Showing posts with label author. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author. Show all posts

Reimagining encounters with Hari Prasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai - Mahendra P. Lama

5:09 PM


May 7, 2016- Though I always deeply enjoyed reading literary works of Hari Prasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai and heard so much about him from my revered father RP Lama and his friends at Su-Dha-Pa (Surya Bikram-Dharnidhar-Parasmani) hall of Nepali Sahitya Sammelan in Darjeeling, I had the opportunity to interact with ‘Gorkha’ Rai-jyu just twice—once in New Delhi and the next time in Gangtok. However, both these encounters remained a rare occasion for me. I was struck by his simplicity and his inclusive views on life outside the geographies of Nepali-speaking communities like Sikkim and Darjeeling. In the course of our interaction, my major question was: how did he find life among the Nagas in Nagaland and Ahoms in Assam, and how could he produce so many literary works in not only Nepali literature but also in Assamese and other languages? He was candid and forthright when he said that Gorkhas, by nature, are a very friendly and jovial community and could go along with any community, particularly in a democratic set up. He further narrated how the Nagas and Assamese intermingled with the Gorkhas and extended social and political support for their upliftment. There are moments of apprehensions and misunderstanding but are largely overshadowed by the larger issues of peaceful coexistence and Indianness and more critically social cohesiveness. This was typical of ‘Gorkha’ Rai-jyu, a man who carried a halo of intellectualism in his ever-glowing face. His views are not different than what one hears from other Nepali literary figures in the North East region of India. They all nurtured a feeling of ‘regional oneness’, amidst huge diversity in their approaches to their day-to-day lives.
 Hari Prasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai
 Hari Prasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai
‘Gorkha’ Rai-jyu stands among many distinguished writers of his generation, like Acchha Rai Rasik, Lain Singh Bandel, Siva Kumar Rai, Indra Sundas, Rup Narayan Sinha, and others. Oh! How I loved reciting his famous poem Kamp Uthyo in my college and university days. They always ended with loud chants of ‘once more’. ‘Once more’ not because of the style of recitation but the contents of the poem and high decibels of ‘encore’, not because of the enthralment this recitation generated but for the bourgeoning fascinations of the Gorkha youths towards their own literary traditions. Yes, he used attractively engaging common words and expressions. Many of our friends would actually cry and howl whenever there was an announcement of the arrival of Kamp Uthyo.  I myself used to get goose bumps before I stepped onto the stage and held the microphone.

Another poem I frequently recited in public was Bairagi Kainla’s Mateko Mancheko Bhashan:  Madhyarat Pachiko Sadaksita. We simply photocopied these poems in an old manual photocopy machine at a pretty high cost and distributed it. These recitations still echo in the lawns of the Fraser Hall of St Joseph’s College and North Bengal University in Darjeeling and the Mavalankar Hall of New Delhi. That was the late 1970s and 1980s when Indian Gorkhas across the country were struggling and collectively fighting for the recognition of the Nepali language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India; the decades when the Indian identity of the Indian Gorkhas were brought to the political table and negotiated in the name of a separate state of ‘Gorkhaland’ comprising of Darjeeling and adjoining Dooars region of West Bengal.  This was the time, when in the name of ‘foreigners’, a large number of Indian Gorkhas were inhumanly displaced and ousted in several North East States in the name of ‘cleansing their lands’. This was the time when the Indian nation state failed to protect their own hapless but true citizens amidst the parochial cacophony of ‘foreigners go back’.  History will never forget these atrocities and discriminations against the Indian Gorkhas who valiantly fought and immensely contributed in India’s freedom struggle and in the building of modern India. Who will deconstruct the present history and reconstruct the more inclusive history is a question the Indian Gorkhas have been asking. We lost the game as majority of our political leadership who could take up these issues are literally uneducated, both in terms of acquired degrees and knowledge. This is a tragedy among the Indian Gorkhas.

What I like in Kamp Uthyo (literally meaning uprooting of a camp from his anthology of poems Babari published in 1974) is its depiction of a soldier’s life and its uncertainty; more critically the story of separation that underlines the entire narrative, the beautiful elucidation of a soldier’s dilemma who has made friends around the camps with humans, flowers and nature’s ecology.  The soldier has reached Shillong from Darjeeling, and settles down in the military camp. The depiction of Gorkha soldier’s attachment with his roots in Darjeeling and his unparalleled ability to adapt to a new geography and society makes the reading both absorbing and powerfully touching.

Like in the past, the inimitable soldier has to leave Shillong now as they have to camp in some other frontier. By now, he has friends around with their names typical of a hill society, developed some mutual infatuation with a local girl named Sita and strong attachments with the societal practices, community living styles in Shillong. He realises and accepts that there lies uncertainty in his new destination but like a true soldier he is ready to bravely face death. A sense of sacrifice and unenviable attachment to their motherland prevails in him, something with which Gorkhas are born with. He imagines that flowers will bloom in his cemetery and passersby could assume it to be a magnificent garden. This is the way he personifies the life of a soldier who devours his physical being at the frontiers of battlefield—a superb personification where one is born to die but meaningfully like a Gorkha soldier.

Good bye Shanti! Good bye Bire! 
Good bye my friend Dhane! 

Good bye Manu! What do I say to you 
Never will come that day 

Good bye Hari 
Good bye to all of you! 
The symbols of quietness—my dear Sita 
You are like a Goddess 
Shall always wrap and unfold you into my own story 
My rude sister Maily 
Shall meet you during my dejected moments. 

do say my goodbye to that sister 
who accompanied me to Suna-Kurung falls 
Please count these goodies to the one 
who quietly peeped me from her window panes 

Oh now the bugle is sounding 
I have to go for a ‘fall in’ 
Where a Gorkha has not reached? 
everywhere whether ‘fall in’ or in no ‘fall in’ 

Against the grumping sound of boots 
Six tonner vehicle moved with noise 
We are moving to the next camp 
It’s just a recollection once again 
So many Mannus were killed in Marmma 
Many Danus were left behind in Burma 
Camp is uprooted once again 
I am on a move as a soldier 
Donot know what awaits us 
there in the unknowns, 
May be I will remain dead flat 
in the battlefield not seen now 
And there will blossom bouquet of flowers 
On the cemetery I will remain in 
Some stranger walking past could think it to be a garden 
My bare bones and other remains 
would then quietly narrate my story 
Chanting the gregarious call of Aayo Gorkhali 
(here arrive the Brave Gorkhas) 
I shall reach far beyond 
Good bye forever ! Good bye and again good bye 
My dear Sita 
Forever be near me and nearer me.

His short stories are absorbing and gives us fresh waves of joys and shocks of acute pain and of course, penetrating anguish. He is a deadly connoisseur at creating something that is beautiful. His short story Banani Banki Sundari (beauty from Banani forest, published in Bharati, Kalimpong, 1973) and reviewed in the prestigious Masterpieces of Indian Literature  (National Book Trust, New Delhi, 1997) by this author refreshed memories about the rebellion in Mizoram. In this complex and chilling story, Lainsemi lived with her mother in Mizoram hills and had developed intense love for Captain Raj who was posted there to supervise the operations against the rebels. These rebels once forcedly took away Lainsemi from her home, took her to their camp and invaded her morals from her soul and sent her back bereft of physical value. On her way back, she meets her Captain-lover who was returning from Darjeeling from a short leave. And then she narrates to him all that happened.

‘Gorkha’ Rai-jyu will ever be remembered for many generation to come. Saraswati, one of his three daughters, took the cudgels of bringing together his memories and contributions in a volume. What is of critical importance for his family and friends is to recollect and re-document what he left for posterity as oral history and unpublished manuscripts. Somewhere in the preface of one of his books he wrote:

“I must confess that I have this habit of writing poems and singing them as songs whenever I get the right moment, theme and actors. ... I never took care of these papers which were drafted and corrected from all sides. Many a times I just tore them into several unrecognisable pieces and forgot them for all the time to come.”

Saraswati could revisit his papers and bring them to public purview as societal intellectual property. This phenomenon is universal among the Gorkhas all over. The ‘oral history’ programme, the ‘winter sojourn’ project and the ‘book discussion’ event and of course ‘Ethnicity and Biodiversity Museum’ which we initiated in the very first five years (2007-2012) of building Sikkim University, a national university, in Gangtok have been exactly aimed at realising these objectives.

We started documenting our rich but unrecorded intellectual heritage through ‘oral history’ (Maukhik Itihas) programme. Our teachers and students visited villages and rugged terrains looking for the custodians of this knowledge and interviewed them, recorded them and transformed them into documents and unusual sets of knowledge base and intellectual capital. In the past we steadily lost so much in terms of knowledge and wisdom when our parents and grandparents faded into oblivion. No one documented them and we lost the game. Whereas same traditional knowledge base was capitalised by the Chinese, Japanese and companies like Coca Cola to generate huge development resources and extend and ensure human security. Therefore, in order to connect the oral history programme with the societies and communities in and around Sikkim we simply said:

Baje Mare Boju Mareen, 
Duiwata  pustakalaya  lierai  gae 
Aba yesto  huna dinnau hai

Thereby meaning:

Grandfather passed away, 
Grandmother crossed the horizon, 
Along, took away two beautiful libraries, 
We shall not let it happen again

The ‘winter sojourn’ (Hiundo Yatra) project aimed at connecting the University and higher education with the communities. The students and teachers will go to a destination in Sikkim and around to study themes like water, brooms, cardamom, trafficking of women, cultural heritage, health, pastime games, forest, local women vendors, etc, from an inter-disciplinary perspective. This helped our students and teachers to understand and assimilate the issues within the locales of their university and also connecting the village folks and city dwellers with the higher education. This generated adequate researchable local and regional issues from within our geography, natural resources and communities so that we steadily move to ‘globalisation of locals’ (knowledge, culture, traditional medicinal systems, adaptation story of climate change, food, literary heritage, and also disaster management techniques etc) and not what is dominantly happening now the ‘localisation of globals’ (Jeans, Samsung, Apple, Pizza, Hamburger, KFC, Honda and Toyota). ‘Book discussion’ (Pustak Chalphal) event was designed to imbibe reading habits among the younger generation and take them nearer to their roots where language, literature, culture, music, sports and young talents profusely flourished in the past.

And finally in the initiation and building of Ethnicity and Biodiversity Museum the aim was not only to realign the locals, national and global citizens with the extravagant and prolific cultural heritage and biodiversity of this region but also make museum as a bastion of research and sustainable development discourses.  This is perhaps the first such museum in the entire Eastern Himalayas which was designed by our own teachers and students and management staff with the help of National Museum, National Archives of India and British Council. Rather a proud moment for the hill folks around. There was public fund guzzler-political ‘leaders’ who do not value institutions as they live in the ideology of individualism and destruction of what nature have endowed. Sikkim University initiated all these programmes and built all these institutions blatantly ignoring and sometimes durably exposing this political class with myopic vision and chicken-like thinking. These are the ways forward for all of us who value culture, literature, heritage and renegotiating our children and communities to their glorious past. ‘Gorkha’ Rai-jyu’s writings and speeches very much allude to all these.

Lama is a professor of South Asian Economies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Also served as the Founding Vice Chancellor, Central University of Sikkim. Considered as the architect of the reopening of Nathu la trade route between Sikkim in India and Tibet Autonomous Region in China after 44 years in 2006, he is a member of Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations from India

Via ekantipur

"Gorkhas in the freedom struggle of India" Book released

5:49 PM
Book highlighting the role of Gorkhas in India’s freedom struggle released

K.K. Muktan, author and a former bureaucrat, launched his fourth book titled, “Gorkhas in the freedom struggle of India” at Hotel Polo Towers here on Saturday.

The book was released by W.M.S.Pariat, former Chief Secretary and Co-Chairman of Meghalaya Resource and Employment Generation Commission (MREGC).

Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Pariat said that the Gorkhas are remembered for their absolute loyalty to duty and that from the information provided by the book, the people will not only remember their service in the military realm but in playing a role in Indian politics as well.

The author, meanwhile, highlighted three parts of the book–the freedom struggle and the participation of the Nepalese in India’s freedom movement, participation of the Gorkhas in the Azad Hind Fauj or the Indian National Army (INA) formed by Subhash Chandra Bose and the sacrifice made by 22 young Gorkha jawans during the Kargil War.
Former Chief Secretary, W.M.S. Pariat releases the book titled, “The Gorkhas in the freedom
struggle of India” written by retired bureaucrat, Mr. K.K. Muktan on 3-10-2015
At the same time he said that the book is beneficial to university students, research scholars and the community as a whole.

Muktan has authored books like “Planning for retirement” and “The Legendary Gorkhas” among others.

Source The Shillong Times

National record for Gorkha's Daugther Anita Niraula

12:52 PM
Gorkha's Daughter Anita Niraula, a senior newsreader with All India Radio, Gangtok, has added a yet another dimension to her multi-faceted personality. She has become the first person in the country to author a research-based book in Nepali on Nepali music contributors.

Her name has been incorporated in the prestigious India Book of Records in recognition of her achievement. She has been awarded with golden memento, certificate and record holder identity card.

The book titled ‘Black and White: Sikkim Ma Sangeet Bhitrakaharu’ is the result of her extensive three years research work in individual capacity. It contains life sketches of more than 85 music artistes and promoters, contributions of more than 16 organizations related to music as well as information on over 54 folk music of Nepali community. The book also contains a brief history of Nepali music in Sikkim.
Gorkha's Daugther Anita Niraula finds a place in India book of Records
Gorkha's Daugther Anita Niraula finds a place in India book of Records
India Book of Records is a collection of national records in the field which mostly is not included in an organized sport.

Source:  nelive

“The Khukri Braves - The Illustrated History of the Gorkhas” interview with the author

10:04 AM
The Darjeeling Chronicle EXCLUSIVE interview with Jyoti Thapa Mani, the author of the newly released book “The Khukri Braves - The Illustrated History of the Gorkhas”

EXCLUSIVE:  “The Khukri Braves - The Illustrated History of the Gorkhas” - JYOTI THAPA MANI 

Jyoti Thapa Mani, the author of newly released book “The Khukri Braves - The Illustrated History of the Gorkhas” joins Adwiti Subba Haffner for a candid interview as she talks about the history of the Gorkhas, her trials and tribulations while writing the book and her stance about female empowerment, which will surprise you. Read the full interview to know your history and find out about the author and her valuable gift to our community.
The Khukri Braves: The Illustrated History of The Gorkha by Jyoti Thapa Mani
The Khukri Braves: The Illustrated History of The Gorkha by Jyoti Thapa Mani
Adwiti : Congratulations on your very extensive and the first-ever illustrated history of the Gorkhalis – “The Khukri Braves - the Illustrated History of the Gorkhas” published by Rupa Publications. Jyoti Thapa Mani you are very aware of the Gorkha community settled in different parts of India, but the fundamental challenge that we face is acquiring a level of unity amongst our Gorkha Community as a whole. Will your book create a sense of cohesiveness within our community?
Jyoti Thapa Mani: Thank you very much Adwiti. Yes, I hope the book I wrote will create a sense of unity and also give a vivid visual of our roots, since the book is filled with stunning images ! “The Khukri Braves” is meant to reach and create awareness and knowledge of our Gorkhali history and culture to unite all Gorkhas with a collective understanding of their history and principles. No real story can be told without pictures so there is a bonanza of them.

Politically the term “ Gorkha” is defined as Nepali-speaking Indians belonging to the Nepali-defined clans and castes. However some do not even know the word comes from the word Gau-rakshak, i.e. Defenders of the Cow. The cow stands for mother or motherland. As Rakshaks it is in our tradition to defend, protect and guard those who seek our help.

The Gorkhas have contributed to world peace by their sacrifices to weather the two Worlds Wars, the continuous cold war going on today, to counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism and UN Peacekeeping Forces in civil war zones the major highlights being written in my book. We stand for bravery, honesty, high endurance capabilities and total commitment to duty.

The book can historically and socially create a sense of identity, heritage, culture and the personal set of values and principles that we the brave Gorkhas are synonymous to, and if we abide by these qualities while acknowledging each other through these very strengths and values, we can definitely integrate the perceived differences and gravitate towards solidarity and unity. Knowledge is the key to cultural and social awareness. I don’t want to promote parochialism, this book is not about that. It is about the richness of our outstanding history, heritage and culture.

Adwiti: Your book goes beyond the “word -of-mouth” history and bibliography, it illuminates a wealth of intriguing, hidden, painstakingly researched and buried facts about the Gorkhas. You said that you wanted this book to be in the hands of every Gorkha person, we would love to hear the reason why.
Jyoti Thapa Mani: The book is about the history of the world’s most valiant, popular, deadliest and bravest fighters—the Gorkhas. The book attempts to bust the myth of the complex jaati/thari structure in our society. After you read this book, rest assured that you will be able to understand your cultural heritage and the rich history that we belong to.

I was compelled to actually visit the sites where all the historical events and battles took place. The book I wrote is different because I traced the footsteps of my forefathers, putting myself in their shoes and exploring terrains where blood was shed and battles fought, I even coincided my trips around the same months to capture the environment, the ambience and I took photographs upon photographs encapsulating history and the emotions surrounding the event. It shows.

2015 is a special year for the Gorkhas Rifles. On 24th April 1815, the very First Gorkha Rifles (The Malaun Regiment) was raised as the Nusseerree Battalions on the slopes of Malaun Fort in Solan district, Himachal Pradesh India. Therefore the history of the 1st Gorkha Rifles forms the special tag of the book. Gorkhas created history but did not write it and hence documented sources were scarcely available to people. Ever since the “Gorkha identity” issue began to crop up, I realized that the Gorkhas did not know their history in India and therefore was unable to represent themselves accurately to Public Opinionates.

Most of our Gorkha history books were written without true research or evidence, for e.g. it’s unclear whether Dharamshala was in the state of Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand. The same for Dehradun. The two towns are major landmarks in Northern India Gorkha history and how can anyone scream about all-India Gorkha identity without even knowing which different states the towns are situated.

Many Gorkha leaders spend huge amounts of time and money discussing and protesting but are lazy to do the groundwork for their claims. They were hitting the battlefield with no preparation. My book gives to you the story of Ram Singh Thakuri with all the credibility required to convince anyone and of many more remarkable people to hold your head high.

Correct and researched history is absolutely necessary to justify their aspirations to being recognized and respected as Indian Gorkhas or Gorkha Indians, either way. This is a 407 pages large-size book with 500 plus full-color photographs. The book has been authenticated and checked by very senior officers from the Indian Army and Nepalese Army, including highly respected Professor and ex-MLA Chanderverker of HP. It has been endorsed by eminent journalists Shekar Gupta of ‘Walk the Talk’ fame and Dr Sanjaya Baru, author of the best-seller book ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ and Yubaraj Ghimire of Nepal. And published by Rupa Publications. So the standard of writing, presentation, etc had to be very high.

As I said, the best for the best.

Many in the community suffer from lack of self-esteem and I believe that knowledge of their glorious history will definitely make them more confident and self-assured.

This book is just a beginning to stimulate Gorkhalis to know, discover and preserve their historical heritage. You look for it you will find more of it, everywhere.

You respect yourself, the world will respect you.

Adwiti: What in your opinion is the difference between Gorkhas and Nepalis?
Jyoti Thapa Mani: Gorkhas have a martial heritage. Gorkhas were born as the Gorkha Sena and they moved like a whirlwind in the 18th century taking in its wake all the strongholds of the independent Magar, Gurung, Rai and Limbu chiefdoms and as their men joined the Gorkha army they also became Gorkhas. The wave of identity with induction into the British-Gurkhas from 1815 and Indian Gorkhas after 1947 continued making one community where one culture had also developed defining the Gorkhali community which was united in common traditions. Since the adventures of the soldiers and their families led to new settlements and habitats especially in India what was born was the Gorkha community.

Nepalese citizens are from Nepal or Nepalis or Nepali-speaking people are anywhere in the world. However, I see it as a personal choice to call oneself a Nepali or a Gorkhali. But calling oneself a Gorkhali elevates the status and prestige of an individual for reasons known to the whole world. The Indian Gorkha Rifles has six regiments for Magar-Gurungs, one regiment for Khas-Chhetris and one for the Kirati Rai-Limbus. Others like Tamangs, Newars, etc are eligible for all and tucked into all of them. So all our Gorkhas.

The uniqueness and actual progressiveness of our Gorkhali community today in India stands for an equal society with no caste-class-clan hierarchy system. They intermarry as equals and celebrate common Gorkhali festivals Dasain and Tihar, Christmas with no religious connotations. I believe, Gorkhalis ideally should not accept religious diktats which are constricting and do what we enjoy and believe in the basic message of our religion by birth. It should be a personal choice.

The difference really in my opinion is a matter of personal choice. When one says one is a Nepali, then automatically people tend to think he/she is from Nepal. Gorkhas would be a more universal term.

Adwiti: You have been an agent of change where female empowerment is concerned. The dowry system was not prevalent in the Gorkha culture but it has resisted change in India and lately I am hearing that the system is subtly snaking its way into our culture too. How can we stop this from becoming a fully fledged dowry system so we can revert back to our own tradition?
Jyoti Thapa Mani: Yes Adwiti, I believe in female equality and empowerment. I have zero tolerance towards the dowry system. “Chhori pani dina ani dahej pani? Kasto dalidar hola keta wala haru ( how unfair the system is that we give our daughters but then also send her with dowry).”

Our culture has never propagated this custom and I know of a Gorkhali girl in Dharamshala who cancelled a marriage at the last moment as a dowry list started appearing from the boy’s side including giving a gold coin to all the baraatis which is not in our culture. The odds were high as she was 30 plus considered late for an arranged marriage. But she took her stand supported by her family. Thereafter she has joined a film-making course and society in Hamirpur and free from family and social pressures of marriage she is blooming. The Gorkha community in Dharamshala also took a pledge that nobody from Dharamshala will give their daughter to this boy. How about all other Gorkha communities all around the world do the same?

Marriage and dowries are social institutions and only society can end it or else we are sunk. We will become like the other Indian who are below poverty line and carry dowry debts for life for a one day affair? And we know economic misery makes societies anti-social.

Does money make a happy marriage? We know it does not. Greed leads to more greed. Yes we should fight for it, and not support dowry system.

Adwiti: What advice do you have for the Gorkha youths of today in terms of empowering girls/women in our community?
Jyoti Thapa Mani: Empowerment of girls/ women begins from the male members of the society, fathers, brothers and husbands. Generally, the father is the provider-head of the family so he should provide for his daughter’s education and support her development into self-reliance. Mothers provide the moral strength. I am of course talking about grass roots level development. Obviously at a different level the male-female egalitarian standards can be maintained by mutual understanding and awareness.

But, if we want girls in the villages and rural areas to be educated and we spoke to all the mothers who are dependent on their husbands, they are generally not the decision makers of the family then the information will in turn have to be promoted to their husbands, so unfortunately the education and empowerment of the little girls become contingent on the mothers’ ability to coax the husband. This is a very flimsy method. I say we educate the men. We show them how educating their girls can benefit them, how they too can provide for the family and become strong contributing members of society.

Adwiti: In your book you mention, "The community stands at the brink of breaking tags and stereo-typing to compete in civilian society" - What makes you believe so?
Jyoti Thapa Mani: I have met many young people who want to move away from the Gorkha-tag of soldiers, security personnel, and house help and make their mark as achievers in civilian professions. Many army children do not want to join the army anymore. The world is happening and they want their piece of cake too. That is great!

Soldiering was a profession when other opportunities were limited to the Gorkha community who hailed majorly from agrarian background. Now the options are wide open. We are also writers, artists, entrepreneurs and anything we want to be and the newer generation are starting to see and understand the potential of what they can become by breaking molds and exploring their intelligence and creativity. I hear accomplishments from our Gorkhali brothers and sisters, as writers, photographers, dancers, fashion designers, musicians.

It is very imperative at this point for the parents of the next generation to be open to all possibilities and not restrict them . As for myself I like being called a Gorkha soldier. What an honour!
Adwiti: What difference do you see in the Gorkhas from the Darjeeling district and the Gorkhas in the different parts of India? I know your father studied in North Point College, he must have some insights. What do you think is the future of our Gorkha community as a whole?

The main differences I see among the Gorkhas are the different issues. Identity for some means a Gorkhaland state. Identity for some is a stop to branding as ‘Foreigners’ in their respective states. Gorkhas moving to the People in Himachal Pradesh respect the Gorkhas as fierce warriors.

Identity problem for some is the disappearing of traditions and values which identify the community amongst the majority. In Himachal we were looking for qualified Nepali teachers to introduce the language in the state’s schools but no one was willing to come and stay there.

My father late Pritam Singh Thapa fell in love with Darjeeling during his education stint in North Point. He was the President of the Students Union. He made many friends there. There seems to have been so much warmth and camaraderie in the Darjeeling youth which is unique from any other Indian Gorkhali society. The Darjeelingeys are so full of life-so much of dance and music. It’s a magical world out there.

The future of the Gorkha community is bright as there is fire in the belly to rise and be known. We must teach the newer generation to uplift each other. We just need to band together, build online and real communities, help each other, encourage each other and stay strong under our the Khukri banner!

Adwiti: Your impressive background states that you were the design head of the Economic Times, Business Today and Business World. How did you accomplish so much and then have time to write, not 1 but 2 books!!
Jyoti Thapa Mani: My grandfather late Major MS Thapa, Commandant EFR, Salua, Kharagpur used to say “jo chori lai parnu man lagdaina uslai graduation garayera ramro home-maker banayera ramro gari biha gardine... Jo Chori padai ma hoshiyaar chha uslai paduana parcha... professional course ma best college ma... ani kosaile biha ko pressure halnu hundina.”

Graphic Design at NID in Ahmedabad was the 5 and 1/ years course. When I joined I was just 17 and half. I travelled second class sleeper each time from home to fro for 5 and 1/2 years, ate alu-bhajis from vendors on the way, and tied my baggage to my toes while sleeping. No pampering or molly-coddling from parents except full faith in me.

After graduation a mal-nutritioned me returned home enjoying my mom’s cooking and became plump, till my Granny grumbled saying I was a burden on her retired son and Dad saying that I was wasting the education, so I took the first bus from Dharamshala to Delhi. It was the only way they could make me move and they knew how to do it. It is important for the supporting family members to push a little and I would definitely say that I became a wiser person with every kick in life however horrible I felt then. I would attribute all my success to my family and all goof-ups to myself.

When I first came to Delhi I found my own job, faced the vagaries of the city despite being naïve, travelled in buses and autos for a longtime, before I received a promotion and gained all the rewards of working hard and smart. Life knocked me down several times, I even made some bad decisions but then, you know what I stuck with it, I learned and never gave up. Then the book kept speaking to me even as my work demanded so much out of me. My responsibilities were endless, but I did not find excuses, I found opportunities.

It started as a thought as almost everything creative does; I held on to that idea of writing about my culture, my heritage, my forefathers – I was intrigued beyond tiredness to explore the depth of our history. There was not one book that had it all. This adventure took me to the places where my forefathers shed blood and proved again and again the adage “ Kafar hunu bhunda marnu jati” ( Better to die than be a coward). The caliber and uniqueness, not just in terms of being strategic warriors, but mostly the courage our forefathers carried in their hearts that made them the famous Gorkhas. I had to document this vital account. It was a calling almost like a mission where if I didn’t write and share our legacy then I would not be fulfilling my purpose. It was that strong. It was that passionate. It was fearless. I was a Gorkha myself in this mission.

Adwiti : It took you more than a decade to write this historical piece, a vivid account of valuable work. Share with us briefly the trials and tribulations you faced during your research. What was the most challenging aspect of this extensive project? What drove you single mindedly to write about the Gorkhas, our heritage and history?
Jyoti Thapa Mani: My late father initiated me into the Gorkha quest. It began as a mere interest and then snowballed into a passion and I became a Gorkhaphile. The more I travelled the more I discovered. Nothing was chartered or recorded beyond a point. It was like a treasure hunt as I pieced together information after information, gathered from books, conversations, people and everything took its own time to sink in and connect. I had to dig and dig and dig but loved it all. I tried to reach every place where Gorkha blood had shed, and when I did it, I felt as if they [our ancestors] felt good that they were not forgotten.

I have a collection of stones from battle sites and forts and many wonder why I keep stones in a glass case.

I miss my dad. We used to travel together to Gorkha sites. I used to discuss my work daily with him over the telephone. He was my guide, philosopher and mentor. Today he is not here to see the book but I think he had already visualized it in his mind before he passed away in 2012.

So about 12 years of seeking and two years of fulltime work indoors on my computer to compile, write, design and complete the book. As disasters struck during the production of the book, I died and was reborn many times. It is a spiritual story and was not possible without spiritual sources to charge my batteries which would run out occasionally. A Gorkha warrior-turned-saint who lived centuries ago wrote a journal which is lost. I have not seen it and I do not know where it is. So I wrote it as I believed he would have liked it to be.

In 2010, I curated a first-time exhibition on Himachal Gorkhas history and traditions at the Kangra Museum of Art in Dharamshala with Department of Language and Culture. The idea was for all community members to bring archival photographs, materials, trophies and medals from their homes and the collection was so amazing and huge that we did not have enough space to display them all. The exhibition received great response from the local media with headlines like ‘Gorkha Itihaas 200 saal Purana!’ and so on.

But all these efforts used to be very strenuous as I had to squeeze in time from my job in the media industry where we worked from morning till late night every day. It was not possible to even take leave. Balancing the high responsibilities and my growing Gorkha passion was difficult but I managed to somehow do what I wanted to do. As my brother Dr Aloke tells me, “you must be feeling a vacuum now.” Actually I am feeling lonely. It’s like saying goodbye to the historical characters I lived with for so long.

The journey has been very eventful and if this book does well I will shall share Jyoti on the Gorkha trail. I cannot really define the most challenging part as there were so many. But I did have a tough time climbing up hill sides to remote forts where only goat trails remain. The zigzag paths clinging onto shrubs and stones were very painful and many times my legs turned to jelly and then I just sat down. My poor camera also took many a tumble but remained intact despite dents. How those nimble-footed Gorkha warriors ran up and down these hillsides I cannot imagine. All in all it was a very deep and powerful experience that which changed me forever and hope the history that I have unearthed will change your life too.

Adwiti: Who is your inspiration? What advice do you have for the Youth of our community? How can they become successful in their endeavors like you have been?
Jyoti Thapa Mani: My forefathers, family and of course the Gorkhas themselves! Which Gorkha would not like to write about those who are kith and kin created an internationally acknowledged global status? And which Gorkhali proud of his identity would not like to read about them.

This book would not have been possible without the full support of Maj. General PCS Khati, Vr Chakra (Retd) 1 GR, Brigadier Prem Basnyat, Nepal Army, eminent Indian journalists such as Sandipan Deb, Shekar Gupta, Dr Sanjaya Baru, Nepalese journalist Yubaraj Ghimire and so many other wonderful people whom I have mentioned in my acknowledgements. The number of people (Indian Gorkhalis, Nepalese and non-Gorkhali Indians) all out to support is out of this world.

Think Big. Think Positive. Hard work, endurance, sincerity and Never say die. Face every challenge with determination like a Khukri Brave. Besides professional life make some contribution to the community anytime in your life for whatever span. We Gorkhas are closely connected with nature. Protect animals. Protect nature. Preserve trees. Plant flowers. Protect the environment. Cleanliness and hygiene should be the new mantra. Be clean, be healthy.

I would like to see more nurses (boys and girls) in the hospitals from our rural sectors like the Kerala and North-eastern nurses who reach everywhere to work.

We are the Gorkhas!

Ho ki Hoina?

Ho! Ho! Ho !

After the impassioned and intense conversation I had with Jyoti Thapa Mani, I could see our forefathers in my mind’s eye, courage in their hearts, khukri in their hands, single minded focus in their eyes shouting out the spine chilling war cry “ Jai Maa kali, Ayo Gorkhaliiii…………..” .

The book that Jyoti Thapa mani wrote is alive because it is not just about The Gorkhas it is about YOU, it is about us and it is about what our forefathers experienced - the blood we shed , the wars we fought, the courage and ferocity we displayed ,the wars we conquered, the lives we lost and the lives we saved. This book is not merely a book, it is something that will speak to you because it is in your blood. Please give yourself this opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your history accurately, passionately and fearlessly.

The term Gorkha does not have to be only in the battlefield, we can fight, we can display our fearlessness in every walk of our lives.

Available in bookstores and online: 

For Overseas buyers:

In India :

Oxford Book Store Darjeeling: Ph # 0354/225 4325

[Adwiti Subba Haffner is an entrepreneur, social worker, writer, freelance journalist, world traveler, mother, wife, meditation teacher. You can find her at and her website is]

Via - The Darjeeling Chronicle

'Sankee Samay' Pradip Lohagan’s first anthology released

11:35 AM
Kalimpong : Young Gorkha poet Pradip Lohagan’s first anthology “Sankee Samay” was released  on Sunday in Kalimpong. Noted poets Manoj Bogati, Ming Lawang and Raja Puniyani officially released the book at a function organized at Kalimpong Girl Sr. Sec School auditorium by the Kalimpong Charitra Publication and Sadak Kavita Samuha. The book is published by Yamburi Book Point, Kathmandu.

Release of Pradip Lohagan’s first anthology “Sankee Samay” in Kalimpong on Sunday.
Release of Pradip Lohagan’s first anthology
“Sankee Samay” in Kalimpong on Sunday.
Manoj Bogati in his address described the book as a progressive and factual representation of words against the system. He said the poems in Lohagun’s book talks about social changes and development. “Sankee Samay is an anthology for the new generation as it trends along the current times and has set a starting milestone for the genre,” Bogati added. Poet Raja Puniyani spoke in length about current Indian Nepali writing style and its attributes.

The function also saw poem recitals by noted poets, including Raja Puniyani and Sudhir Chettri along with other young poets Chewang Yonzon, DK Vaibha, Karna Birha, Ashadeep Rai and Vinod Sharma. The programme also had the presence of Kalimpong MLA Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri, the GTF chairman Dr. Anos Das Pradhan, former Kalimpong College principle Kumar Chettri, advocate Amar Lama, poet Sanumit Rai, writer Sanjay Bisht, Kalimpong Municipality Chairman Jayan Lepcha and litterateur Tara Lohar, along with various other literature enthusiasts.

Source: EOI

Literary Harmony - A Profile of Hariprasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai

12:20 PM
By Ashok Baral

Hariprasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai is a well-known name in Assamese and Nepali literature. The worthy son of the soil tied a number of regional as well as national languages into a single whole and thus made literary harmony possible.

Hariprasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai
Hariprasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai
Hariprasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai was born in Kohima (then a part of Asom) on July 15, 1914 to Dhanraj Rai and Yashoda Rai. He received primary education at home and then at the Kohima Lower Middle School. ‘Gorkha’ Rai was an MA in Assamese, English and Philosophy and studied in Delhi and then in Santiniketan for a first class graduate degree in Hindi.

Hariprasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai started his service career as a teacher at Kohima FT school in 1935. After 20 years of regular service in that school, ‘Gorkha’ Rai joined the Guwahati centre of All India Radio as an assistant director. He retired from service in 1978.

‘Gorkha’ Rai tried his hand in story, poem and article writing from the age of 18. His writings flourished in the contemporary magazines such as – Gorkha Sevak, Uday, Suman, Usha, Himalee, Ashtitwa, Himadri and Suskera published from India and even Nepal. Kavita Sangraha, Yahaan Badnam Huncha and Kavita Machariko Boli are ‘Gorkha’ Rai’s milestones in Nepali literature, in addition to his one-act plays Ek Tukra Roti, Krishna Janma and Janani Janmabhumi. His plays Puru and Sikandar and Satyavana are examples of his mastery as a playwright. ‘Gorkha’ Rai’s books Asomka Chheukuna and Udisyaka Hernuparne Thaunharu show his genius as a writer of travel experiences.

Hariprasad ‘Gorkha’ Rai served both Assamese and Nepali literature with equal sincerity and passion. His stories, poems and articles appeared in Assamese magazines like Abahan, Banhi, Soumar Jyoti, Udayachal, Ramdhenu and Monidwip. ‘Gorkha’ Rai was the co-author of Asomar Janajati. In addition to it, Doogaraki Mohan Bibhuti-Adikavi Bhanubhakta Aaru Sankardev, Chabilal Upadhyayar Jiwani and Swadhinata Sangrami Neta Dalbir Singh Lohar are ‘Gorkha’ Rai’s noteworthy contributions to Assamese literature as a biography writer. Eri Aha Dinbor, ‘Gorkha’ Rai’s autobiography, is enriched with his lucid writing style. Being well versed in Oriya, Bangla, Hindi, English, Manipuri, Nagamese, Mising and Japanese, in addition to his own languages Assamese and Nepali, ‘Gorkha’ Rai could travel in the realms of a number of regional literatures of India. His translation of Birendrakumar Bhattacharya’s Iyaruingam and the translation of Mising folk songs into Nepali enriched this language.

It was because of ‘Gorkha’ Rai’s contribution to Assamese and Nepali literature that Madhab Deka Bezbaruah, the editor of Banhi magazine, advised him to use the word ‘Gorkha’ as his middle name. It was in the year 1975 that the Asom Sahitya Sabha gave ‘Gorkha’ Rai a certificate of eulogy and started paying him Rs 700 per month as literary pension. This was followed by the announcement of a lifetime literary pension to this noted writer by the Asom government in 1975. It was for ‘Gorkha’ Rai’s contribution to Nepali literature that in 1996 he received the Jagadamba Award from the Madan Award Trust of Nepal and in the year 2000 he received the Parashmoni Award from the Kalimpong Nepali Sahitya Adhyayan Samiti. ‘Gorkha’ Rai’s works for literary harmony did not go unrewarded as he received the Phoolchand Khandel Sanghati Award from the Asom Sahitya Sabha in 1999.

- Courtesy: The Assam Tribune 

Open Letter by Award Winning Gorkhali Novelist to The Telegraph

10:45 AM
Open Letter by Award Winning Gorkhali Novelist From Sikkim Chetan Raj Shrestha to The Telegraph.

Dear Telegraph,

I was there at Hotel Tashi Delek in Gangtok in 2002 when you launched your Sikkim edition. I was working in a local newspaper then and I remember we were all elated. It was wonderful, that atmosphere of self-importance. We had moved closer to the centre, our tasks would be seen and our voices heard. There was to be a special supplement: ‘North Bengal and Sikkim’. There still is one, the last time I looked. But does it still cover Sikkim?

The recent days in Gangtok have been those of fire and poison. To brief you – over a period of three days, there were lathi charges, tear gas firings, street battles, government vehicles torched, police forces attacked, miscreants arrested and innocent bystanders beaten up in police reprisals. It began with students from the Sikkim Government College, who were protesting a fee hike on Monday and were lathicharged without adequate warnings by the SP (East). Events intensified and soon involved the guardians of the students, Sikkim Police, the Sikkim Armed Police, the Indian Reserve Battalion, the ruling and opposition parties, common members of the public and vandals out for a thrill. The unrest began on Monday and ended on Wednesday when, after a day of rioting, the government seemed to agree to the students’ demands.

These are things that The Telegraph, as a newspaper purporting to cover Sikkim should have told me, a subscriber. Instead on Thursday morning, your ‘North Bengal and Sikkim’ told me about a football tournament in Cooch Behar, a cricket match in Islampur, a blood donation camp in Mogra, the punishment transfer of a food controller from Alipurduar to Calcutta, a union tussle in a college at Calcutta, and the surprise of a large turnout at a BJP rally in Bolpur, apparently a TMC stronghold.

On Thursday, after the hysteria had settled, the police began rounding up the guilty miscreants. Today the Bar Council of Sikkim delivered a two day ultimatum to the Government. They want the SP East, the same idiot whose actions had ignited everything, suspended for beating up two District Court employees, innocents who were returning home. It also turns out that the tear gas canisters which were used, some of them had been fired into peoples’ houses, had expired in October 2011. And the Wednesday agreement between the Students and the Cabinet appears shabbier with each new revelation. All the while the Chief Minister, who is also the Home Minister, has not spoken.

There was nothing in your newspaper today as well. How have you missed all this?

Is it deliberate and induced, this silence? It surely cannot be fear. Our local media have been truthful, and they stand to lose so much more. And I have also seen The Telegraph report on the Left Front and the Trinamool governments without equivocation, applauding the good and exposing the bad. I remember your reports on the murder of ASI Tapash Choudhury by political goons, and in its aftermath, your gutsy endorsement of Commissioner Pachnanda who stood up to the West Bengal Government as it tried to bully the Calcuttan police force.

Is it advertising revenue? An absurd theory, I know.

Is it incompetence? You will be better placed to answer that. I do not know your correspondent here and I have not seen his/her reports to you. But I have taken the liberty of attaching some photographs, all taken from local social media pages.

Is it insignificance? Have we again become peripheral? I hope not. If we have ceased to matter, do let us know. We have a historical aptitude for obscurity so the adjustment will not be too difficult.

If we are too small, then please do remove ‘Sikkim’ from your masthead. The Telegraph and the hopeful Sikkimese reader will have both shed their illusions of representation, and for the better. Though, here at least, in a small market, you may go from being unputdownable to unpickupable.

At the same time, I hope that you begin speaking of us to the world, as you promised to do on that monsoon evening so many years ago when you came to Sikkim. I will gladly renew my elation.

Warm Regards,

Chetan Raj Shrestha
Chetan Raj Shrestha

[Chetan Raj Shrestha is a writer based in Gangtok. His first book of fiction The King’s Harvest won the Tata Litlive First Book Award for 2013. His novel is also one of the 1st books by a Gorkhali author to be included in the syllabus of a Indian University - Jadavpur University]

[Via : The Voice of Sikkim]
Vivek Chhetri

Ghanashyam Nepal’s book ‘Vidha Vibhidha’ launch in Kalimpong.

9:04 AM
Kalimpong 1st July: Renowned litterateur Ghanashyam Nepal’s new book ‘Vidha Vibhidha’ was released today at a private hotel in Kalimpong. The book was released by noted writer Sanjay Bisht, poet Sudhir Chettri, Kalimpong College professor Mamta Lama and Umpa Publication owner Umesh Upma. The book published by Umpa Publication features Nepal’s various essays, which explores topics like post modernism, semiotics and deconstruction among others.

Ghanashyam Nepal’s book ‘Vidha Vibhidha’ launch in Kalimpong.
Ghanashyam Nepal’s book launch in Kalimpong.
Ghanashyam Nepal is a Nepali language professor at North Bengal University and has many other books under his name, including ‘Aakkhyan Kura’ and ‘Nepali Sahitya ko Parichatmak Itihas, Shaili Bigyan, Roop ra Rekha Haru’ among many others.

“This book is for Nepali linguists and students, and we are indebted to Ghanashyam Nepal for it,” poet Sudhir Chettri said in his address.

Meanwhile, Umesh Upma said his publication is almost ready to release writer Indra Bahadur Rai’s new book. The work for the book has started and will be released soon, he connection with the Jamuni land case, was remanded in 14 days’ judicial custody.

Source: EO
Copyright © Indian Gorkhas. Designed by Darjeeling Web Solutions