Darjeeling: The Land of Thunder

Darjeeling, land of thunder

When it comes to Gorkhaland, every person living in the towns or the far off countryside desperately needs it. But where are we are lacking behind? In general, as our people say- “Bengali ko Bengal, Rajasthani ko Rajasthan, Gujju ko Gujarat tah Mizo ko Mizoram, Naga ko Nagaland and goes on.” Yeah, exactly, Khai tah Gorkhey ko Gorkhaland?

“Gorkhey nai ho tah? British army ko bharti hudaina tah Darjeeling ma!” There are so many questions that have started to pop in my mind regarding the statehood and my own identity. Am I a Nepali or an Indian Gorkha, I don’t understand how that has really made a difference in my life.

This is the incident that happened a few years back at Kolkata. Once a year, they have a north-eastern festival where all the north-eastern states meet and compete with each other in sports and other curricular activities. Darjeeling in this festival is aalu (Potato). They fit in wherever they can. I had a junior sister who loved playing Basketball.

The team was full everywhere, she couldn`t fit in. She was sad for she couldn’t play in the tournament. Do you know what she said to me then? – “Da Mamata lai bhanera yo northeast festival bhari chai Gorkhaland mangnu parcha holau. Feri yo sakera toi laija bhannu parcha ni hai da?” Then a friend mine replied, “Dinay bhayo ni, NE is ma ka gapcha hola, Sikkim lai tah brother banayo, hami  lai chai bro-in-law?” We all laughed and spent the rest of the day hanging out, forgetful of cussing our leaders. Those words of her still echo in my head and I wonder when. Before, it was DSA at Calcutta (Darjeeling Students Association). As my elder brother says- “Dasai ma naya luga hos na hos DSA ko freshers ra farewell ma chai hunui parthyo. Imagine the intensity of flirting.

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Except for Solti Sikkim, the rest of the part of north-eastern India was hidden to me. I came across many tribes that I had never heard of before. On the contrary, I met many more who thought I was from Nepal. Everywhere else in India, they ask-which state are you from? For me, the question has changed since the very day I was here- “which tribe are you?” And the questions that persist with the uneducated in India is – “You from Nepal? China? What is your religion?” I mean, why would they want to know about my religion? I don`t know, it might be normal to some but I have never experienced anyone from other parts of the country asking me that. It doesn`t matter to me at all. It is like asking which author do you like the most? I don`t like authors, I like some of their works.

After coming here at North East, the most interesting thing that has happened to me is, I came across Nepalese people from Assam. They talked different as if they were from Nepal. They say, they celebrate Bihu and also talk in Hindi with me. “Aafu chai afnu bhasa bolnu na payera frustu vaisakyo, teskii hindi bolcha! Afnoi bhasa bolda ni feri k boldincha boldincha… Amam irri !”.  So what exactly am I? Am I like these Indian Gorkhas who have a different culture, language and need statehood for identity? Or am I the immigrant from Nepal? “Mero bajay chai Madan, boju chai Muna po hola. Testai lagcha bhanayyy chai. Auuu.. Bhaat khayeu?”
I have heard our people from Darjeeling, tagging themselves as “North-Easterners”, I don`t know how. The scenario here is that they don`t know us as “Darjeeling”. The scenario of Nepali speaking community in these states is “Dakhar/Khardai” in Khasi, “Bai” in Mizoram and many. As it is like “Dhoti” in Nepal for all Indians. Nepalese are treated as immigrants here and it is because they are. But why do we Darjeelingey have to be tagged along with them? Aren’t we different than Indian Gorkhas or Nepali now?

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If we look at the history, most of the places occupied by Nepalese people around India is by the Indian soldiers from Nepal except some of the areas i.e. Himachal, Lucknow, Bihar and Assam which was captured by Prithvi Narayan Shah. Nepalese are mostly populated in the north-eastern belt of India, Jammu-Arunachal. But we are always from Darjeeling. How come the fight of statehood or birthright of the soil inside India is connected with the people who actually migrated to India? Ringa bell? Are we different enough to not be tagged as Gorkha or Nepali

They try to talk about Gorkhaland issue but they are like rest. There’s no difference. They all say identity. Gorkha and Nepali already have an identity, they are famous worldwide. Everyone knows. So, why identity? What I think is this is more about “Sons of soils” not as Gorkha or Nepali. This is about being Darjeeling! I have already started calling myself Darjeelingey here, no more Gorkha, no more Nepali. It is because I am not too brave nor too dumb to be a Gorkha nor so aalu to be a Nepali. I am wise enough to know it is for the land which is rightfully ours, the very residents of Darjeeling who were here before British. Let Darjeeling be my religion, my tribe, my language, my culture. And not the queen of hills please, there are more beautiful hills than Darjeeling to be honest. Let it be the Land of Thunder, and we the children of mighty Thor. “Loki Kaks jasto chai na hunu bhayena ni mamz, rack huncha!”

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f we look at the history, most of the places occupied by Nepalese people around India is by the Indian soldiers from Nepal except some of the areas i.e. Himachal, Lucknow, Bihar and Assam which was captured by Prithvi Narayan Shah. Nepalese are mostly populated in the north-eastern belt of India, Jammu-Arunachal. But we are always from Darjeeling. How come the fight of statehood or birthright of the soil inside India is connected with the people who actually migrated to India? Ringa bell? Are we different enough to not be tagged as Gorkha or Nepali

They try to talk about Gorkhaland issue but they are like rest. There’s no difference. They all say identity. Gorkha and Nepali already have an identity, they are famous worldwide. Everyone knows. So, why identity? What I think is this is more about “Sons of soils” not as Gorkha or Nepali.

“Darjeeling – the world’s nicest place”

This is about being Darjeeling! I have already started calling myself Darjeelingey here, no more Gorkha, no more Nepali. It is because I am not too brave nor too dumb to be a Gorkha nor so aalu to be a Nepali. I am wise enough to know it is for the land which is rightfully ours, the very residents of Darjeeling who were here before British. Let Darjeeling be my religion, my tribe, my language, my culture. And not the queen of hills please, there are more beautiful hills than Darjeeling to be honest. Let it be the Land of Thunder, and we the children of mighty Thor. “Loki Kaks jasto chai na hunu bhayena ni mamz, rack huncha!”

Writes : Aditya Mangar


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