“In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed.” – W. E Henley
Five years ago, today the18th of November 2013, The Darjeeling Chronicle (TheDC) started disseminating news on Facebook. The need for starting a page like TheDC arose as the Gorkhaland agitation of 2013 began to pick pace, the Bengal government had shut down all Darjeeling hills based news outlets from publishing news. There was no credible news outlet where those living outside Darjeeling could check to see what’s going on back home. Back then most of the news regarding Darjeeling and the Gorkhaland agitation were posted by the mainstream media with a huge dose of unrealistic hyperbole thrown in. News that had no basis on any reality, or truth. This is what inspired us to start our page
What started out of urgency – TheDC, a Facebook page went on to become an integral community platform which helped to not only inform the people but also provided them with a space to raise “their” voices and be heard. In a very short span of time, TheDC has emerged as one of the most important news sources for our region.
We feel honoured that some of our Breaking News stories, first reported in TheDC have been used and widely quoted by national, as well as international media. Our Facebook page has today transformed into a growing platform for news dissemination, and community involvement, activism and numerous initiatives, connecting our people more strongly with our region, without ever having to boost a single post. Today we are happy and extremely proud to state that we have to some extent succeeded in becoming the platform and the “voice” that we had hoped to become.
In the five years since our inception, Darjeeling and it’s people have witnessed, suffered and resiliently withstood the never-ending socio-economic and political upheavals and uncertainties under the West Bengal Government. The Gorkhaland struggle of 2017 had received support from all over India, but at the same time it got attacked too from multiple fronts, and it is sad, that majority of those attacking the demand for Gorkhaland turned out to be our own Gorkhas. While arrests and raids, accompanied by vandalism continue across the region, we have been forced to remain quiet.
Cases had been slapped against TheDC page seeking its shut down, but thanks to all of your trust, support and prayers, at the end of the day truth prevailed and cases against our page was quashed by the Calcutta HC. However, we have continued to live under constant harassment. Midnight knocks at the doors of our family members, even neighbours keep us worried.
But we refuse to be cowered down. We will continue to report the truth, and we will continue to become the platform that “voices” and “champions” the cause of our people.
TheDC was started by a group of volunteers, and it is purely run on a volunteer basis. All those who contribute news, articles, poems, write ups, pics, videos do so without getting paid even a single paise. Everyone who has volunteered for our platform have done so out of their love for Darjeeling region and its people.
We have been questioned and critiqued on our way/style of reporting. Therefore, today, we want to reiterate again that we proudly support Gorkhaland statehood demand and our epistemological beliefs, views, ways of reporting all arise and reaffirm the same.
Today as we complete five years of our journey, and enter the sixth we thank all of you for the incredible support, love, care, concerns, suggestions, criticisms and above all trust that have helped us to grow and strengthen.
We take this opportunity to apologize to all our readers, who may have been antagonized with us for one reason or the other, please do know that we take all of your comments and criticisms very seriously and they help us to grow.
We thank all our volunteers, contributors and partner organizations, Sikkim Chronicle, I Love Siliguri, Mirik Ko Sero Fero, The Times Dooars, Voice of Sikkim, Siliguri Times, Dainandini News, The Gorkhali, Darjeeling Times and others without whose help we would not be here today. We look forward to your continued support.
None of this would have been possible without our very core volunteer team members. A heartfelt thank you and congratulation to the entire team. It is in your selfless service to our community, we see a hope of a new beginning, a new tomorrow, a better tomorrow.
In these past five years, TheDC has remained proudly independent and fully run by volunteers. It is because of the committed volunteers that we have never had to compromise on the quality, authenticity and reliability of any news and the critical analysis of the same. We have remained and continue to remain committed towards the formation of Gorkhaland within constitutional and geographical contours of India.
Information is power, let us make sure we share this power with everyone!!