Gorkhas & their identity crises

 Editor,

In the last three years, many leaders in West Bengal have been attacking Gorkha citizens with the brute force of false narratives, apart from the heartless killing of 15 innocent people during the 2017 Gorkhaland agitation. We should be alert to spate of lies and deceit. They often tear our social structure to pieces. There are innumerable people who have become “victims” of such falsehood and propaganda. Without any knowledge of “history”, they branded Gorkhas in India as infiltrators and terrorists. In the common parlance of Indian jurisprudence, this amounts to a serious case of defamation and a criminal act of high order.

 A couple of months ago a TMC activist – Tanvi Das stirred the hornet’s nest and belittled the Gorkhas in a TV panel discussion. Das labeled Gorkhas as “infiltrators” and insisted on deporting them out of India. She talked down other participants in that talk show. Though she was vehemently criticized, she was unapologetic. However, coincidentally, on the same day, two Gorkha soldiers were “martyred” while fighting the “infiltrators” on LOC in Tangdhar, Kashmir. How do we describe these incredibly paradoxical situations?

Let’s look at history. Even small kids know that India was ruled by the British for almost two centuries. The imperialist British had also eyed Nepal. But keeping in view the rising military power of the British Raj then, the Nepal Kingdom decided to strike a deal with the East India Company. It was a deal to break the ice of hostility between the two neighboring nations. Under the Treaty of Sugauli 1815-16, the Nepal king ceded major portions of its territories to the British, which included huge swathes of mountainous, hilly and plain terrains. Thus areas like Sikkim, Darjeeling, Nainital, Kumaon, and Garhwal came under the East India Company.

Here comes a question for sober thought and introspection. All intellectuals and leaders must first study the core history of Gorkhas before being judgmental. The situation in which Gorkhas are living in India certainly calls for a reasonable amount of compassion and rationality. If the mountains, hills, rivers, flora and fauna are regarded as Indians, then why not humans inhabiting these areas? Is it not outrageous? Of course, today the Gorkhas in India are demanding a very small portion of land as Gorkhaland. Moreover, it is only after the Indian Independence in 1954 that Darjeeling was merged with West Bengal (India) for easy administrative purposes. Prior to that it was considered an “excluded area.” Not even 5% Indians are aware of this brief history of the Gorkhas. It is a big tragedy. The Central and State Governments should immediately consider incorporating these lessons on the history of brave Gorkhas and their sacrifice in all school and college textbooks. It is the Gorkhas’ valor and their military skills which India always takes pride in. Records have it that prior to India’s Independence, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had fondly cherished Gorkha armies and held them in high esteem. Needless to say, they were the backbone of Netaji’s Azad Hind Fauz. The INA’s patriotic song – “Qadam Qadam Badhaye Ja” was composed by none other than a Gorkha patriot – Captain Ram Sigh Thakur. The life story of a Gorkha soldier, Major Durga Malla of INA, who was sent to the gallows in 1944 by the British on sedition charges, is awe-inspiring. In honour of his sacrifice, the Indian Parliament houses a huge statue of Major Malla. Equally significant is the supreme sacrifice of Subedar Harka Bahadur Rana who fiercely fought with Pakistan to save Kargil immediately after India’s independence in 1948. There is a huge memorial dedicated to Harka Bahadur Rana and a bridge in Kargil named after him. What more certificate of integrity do Gorkhas need? Yes, these courageous “Gorkha army regiments” had been the “first choice” to be sent to fight in the Sino-Indian War in 1962, the Indo-Pakistani War in 1971, Battle of Sylhet, Kargil War in 1999. And hardly a month passes without a couple of valiant Gorkha warriors being martyred while fighting the enemy.

 It is therefore unacceptable that political leaders should treat the Gorkhas with scorn and derision. Here in India, there are leaders who choose to patronize the dreaded insurgent groups and terrorists while they criticize and humiliate those who stand up to protect the country. A professor from New Delhi has rightly said — “It is a total injustice to the Gorkhas in India. Such apathy of the Indian nation towards those brave and loyal soldiers who “came with the land” is undesirable. Even UNO and world leaders will be shocked when they know how Gorkhas are being demonized in their own land.” Are Tanvi Das and her types listening? What will happen to the sovereignty of the nation if “Tanvi Das and her party” recruit their “invited citizens” from Bangladesh in the army and give arms and ammunition to fight the infiltrators? There will be a secret jamboree of rock-n-roll and jubilation along the borders. This will be an open invitation to disaster.

Hence should leaders with ulterior motives be allowed to let the common citizens down! Having lost their discretionary powers they cannot even differentiate between “true friends and sworn enemies”. Their narrow party policies have literally bruised the hearts of patriots, and also damaged the integrity of the nation.

Yours etc.,

Salil Gewali,

Shillong-2

Sex crimes

Editor,

Crimes against women and children have shot up in recent years and are  reported from different parts of our country. Why is this heinous crime on the rise? Recent incidents of gang-rapes had virtually shaken the conscience of the nation. Admittedly, it is only the tip of the iceberg. These crimes are being perpetrated by sexual perverts who often get off scot-free. The question baffles many and answers still elude the top echelons of the police. The immediate answer to the question is the widespread misuse of internet which can be accessed cheaply through the internet. The latest version of mobile phones with high speed processors can download contents of any sex sites and videos can be viewed. These high-end handsets are available even with the boys and girls who have not reached adulthood. The internet provides pornographic content of sexually explicit videos from innumerable sites. Videos and pictures of these sites portray human sex in the most vulgar and violent ways which prompt and prod the satyrs to commit serious sexual crimes.

Also sites are vying up to woo viewers by presenting unnatural or bizarre scenes of sex. Also incestuous sex once watched by a lecherous person normalizes it. He does not feel guilty when he commits it in his home.  So the family/social fabric woven by finer qualities of love, ethics, justice etc. are thrown to the winds and perverts indulge in unpardonable sexual sins. Serious and far reaching consequences would occur if such acts are not halted.

Sex peddling institutions run by the mafia cannot be banned and will be there as long as humans exist. The new generation movies and TV serials in our country are also equally responsible for peddling sexual content. These artistic works devoid of any good ideals or values are seducing many young people. The artists creating these movies/serials don’t care about the great impact it leaves on the minds of the viewers. Unlike in the west where sexual intercourse between male and female is common and rules are not so rigid regarding sex, in our country the attempts to imitate this makes it problematic because Indian society does not allow such liberal sexual space. Hence they tend towards perversion. It’s time to inculcate the right attitudes towards sex. Ultimately, it is our society that has to equip itself to deal with the present challenges of sexual perversion that lead to rapes and gang-rapes.

Yours etc.,

TK Nandanan,

Via email

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