and the fledling JAP have much to learn from GJM. Rather than hop from one party to another, they should know that loyalty can ultimately pays dividend. It is this philosophy that can also ultimately prove helpful in realising the demand of separate state of Gorkhaland.

Historical First Gorkha Regiment gets new Battalion 6/1GR

9:32 PM
CANDIGARH April 1st: The historical First Gorkha regiment of the Indian army has raised a new battalion on Friday at Subathu Cantonment, which is the birth place of the First Gorkha Rifles in Himachal Pradesh. The move is historical as the Gorkha regiment has raised a new battalion after a gap of almost five decades. As of now First Gorkha Regiment has five battalions and the new battalion would be known as 6/1GR (6/1 Gorkha Rifles).

The announcement about the raising of this battalion was made by Lt Gen Ravi Thodge, Master General of Ordinance and Colonel of the Regiment in October 2015 during the grand celebrations of Reunion-cum-Bicentenary of the Regiment.

First Gorkha regiment was raised on April 24, 1815 at Subathu Cantonment. The raising celebrations included wreath laying, special sainik sammelan and prayers at the regimental mandir to invoke the benign blessings of Goddess Durga. Lt Gen Ravi Thodge conveyed his best wishes to all ranks of newly raised battalion and exhorted them to perform at their best and to serve the nation in a manner befitting the magnificent Indian Army.
Historical First Gorkha Regiment gets new Battalion 6/1GR
Historical First Gorkha Regiment gets new Battalion 6/1GR
He also brought out that a modern and professional Indian army has to always be ready for any challenges that come its way. Colonel Avaneesh Chambial, has been appointed as the first commanding officer of the new battalion.


Himachal Gorkhas support OBC reservation

8:36 AM
Kangra Himachal, March 31 The Bhartiya Kshatriya Ghrit Bhati - Chang Mahasabha flayed the state government for not implementing the 93rd amendment to the Constitution and reservation in the Admission Act, 2006, thus “depriving” the Other Backward Classes of their constitutional rights.

Srikant Choudhary, state president of the mahasabha, at a meeting said today that Arun Vist, president, Gorkha community, and JS Padda, president, Jat community, had come forward in support the implementation of the 93rd amendment to the Constitution and reservation in the Admission Act.

Srikant today alleged that OBC children were deprived of their right due to the “adamant and non-favourable attitude” of the state government. He claimed that other states had implemented the reservation policy whereas the Himachal government had deliberately put the issue on back-burner.
Himachal Pradesh Gorkha Kalyan Board - a file photo
The mahasabha demanded one member or chairman should be appointed from OBC categories in the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission and Subordinate Services Selection Board according to the Central government notification.

Via tribuneindia


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

State Govt. Re-constitutes Himachal Pradesh Gorkha Kalyan Board

11:36 AM
The State Government has issued notification to re-constitute the Himachal Pradesh Gorkha Kalyan Board under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister would be the Vice Chairman of the Board.
Himachal Pradesh Gorkha Kalyan Board - a file photo
Himachal Pradesh Gorkha Kalyan Board - a file photo
Transport Minister, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, Secretary Social Justice and Empowerment, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Additional Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, Secretary Planning, Forest, Revenue, Education, Health, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Rural Development, GAD, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Deputy Commissioner Kangra, Hamirpur, Solan, Chamba and Sirmour would be the official members. Director SCs, OBCs and Minority Affairs would be the Member Secretary of the Board.

Source: thenewshimachal

Kalimpong woman recovered from‬ Rohru in Shimla, accused arrested

7:54 PM
Kalimpong‬ Police with the help of Himachal Police has successfully recovered a woman of 30 years of 5th mile Kalimpong from Rohru in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh . Two person Mohan Singh Subba (71) and his son Karna Raj Subba (31) actual resident from Alu Bari, Darjeeling have been arrested by police.
 Mohan Singh Subba (71) and his son Karna Raj Subba (31)
 Mohan Singh Subba (71) and his son Karna Raj Subba (31) 
The woman used to work as a employee in the small momo shop with a canteen owned by both arrested person in Rohru from last March .The woman came to Kalimpong for holidays last year in December until everything was smooth and went back to her Rohru. According to the complaint of the woman  the shop owner and his son started torturing her from January and was restrained from escaping. The source also disclosed that her food was often adulterated with intoxicants.

The woman somehow gave a call at her home early this month and inform them about her whereabouts and Subba’s treatment towards her which made her brother Ramesh Chettri lodge an FIR in Kalimpong police station on 8th March . On 21st March, the Sub Inspector Sandipan Banarjee along with a constable and a lady constable left for Shimla and the woman was recovered, where the duo was arrested on 24th of March with the help of Himachal police. They were brought to Kalimpong yesterday night and were presented in the court which slapped them with  sections  363 ,365, 328 and 34 of Indian Penal code.

Mohan Singh Subba was sent for 14 days judicial custody and his son Karna Raj Subba was sent to a police remand for five days where the woman was handed over to her parents.

Via: kalimpongnewsexpress

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