The way the tea industry is set up is highly feudalistic with the workers having zero rights. This was a model championed by the colonial Britishers. They did not want the natives to have any rights, and to remain bonded to the tea companies. This modern day bonded labour practice has continued in the tea gardens of Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars.
Articles by Upendra M Pradhan
We know Sir, you must have multiple agenda and issues to deal with nationally, so I felt I will help you with avoiding some issues, while you relax with your family here, and perhaps meet with politicians who have won the recent elections and ink a few deals on “Political Solution” (fact that Mamata Banerjee hasn’t said a word against your presence here is a dead give-away).
The tea garden workers despite working for generations, are still deprived of their right to land – Parja Patta, they are paid less wages than what other workers, even unskilled labourers make in West Bengal, the facilities they are entitled to are rarely provided. Adding salt to their woes, the WB Govt has allowed the tea garden owners to build commercial real-estate labeling it “tea tourism”.
Ruing the state of Darjeeling, a friend had recently told me, “हाम्रो दार्जीलिंग त टिका लगाएर छोड़ेको सांड जतिकै भई सक्यो जसको कोहि मालिक छैन, यहाँ जसको शक्ति उसकै भक्तिको चलनले गर्दा हाम्रो ठाउँ र जाति तुरी सक्यो…”
Much has been said and written about the so-called ‘Permanent Political Solution’ from many quarters. There are online discussions, zoom meetings, and political rallies galore, on ‘Permanent Political Solution’ (PPS). Some seem to believe it will be the panacea to all the issues confronting our region and people, while others believe it will be just another ‘Hawa-Mithai’.
Of late, we have all read multiple reports of Police Complaints being filed against those politicians who have raised the demand for the establishment of a Union Territory comprising of North Bengal districts.
“Online Classes” was a term added to the popular lexicon after the COVID pandemic forced schools and colleges across the country to shut down. Today almost everything is being done online – schooling, office work, meetings, and sometimes even wedding ceremonies. The digital world is a great equalizer, it provides equal opportunities for all, as long as they are connected to the network. Tragically for the majority of students from Darjeeling hills, Terai, and Dooars accessing the network itself is a battle, they keep on losing. Other than those lucky few who live in towns, or on the right side of the mountain where network signals are strong, the majority of the people from rural regions here do not have access to cellular networks.
For all his flaws, Bimal Gurung is still liked by a large section of the people from North Bengal. Especially in remote rural regions where politicians rarely venture, Bimal Gurung is seen as someone who has cared for the people. But will this sentiment prevail across the region? It’s difficult to say. But in tying his fate to TMC and also himself, Bimal has made a bold move, will it help him bounce back or will it backfire?
In “Wai Wai” we trust – that’s the state of journalism in our hills.
In “Syria” we outrage – that’s the state of writers, poets, intelligentsia in our hills.
In “Social-media revolution” we believe – that’s the state of activism in our hills.
In “Finding political relevance” we strive for – that’s the state of academia in our hills.
In “Silence” we dwell – that’s the state of rebellion in our hills
We will vocally decry those who we believe are worthy of our self-righteous scorn, but don’t bother us to speak out against the tyrannical state and the current state of affairs.
After a hard fought andolan of 4-years from 2007 to 2011, finally the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Agreement was signed between the Center, WB Govt and GJM representatives. The invitation, specifically to GJM is clearly for the resumption of the dialogue from where the center had left it in 2011. The File Number at the top of the letter, F.NO. 12013/01/2011-SR is a dead giveaway. In probability the invitation wasn’t sent to other political parties, as they were not a part of the GTA Agreement.