Demand for a Formation of a Separate State for Gorkhas (Gorkhaland) in India.
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Gorkhaland is a proposed state in India demanded by the people of the Darjeeling Hills and the people of Indian Gorkha ethnic origin on the northeast of India on the basis of Ethno-linguistic-culture, and the sentiment of the Indian people who desire to identify themselves as Indian Gorkha. It is not for building a state in Nepal, it is for building the state of Gorkha's in India.
The genesis of the demand stems from the fact the region and its Nepali or Gorkhali speaking population do not identify themselves with the rest of West Bengal. The approximately 18.4 lakh people who are inhabitants of the region speak Nepali language, have distinct cuisine, customs and culture which is different from that of Bengal.
History of Gorkhas
The Gurkhas or Gorkhas are the soldiers of Nepalese nationality, as well as of Indian Gorkha ethnicity recruited in British Army, Indian Army, Gurkha Contingent Singapore, Gurkha Reserve Unit Brunei, UN Peace Keeping force and war zones around the world. Historically, the terms "Gurkha" and "Gorkhali" were synonymous with "Pahadi", and derived from the hill town and district of Gorkha from which the Kingdom of Nepal expanded under Prithivi Narayan Shah which subsequently also led to formation of Gorkhaland and Indian Gorkha ethnic group in India.
The former Indian Army Chief of Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, once stated that "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gurkha."
History of our Demand
A century ago, the people of Darjeeling, Siliguri and Dooars areas felt that on the basis of their ethnic history and distinct identity, a separate administrative unit for the Gorkhas would be an initiative for the greater good of the community. This separate administrative unit, with time, took the shape of a demand for a separate state within India.
The demand for a separate administrative unit in Darjeeling has existed since 1907, when the Hillmen's Association of Darjeeling submitted a memorandum to Minto-Morley Reforms demanding a separate administrative setup. In 1917, the Hillmen's Association submitted a memorandum to the Chief Secretary, Government of Bengal, the Secretary of State of India and the Viceroy for the creation of a separate administrative unit comprising the Darjeeling district and adjoining Jalpaiguri district.
In 1929, the Hillmen's Association again raised the same demand before the Simon Commission. In 1930, a joint petition was submitted by Hillmen's Association, Gorkha Officers Association and the Kurseong Gorkha Library to the Secretary of the State of India, Samuel Hoare for separation from the province of Bengal. In 1941, the Hillmen's Association under the presidency of Rup Narayan Sinha urged the Secretary of State of India, Lord Pethick Lawrence, to exclude Darjeeling from the province of Bengal and make it a Chief Commissioners Province.
In 1947, the undivided Communist Party of India (CPI) submitted a memorandum to the Constituent Assembly with copies to Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Vice President of the Interim Government, and Liaquat Ali Khan, Finance Minister of the Interim Government, demanding the formation of Gorkhasthan comprising Darjeeling District, Sikkim and Nepal.
In Independent India, the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) was the first political party from the region to demand greater identity for the Indian Gorkha ethnic group and economic freedom for the community, when in 1952, under the presidency of N.B. Gurung, the party met Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India in Kalimpong and submitted a memorandum demanding the separation from Bengal.
In 1980, under the presidency of Indra Bahadur Rai, the Pranta Parishad of Darjeeling wrote to the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi with the need to form a new state in Darjeeling.
A new violent movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland was started in 1986 by Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) led by Subhash Ghisingh.
In 2007, a new party called the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) raised the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland once again.
“I hereby would like to bring forward and support this cause for the “Formation of Separate State of Gorkhaland “under article 3 A&C of Indian Constitution irrespective of my caste, race, religion, geographical and political background. “
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