JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
Let me make it crystal clear that my article is not about the Preamble, but rather on - Why not Gorkhaland?
Gorkhas - the very instance we hear this word, our minds draw a picture of battlefields, bombardments and of course bravery. Yes, the identity of the gorkhas have always and only been a single word. The gorkhas who serve their country and people with unwavering faith and honesty are looked upon either as foreigners, or, some obscure people living in some unknown place in the North East. Every time they have to pinpoint and define the “land” by saying it lies next to Sikkim or Assam or near Bhutan and Nepal’s border. Their state as defined by the Union of India is Bengal, though they share no common grounds with the Bengalis in any sphere.
Most of the regiments serving the Union of India have a state for themselves. This is a recognition of their importance of identity (right from the times of the British Rule) conferred upon by the socially aware and enlightened Mother State. The Rajput regiment has Rajasthan, the Punjab regiment has Punjab, the J&K regiment has Jammu and Kashmir, and likewise the list continues for Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar and others. However, the Gorkha regiment (inspite of being the largest regiment with 7 of them in total) has no Gorkhaland, because they already have Bengal, so, the Gorkha regiment must actually have been ‘Bengha regiment’.
Also linguistically, the Union of India has formed other States. The languages that have been recognised by the Constitution of India till date have a State for themselves, except for of course, Gorkhaland. Punjabi has Punjab, Assamese have Assam, Tamilians has Tamil Nadu and again the list continues with Kannada, Marathi, Manipuri, Kashmiri, Oriya, Bengali and Gujarati. The Gorkha Language (the Nepali language that is used by the gorkhas living in India) however, has no Gorkhaland.
When the chief minister of the present state of gorkhas, Mamata Banerjee addresses the crowd they do not understand either the syntax, semantics, phonetics or morphemes of the language spoken, yet they are suppose to understand, and live in Bengl. That is what the Democratic Union of India says silently. When it comes to Gorkhaland, dialogue is never necessary between the common people and the elected representatives. What is necessary is the monopoly of monologue by the ‘selected dictators of ministers’ and a soliloquy for the people who are forever doomed.
There is very little similarity in the topography and geography between the State of Bengal and the proposed State of Gorkhaland. The proposed state of Gorkhaland is mostly crafted of the topography that is mainly hills; and some plain areas which actually lie on the foothills of the greater hills. The gorkhas have not demanded anything that does not relate itself to the hills in some way or the other.
This makes them very different from the people living in the actual plains - physically, psychologically, culturally and traditionally. So much so, that the people of other races, namely the Biharis, Bengalis, Punjabis, Tibetans and other minority communities, who have been living in the hills for long have harmoniously and happily fused into this ‘Hill culture and tradition.’ Also, the plains area, which is included in the proposed state of Gorkhaland has this hill culture and tradition very intrinsically woven. This is very much visible as they have come down from the hills traditionally to settle in these foothills (plain areas).
So, the plain area of the proposed Gorkhaland is actually the foothills of the greater hills, and nothing more. However, this again is not recognized and to make the matters worse, the foothills (plain area) are now usurped by the racially dominant and popular people of the plains, namely the Bengalis. If tomorrow these people decide to usurp the hills, the gorkhas again would have no say, as they are neither racially strong, nor popular, or politically profitable for the Union of India. If at all the gorkhas show their bravery, and fight ‘their State’ or the Union of India, they will be termed as terrorist and a threat to the nation; as they are foreigners for both the Federal and the Union State.
Like the politically intelligent and socially enlightened ministers and governments in the 1986 agitation for Gorkhaland they would again ‘democratically’ silence the voice of the gorkhas. They would practice democracy by deploying the CRPFs, raping the women folk, looting homes and brutally beating the men folk; they would define the world’s largest democracy with silent dictatorial colours, which the world will perhaps never see. These colours are known only to the gorkhas who have been painted for eternity in them. These colours have made these people slip into the paralysis of psychology, economy, talents, dreams, intelligence and other such individual virtues, which culminate a society and define a race.
Speaking about cultures and traditions, the Gorkhas have this very different from the State to which they presently belong. Many tribes and castes have together woven the Gorkha society. Therefore, all these tribes and castes have different forms of praying and celebrating their religion and festivals. There is a great observance of paganism among the gorkhas. The tribal religion, Kirat; the forms of worshipping stones, hills, rivers; the use of witchcraft and witchdoctors; the praying of Yeti; the festivals of Dasai, (a festival where a mixture of uncooked rice, curd, ghee and sugar is pasted/applied on the foreheads of the people, as a blessing), the singing of Bhailo(a traditional song sung by the women folk during Diwali) and Deusi ( a traditional song sung by the men folk during Diwali) is seldom know to the people of Bengal and the Union of India. Still, the gorkhas have to fuse into their identity of ‘their state Bengal’ by celebrating Durga Puja, which is celebrated in a different manner.
Even the smallest of things, like the delicacies served during festivals do not resonate with the state that they presently belong. If the Bengalis are known to have rosgulas and fish, the Gorkhas have selrotis and meat. They follow a different diet which comprises of gundruk (beaten and fermented lentils), sidra (dried and fermented fish), Kinema (dried and fermented beans) etc, which the Bengalis would perhaps throw it away as rubbish. Even the traditional attire that the Gorkhas wear is completely different from the Bengalis. If the Bengalis are seen to clad themselves in Dhoti (for the men folk) and Saree (for the women folk), the Gorkhas clad in Daura suruwal (for the men folk) and chaubandi choli (for the women folk).
Like other citizens of India, the gorkhas deliver their fundamental duties unwaveringly. They pay taxes, they get offended whenever they hear something bad said about India, they pray for Tendulkar's century and an Indian victory, they hold rallies when people like Anna Hazare wants India to be free of corruption. They participate in every way possible to make India proud and brave. They produce the finest tea, talent, tourism, education, steam locomotive, bravery, intelligence and creativity for their country.
However, in return only the economically profitable best things for the country are chosen and promoted; that too, often forgetting about the hands, which tended them and the brains that flourished them. Just to make you ponder about the practicality of these words, let us take an instance: a tea garden worker gets only Rs 70-80 per day. In a day, leaving statics behind and taking into consideration only the logic, a single tea garden worker’s labour can minimally produce around 5 cups of tea. This tea is one of the finest in the world and will fetch at least Rs 200 for a cup in the world market. The workers don’t even get half the share of the profit earned; and India prides itself being a major player in the free and fair trade and economic policies of the world! Perhaps, this situation of the workers would have been better if the gorkhas had a state of their own.
Almost all the Gorkha youth of today, have had to leave their home town and seek refuge either in other states of India or foreign countries, primarily due to lack of good jobs. The same land, which is known to comprise of the best educational institution up to standard 12, suffers from graduation onwards, following the employment market then after.
Boldly speaking, this is because politics takes its toll from this stage onwards. ‘Source’ and ‘Force’ are the only words that work, when actually it should have been ‘Knowledge’, ‘Talent’ and ‘Intelligence’. When quality learning becomes unattainable and providing a meal each day becomes unthinkable, one quickly becomes a stranger in one’s own land. A Gorkha hops from being ‘a stranger’, ‘a foreigner’, ‘a refugee’ and ‘a warrior’ each day, but never a citizen recognized and truly identified.
However, the gorkhas should not have Gorkhaland. They are destined to spend their lives in serfdom. If the gorkhas struggle to get fairly good posts and better their lives due to the marginalization, perhaps, even thinking of posts like the Indian Administrative Service(IAS), Indian Forest Service(IFS) and Indian Economic Service(IES) is a vice for them - a mirage of success, and failure as its definite reality.
Now, looking at the land of the gorkhas and the people residing there, they too have loads of vices. The murder politics has always governed the land. The ruling party is the omniscient lord of the land. Whoever, opposes them will find their head chopped and thrown in the gutter, sooner or later. The murder of a strong and determined politcial leader, Madan Tamang is a testimony to the fact. The executive has no clue of executing the law or perhaps, is a mere pawn of the leaders who run the district. Also, the judiciary is helpless and weak. It has never ever really passed an unwavering verdict of punishment for the murderers. Now, these bunch of murder flock leading a revolution and demanding a State is bound to be doomed.
The things that they have ‘earned’ in their own land are out of sheer force and terror. The same cannot be applied, when they want something from the Union of India. They cannot go on terrorizing and murdering the ministers and people of the government of India. Besides this method, the other methods for them are still new and must be learnt. This is well known by the State that presently rules them and the country that governs them. Hence, the federal and the state government use this very ‘vice’ of theirs as a ‘virtue’.
They negotiate with them using this ‘virtue’ and keep them safe of the vices that the leaders in this land often practice to rule and keep ruling more or to earn and keep earning more. This way everyone is happy, the leaders who ‘represent’ the people, the State that ‘rule’ them and the country that ‘govern’ them. The sufferers are again only the simple gorkhas of the land who have given all they have, for not only their country, but also for the agitation that ‘always promises’ to give them a new state that will work towards the welfare and betterment of their lives. The innocent citizens are in fact taken for a ride by the politicians.
The leaders also have no concrete knowledge of why they ask for Gorkhaland and how this should be asked. Perhaps, the legislative processes of the introduction of the bill as a government or private bill; passing of the same with 2/3rd majority of both the houses; publication of the same in the Gazette of India; and the presidential ascent is also seldom known. Even if some treasured brains of the place know, they keep it locked up in their frame of egoism and use it in an apt time for their personal profit making.
However, everyone knows that the issue of Gorkhaland will be profitable for them to hold on to their posts and earn more money. Therefore, they keep holding rallies and raising the issue of state, like a child does, every now and then. The federal and the state governments too are aware of this and they keep pushing the land and the people in the quagmire of fatal innocence. It has been 107 years that the gorkhas have been demanding this State and every time this ‘child of innocence’ is consoled and his demands are temporarily substituted by other settlements like the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) and recently, the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA).
Everyone must now resort to silence and let this play of politics keep progressing. Yes, it is always politics that silences everyone. Seldom does anyone understand that the issue of Gorkhaland is actually a social need - a need, for the many dreams, which has died due to poverty, a need, for the many talents that has gone waste due to marginalization, a need, for the many intellects that have forgotten to debate due to suppression. The Gorkhas have always fought for their country with selfless bravery and faithful hope of the betterment of the country to which they belong. The Gorkhas have given all they have, to see “India Shining” and also for the world, to fight for the purest of ideals and service. But, today they are forbidden of their own land and identity.
All of these are reasons why there is no Gorkhaland. Gorkhaland is like the fabled Promised Land of the Bible, which no one can demand, nor can anyone give. Everyone knows, yet, everyone struggles incessantly. The leaders of Gorkhaland shall keep earning more by selling the hopes and dreams of the simple people who reside here. Bengal shall keep using them to gain the best they can from the second most economically profitable place after Kolkatta. The Union of India shall keep negotiating the beauty of the only hill station in Bengal for their vote bank politics. Amidst all this, the Gorkhas shall wait like they always have. They have waited for long, so long that now waiting has become a habit, a dictate and a reality.
There must have been a Gorkhaland, yet, for ‘the happiness of everyone’ there is no Gorkhaland. The hopeless lives and the dreamless eyes of the Gorkhas can only silently ponder every morning and night, every tear drop shall forever fall with the inscription-------“Why not Gorkhaland?”
I shall leave you here, right here, where the words that we had read in the beginning of the article on the Preamble, might have already been blurred and forgotten. I have not written this article on the Preamble, but people who wrote the Preamble surely wanted the citizens of the country to respect its presence.