Gorkha Mahapanchayat was held at Delhi by Gorkha Foundation and a lot of people from diverse back grounds nationally attended the same. It was an enriching experience, and great to meet people from everywhere, in India. The sum total succinctly stated was that “the issues and concerns remain the same, nationally”.
There is a lot of background noise and score about the very existence and funding of Gorkha Foundation and other issues; I however, hold no brief for anyone. They were friendly committed people. My concern as an individual and an author is understanding the problems, and spreading awareness, the Maha panchayat gave me a platform. The issues that I spoke on and brief extracts of my talk are given in the succeeding paragraphs.
Identity Tree: The identity tree has three main problems, definition, internal issues, and external issues, briefly enunciated as under :-
- Gorkha: The community and the intelligentsia in particular have failed to define the Gorkha. Another popular acronym is Indian of Nepali origin (INO). We need to define Gorkha clearly and such a definition must not have the word Nepali anywhere.
- Nepali: The word has potency and stands alone on its own. It has an aura and signifies citizenship. Gorkhas get mixed up as Nepali because of similar names, language and customs. If a clear cut definition of Gorkha was available this problem would not arise.
- Perception: As a community we have failed to manage the perception. This can be managed by awareness. Currently our sum total work in this field is very poor.
- Role of Samajs: When the main identity is threatened sub identities take over. The samaj is one such case. The political class of West Bengal is now giving development boards based on such identities. The devil lies in the detail. The bottom line is simple the entire community and all those in the hills suffer from the same infirmities. Where is the progress? The Samaj has thus become counter productive to the long term goals of Gorkhas, who are spread thin nationally in all the hill states.
- Clause 7 of 1950 treaty: The treaty is between Two Sovereign nations India and Nepal, the Gorkha should stay out of external affairs. “We have an Identity problem in India, the answer lies by submitting a petition to Home Minsiter of India”.
- Political Steps: Four political steps solve our identity.
- All India Across the board OBC such that our children can compete and become civil service officers
- Linguist Minority Status (to preserve our language, as language overrides culture)
- The Original inhabitation status in Assam if we get that status in Assam it works nationally
- Proliferation of Organization: There are multitudes of Gorkha organizations who is the true representative of the Gorkha people will be a point of issue while dealing with the political class. Put yourself in their shoes. Won’t you ask “who are the true representative of the Gorkha people”?
- Security Issues of Gorkhaland: As a defence officer I must warn you of the security issues of Gorkhaland. It strides the Siliguri corridor a narrow stretch between Bangladesh and India. There is also enough literature to show that large number of youths to avoid being arrested crossed over to Nepal during the peak of Gorkhaland agitation. This along with violence has given the movement a bit of a foreign hand look by security services. We need to dispel this through awareness, belief in democracy and showcase that our boys are in the fore front for national sacrifice.
- The way Ahead: This comes with unity and being together. The Gorkha needs to unite from all corners of the nation. The fingers can be broken individually, but the clenched fist punches hard.