DMPQ-What is Gorkhaland issue ? Discuss the rationale behind the demand for separated statehood for Gorkha region in West Bengal.

Gorkhaland consists of Nepali-speaking people of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and other hilly districts of West-Bengal. The people belonging to these areas have ethical, cultural and language differences with the Bengali community of West-Bengal. The demand of Darjeeling as a separate administrative region dates back to 1907.

But, the term “Gorkhaland” was coined recently, in the 1980s, by Subhash Ghising, the founder of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF). The Gorkhaland Movement is a movement mainly focused in the Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal, which demands the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

The main reason for the separate Gorkhaland movement is due to the differences in ethnicity, culture and language. The people of Nepali-Indian Gorkha ethnic origin on the Northern part of West Bengal demands a state on basis of their cultural identity, which is very different from Bengali culture. In addition to an identity crisis, there is also an issue of poverty, under-development and politicisation of the issue.

According to Rajat Ganguli (author of ‘Poverty, Malgovernance and Ethnopolitical Mobilization: Gorkha Nationalism and the Gorkhaland Agitation in India’). It was a failure of governance combined with politicisation that bred the Gorkhaland issue. He cites the historical trend, especially post-independence, where the issue erupts only when it’s pampered by political aspirations.

The demands for separate statehood in India have been there even before India’s Independence. Even after the state re-organization of 1956, there were demands from various corners of the country for the creation of a separate state. Linguistic, cultural, ethnic and economic distinctions can be traced as the core reasons behind these demands.

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