WHY NOT GORKHALAND?
The first bullet that killed a Gorkhaland activist was way back in 1986. Since then, the trend of sacrifice has not stopped. The other grave occurrence of 27th of July 1986 is a history now; however the day lives like a deep scar on the minds of those who had lost their kin. That infamous Sunday still echoes with the shrieks of our fellow brothers and sisters who had given their lives for Gorkhaland. The sound of bullets had ricocheted all over the Kalimpong town. It had riddled the bodies of the people who had died and for the living; the incident had rendered them sleepless for many months.
When we hear the same spirit of the Gorkhaland movement being hijacked by various dubious settlements like forums, councils and now the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), it pains. Why not Gorkhaland? Why not a separate state? The Gorkha martyrs have not given their blood for council, Sixth Schedule or a GTA. The demand of a separate Gorkha state should not be curbed by any other negotiation. If the land could speak on behalf of those brave Gorkhas who have laid down their lives, the leaders would hear that they want nothing less than Gorkhaland. The issue of statehood should not be a begging bowl for the leaders to fulfill their personal aspirations or an agenda of compromise for trifle, clandestine, adjustments. Playing with the sentiments of the people will cost dearly.
The West Bengal government is not in a mood to give up the hills and the Dooars. Mamta Banerjee had been succinct about her view that Darjeeling will never be separated from West Bengal. Does it mean that the Gorkhas will have to satiate themselves with the GTA? The WB government has constantly battered the spirit of revolution through violence and at other times through diplomatic means. They know that the fabric of Gorkhaland movement can be loosened by dividing the people.
Twenty six years of consistent battle is a long time for any revolution to mature. Despite the gravity and seriousness that the agenda demands, the Gorkha leaders are at the verge of aborting the movement. The GNLF, the GJMM and the ABGL should bear in mind that any other political tantrum other than statehood will be a live bomb for the entire region. The Bengal Government has tricked the Gorkhas repeatedly and this time too, it has gifted the GTA, a big toy to play with and be deflected from the actual momentum of statehood.
Subash Ghising, who had previously terminated the movement for statehood is trying to hold a centre stage again. He is raising his voice in favor of the Sixth Schedule, another maneuver to split the Gorkhas, ethnically. If this comes into practice, the Gorkhas will be marginalized and divided forever, living within their own little, limited, ethnic periphery. The dream to realize Gorkhaland can only be possible with a unanimous strength. A divided community is easy to break and the West Bengal government knows that.
The verdict of the Gorkhas is clear. They want a separate state. Gorkhaland is the only long term solution for the problems of the hills and the Dooars. Other petty compensations will tarnish the reputation and will breed more violence and instability in the hills. Within the last two decade, the bid for a state has been frequently thwarted by the WB government. More than their diplomatic maneuvers, the Gorkha leaders piloting the movement are to be blamed as they have faltered when they were supposed to be the strongest.
It would be a difficult decision for the WB government to allow the formation of Gorkhaland, however there is no other way to extinguish the fire, the Gorkhas have in their heart. Quelling the dynamics of statehood or foiling it under various excuses will be lethal for WB as well as the henpecked leaders. The issue of statehood has been postponed for nearly 26 years. For the leaders rallying for Gorkhaland, the real test of their leadership will be to make tough decision on behalf of statehood and stand by it, rather than being kowtowed by the pressure and niceties of WB and the Central government. Opportunity for a peaceful solution will not pop up time and again, thus it has to be realized by both the WB and the central government before the fire brewing up in the hills, turns into an irrepressible conflagration.