“Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it” - Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak
On behalf of all the people of Darjeeling hills and Doors… Foremost, let me congratulate the people of Telangana… Like us, you have demanded to write your own collective destiny… Like us, you have demanded to live the promise of our Independence – Swaraj… Like us, you have aspired to manifest your own destiny… and thanks to your leader Mr. K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who followed the path of Satyagraha as laid down by Bapuji… your “tryst with destiny,” is not too far… So hearty congratulations from all of us… We - The People of Darjeeling are happy for you.
Having shared my best wishes with the people of Telangana, I can’t help but feel a tad jealous of them. Look at the facts, our demand for an administrative set up separate from West Bengal is now 102 years old, twice as old as the demand for Telangana, and way older than all the states formed in the recent past: Jharkhand, Uttarakhanda and Chhattisgarh.
So why is our demand not being seriously looked into or considered?
Democracy is a game of numbers, and the fact is that when it comes to numbers we do not matter at all. We have 3 [now 4 if we include Kalchini] MLA’s out of a total of 294 in West Bengal state assembly and we have 3/5th of an MP [rest being those who do not support us] in the Lok Sabha out of a total of 552 MPs. So politically it does not matter what we demand or want, what matters is the fact that, we have been rendered politically insignificant by the very system [democracy] that was supposed to protect us.
But more than the number game, I think it is our politicians who have time and again failed us. To me it seems that instead of following the true path of Satyagraha as prescribed by Gandhiji, our politicians followed the re-mixed version of it… Thus, instead of Gandhian philosophy, we adopted Gandhigiri as our guiding post, and this, I strongly believe is where we went wrong….
• Chandrasekhar Rao following the footsteps set by Gandhiji went on hunger strike for 11 days… Whereas our politicians inspired by Gandhigiri made their followers go on hunger strike… not even a single leader of ours has gone on hunger strike so far.
• The youths in Telangana following the Gandhian call of “do or die,” held hands when faced with police brutality but refused to give in or give up… Whereas our youths inspired by Gandhigiri transformed into GLPs and forbade people from holding hands altogether…
• Government officials in Telangana following the Gandhian philosophy of “non-cooperation” resigned amass from their secure jobs provided by the Andhra Pradesh government … Whereas, our government officials inspired by Gandhigiri, continue to faithfully serve the West Bengal government [many even after their retirement].
• Leaders in Telangana inspired by Satyagraha did not want anything to do with Andhra Pradesh… Whereas, our politicians inspired by Gandhigiri continue to support West Bengal by demanding permanent status for workers, to DGHC… I don’t understand, aren’t we opposed to DGHC? Aren’t we supposed to not have anything to do with DGHC or any such body? So why do we want our people to be permanently employed by West Bengal?
• All the political parties in Telangana following the Gandhian principle of “unity in diversity” united to demand their rights… Whereas our political parties inspired by Gandhigiri seem to have vowed to never see eye to eye with each other… Moreover, who needs a multi-party democracy, when single party can rule as a dictator?
• The ladies in Telangana following Gandhiji’s teaching of “strength” marched shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts to ascertain their rights… Whereas our ladies inspired by the teaching of Gandhigiri started to meddle in everything, from Logney-swasni ko jhagada… nauran… ghewa… arkako choree bhagako to love letter pathako milaunu samma.
• Most important of all, the students in Telangana following Gandhiji’s teaching of “sacrifice” ushered in the revolution which made the Centre and the state government to bow down… Whereas our students [read GJM students wing] inspired by Gandhigiri forced other students to compulsorily wear cultural dresses and stop using mobile phones…
So from my count, so far Gandhiji’s path of Satyagrah has outscored us on every count. May be, it is high time for our so called politicians to rectify their past mistakes and come together as one to demand what is rightfully ours – Gorkhaland.
We could start with a hunger strike by our MP Mr. Jaswant Singh, Mr. Bimal Gurung, and entire GJM Delhi Unit office bearers in Delhi… With the rest of GJM central committee members including Mr. Roshan Giri, Mr. Anmole Prasad, Mr. Amar Lama, Dr. Harka Bahadur Chettri, Mrs. Urmila Rumba, Mrs. Asha Gurung and GJM Youth Wing leaders and Col. Alley along with leaders from CPRM Mr. R. B Rai and Mr. Sawan Rai, leader from Gorkha League Mr. Madan Tamang, leader from Congress (I) Mr. Dawa Narbula and so on staging hunger strike in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Mirik, Kalimpong, Siliguri and Doors.
I am confident, if our MP Mr. Jaswant Singh along with Mr. Bimal Gurung go on indefinite hunger strike for Gorkhaland, all of India will support our demand. So leaders, here is your chance to lead… show us the way… we are ready to follow… No more Gandhigiri please but lead us along the true path of Gandhiji…. Satyagrah.
Finally! I leave our leaders with our famous chant…. “Neta timaru bhok-hartaal basa… jantaa timarko saath chha”
Hope! I made some sense.