OUR COLLECTIVE STRENGTH
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me - and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller
Foremost, I offer my most heartfelt condolences to the family of late Shree. Madan Tamang. In this hour of profound grief my thoughts and prayers are with you all, especially Sadiksha. We will continue to derive strength and inspiration from his Ultimate Sacrifice.
For most of us Darjeelingey’s we were taught to be tough to face this tough world. Our parents don’t pet us, when we fall, instead they smack us for falling. Right from our childhood we are taught to “dust off and rub some salt instead of whinning,” perhaps it is the Gorkhali blood in our veins which demands a particular strength of character, which demands a particular breed of toughness.
I wonder where that strength was when we saw it all, yet did not have to courage to speak out… when we saw our beloved hills turning from a heaven to hell and we decided to stay quiet… when we saw criminals and hooligans taking control of our lives and we all decided to yield and submit instead of standing our ground.
We the people of Darjeeling as a collective have lost our strength, and I refuse to believe that we lost it to criminals alone… we lost it to fear and intimidation alone… for we are Gorkhalis “the bravest of the braves,” after all. I also refuse to believe that we surrendered our indomitable will for the greater good “Gorkhaland.” I also refuse to believe that we lost it to indifference, for we are a bunch of very passionate people and by nature we cannot be indifferent.
So what lead to this deterioration of our strength as a collective?
We allowed few thugs to take control of our beloved hills, our lives and us as collective due to underlying greed. We were busy running after tender and posts and party favors instead of being conscious of what was going on.
When they burnt down numerous houses and asked numerous distracters to leave Darjeeling we tactically supported their act by staying silent. When they did not allow Late. Dhanmaya Ghishing’s dead body from being brought back to Darjeeling, we supported their act by staying silent… We condoned each and every move made by those who came to power. All of us Darjeelingey’s are hence, responsible for the Murder of Late. Madan Tamang.
Yesterday, I could not bear the look of fear in the eyes of my 2 year old daughter nor could I hear my 5 year old son sing “Heal the World” over the phone as their school concert got canceled due to the assassination of Madan Tamang. I cried over the phone, as I heard my son rendered the words of this song. I was worried sick, that my son and daughter so innocent and pure, it is their future that is being threatened. It is for children like them, if not for ourselves that we need to speak out.
I am not against any political party, nor am I against any individual, but I am against anything and everything that makes the future of Darjeeling bleak, that threatens the future of my children.
I strongly urge my fellow Darjeelingey’s to stand up and speak out against the tyranny in any and every form. I urge our political leaders to draw inspiration from the death of Madan Tamang, who gave the ultimate sacrifice but never surrendered his indomitable will.
I applaud those who came for the candle light rally today, it was a sign that perhaps we are beginning to reassert ourselves. It was perhaps a sign that we - the people of Darjeeling are finally rediscovering our collective strength. We need to rebuild that which is broken; we need to fix that which needs repair; we shall never give in and we shall ever give up… after all we are Gorkhalis. And I am very hopeful that together we can and we will.
I finally leave you all with these immortal words by Late Teddy Kennedy, “The work begins anew… the hope rises again… and the dream lives on.”
Hope! I made some sense.