Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why the people of the hills want Gorkhaland.

Gorkhaland is the name given by the residents of the Darjeeling District and Doars areas of present Northern West Bengal for the area they want their own State inside the Union of India. The district of Darjeeling comprises of Darjeeling, Kusreong, Kalimpong, Siliguri Sub Divisions. The other major areas are Bagdogra (Airport of the area), Mirik (the town with a beautiful artificial Lake) and many other beautiful areas like Lolegaon, Lava, Teesta, Loptchu etc. The entire area is full of beautiful hilly areas, forests, himalayas, Teesta River and many more places of unique interest.
It is said that Darjeeling was under the Kirat Kingdom of Bijaypur. It is also said that the parts of the Darjeeling was also in Sikkim and Bhutan before the English rule in India. The word Gorkha may have been derived from the place called Gorkha under the kingdom of Prithvi Narayn Shah of Nepal. But, the present day Gorkhaland has no connection with the kingdom of Prithvi Narayan Shaha of Nepal. Gorkha name has been given by the local residents of the Darjeeling as an emotional attachment to all the residents of the Darjeeling. The name Gorkhaland has been choosen to diffrentiate the Nepalese of Darjeeling from the Nepalese of Nepal. All the nepalese of Darjeeling feels proud to be identify themselves by the name Gorkha.

The demand for a seperate administrative area in the district is as old as, since 1907.

The history of a seperate adminstrative area has the name of various associations and political parties like Hillmen's Associations and All India Gorkha Legue. It is also recorded somewhere in the history that just after the Independence of India two members of CPI demanded to Pandit Jawahar lal Nehru for a seperate country called Gorkhastan comprising of Darjeeling some parts of the the plainland and Sikkim. (this report cannot be confirmed). The All India Gorkha Legue demanded the Darjeeling to be bought under the Central Rule as an Union Territory.

Lately, in 1985-86 Mr. Subhash Ghishing formed a party called GNLF (Gorkha National Liberation Front) with a demand for a seperate state for the people of Darjeeling. After a bloody struggle from 1985 to 1988, a peaceful temporary solution was reached in the form of DGHC (Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council). Subhash Ghishing remained the undisputed Chairman of the DGHC since its inception till recently when he was forced to resign due the fresh movement of seperate Gorkhaland State led by GJMM (Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha). This time the leader of the association is Mr. Birmal Gurung, who was a close ally of Subhash Ghising.

The birth of GJMM has a very different story. A very popular TV serial Indian Idol created a mass public unity when a boy form the Hills "Prasant Tamang" reached finals of the Indian Idol contest and won the Indian Idol title by way of maximum ever received SMSs. The public outrage and unity caused due to this episode gave birth to the new party GJMM, which then led to a fresh movement of removal of Subhash Ghising and then the demand for a seperate state of Gorkhaland.
The hills are again in unrest now. The old news of never ending strikes, agitations are again seen in the newspapers and media. The tea gardens of the hill, which are on Oxygen now has developed a new disease to be cured. The main season of cultivation and processing is witnessing the season of strikes and bandhs.

Ofcourse, the demand for the seperate state is not ingenuine and both the Govt of West Bengal and our Cental Govt never cared for this part of the land. Here I would like to write a breif story of a Marwari business man who visited the Prime Minister of India for some issues. When he was asked, "where are you from?". The gentelman replied, "I am from that part of the country, the name of which is not even mentioned in the weather news." So Darjeeling is that part of our beautiful country the name of which is not even mentioned in the weather news.

The area urgently needs lots of attention. The political importance of Darjeeling cannot be ruled out and this is the part which connects the rest of North East and Sikkim with the rest of India. A strong political will power is required to address to the issues of this part of the country. I would go even furthur to write that lot is required to be done for the entire north eastern states including Sikkim & Assam. If you ask a general knowledge question to any school or even college student the names of the states in the north east - I am sure less than 30% would be able to name them. Why not try the politicians even...