GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Anti-Gorkhaland body for stopping land sale to Nepalis – Unwise and Miscalculated Move – or a deliberate ‘double negative’ play at retaining ethnic control ?!!
From Hindustan Times
Siliguri, June 04, 2010 (PTI): An organisation based in the plains area of Darjeeling district and opposed to the idea of Gorkhaland, on Friday gheraoed the sub-registry office here demanding that sale of land be stopped to Nepalis who, according to them, were foreigners.
The Bangla o Bangla Bhasa Bachao Committee kept the sub-registry office gheraoed for three hours and submitted a memorandum to the local sub-divisional officer threatening to go for a vigorous movement if sale of land to the ‘foreigners’ was not stopped immediately.
If the demand was not considered at the appropriate level, it would move court, Majumder said.
Because of the ‘defective’ Indo-Nepal treaty 1950, the Nepalese nationals were enjoying free access to India and purchasing land in Siliguri and its adjacent areas posing a serious threat, the Committee president Dr Mukunda Majumder said.
Asked why treaty was ‘defective’, Majumder claimed that the Nepal government ignored a few parts of the treaty in their interest unilaterally with no consent or reaction from its Indian counterpart.
According to the provisions of the Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1950, nationals of one country can enjoy in the territory of the other the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property, participation of trade and commerce, etc.
Home for Mountbatten Partition papers – an unjust and unfair slight of ‘political neglect’ to be remembered forever by the Gorkha Adivasi population as the great folly of Lord MountBlackening ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY AMIT ROY
London, June 4: Lord Mountbatten’s personal papers covering the Partition and the transfer of power to India have been “saved for the nation” and will be permanently lodged at Southampton University, it was announced today.
A total of 250,000 documents belonging to the last viceroy of India, including 50,000 photographs, will be available for research to Indian scholars and historians.
The documents tend to show that Gandhi “acquiesced” in the partition of India, according to Chris Woolgar, a professor of history at Southampton and head of special collections in the university library.
The history taught in India is somewhat different: it holds the view that Gandhi never ever accepted the Partition while Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbahi Patel and others felt they had to go along with Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s demand for Pakistan if only to stop the communal massacres that accompanied the British withdrawal from India.
At a crucial point in the negotiations, Gandhi met Mountbatten, the viceroy, who was relieved to discover that the Mahatma was observing a vow of silence. “I am sorry I can’t speak,” wrote Gandhi. “When I took the decision about the Monday silence I did reserve two exceptions…. But I know you don’t want me to break my silence ….”
The notes, pencilled on the back of used envelopes,“ chart Gandhi’s shift from fervent opposition to the partition of the country, to reluctant acquiescence”.
Indian historians will not necessarily go along with this interpretation but the Mountbatten papers at Southampton will prove a treasure trove for research scholars for decades to come.
Included in the documents are the papers of Edwina Mountbatten — she did a great deal of charity work in India — but Nehru’s letters to Mountbatten’s wife are excluded from the collection. “They are with her daughter and we may not see them in our lifetime,” admitted Woolgar.
The Mountbatten papers are part of a mountain of 4,500 boxes of archival material that have been lodged in purpose-built facilities at the Hartley Library in Southampton University since 1989.
The Mountbatten home was at Broadlands, Hampshire, which Nehru used to visit on his trips to the UK. But the history of Broadlands stretches back 300 years during which period it was also the home of Lord Palmerston, the foreign secretary.
But the material was only on loan to Southampton.
“We are only six miles down the road, that’s why it all came to us,” explained Woolgar.
When the trustees of Broadlands decided to sell the material, Southampton University was given first refusal right. With the help of a generous donation of £1,993,760 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the university has now been able to raise the asking price of £2.85 million. Without the money there was the risk that the collection might have been broken up and many valuable documents lost to private buyers from overseas.
“I’m very relieved,” Woolgar told The Telegraph.
He added: “It is impossible to overestimate the archives’ historical and national impact. Without them we would find it difficult to understand fully the foundations of the independent states of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.”
Carole Souter, chief executive of the fund, said: “This acquisition is of immense national and historical importance. Now that the fundraising target has been reached, the University of Southampton is on track to ensure that the records of those who stood at the very forefront of British political life will be preserved for future generations of historians, scholars and the public to explore and enjoy.”
RESEARCH STUDY: Reclaiming the Darjeeling Terai – through draconian measures in a currently secular and democratic India ?!!
From The Himalayan Beacon Comments
By Vimal Khawas
The Gorkhas of Darjeeling Hills and its adjoining Terai/Dooars have often been lamented as ‘foreigners’ by different categories of mainstream Indian population notably Politicians and Journalists at different points of time. With the onset of second phase of Gorkhaland Movement, a section of Bengali politicians, Bengali journalists and general Bengali mass [including some academicians] have deeply and seriously invoked the term ‘foreigners’ in the context of the Gorkhas settled in and around the Darjeeling Hills and its Terai.
More importantly, following series of meetings across the geographical milieu of Terai areas of Darjeeling-Jalpaiguri, such terminology has increasingly found place among the critics of Gorkhaland. Of great importance to us at this point of time is, therefore, a serious search for the historical documents that highlight various pertinent issues relevant to the Gorkhas of Darjeeling and its adjoining Dooars.
One such crucial and critical historical document is the report on the Darjeeling Terai Settlement. The report authored by a Settlement Officer Shri Sasi Bhusan Duttt and published by Bengal Secretariat Press, Calcutta in 1898 throws significant light on the various facets of Society and Economy of Darjeeling Terai at the end of the 19th Century.
Two very important aspects highlighted by the report need critical examination by the Indian Gorkhas and the Government of India, if not the Government of West Bengal. These important aspects include: 1) The Geographical Extent of Darjeeling Terai at the end of the 19th Century and 2) The composition of population in Darjeeling Terai.
Geographical Extent of Darjeeling Terai at the end of 19th Century
The aforementioned report says, “The tract under settlement is the plain portion of the district of Darjeeling locally known as the Darjeeling Terai, extending from the foot of the mountainous tract to the northern border of the Purnea district.
It lies between 26o 30’ 48” and 26 o 49’ 45” north latitude and between 88 o 8’ 51” and 88 o 29’east longitude. It forms a trapezoid with a length from North to South of 18 miles and a breadth East to West of 16 miles, containing a total area, according to present survey, of 229.95 square miles, or 147,170.19 acres, exclusive of forest lands which form no part of this settlement. It is bounded on the North by hill portion of the district, South by Purnea district, East by Jalpaiguri district, and West by the independent State of Nepal”.
Further, in order to ascertain that Siliguri and its adjoining Dooars were very much part of Darjeeling Terai by 1898, it becomes fundamental for us to look into the important market places located in Darjeeling Terai. The following table highlights important market places located across Darjeeling Terai at the end of the 19th Century.
Table 1: Important Market Places in Darjeeling Terai 
Sl No Name of Markets Area Government Markets Acres
1 Matigara 57.33
2 Siliguri 62.72
3 Bagdogra 19.85
4 Phansidewa 4.04
5 Kharibari 23.79
6 Bunderjhuli 2.85
7 Batasi 3.86
8 Adhikari 38.67
9 Naxalbari 35.80
10 Amber 6.16
S.No Private Markets Acres
1 Bhoismari 0.21
2 Khaprail 14.65
3 Garidhura 1.00
4 Salbari 0.19
5 Debiganj 2.01
6 Mudh hat 0.35
7 Kristopar 0.91
8 Birnabari 9.82
9 Panighatta —
Source: Sasi Bhusan Dutt, Report on Darjeeling Terai Settlement, Bengal Secretariat Press, Calcutta, 1898, P. 5
Demography of Darjeeling Terai at the end of 19th Century
Highlighting, historical settlement and population characteristics in Darjeeling Terai and its adjoining Dooars is one of the most critical tools for the Gorkhas today to deconstruct the ‘Foreigner Theory’.
The Darjeeling Terai Settlement Report sheds enough light on the presence of sizeable percentage of the Gorkhas, Lepchas and Bhutias across Darjeeling Terai at the end of 19th Century.
To the aversion of the Bengalis, the report also highlights that there was not a single Bengali soul inhabiting the soils of Darjeeling Terai at the same period of time, not to talk of Darjeeling Hills.
Table 2 and 3 highlight basic demographic features of Darjeeling Terai in the second half of 19th century.
Table 2: Darjeeling Terai Population: 1872-91
Source of Information Total Pop Male Female Area in square mile
Census taken in 1872 47985 25682 22303 271
Census taken in 1881 63241 35410 27831 do
Census taken in 1891 72097 41808 31120 do
Source: Sasi Bhusan Dutt, Report on Darjeeling Terai Settlement, Bengal Secretariat Press, Calcutta, 1898, P. 7
Table 3: Demographic Characters of Darjeeling Terai: 1872-91
Census Year Sex Ratio [females/1000 males) Population Density [per sq mile]
1872 868 177
1881 786 233
1891 744 266
Source: Calculated by author based on the data available in – Sasi Bhusan Dutt, Report on Darjeeling Terai Settlement, Bengal Secretariat Press, Calcutta, 1898, P. 7
If we dissect and examine table 4 and 5, it is quite interesting to note that at the end of 19th Century there was not a single Bengali inhabiting the geographical milieu of Terai in Darjeeling District.
On the contrary, however, almost 27 per cent of the total population of Darjeeling Terai were shared by the Gorkhas/Nepali Speakers at the same period of time.
Similarly, the share of Lepchas and Bhutias residing in the region at the end of 19th century can be calculated at 3 per cent and 1 per cent of the total population respectively. Further, about 70 per cent of the total populations of the area were composed of different ethnic groups consisting of Adivasis of the region.
Table 4 Darjeeling Terai Population and Caste distribution: 1891
Caste Male Female Total
1. Bhuimali and Mehter 539 540 1079
2. Bhutia 292 130 422
3. Brahman 500 130 630
4. Damai 75 33 108
5. Gharti 126 103 229
6. Gurung 981 935 1916
7. Kaibarta 194 135 329
8. Kami 373 257 630
9. Khambu 1314 1459 2773
10. Kachh 6119 5014 11133
11. Lepcha 592 532 1124
12. Limboo 416 108 524
13. Mangar 832 514 1346
14. Munda 129 126 255
15. Murmi 500 502 1002
16. Newar 318 189 507
17. Oraon 2360 2272 4632
18. Rajput 366 143 509
19. Sarki 109 42 151
20. Sunur 67 34 101
21. Yakha 33 21 54
22. Buna 644 626 1270
23. Shaik 4002 2299 6301
Source: Sasi Bhusan Dutt, Report on Darjeeling Terai Settlement, Bengal Secretariat Press, Calcutta, 1898, P. 8
Table 5 Percentage share of Different Ethnic Groups in Darjeeling Terai: 1891
Ethnic Group Percentage Share
Source: Calculated by author based on the data available in- Sasi Bhusan Dutt, Report on Darjeeling Terai Settlement, Bengal Secretariat Press, Calcutta, 1898, P. 8
Historical Evidence – relegated to history ?!!
The data on the settlement and population composition of Darjeeling Terai as stated in Darjeeling Terai Settlement Report  evidently makes us clear that large chunk of Gorkhas were already inhabiting the Terai of Darjeeling district and the adjoining Dooars region by the end of 19th century.
Therefore, it is not only unscientific to declare the Gorkhas settled in and around Darjeeling and its Terai as ‘foreigners’ but it is illegal and against the democratic spirit of the Constitution of India.
With the help this historical document the Gorkhas of the area can challenge such terminology in the Court of Law. The term not only disturbs the peaceful life of the Indian Gorkhas but it attacks their very existence and livelihood.
Evidently, the percentage-share of the Gorkhas, Lepchas and Bhutias has drastically declined across both hills and Terai of Darjeeling Hills in the last 100 years.
The percentage of Nepali speaking Gorkhas declined from over 60 per cent in the early 1960s to less than 50 percent by 2001 if one examines the Census of India figures pertaining to the Darjeeling district.
Geometric Rise – the deliberate ethnic calculations of Late Jyoti Basu ?!!
Correspondingly, there has been a geometrical rise in Bengali population both in the hills and plains of Darjeeling district. Today, not less than 80 per cent of the total population of Siliguri and its adjoining areas are composed of Bengali speakers.
Two important factors have dangerously contributed to the geometric rise of Bengali population in the region. First, sizeable chunk of East Bengal (Hindu) refugees were resettled in North Bengal including the districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar after the formation of Muslim Bangladesh.
Secondly, much more than the East Bengal Refugees, the contribution of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in the region supported by the ruling party of West Bengal has been exceedingly alarming in the last 4 decades.
Consequently, Siliguri and its adjoining areas are dominated by the Bengali population in recent times while the percentage share of the Adivasis, Gorkhas, Lepchas and Bhutias have abysmally gone down.
Recommendations – too draconian for Gandhian methodology ?!!
It is highly imperative that the Government of India commissions a thorough and serious research study on the large-scale influx of Bangladeshi immigrants and the geometrical increase of Bengali populace across the geography of both Hills and Terai of Darjeeling District.
It is also desirable that the government repatriates all the Bengali speakers who illegally infiltrated from Bangladesh to occupy the spaces of both hills and Terai of Darjeeling district on priority basis. ‘Clean Siliguri Operation’ should be the first step towards this end.
OPINION: Communal Tensions started by BoBBBc, goes a step further – turning an overwhelming consensus against the inept and parochial policies of Bengal ?!!
By Gorkhs Daju
July 5, 2010
The ‘Bangal o Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee’ based in the plains area of Darjeeling’s Siliguri district and opposed to the idea of Gorkhaland, in gheraoing the sub-registry office on Friday 4th July 2010, demanding that sale of land be stopped to Nepalis who, according to them, were foreigners, under the leadership of Mukundo Majumdar, BoBBBc’s President has raised its true “communal head” in our Darjeeling District.
Our neighboring country “Nepal” may not react favorably at all to this sad and politically vile development. And should something happen to one of their Bobbbc members or to Mukundo Majumdar himself, then again as with the Madan Tamang murder mystery the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will again be automatically blamed for that also.
Will the Bobbbc also take the blame for Nepalese people reacting against the good people of Bengal in Nepal, as close by as Kakarbhitta or Kathmandu ? Or stirring the ire of well meaning Bengal developers working in Siliguri ?
Furthermore, are the Bobbbc trying to discriminate between genuine Indian Gorkhas and those Nepalese citizens coming in from Nepal ?
This brings to mind the reasoning whether this is the last desperate attempt of the Bengal ‘communists’ to garner their waning sympathy by ‘communal’ proxy in Bengal. Or are they ‘slowly but surely’ digging their own future graves ?
Let the Bobbbc take up the issue in the courts, where it rightly belongs – but dare they touch the hair on the head of any non-Bengali person, be it of any race, creed or colour … that will be their undoing. All the Indian Gorkhas will see to it that communal harmony is maintained at all costs.
This is the most ‘disgusting development’ at such a politically sensitive time. And, this can only play into further strengthening the hand of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha…
‘Unwise and miscalculated’ move of the Bangla-o-Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee putting the good people of Bengal at risk.