Are They Not Indian?
In a letter sent straight to his boss and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress vice-president and former SDO of Kalimpong Dipak Ghosh wrote, “You have to patiently begin the process of identification of non-Indian Nepalis living in north Bengal according to the 1931 census. Then you have to strike their names off from all voter lists in Siliguri (including Dooars and Terai), Kalimpong, Kurseong and finally Darjeeling. And then one by one send them back to Nepal. After that the movement for Gorkhaland will die a natural death.” This curious despatch was dated August 8, 2013.
Less than a month later, Mamata is in north Bengal. In what can be seen as the opening shots of the racial strategy advocated by Ghosh, Mamata has adopted a ‘divide and rule’ tactic in which she has openly declared the Lepchas, and not the Gorkhas, as being the “original inhabitants” of north Bengal’s hills. In a public meeting organised by the Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association, she said to thunderous applause, “The original inhabitants of Darjeeling are clear that they want nothing to do with the stir for a separate state. Has anyone ever heard the Lepchas demand a separate Lepchaland? No. They have always aspired to integrate with the Indian mainstream.”
So a nebulous category, the “non-Indian Nepali”, is being conjured up as a tactic against the Gorkhaland demand. It’s a risky gambit. No one can put a fix on “their” exact percentage, but it helps to build up a sneaking hysteria against a people who can fuel a separate statehood movement that has lasted three decades and repeatedly make tripartite talks (between the Centre, the state of Bengal and the Gorkha leaders) imperative.
“The signing of the Indo-Nepal Treaty in 1950 was essentially an agreement of continued peace and friendship,” explains analyst Tarun Ganguly, “but it nevertheless put a ceiling on who qualifies as an Indian citizen of Nepali origin. The census that existed prior to the treaty, the 1931 census (there wasn’t one in 1941 because of the war), became the defining one. The treaty allowed free movement and trade across the border, but declared that those who moved to India after 1931 and settled down here would not be considered Indians but Nepali. But the process of identifying non-Indian Nepalis will be very difficult”.
Says Dipak Ghosh, “Free movement meant large-scale and unchecked migration from Nepal.” This much is true, as the Darjeeling hills offered a natural attraction for labour. Experts say after bilateral ties deteriorated, the treaty became more of a burden but no action was taken to stanch the flow. On this peg, the security establishment is hanging its scare stories. After the Gorkhaland agitation reignited last month, sources talked of the defence ministry receiving military intelligence indicating that at least one, if not more, neighbouring country was stoking it. Ganguly points ominously to “Nepal’s growing friendship with China”. Also, after the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal near the Indo-Nepal border last month, the Gorkhaland issue has been effectively “securitised”. Bengal analysts, keen to discover an external conspiracy angle, are citing strategic expert Brahma Chellaney’s tweets. Specifically, the ones that evoke a requisite degree of foreboding about that entire fraught border region. For instance, he tweeted: “More than the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, the open frontier with Nepal has emerged as the source of subversion of India’s security.”
While Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde has said the Centre favours tripartite talks, Mamata, who is in north Bengal, may have other plans. To wit, one that rakes up the thorny issue of national identity and with that plays with the fire of disenfranchisement.
This refers to the article on Gorkhaland and Mamata’s eyeing the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty that defines citizenship for Nepalis living in India (Enter the Scythe, Sep 16). This is another one of a series in the print media designed to tarnish the statehood demands of Gorkhas. While these articles quote unnamed sources hinting at a ‘foreign hand’ in the agitation, or boldly point the accusing finger at the Chinese, the journalists provide not a single shred of evidence to support such allegations. As such, these reports turn out to be no more than crass rumour-mongering; I was surprised how reputed national dailies published such malignant, absurd and unverified gossip. This report is also disturbing because it quotes someone in favour of a racist attitude (“Send them back to Nepal!”)! It also lacks fairness, as it is silent on the lakhs of migrants from East Pakistan, later Bangladesh, who’ve changed the whole demographics of north Bengal.
Praful Rao, Kalimpong
The half-baked, disparaging and ill-informed article on Gorkhaland made me furious. This kind of baseless and preposterous reportage just strives to malign Gorkhas. Nobody writes about the state’s repressive powers and atrocities in the hills—like the arrests of Gorkhaland Police cadre, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders, Gorkha Territorial Administration members, ration dealers and many common men on trumped-up charges that have nothing to do with the Gorkhaland agitation. This is a gross misuse of state power, as well as a campaign of mudslinging by a parochial media.
Janga Bahadur Sunuwar, Jalpaiguri
Outsiders in Their Own Land
Coutsey: Eastern Panorama
An insight into the question of the origin of the Gurkhas and allegations of them being migrants
To start with,this article does not support the views of any political group.This is written only to challenge the claim that the Gurkhas do not belong to Darjeeling or Sikkim.This article is to be read in a proper anthropological and historical light.I have tried my best to refrain from indulging in abusive and ad hominem.
Darjeeling,having been peacefully acquired by the East India Company from Sikkim,actually does belong to that 22nd state of our Indian Union.That merger,if done at all,should have been done in 1975 itself.
First of all,the Gurkhas attacked Eastern Nepal(known as‘Limbuwan’-the land of the Limbus)around 1776 during the process now known as the Unification of Nepal.Eastern Nepal was at that time,as still is,the domain of the Rais and the Limbus. Through the protracted struggle for that land arose many alliances and the alliance between the Chogyal of Sikkim and the Rais and Limbus against the Gurkhas was one of these.After the annexation of Eastern Nepal,the Gurkhas lay claim to the land between the Mechi,Mahanadi and the Teesta ... Siliguri was not even there at that time.
As is usually the case with border areas,that particular sliver of land was claimed by the Sikkimese too.And thus,in a fit of unrelenting rage and impetuous imperialism, the Gurkhas under Purne Ale attacked Sikkim and lay waste to that land.They annexed Sikkim in the aftermath and established garrison towns at various places,Darjeeling being one of them.This was all before the concept of Modern India as we know of now was born.
The Story of Darjeeling
In the aftermath of the Anglo-Gurkha War of 1814-1816 and the consequent signing of the Treaty Of Sugauli between the East India Company and the Kingdom Of Nepal,Nepal lost a third of its acquired territory(all the major hill stations in present day India except those in Kashmir),including Darjeeling,parts of the Dooars Terai and Sikkim.For this loss in revenue,Nepal was paid adequate compensation by the East India Company as agreed in the Sugauli Treaty. Darjeeling was‘returned’(highlighted because as it is,Darjeeling was a disputed territory claimed both by the Limbus and the Sikkimese)to the Chogyal of Sikkim as a gesture of goodwill by the East India Company under the Treaty of Titalia.However,in 1835,owing to the salubrious climate of the Darjeeling hills and the new found passion for tea drinking,the British acquired Darjeeling from Sikkim.All this while,a sizable population of the‘Western’and‘Eastern’ Gurkhas was to be found in Darjeeling.
Over a period of time more and more Gurkhas from Nepal started settling in Darjeeling and in Sikkim too and thus,as we see now,the hills of Darjeeling have a majority Gurkha population.
The following are frequently asked questions that relate to this issue:
1.Are Gurkhas migrants/foreigners who have settled in Darjeeling?
Ans:Quite a big resounding No! For two basic reasons:(A) When the Gurkhas‘first settled in’Darjeeling,the concept of Modern India as we know of now was yet to be born.How can people be migrants in a country that is yet to be born?(B)Many of the‘Eastern’Gurkhas,the Rais and the Limbus(who were subsumed by the ‘asli’Gurkhas from the west,were autochthonous to the hill tracts that make up modern day Darjeeling and Sikkim.
A large number of Gurkhas were already settled in the Darjeeling hills even before 1950.Later arrivals were definitely there but the root stock of the present Gurkha population of Darjeeling is much more than a century old.
2.Was Darjeeling ever a part of historical Bengal?
Ans:No.Despite the claims of some maps, no ruling dynasty of Bengal ever ruled the hill tracts or even the areas in the Terai
3.Are the Bhutias and the Lepchas the only original inhabitants of Darjeeling and Sikkim?
Ans:No.Many‘Eastern’Gurkha tribes,specially the Limbus,were also autochthonous to these regions.The famous Limbu animist Sirijunga was a preacher in these regions.
4.Is Siliguri a newly settled town?
Ans:Yes,despite its typical Bengali name,Siliguri is a relatively new town,which was originally bereft of any Bengali population.Land to the west of the Teesta and east of the Mechi(that is where Siliguri is)never belonged to historical Bengal.It was only in the mid 1830s that Siliguri began developing and Bengali immigrants started settling there in right earnest.After independence,the importance of Siliguri increased many folds as it became the prime muster point in the ‘Chicken’s Neck corridor’.
5.Should Darjeeling be merged with Sikkim?
Ans:No comments.But,yes,our constitution does indeed have provisions for such a possibility.
P.S.:-Darjeeling,having been peacefully acquired by the East India Company from Sikkim,actually does belong to that 22nd state of our Indian Union.That merger,if done at all,should have been done in 1975 itself.
A Little Digression Is In Order Here
6.What is the biggest contribution of the Gurkhas of Sikkim to India?
Ans:The annexation of Sikkim!It was only due to the efforts of the large Gurkha population of Sikkim that voted overwhelmingly in favour of Sikkim’s merger with India in the plebiscite that Sikkim became the 22nd state of India in 1975 by the 36th Amendment.
In short,the Gurkhas of Sikkim-who are of the same stock as the Gurkhas of Darjeeling-gave India a strategic advantage by annexing Sikkim to India,which happens to be one the rare peaceful regions in the otherwise quite inflammable Sino-Indian border.
Very much like the Indian tapestry,the tapestry of Nepal is a riot of colours.People of different descent and histories populate that land.Although,for an outsider,a Nepali and a
JUST AS THE PLAINS PEOPLE OF THE TERAI OF NEPAL ARE NOT‘INDIAN IMMIGRANTS’,SO TOO THE NEPALI-SPEAKING PEOPLE OF DARJEELING AND SIKKIM ARE NOT IMMIGRANTS.WHY SO?BECAUSE,JUST AS NEPAL ACQUIRED THE TERAI,INDIA TOO ACQUIRED DARJEELING AND SIKKIM.AND JUST AS WITH EVERY ACQUISITION COME THE PEOPLE OF THAT LANDa-THE ORIGINAL INHABITANTS,NEPAL GOT THE‘MADHESIS;AND INDIA GOT THE NEPALIS IN DARJEELING AND SIKKIM.
Gurkha are synonymous,it is not so.In short,the history of Nepal is not the story of the Gurkhas,but the story of the Gurkhas is definitely a part of the history of Nepal.As I had once mentioned that every Gurkha is a Nepali(It does not matter what some quarters-for political correctness-profess,this is the truth),but every Nepali is not a Gurkha.
7:Who then are the Gurkhas?
Ans:A set of people of different‘races;who united politically under their leader Prithvi Narayan Shah(who himself was a descendent of a fugitive Rajput prince from Northern India)of the Principality of Gorkha in Nepal.
8:What‘races’were Gurkhas made up of?
Ans:The Tibeto-Burmans/Mongoloids(Magars and Gurungs-they made up the bulk of the Gurkha army),the Khas(Chhetris and other related clans...descendents of the Rajputs(?)and other Indian vestiges),and the Hill Brahmins(the same stock as the Brahmins of India).
9:Are Gurkhas and Gorkhas different?
Ans:No.They are just pronunciation variants of the same word with Gorkha being a purer version.(Note: Gurkha is a British version and is pronounced as ‘Garka’)
10:What is the etymology of the word Gorkha?
Ans:GAU-RAKHSHA-‘The protector of the cows’.Guru Gorakhnath, the famous Hindu warrior saint of ancient India is the Patron Saint of the Gurkhas.The Gurkhas derive their name in his honour.The town of Gorkha in Nepal,from where it all started is too named in honour of the Patron Saint.
11:In the Terai of Nepal one sees more of ‘Indian – looking’ (the singer Udit Narayan Jha or the yester - year actress Mala Sinha were originally from the Nepal Terai) people. Are they immigrants from India?
Ans:Not exactly.During the height of the Gurkha imperialism,the Gurkhas repeatedly attacked the Mughal‘Subahdari’of Awadh and wrested a large part of that land which had populations of such people and annexed it into their ever growing empire.The‘Indian–looking’people of the Terai(called ‘Madhesis’(of a derog.) in Nepal)are the descendents of those people.
(Note:There is no denying the fact that Indian migrants populate that land too,just as there is no denying the fact that Nepalese migrants are to be seen in India...the treaty of 1950 was a two way street.)
Are Gorkhas immigrant? -response of Hillman the analyst
at 9/12/2013 Posted by AK Rai
KalimNews, Kalimpong, 12 September 2013: In an article titled ‘Enter the Scythe’ Mamta picks a risky question of nationality by Dola Mitra in the Outlook Magazine (September 2013)- Hillman the analyst responds to it.
Dola Mitra has picked up the wrong subject for an article particularly when citing the word Scythe which meaning, it is doubtful, whether the writer is able to etymologically explain, in fact decipher.
As this writer understands the word is historically entwined in the socio-cultural and political understanding of Northwest, North and to a certain extent Northeast India. In the middle ages the Kushan King Kanishka 2nd Century AD happened to be a Saka King whence the Saka era (the origin of which is reckoned from March 3, 78 AD) began.
Kanishka was from the Uche tribe in the Tarim basin (presently the Sinkiang Province of China). His tribe was continuously displaced to the southern regions by their more powerful neighbours from the Northeast as a result of which the ancestors of Kanishka finally came down and settled in the Punjab with the capital at Sialkot. In time he ruled over entire North India and extending to the Northwest regions beyond the Indus. He also held the fourth Buddhist Council under Ashvaghosa however this Council was not recognised by the southern Theraveda Buddhists.
The word Saka corresponds to Scythian in a western historical concept, where too a branch of the Sakas migrated and occupied northern west Asia. It is also given to understand that the Sakas are identified as the Sakyas to which clan Buddha’s father belonged, whereas his mother was from the Koliyan tribe. Considering these backgrounds of the racial history of the Scythes (Sythians) to suggest that these people are immigrants in present day political history of India is certainly not the reality. Infact these people contributed towards making Jambudipa what India is today. Dola Mitra should find her own roots in the name Mitra (Mitraism) who were probably Indo-Persians migrated to India with the immigrant hordes of Hellenistic chariot riders.
Therefore to even subtly suggest the Scythe background of immigrants from Nepal is politically inadequate considering since immemorial the country of Nepal or at least the Katmandu valley (Nipolo to the Chinese) has contributed immensely in the development of the cultural history of Bharat, where infact was the region the Mahabharata wars were fought.
Kathmandu valley was visited by Ashoka the Great whose archeological remnants are still extant. Legend exists that his daughter married a local prince and settled in the valley. With this past history to even consider Nepali migrants into India as aliens would be totally out of context and accordingly the entire borders between the two countries remain as if none exist.
The Indo-Nepal Treaty of Friendship 1950 no doubt speaks this language. This is not to state the fact that probably the largest percentage of Nepalese population are ethnic Indian mostly from the southern plains, and who now form the ruling class as well as the upper echelon creamy layer of the Nepalese hierarchy. This has caused an immediate problem in conducting the draft of the constitution which requires to be based primarily on the legal rights of the national minorities (the indigenous tribes of Nepal).
The high caste Indian ethnic Nepalese by being immigrant in nature are not able to elk out a living space despite the demographic advantage as the majority in population. Although the Gorkha kings who ruled the country since 1769 till the beginning of the century when the last Shah King was dethroned and the rule of the dynasty came to an abrupt end.
However the country is still unable to draft a constitution as a republic is a sign that the majority immigrants population is the stumbling block in not allowing the indigenous people to set up a democratic republic is now glaring and under cloak and dagger in appearance. That aside, to consider the Nepali/Gorkhali/the tribes of Nepal are alien to Darjeeling District is a figment of imagination totally guided by opposing forces to disallow the people of the District to demand their right within the Indian Constitution to an internal self determination or a separate administrative body outside West Bengal.
The demand has no relations to the allegation that it is planked by immigrants from Nepal when its history is tied up with that of India with the umbilical cord. This can only be cut when proper provisions are available otherwise the safety of the child is at risk. That beside, what requires to be acknowledged by the concerned readers is a fact that Darjeeling District on its own strength, since of the very inception of its creation as an administrative body (as ceded areas of Sikkim & Bhutan) have been preserved with its identity fully safeguarded, down the line till present times, guaranteed by the Constitution itself. In other words, the right to demand a State, with or without Gorkhaland, is significantly a legal demand and therefore genuine in all aspects of considerations.
Therefore anybody alleging that the demand is reasoned on the basis of Nepali/Gorkhali migrants is unsustainable, and therefore only a ploy to derail the constitutional event which is bound to come at some point in time, after full constitutional formalities are observed. This is to remind one, of the fact, that, as of the moment the legal right of Darjeeling District to demand internal self rule is visibly absent (but not impossible to obtain) that is, the consideration of the District being determined as a ‘Scheduled Area’ the more important criteria of the Fifth Schedule (Scheduled Area & Scheduled Tribes). This requires to be introduced after completing the formality of including the additional list of Scheduled Tribes as per the list of STs in the States in the decadal population Census 2011. On account of which increment of ST population in Darjeeling District is thereby expected to be considered as a Scheduled Area. After this is effected then only the legal right to demand UT/State is ensured, without any doubt.
This is related to the fact that Darjeeling District has already been provided as a member of the statutory Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) by the President of India under Para 1 Rule 4 of the Fifth Schedule, thus guaranteeing the inhabitants of the District, to be administered ‘as if’ it is outside the State. Infact not only Darjeeling District but the entire North Bengal Districts are under the purview of the Schedule. The North Bengal Districts were completely out of bounds for foreigners till as recently as 1990 under the inner Line Permit regime which was first introduced as Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (line system known as Inner Line) in 1873. The title of the Regulation itself suggests that these areas mentioned therein were outside the territorial boundary of the State. It is the sum total of these aspects which speaks volumes that the right of Darjeeling District (as well as the Dooars of Jalpaiguri District) are in themselves imbued with an inalienable right to safeguard the identity within the Indian domain. Therefore to assert the right to demand a State within the parameters of the Constitution as enunciated in the provisions of the Fifth Schedule is the legal right which the State nor the Centre can deny. Infact one is reminded to note specifically that the State has no legal right whatsoever, under the Govt. of India Act Absorbed Area (Laws) Act 1954 which clearly defines that Darjeeling District within the Fifth Schedule is directly under the President of India and neither under the State nor the Centre. Thus for the State to suggest not allowing the people of the District to their legal demand tantamounts to confrontation without the arms to wield the sword. On the contrary the State should come out magnanimously and deliver to the people of the District their constitutional rights, which years on end has been digressed by the majority people of the State.
To allege the State demand is connected to outside forces or foreign countries is another ruse implied by the concerned parties to derail the legal demand which by itself being so, is least inflicted by any charges suggesting misdemeanors accounted by the present peoples agitation. Simply the might of the legal right is sufficient to place the demand and implement it too, does not require any outside assistance in whatever form or kind it maybe. The fact that the District is already provided by the Constitution itself by placing the statehood guarantee within the Fifth Schedule in the case of Darjeeling District, is alone sufficient to sail the tide with the breeze without resorting to paddled with oars. Therefore the claims by various sources alleging foreign hand in the Gorkhaland movement cannot be true and unacceptable on all counts. If any such allegations are proved to be true surely the Govt. of the day would have acted on it.
In the same page of the internet, one Tarun Ganguly analyses the Indo-Nepal Treaty 1950 to determine as per his words “an Indian citizen of Nepali origin” is a stupid question to ask. For the simple reason that any citizen of India to declare so require to prove the identity by voters card is the litmus test and no further questions to be asked after that. However the perception exists that solely for the fact the voters name is in the electoral role does not exclude the fact that many migrants from neighbouring countries have registered the names in the electoral role by simply providing a ration card, which in India is the gateway to acquiring citizenship is no doubt the rule than an exception. Only when new measurable yardsticks are applied other than holding a ration card to obtain Indian citizenship, then illegal migrants will go on having an easy access to becoming an Indian citizen.
Besides which it also requires to be noticed here that there is an Indian Citizenship Act prevailing at this moment of time. But needless to say this cumbersome process is hardly in use as quite unnecessary when citizenship is easily availed via media of the ration card which anybody can obtain with few hundred rupees, or at the most, few thousand rupees. Besides which provisions there are other accesses also available to the immigrants to acquire semblance of birthdates which are available adlib (of course after due payment) through school certificates, village Panchayat recommendations to the administrative officers, Municipality Commissioners, MLAs and MPs willing to attest various applications for vote bank politics. After all what is not available in India if the price is right.
Ganguly further goes to cite Census 1931 for whatever reasons ensures out of this reference is anybody’s guess. Surely Census 1931 reference to Census 2013 after a lapse of 82 years is no indication to suggest any relation to citizenship. Is he completely sane in his mind is a question requiring an answer. If not let it remain rhetorical. The answer is already there for all to read. In this connection certain attributes of Citizenship Act of 1955 is produced briefly, (a) on or after the 26th day of January, 1950, but before the 1st day of July 1987 (b) on or after the 1st day of July 1987, but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 and either of whose parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth; (c) on or after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, where (i) both of his parents ate citizens of India or (ii) one of whose parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth.
>>As per international migration norms, if someone settles in a foreign country, he has to accept the customs and rules of that country and eventually melt down there. This does not seem to be the case for these thugs from Nepal !
So, how are bengoli thugs melting down under, mate?
My Online complaint to the Anti Racism Commisson of Australia against Pinaki S Ray...
Hopefully Outlook will also do the due diligence !
I would like to register a complaint against Australian resident by the name of Pinaki S Ray living in Adelaide, Australia.
This gentleman has submitted a letter in the website of one the most respected magazine in India called Outlook weekly. Please find below the link of the website and a copy of the letter.
The copy clearly labels a whole community of Nepali speaking Indian citizens of North Bengal as "Thugs" which may incite racial violence and riots in the specified area of North Bengal leading to loss of life and property. The letter clearly incites West Bengal to use "Boot" against a particular community, therefore is Genocidal in nature.
This issue may be out of the national jurisdiction of Australia, however, like to seek your attention whether Pinaki S Ray is violating any Australian Residency laws by making such inflammatory remarks publicly.
Would appreciate your due diligence.
Some languages spoken accross the international borders...incase you did not know..
Punjabi in both India and Pakistan.
Urdu India, Pakistan, Nepal and BD
Bengali both India and BD and Nepal ( Remember there are over 15K Bangali speakers in Nepal with Nepali Citizenship, Ghosh, Banerjee, Das, Chakroboty what have you...)
Tripuri both India and BD
Avadhi both India and Nepal ( Imagine Nepal labeling all Avadhi speakers in West Nepal as Indians or Uttar Pradeshis)
Maithili both India and Nepal ( Maithili is the second largest language in Nepal after Khas Nepali in Nepal and if Nepal says all Maithili speaking Nepali citizen are foriegners then then it amounts to Genocide)
Then there is no reason why we cannot compain against you for racist and genocidal letter to the Australian authorities and seek your deportation to Kolkotta or wherever you are from...
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