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Posts Tagged ‘gorkha jana mukti morcha’

OPINION: Darjeeling to Gorkhaland – Name-Change To Placate The Dominant Ethnic Group

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 26, 2011

THE STATESMAN

BY JAI SHANKAR AGARWALA

[The author is an advocate practicing at Jalpaiguri District Court.]

THE Gorkhaland agreement is an interim arrangement prior to the creation of a separate state of the same name. In a de facto manner, it legitimises the process of colonisation in the 21st century. There is no such parallel yet anywhere in the world. The sensitive aspect of the pact signed last month is that it has changed the name of Darjeeling to Gorkhaland. Implicit in the name, “Darjeeling”, is the fact that it was once a predominantly Lepcha territory.

Mamata Banerjee has tried to under-play the name-change in the Hills by quoting Shakespeare ~ “What’s in a name?”. This is bound to boomerang, and add fuel to the fire. To say the least, the pact is a hasty, short-sighted exercise on the part of the Chief Minister, reminiscent of Rajiv Gandhi’s brand of politics. It reeks of opportunism.

We need to ascertain whether the term, “Gorkha” denotes a tribe, a race, a caste or a linguistic group. Why did the leaders of the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM) insist that the territory should be named Gorkhaland if there was nothing substantive? Why do they find the original name, “Darjeeling”, unacceptable? The name-change has been incorporated in the agreement. And the GJMM has stuck to its demand for a separate state by that name.

The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is only a stepping stone towards a separate state of Gorkhaland within the Union of India. The permanent title of the territory has been reserved for the Gorkhas, to the exclusion of other ethnic groups, including the Lepchas. The hegemony of the Gorkha is inherent in the agreement. The grant of Scheduled Tribe status to the Gorkhas, as promised, will enable them to exclude all other ethnic groups from buying property in the proposed state. Read the rest of this entry »

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