As the push for a nation-wide National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise gets stronger, there are growing concerns among the Indian Gorkha community settled in various pockets across the country. The discussions are gaining more ground after Assam published its final NRC list on August 31, 2019, the process which was monitored by the Supreme Court of India. As reported by different media organisations, of the estimated 25 lakh Gorkhas living in Assam, about 1 lakh were excluded from the final list.
West Bengal Cabinet’sdecision 31st of Oct 2019 permits for 15% of the land in tea gardens to be used for “tourism purposes”. They have further said that the maximum land that can be diverted to tourism should not cross 150 acres. The WB Cabinet has further mandated that the tea garden owners can make construction in 40% of this land.
Darjeeling Everyday is a delicious feeling. Here in Darjeeling, the festive seasons are almost to end and we are now at the best part of the entire season – the Tihar days. Everything about this time of the year is beautiful – bright sunny days, smiling mountains, milky white clouds (if any), delicious food, selrotis, flowers, vailo, dewsi, vai tika, dakshina, drinks and what not? If you get greeted by pleasant weather mixed with the aroma of saipatris added to a clear view of the mountains, you are here.
On August 17, West Bengal tourism minister Gautam Deb addressed a press conference at Mirik in Darjeeling. Exuding his obvious concern for the Gorkhas and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue, he said, “If NRC is implemented in the Darjeeling hills, the hills will become empty, out of 15 Lakh people there will be no one to live there. Most Gorkha brothers and sisters and senior citizens they will be driven out from Darjeeling hills, both Darjeeling and Kalimpong, including Kurseong and this Mirik [sic].”
I want to begin my indictment of the TMC-led government by sharing a story about Pandit Oroan — a 35-year-old Adivasi man from Baroghoria Gram, which falls under Alipurduar district. In June 2017, Pandit Oroan and his wife were blessed with a baby boy – they named him Abhiraj. Sadly, Abhiraj was born with a birth defect, which prevented him from passing stool normally. All Abhiraj needed to function as a normal child was having a simple procedural operation, which would have cost around Rs 10,000 in a government hospital in Siliguri.
The Crowd which has no face, no recognition, they have only a voice whether it’s for something or against something, when they are on their own they seems to be undermining, and undefined. Nobody remembers a crowd from where it come or where it goes, but when they come together they can wage a war, bring about a revolution or bring down any establish rule or dynasty. Such is the power of the crowd and their might.
‘Gorkhaland’ the very name evokes strong sentiments – from a motley crew of passionate supporters to very dedicated gang of opposers, to a vast majority of well-meaning but clueless neutrals who irrespective of their understanding of the issue or absolute lack of it, comment on it passionately.
There is a famous story about this king Satyavrata, who wanted to ascend heaven in his human form. He found a willing partner in Sage Viswamitra – who through his immense powers managed to send Satyavrata to heaven without dying, but Indra, the king of heaven, refused to permit a human to enter the realms of heaven, alive – for it was against the law of nature. Amid Indra’s refusal, and Viswamitra’s iron will — Satyavrata by now known as Trishank, hung upside down between heaven and earth and there he has remained ever since – in a state of limbo.
Fascinated by the era I grew up in as a teenager, my daughter wished if she could be teleported for a day back into our times and see how life was so different back then.
Generations grew up, not having the luxury of travelling in taxis; generations of students became excellent men and women without having the privilege of school…