October 29th 2019
by Salil Gewali, India
We should always be alert to the thunder of lies and deceit. They often tear social structure to pieces. There are innumerable people who have become the “victims” of such falsity and propaganda. In the last three years, many leaders in West Bengal (India) have thus been attacking the Gorkha citizens with the brute forces of false narratives, apart from the heartless killing of 15 innocent people in 2017 Gorkhaland peaceful agitation. Without one iota of knowledge of “history”, they branded Gorkhas in India as infiltrators, even sometimes as terrorists. In the common parlance of Indian jurisprudence, this amounts to a serious case of defamation and a criminal act of high order.
Yet again, a few days back another TMC activist — Ms. Tanvi Das stirred the hornet’s nest. In her TV panel discussion, Ms. Tanvi rudely roared to belittle Gorkhas as “infiltrators”. She talked down other participants in that talk show. Though she was vehemently criticised, she appeared unapologetic.
However, coincidentally, on the same day, two brave 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 children know that India was ruled by the British for almost two centuries. This imperialist British had also eyed Nepal. But keeping in view the rising military power of the British Raj, the Nepal Kingdom decided to strike a deal with East India Company. It was a deal to break the ice of hostility between the two neighbouring nations. Under the Treaty of Sugauli 1815-16, Nepal Kingdom ceded the major portions of its territories to the British India which include a huge swathe of the mountainous, hilly and plain terrains.
Thus areas like Sikkim, Darjeeling, Nainital, Kumaon, and Garhwal had come under the control of 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 an amount of compassion and rationality. If the vast range of mountains, beautiful hills, rivers, flora and fauna, and all animals and birds therein can be regarded as Indian then why not two-legged human beings inhabiting these areas? Is it not outrageous they are not? Of course, comparatively a very small portion of land that Gorkhas in India are now demanding as Gorkhaland.
Moreover, it is only after the Indian Independence in 1954, that Darjeeling was merged into West Bengal (India) for easy administrative purposes, prior to that it was marked out as the “Excluded Area”. Not even 5% Indians are aware of this brief history of Gorkhas. It is a major tragedy. The Central and State Governments should immediately consider incorporating the lessons on the history of brave Gorkhas and their sacrifice in all academic school textbooks.
Truly, it is Gorkhas’ valour and their military skills over which India always takes pride. The record has it that, prior to India Independence, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had always fondly cherished Gorkha Armies and held them in high esteem. Needless to say, they were the backbone of Netaji’s Ajad Hind Fauz. 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 gallows in 1944 by the British on sedition charges, is very awe-inspiring. In honour of his sacrifice, the Indian Parliament houses a huge statue of Major Malla.
Equally significant is the supreme sacrifice of Harka Bahadur Rana who fiercely fought with Pakistan to save Kargil immediately in 1948. There is a huge memorial and a bridge name after Subhedar Harka Bahadur Rana. What more certificate of integrity does one need?
Yes, these courageous “Gorkha army regiments” had been the “first choice” to be sent to fight against the Sino-Indian War in 1962, the Indo-Pakistani War in 1971, Battle of Sylhet, Kargil War in 1999. And there is hardly a month that goes by without a couple of valiant Gorkha warriors being martyred while fighting against the enemy.
Is it not absolute madness to greet the Gorkhas with scorn and derision? Absurdly, here in India, there are leaders who choose to sing a welcome song for the dreaded insurgent groups and terrorists while they criticise and humiliate those who stand up to protect the country.
One 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 or World leaders will be shocked when they know how Gorkhas are being demonized in their own land.”
Are Tanvi Das and her types listening? No joke, but what will happen to the sovereignty of the NATION if “Tanvi Das and her party” recruit their “invited special citizens” into the army and give them all arms and ammunition to fight the infiltrators along POK and Bangladesh borders? There will be a secret jamboree of rock-n-roll and jubilation.
Alas, should leaders with ulterior motives be allowed to let the common citizens down! So sadly, having lost their power of discretion, they hardly can now differentiate between true friends and sworn enemies. Their narrow party policies have literally bruised the hearts of the patriots, and also damaged the integrity of the nation.
Frankly speaking, it is so important that the scream of the grievance of the aggrieved Gorkhas now must reach up to the UNO. The world leaders must be made aware of that Gorkhas’ loyalty to the nation has thus far been undervalued, and their identity crisis is overlooked.
Is it not that patriotism comes from within the heart that has been well cared for and loved? It seems the wounded Gorkhas now have to turn to the UNO for the healing balm.