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’.
Despite all the claims and counterclaims to the contrary, one thing is for sure, no one has any clue what this “PPS” actually is, especially not the politicians.
So here is quick dummies guide on PPS.
Please note, this is my own interpretation of these issues and should be read as an opinion piece and not gospel truth.
Like they say, “opinions are like A*holes, everyone has one”, so given the absolute cluelessness on the part of many leading lights of our community, here is my take on what PPS actually is.
Q – What is a Permanent Political Solution?
A – It is the type of political settlement, which is expected to end the demand for political autonomy in the form of a separate state called Gorkhaland sought by the people of Darjeeling hills, Terai, and Dooars region permanently.
Q – Does that mean PPS is Gorkhaland?
A – As far as the people/Gorkhas are concerned, PPS means a separate state called Gorkhaland. However, it could mean different things for the Central Govt or the State Government.
Q – In that case, who decides what PPS means?
A – The only people with the right to decide ‘what PPS means’ are the people of Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars.
Q – Since our people want Gorkhaland, and if people can decide what PPS is, will we get Gorkhaland?
A – It will depend
Q – It will depend on what? or who?
A – It will depend on the will of the people vs. the reluctance on the part of the Central Government and the WB Government to create a separate state called Gorkhaland.
Q – So people can decide what PPS is, but we have to accept what the Central or State governments are willing to give. This is super confusing, care to explain?
A – With pleasure.
See, so far our people, including the majority of the politicians and reporters have started with the premise that PPS is something the Centre is going to give.
But that is not the case.
Rather, PPS will depend on what we can take.
PPS will be arrived at after due deliberations and discussions among the representatives of the Central Government, the WB Government, and the people of Darjeeling hills, Terai, and Dooars region – who will be represented by the people invited for the talks – that is, elected representatives and political leaders.
In all likelihood, what exactly is PPS, is not decided now and will possibly not be decided on the Day 1 of the talks. There will be claims and counter-claims, there will be negotiations and re-negotiations.
PPS is something we (i.e. our representatives in the talks) have to decide on and agree to, and as we all know about negotiations, whoever blinks first loses.
Q – What does “whoever blinks first loses” mean?
A – The Central Government will likely want the most basic of settlements – more power to GTA blah blah… WB Govt will want the political limbo to continue – so they will try and lure our people with fancy-sounding names/words and throw in some money.
They may say things like, “we will give you a state within a state, and Rs 2000 crore as Development funds” or things like, “we will upgrade GTA to a constitutional body with legislative power and give you non-lapsable funds of Rs 500 crores each year for the next 5 years.”
You can ask Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri, Amar Lama, and Anmol Prasad on how the Central Government plays you – they were the ones who negotiated GTA for us.
The Central Govt and WB Govt will try to give in the minimum arrangement in which our representatives will agree. If our Reps repeat the historic blunder done during the Subash Ghising era (DGHC) and Bimal Gurung era (GTA) and blink first and accept funds + some power, we will lose.
But if our representatives stick to their “single point agenda – Gorkhaland statehood” and refuse to take any other settlement, we will ultimately prevail.
Q – You earlier said, “what exactly is PPS, is not decided now and will possibly not be decided on Day 1 of the talks” – does that mean there will be more talks?
A – The Government of India is never going to say “here we will give you Gorkhaland” on the 1st rounds of talks itself. They will try to lure our representatives in with offers and counter-offers. They will make our representatives feel very important, they could threaten our representatives, or appeal to their greedy side with mention of thousands of crores of funds. All that takes time. So in all likelihood, the talks for PPS will be held in multiple rounds.
Q – But, there were no such talks for the formation of Ladakh UT or rescinding of Article 370, or Bodoland, Bru-Reang issues?
A – Only morons of the highest order would believe that no talks were held before these historic decisions were reached.
National Press has widely reported that Govt of India and NSCN(IM) Reps met for 80-rounds of talks before this historic Naga Peace Accord was signed. Bru-reang settlement talks were initiated in 2014 and were only completed in 2020. Bodoland talks went over 56 rounds of talks. If the buzz from Delhi-based Journalists is to be believed then the decision on Kashmir was taken after over 50 rounds of internal talks.
The government of India is not like SG, BG, BT, or AT who would do instant decision-making. They take days, weeks, months, years, even decades before taking a decision.
We all, including our politicians and their dhupaureys need to be prepared for long rounds of talks.
Remember all good things take time.
Q – So what will happen on the 12th?
A – Possibly nothing, or possibly everything. The Central Government representatives are going to be watching reactions of our Representatives closely to their mentioning of various offers and money and funds. They will be able to tell the minimum offer for which our representatives are willing to settle.
Hence, on the 12th our representatives need to show great patience and self-discipline, which sadly most of them lack, to tell the government politely but firmly – we will not settle for anything less than a state of our own.
Q – But what if the Centre doesn’t give statehood or anything else?
A – Haven’t we survived for 115-years without giving up on our demand? We will continue to struggle. The governments come and go, but our demand should remain constant.
Q – What form can PPS take?
A – As I have said before, PPS can take any form.
It could be a state called Gorkhaland or something else. It could be a Union Territory with legislation. It could be a Union Territory without legislation. It could be the inclusion of our region in the 6th Scheduled. It could be more powers and functions like in the case of Bodoland. It could be just GTA with a few cosmetic changes.
It could be anything that we all agree to. Hence the need to make sure we agree to nothing less than statehood or UT with legislation.
Your petty Politics Can Wait – Time to Unite is Now
A wise person, whom I held in very high esteem recently wrote, “Darjeeling is perhaps the only place in India with the highest per capita political parties, and more leaders than followers.” In the very next post or so he had also written, “All said and done, given the current political scenario in Darjeeling hills, I personally feel, Anit Thapa is relatively better positioned to lead the local politics in the immediate future… This will, however, change if BJP comes into action with its long-pending promises. That may not happen, nevertheless”
In a way, these two posts are indicative of the disease afflicting our hills.
We know what is wrong with us, we know what should not happen, yet overtly or covertly we end up supporting one faction or the other, one group or the other, and thus provide them the legitimacy and credibility they so much lack.
These posts also highlight the hopeful frustration everyone in our region feels towards BJP.
On one hand, we are convinced, BJP won’t do anything for our region, but at the same time, we are secretly rooting for them to take that one bold decision that will change the fate and future of our region and people.
But these are not the reason why I brought up those two posts.
By mentioning these posts, I just wanted to highlight the fact that more than anything else, posts like these abound our social media and media space today. Everyone is today talking, speaking, chatting about politics. Given the amount of political discourse that happens on a daily basis, one would assume that our politicians would have become wiser by now, smartened up.
That would be too much to ask of Gorkha politicians, wouldn’t it?
Recently, I had a long chat with an up-and-coming politician, I made but one request – stop dividing.
He announced his division from his party with a spectacular background location.
These fissures serve no one but the West Bengal government, which wants to create divisions among our people. Today, the number of those who want Gorkhaland is dwindling rapidly and everyone is towing the Nabanna line.
Originally there was ABGL, which was divided into Pranta Parishad and GNLF
GNLF was divided into Gorkha Liberation Organization (GLO) 1986, then to Gorkha Democratic Front (GDF) 1990, then GNLF (C) 2002, and ultimately to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) 2007.
In 2014, GJM was divided into GJM and Jana Andolan Party (JAP)
In 2017, GJM was divided into GJM1 and GJM2
In 2021, CPRM has been divided into CPRM RB Rai and CPRM Kishore Pradhan
In 2021, GJM2 has been further divided into GJM3 (Bharatiya Gorkha Prajatantrik Morcha BGPM) and GJM4 (Tesro Aayam)
In 2021, GNLF has been further divided into the Ajay Edward faction and Mann Ghising faction.
Flagbearers of Hope…
Ironically today, BJP whom we all love to hate, has become the flagbearer of Gorkha aspirations, while most who had forged the revolutionary path seem happy and content batting for TMC, which is the ruling party in power.
So here’s my sincere request to all those who will be representing us in the talks – no matter what you do, don’t blink first. Do what Roshan Giri did in that infamous NDTV video and keep on repeating “single point agenda” if needed, but don’t agree to anything less than a Statehood or a UT with the legislature.
Those who are in the opposition and not invited to talk, please make sure you all play your role as the watchdogs safeguarding the interests of the people, and prevent those called for talks from compromising on our core demands.
If there was ever a time to unite. It is NOW.
Let these talks mark the beginning of the Gorkha renaissance.
Remember, far too many Gorkhas have sacrificed their lives and the lives of their loved ones for this day. It is now our solemn duty to make sure their sacrifices do not go in vain.