GORKHA ADIVASI POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Anti-Gorkhaland body for stopping land sale to Nepalis

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 ?!! 

Hoarding Boards about flats for sale in Siliguri on display at Trikon Park in Kalimpong - getting Indian Gorkhas in Kalimpong thinking again ?!! (Photo by our Special News Correspondent)

 

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. 

MEANWHLE

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 ?!! 

 

Gandhi with the viceroy at the latter’s house on April 1, 1947 - the British pompusness ?!!

 

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. 

Hon'ble Darjeeling MP, Stalwart Jaswant Singh in New York - finally bringing the British to book and currently correcting the Historic Blunder that the Brits made when they left the Darjeeling areas in the hands of 'parochial' and 'uncaring' Bengal ?!!

 

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. 

Crowds greet the departing viceroy on the day of Independence, August 15, 1947 - but leaving behind a legacy of great 'pain and suffering' - Hindutva's ultimate test of non-violence with a 'Gorkha Twist' ?!!

 

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 ?!! 

Siliguri Township in Darjeeling District - reclaiming 'political authority' from Bengal to build a model region of secular harmony for peace and progress for all of North East India - too tall a vision ?!!

 

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 [1898] 

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
Lepcha                             3.0
Bhutia                               1.1
Nepali/Gorkha             26.9
Bengali                             0.0
Others                              68.9
Total                                100.0 

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 [1898] 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 ?!! 

Gorkhs Daju Logo

 

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.

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