Apropos Darjeelingtimes.com 7 March 2012, the article “Darjeeling with Bengal: A source of perpetual political discomfort”.
In the very inception reference is made to, “first provincial election on 1 April 1937” when a coalition government was formed in the Province of Bengal within British India. Damber Singh Gurung won the election on 25 March 1937 and became the sole representative of Darjeeling District (a Partially Excluded Area under the Act of 1935) in the Bengal Legislature. S.W.Ladenla, an eminent figure in the District was one amongst the three candidates for the Darjeeling seat, but who unfortunately suddenly died in Kalimpong while in campaign. His sudden death, away from his home in Darjeeling is merged in deep controversy for more reasons than one which happened to be his relentless demand for separation of Darjeeling District and the Dooars outside Bengal. This demand quite unknown to most literates and self declared politicians of all hues, literally did not mean the connotation of its translation which is most puzzling while elucidating the true perspection of the terminology “Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas”(Act of 1935 and Order 1936). The phrase literally transliterated implied the territories so designated were ‘excluded’ from the imposition of both Central and Provincial legislative laws and regulations.
The Provinces in which the Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (E&PEA) were physically situated were infact administered directly by the Governor representing the Governor General of India under a dual administration with the Governor /Lieutenant Governor of the Provinces having assumed the role also as Chief Commissionership. In simple jargon, without mincing words, to clarify the position of E&PEA in respect of the constitution of British India and the legal aspects of these areas to the former, actually meant, the E&PEA were British Crown dominions outside British India. That is to say, the E&PEA territories although forming part of the Provinces constitutionally were only absorbed /transferred areas, on an interim basis. Hence as such, the Governor directly administered these areas under the role as Chief Commissioners appointed by the Governor General on behalf of the British Crown.
It is doubtful whether any of the literati or political leaders of the day except S.W.Ladenla and Rupnarayan Sinha were aware of this implication but at the same time were not able to untangle the knot in explaining to the forward gentry that the E&PEA were mostly foreign territories which had not been brought under the fold of British India and its laws and regulations. It however was administered as part of the Provinces as E&PEA under the Chief Commissionership. It is this implication of administration which designated the Deputy Commissioner of Darjeeling District as the sole authority in charge of the District in all concerned administrative matters within the District, responsible directly to the Governor performing the role as a Chief Commissioner. In fact, the Commissioner of Jalpaiguri was responsible for all areas in North Bengal till recent times. Somewhere along the line, the Deputy Commissioner of Darjeeling District is now being designated as Deputy Magistrate seemingly under a Collectorate of the State. Whence this change in name has occurred is a matter for investigation as the new reference has a very different connotation in constitutional terms, which legality requires to be confirmed and its wider administrative impact understood and placed within explainable limits. This has very wide implications within the meaning of Darjeeling District as a Partially Excluded Area and which safeguard for the hill people of the District is perceived to have been forwarded and preserved within the Constitution of India under the provisions of the Fifth Schedule.
In it the “hill people” are addressed as such as a blanket cover to include all the hill communities as tribes (reference to Census 1931 all the hill communities have been denominated as Hill Tribes of the Himalayas irrespective of their racial ethnicity). In understanding this historical backdrop, it is quite probable the recently held Census 2011 conducted on the basis of Census 1931 on ethnology and not spoken mother tongue as in Census 1941 – 2001, which is now retrospectively found to be defective in Census identification. Therefore tracing back the history of the Himalayan tribes were denied their legal ethnological status, possibly is to be relisted back to their original status as tribes. This retrospective inference is more valid in light of the consideration of the Roy Burman Commission of Review of Social & Environmental Sector Policies, Plans & Programs (CRESP) 2008 in Sikkim in which seven hill tribes in Sikkim akin to those in Darjeeling District have already been recommended for reenlistment as Scheduled Tribes on basis of the application of Census 2011. If this perceptual program is read constitutionally, there is all the likelihood Darjeeling District will qualify as a “Scheduled Area” (under order of the President), the critical provision of the Fifth Schedule which then at that moment of time only will allow Darjeeling District to demand and become a State, and which is not only a probability but a sure certainty.
Quite unknown to the general public, nay in fact, the hues of intellectuals talking in languages of Biblical Babel, it is doubtful, they too are unable to understand completely the above impounded deliberations which are all preposterously unconstitutional and without any other agendas.
In reference to SS Tamang’s Darjeeling with Bengal, para four, “in no way would it want to part away from its hold over the Province of Bengal” was sound and proper as the Muslim League finally derived their pound of flesh by dividing Provincial Bengal into East and West Bengal in 1947 under the Radcliffe Boundary Commission. One will be shocked to note, while deliberating on the Berubari Union and Exchange of Enclaves in the Supreme Court Proceedings 1959, “… that as from the appointed day the Province of Bengal as constituted under the Government of India Act 1935, shall cease to exist and there shall be constituted in lieu thereof two new Provinces to be known respectively as East Bengal and West Bengal. …”. However Cyril Radcliffe, the man in charge of the Boundary Commission is said to have divided erstwhile Bengal on religious basis and so, told, written and believed as history. However in the opinion of this writer, this aspect of history requires to be rewritten. This is particular taking into consideration, as far as constitutional history, nationally or internationally, are to determine new state formation, religion, language and other aspects of human endeavours, are no gauge for guaranteeing state formation internally within a country or externally as a new nation. This aspect, rightly or wrongly, but following international norms and understanding under auspicious of the United Nations Organisation (UNO), which only guarantees the indigenous people the right to such self determination. This has been well documented in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007 signed by 143 countries, 11 absentees including Bhutan and Bangladesh and 4 countries voted against the resolution viz. USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is interesting to note India is a party voting for the Resolution.
In context to the above precept and applying the same potion in the partition of Provincial Bengal (1947), it would be unbelievable to speak the truth of the matter, as the truth is already garbed in a religious cloak, that partition of Bengal was made on division of the State on majority population basis of areas occupied by Indians but practicing different religions, more precisely Hinduism or Islam. Interestingly, a large population of Chakma Mongoloid tribes living in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bengal seemed to have been totally neglected and omitted as a constituent of the religious divide while conducting the division of Bengal into two separate Provinces. First was the creation of two new states out of Bengal within India. It is therefore wrong to surmise India was divided when East and West Bengal Provinces were created in 1947. It is more proper to state India was divided post partition of Bengal and partition of United Province from which the tribal region of North West Frontier formed the new State of Pakistan (West Pakistan) and East Bengal (East Pakistan) following the independence of India. As a matter of fact, East and West Pakistan is believed to have been created on majority population based on two major religions, which seems to be highly improbable considering the above UN proposition and declaration. Therefore it stands to reason and logical conclusion, East Bengal and West Bengal were partitioned on basis of the indigenous people inhabiting erstwhile Bengal.
The fact of the matter which is about to be related would be very difficult to swallow, so be prepared with few gallons of water to drown the stark truth. This has reference to the Government of India Act 1935 in which Bengal enacted the Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas bill into an Act and Order which clearly differentiated the ethnology of various hill tribes throughout India, more particularly North and Northeast India where the tribes, ethnically different from the majority people of India, had been the inhabitants of these territories since time immemorial. In Bengal, strangely enough, and certainly for the first time news for the people of West Bengal and Bangladesh, would refuse to believe, and argue fervently to the rationale of creating these new states were provided by the application of the two distinct indigenous people inhabiting Bengal. It was the basis of the 1935 Act creating the “Excluded Area” of Chittagong Hill Tract and the “Partially Excluded Area” of Darjeeling District, which symbolically but constitutionally functioned in creating East Bengal and West Bengal respectively. In order to fully realise this argument, before condemning this writer for his investigative research, one requires to read and fully understand the implication of the Berubari Union and Exchange of Enclaves -1959 (Case details).
Following the same measure of potion West Bengal was created on the constitutionally guaranteed concept applied to Bengal, not on the basis of religion, but North West Frontier Province as part of Punjab and the United Provinces, was an Excluded Area in the Act of 1935 and Order 1936. It is this ‘excluded area’ factor determining the indigenous people of these territories which allowed self-determination of these recognised tribes to form a new state of Pakistan (West) in contrast with Pakistan (East) described above.
If at all any flaw is detected in these arguments supporting the true reasons in the creation of East and West Pakistan, one may ask a very simple question to a qualified legal expert as to the legality implied in the Constitution for formation of new states in India. One may rest assured, surely religion and language, have no legal guarantee at all in demanding a new state. Had such been the case, one can well imagine what would have been the state of affairs in India, a country which probably is the most diverse in its population content in terms of ethnicity, language, religion, culture and other aspects of sociology. Language, generally speaking preconditions ethnicity. On the contrary, rather language is imposed by a dominant society, racially, linguistically and religiously into converting the minority, normally by the conquering or emigrant majority racial groups into forming a new lingua franca as an offshoot of the ruling class. A case in point is that of Sanskrit language adduced to the proto Indo-Aryan/Iranian races having overtaken and replaced the Indo-Gangetic Prakritic language conveniently creating many major North Indian state languages such as Hindi, Bihari, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, etc. The official language of Nepal is derived from Sanskritic origin, introduced into the country by Indian emigrants from the south, particularly by the late Hindus feeling into Nepal during 11/12 century invasion of India by the Mohammedan hordes from the northwest.
Incidentally, it might be pertinent to mention in this context, that one of the ethnic languages of Nepal recognised as a National languages being Nēpāl bhāṣā, also known as Newāh Bhāy and Newari, in this writer’s point of view is an amalgamation of two tribal languages, Gnar and War which has been interpreted as originating from Nair/Nayar, a Dravidic group from the south having migrated into Nepal possibly during the Malwa dynastic rule in the Katmandu valley city states.
One may wonder why presently the Constitution Assembly of Nepal, which members were elected over four years ago, under adult franchise under UNO observations, primarily to draft a Constitution for the country, post overthrow of the Gorkha Shah dynastic monarchy, is still unable to draft its constitution, is a question which requires some amount of deep study in order to remove the stumbling blocks to construct the pillars to build the constitutional temple. To arrive at a quick answer it maybe pointed out in imagining a new country of Nepal with a Constitution of its own, requires to identify the indigenous people on basis of which only the new State/Nation can legally be formed as per international understanding and reckoning. This regard has earlier been dealt with in citing UNDRIP - 2007 precepts are recognised as the criteria for new state formation. Taking this aspect into account, it is possible to visualize the draft constitution of Nepal would have to contain enough safeguards for the indigenous tribes of Nepal, mostly comprising the ethnic Sino-Tibeto-Burman language speaking race of people, which statistically is a minority in contrast to the majority Hindu high caste. A similar situation prevailed in India as a result of which the Indian Constitution, in an effort to plug all the holes, to hold the water containing the country’s diverse composition of people by providing constitutional guarantee safeguards for the conglomeration of indigenous people preserved within the meaning of Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, OBCs, etc. In the background of these classes of people there is a hidden element in recognising them as the indigenous people of India. In a similar fashion only can the Constitution of Nepal is imaginable.
Going back further in ancient times, it has been mentioned the Kirati occupied Nepal in 8 Century BC. No doubt they are seen as a Northern race of people depicted as Sino-Mongoloids from the present features prevailing among the Kirati tribes. It is more than probable the Newars originated from the admixture of the Kirati tribes with other similar tribes mostly emigrating from the east ie. Burma/Yunnan and further northern tribes from China. The history of tribal migration in any part of the world is explained by featuring, usually a northern based tribe down pouring into contiguous southern lands and occupying the space till such time they in turn are driven further south. This is a cyclic phenomenon which is continuous and probably occurring even in the present times under different garbs and shades of colour.
Coincidently it is only fair to mention, the original indigenous people of Nepal were the Sino-Tibeto-Burman speaking Mongolian race of people having poured down from the north to the entire range of the geographical Himalayas, to the sub-montane and also extending to the extensive plains of India probably to the entire Gangetic basin co-mingling and crossbreeding with the Austro Dravidic races all along the Ganges river. This river is deified to an iconic status primarily for having initiated and sustained generations of civilizations’, possibly before and after the decimation of Indus Valley and Mohenjo Daro civilisation, estimated between 3000 -1600 B.C.
Response to banglapedia.search.com. Quotes -(1). “It is a painful reality, that prior being elected in the Provincial Assembly, Dumber Sing Gurung, as Darjeeling’s representative had lacked the basic exposure to deal with public related issues”. (2).“Therefore, as a naïve and clueless individual, he was exalted into the hot seat of the Provincial Assembly. Since the prevailing political problem of Darjeeling was diverse in nature, it only added to Mr. Gurung’s discomfiture”. (3).“It needed a firm, skilful handling to draw and determine a distinct line between the Province of Bengal and the Partially Excluded Area of Darjeeling District … D.S.Gurung was not the best bet to anchor Darjeeling on the shores of secure political future”. (4).“Needlessly, the Hill peoples want would inevitably be decided at the mercy of the Provincial assembly”.
In dissecting the above four quotes in reference to Damber Singh Gurung’s persona as an individual, a hillman, a lawyer, a politician and whatever other conspicuous characteristics he beheld, he may have been a good hearted fellow after all had it not been for the complicated situation Darjeeling District held as a “Partially Excluded Area” (PEA) the meaning of which itself probably was not understood by the hill leaders themselves, let alone the uneducated lot. It is considered the PEA aspects have been dealt with and fully explained in the first response above. It is possible however D.S.Gurung may have understood the grave importance attached to the meaning of PEA which was seen as affecting Bengal adversely in the sense, on account of Darjeeling District being a PEA territory. Though the Provincial government managed the administration of Darjeeling District, it was also true that, no legislation or law of Bengal was applicable to the territory unless it was notified by the Governor in Council (consulted with the elected representatives). The explanation of this dichotomy is interpreted to mean, which maybe paradoxical to the uninitiated to the meaning of “excluded areas” – these territories did not form part of British India and by this implication it actually meant said areas were British Crown colonies and therefore subject to the laws of England and not to British Indian Provinces. By inference to this logic, Darjeeling District was in no way a territory of Provincial Bengal neither was it in British India but directly governed by the monarch in England through the Governor General/Viceroy whose authority was delegated to the Governor/Lt. Governor of the Province as the Chief Commissioner representing the Crown.
It is doubtful whether D.S.Gurung was versed in these matters, and if otherwise, not aware of this important affair, then it would surely seem fair to assert, he was simply playing with the minds of the people for selfish political interest, and therefore unjust to the aspirations of all the hill peoples whose interests he was supposed to shelter and protect in the muddy waters of politics. The chief players as claimant to the tract of Darjeeling District was Britain initially, and post independence, India (Bengal), Bhutan (Kalimpong and 18 Dooars), Sikkim (Darjeeling, Kurseong and Siliguri) and Nepal (ruled the area from 1780-1816) and which country is responsible for originating the Gorkha terminology, a blanket term applied to Nepali nationals serving the British India army as well as overseas after 1947. Initially after 1816 the Gorkha term applied to Nepalese recruits into the British India army and later other government services in India particularly recruited as police. Later in time, with the establishment of tea plantation in the hills of Darjeeling District and the plains of the Terai and the Dooars (11 in Bengal and 7 in Assam) ad-lib Nepalese labour immigrated to Darjeeling District, whose population in time became the majority in contrast to the native tribes of Sikkim Darjeeling.
Incidentally it might be relevant to mention here, the Nepalese emigrant settlers in Darjeeling District, many of whom happened to be, infact the different indigenous tribes of Nepal as compared to the larger majority population of Nepal, the high caste Hindus. Many of these indigenous tribes of Nepal were already settled in Sikkim, in fact as bonded labourers under the land owning Kazi autocracy, and were literally treated as slaves. That aside, the moot point addressed here is, in Census 1931 which identification was based on the ethnology of the population, is documented to indicate all the ethnic hill communities were mentioned as the Hill Tribes of the Himalayas. However, Census 1941 -2001 having been based on spoken mother tongue of the population, in which many of the Nepalese indigenous tribes settled in the District are listed in Census 1931 (as British Indian citizens) inhabitants of Backward Tracts (1915-19). Census 1931 clearly indicates the identity of Gorkha/Nepalese of Darjeeling District in the framework of the Backward Tracts and its constitutional implications, particularly after the Act of 1935 which ensured the area and its entire population, irrespective of their emigrant status, were considered inhabitants of Backward Tracts which legal implications were precisely enumerated permanently within the meaning of a new terminology E&PEA.
The meaning of Backward Tracts had a constitutional connotation than the generally understood vocabulary of the phrase suggesting uncivil, underdeveloped or other such implied adjectives. The application of Backward Tracts was specific to a hidden meaning. Which, infact actually conveyed a legal and constitutional tender, without having so declared transparently, obviously to camouflage the true meaning. The Backward Tracts so referred in the acts, laws and regulations actually identified certain territories within British India which were excluded from its purview, and required to be governed and administered ‘as if’ these areas were outside British India. Infact, that was the truth of the matter. These excluded areas (the Government of India Act 1935 and Order 1936, Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas) were infact constituent of English dominions in India and therefore outside British India. Therefore logically speaking, Darjeeling District established by the British in 1866-67 were constituents of territories of the Kingdoms of Sikkim and Bhutan as permanently ceded territories of the Crown in England.
After independence in 1947 and more particularly the commencement of the Constitution in India 1950-52, the E&PEA (8 excluded and 28 partially excluded total 36) were located into the Constitution in the provisions of the Fifth and Sixth Schedules therein the excluded area were in the Sixth Schedule and the Partially excluded area in the Fifth Schedule directly under the charge of the President of India and not the Parliament. In 1947 during the process of granting independence, these E&PEA were transferred by the Crown to its representatives in India the Governor General, more precisely the Viceroy (since 1858). From the period of independence 1947 to the time the Constitution of India (1950) commenced functioning with the election of the Houses of Parliament in 1952, the E&PEA were directly under the Government of the Governor General/Viceroy. However with the commencement of the Constitution these territories were transferred to the post of the President of India, with their political rights completely safeguarded by the provisions of the Fifth and Sixth Schedules.
It is a total misconception Backward Tracts implied backward people/backward areas in contrast to forward people in a modern development sense. Briefly, this requires some explanation in order to truly understand the camouflaged meaning in it.
In modern context the word civilisation is a controversial term, hence the less civilized tribes of ancient times cannot be judged as more or less barbaric than the civilisation of modern times. The comparative is historically superfluous as human nature, basically is proved by history to be gregarious. An old Latin idiom has been phrased to illustrate this point, ‘homo homini lupus’ (man is a wolf to his kind) is a general phenomena amplified by the continuous wars and discriminations available in recorded history. Infact is a perception noted by the UNO itself development in terms of science and technology alone is no indication of progress in terms of happiness index, which itself is a comparative term relative to a more or less physical index. Happiness is a end product of an ethical quotient in the normal affairs of the human species living in a psycho- physical existence, the soul force if you like.
It is quite improbable D.S.Gurung had access to the various translations interpreted above and more particularly it transpires his close link with the Congress leaders in Bengal and elsewhere indicates somewhere along the line, he was towing the Bengal line, to retain Darjeeling District under its administration as long as possible till the time someone comes along and finds out the true story – the meaning of Partially Excluded Area context to Darjeeling District. The territorial integrity of Darjeeling District is preserved within the phrase PEA before 1950 and thereafter within the Fifth Schedule as an extension of the PEA identity into the Constitution of India. In other words, Darjeeling District as a territory is only preserved within the defines of West Bengal as a separate administrative unit which is now slowly progressing to its ultimate stature by becoming a full fledged state as a legal right within the provisions of the Fifth Schedule. However at the moment demanding a state is not legal tender as the District does not contain the more important quotient of the Fifth Schedule, that is, the Scheduled Area criteria (area with compactness of Tribes). This would probably ascertained by the President of India in Census 2011 report which is expected to list more hill communities as Scheduled Tribes (at least seven hill communities mentioned in Roy Burman CRESP in Sikkim 2008 as per its recommendation to the Centre – Registrar General of India/ National Commission of Scheduled Tribes , etc).
Seeing the writing on the wall, the CRESP report the following seven hill communities are urged to avail their respective identities in the Census 2011 report and find out whether they have been listed again back to ST after they were kept in suspended animation since Census 1941. The following are the communities who are recommended by CRESP to be relisted as ST: Kirat Khambu Rai, Gurung, Magar, Sunwar, Newar, Thami and Bhujel.
In case the names of the communities are omitted you are free to ask this site address for further clarifications related to the communities mentioned as the Hill tribes of the Himalayas in Census 1931 only. If any other community, their name is mentioned in Census 1931 as hill tribes and not recommended by CRESP other than the seven mentioned communities, it may still be possible to apply for their reenlistment as ST referring to Census 1931. It is oft said one’s face is one’s fortune and one’s surname normally implies the ethnological identity of the person. This is to substantiate enlistment into ST is a preserve only for ethnic groups outside the Indo-Aryan fold. Therefore by virtue of this reasoning the high caste Hindus or those claiming mother languages lineage to Sanskrit would be outside the purview of becoming Scheduled Tribes. In fact the concept of ST definition is this very contrast distinguishing the ethnicity of the minority ST as entirely distinct racially and otherwise from the majority ruling class of ethnic Indo-Aryan language speaking race of people.