People and place under

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D.S. Bomjan

Published by

Bikash Jana Sahitya Kendra, Darjeeling

Ratanlal Brahman Smriti Bhawan

8, Tamang Buddhist Monastery Road

Darjeeling – 734101


People and Place under

Bengal’s Neo-Colonial Rule

D.S. Bomjan

© Writer

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be produced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author.

Published by

Bikash Jana Sahitya Kendra

8 Tamang Buddhist Monastery Road


First Edition: March, 2008

Second Edition: August, 2008

(Revised, Updated and Enlarged Edition)

Price: Rs. 300/- I.C.

Rs. 500/- N.C.

Printed at: Graphic Printers, Silgari

Domination and inequities of power and wealth are perennial facts of human society. But in today’s global setting they are also interpretable as having something to do with imperialism, its history, its new forms….

Edward W. Said, Culture And Imperialism.

We must remember the numerous peoples that still exist in a colonial relationship around the world, as well as those people within certain nations who have been colonized with the former/colonies.

Carol Boyce Davies

In decolonization, there is therefore the need of a complete calling in question of the colonial situation. If we wish to describe it precisely, we might find it in the well-known words: ‘The last shall be the first and the first last.’ Decolonization is the putting into practice of this sentence. That is why, if we try to describe it, all decolonization is successful.

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth.






a Homeland



Darjeeling, as its nerve centre of feelings and actions, the Gorkhas of India are struggling for their survival and identity for more than a century. Gorkhas, known for their honesty, bravery are experts in the art of defence and warfare. But branded as a martial race, they were taken for granted most of the time and used as mercenaries by various war-mongering masters at different times to suit their own selfish interests. This hard-working but submissive, very simple and God-fearing community, was taken as a useful tool many a time, and heartlessly led to easy exploitation. Their histories written by their masters were but bundles of falsehood and denigrations. They were used as serfs in the building of civilised India, in the making of well-protected India. But whenever they seek shelter, security and dignity they are questioned about their genuineness and originality of their origin. There lies the grievance of this community. They are to shed more sweat and blood in factories, rice fields or battlefronts than their compatriots but when they ask for their rightful share in the collective earnings their sweat and blood are seen with doubtful gaze and to acid test. All our labours are all right till the food is ready. But when we raise our hungry hands for our bowl in the kitchen, we are humiliated and conspired to deprive from our right to survive. Our sincerity and sacrifices are ridiculed. But Gorkhas resist to be exhausted, to succumb before all hypocritical and pretentious postures. It is proof enough that they have survived one century of struggle for maintaining their stand that they need a homeland of their own. They need their own distinct Indian identity, concrete and stable. In this long period of one century they have overcove great hurdles coming out victorious after every adversity.

This is the dynamism that has kept this community moving ahead towards its goal.

After one century, we are more able not only to read and write history but to make, to rebuild our history as well.

Comrade D.S. Bomjan, renowned Marxist thinker, powerful writer and analyst, digs deep into the past and the present of Darjeeling. Doing so he unearths the injustice perpetrated by the so-called ‘radical, progressive, Marxist’, advanced and in majority but chauvinistic community of Bengal on the minority and underdeveloped Gorkha Community. This is really a brilliant piece of composition in the annals of Gorkha historiography. It presents the struggles, failures and successes of this community in a comprehensive and well-designed manner. I highly appreciate comrade Bomjan for his writing which will go a long way to enlighten generations of intellectuals inside and outside the Gorkha Community about a number of unanswered WHYS!

R. B. Rai

Publisher's Note

To the Second Edition
Many significant developments have taken place in Darjeeling and Dooars in the sphere of political activities to push the demand of Gorkhaland since the First Edition of the book appeared five months back in March 2008. The First Edition of the book met with a good response and enthusiastic welcome, it almost sold out within three to four months of publication. A constant call and pressure from the readers and researchers compelled us to prepare for its Second Edition. So here we have this, another humble endeavour. The writer, D.S. Bomjan has taken note of all the topics, added fresh dates with new chapters to draw home a logical conclusion to his argument.

BIKASH JANA SAHITYA KENDRA set up a decade ago in memory of the great and beloved revolutionary poet and political activist, Late BIKASH GOTAMAY of Darjeeling Hills (Mungpo Cinchona Plantation). With the objective of publishing, sale and circulation of progressive literature, it feels honoured with this assignment of publishing the second and revised edition of DARJEELING -DOOARS, PEOPLE AND PLACE UNDER BENGAL's NEO -COLONIAL RULE within such a short period.

Hence, I on behalf of the publishing house express our heartfelt gratitude to all of our well-wishers. We will count our endeavour worthwhile if this small piece of knowledge could be of some value in the arsenal of our struggle for Gorkhaland.
Darjeeling, 23rd. July 2008.




Wisdom is a weapon to ward off destruction;

It is an inner fortress which enemies cannot destroy.

Thirukkural 421(200BC)

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam the former President of India in his book 'Ignited Minds' writes that "there are multiple technologies and appropriate management structures that have to work to generate a knowledge society. Evolving suitable policy and administrative procedures change in regulatory method, identification of partners and, most important, creations of young and dynamic leaders are the components that have to be put in place." The view and opinion put forward by Dr. KALAM contains essential ingredients for establishing a ‘Knowledge Society’ that alone could make the socio-economic and political development of people and place. Hence, it is perceptible that the formation of a knowledge society is not possible with the traditional Regulatory Method. But the Indian Gorkhas, in Independent India have been fighting for achieving their political aspiration with traditional regulatory method for years together. In every venture being outwitted they are forced to drink the same wine from a new bottle.

The people of Dehradun, Kumaon, Garhwal, Bhagsu, Nalapani, Nainital, Darjeeling, Kurseong, Siliguri, Kalimpong, Dooars etc., etc., etc. were dragged along with their lands into British India through the Sougoulee Treaty, 1815, Deed of Grant, 1835 and Anglo-Bhutan Treaty of 1865 even prior to the full flowering of Indian Nationalism. On being incorporated into British India, the entrants did not lag behind other Indians to ward off the Britishers for drawing a new political map of India. The different nationalities who had taken part in driving away the British have been enjoying the political fruits except the Gorkhas, who have been assimilated and subsumed in India along with their soil. In the process of assimilation they fought with bravery in Indo-Pak, Sino-India, in the liberation Bangladesh, Kargil wars and defending the sovereignty of the nation by drawing a Laxman Rekha with their blood dotting the borders. Thus, they are seen making sacrifices with unflinching loyalty. But in the absence of a politically, administratively and constitutionally designated Homeland, the Indian Gorkhas have been facing a deep crisis of Identity regarding their Indianness. Their cultural, linguistic and facial resemblance with the Nepalese of Nepal has led the general Indian populace to harbour notions that their compatriots are citizens of Nepal. This notion it seems is deeply ingrained in the minds of the successive rulers of Independent India too. The inculcation of this wrong notion has been taking a form of indoctrination as it is evident that Kiran Desai in her novel 'The Inheritance of Loss' which was awarded Man Booker Prize, 2006, led her comment in reference to the situation arising out of the demand of separate state of Gorkhaland Movement 1986-88. She comments "Nepalese making trouble…very troublesome people…They should kick the bastards back to Nepal, Bangladeshi to Bangladesh, Afghan to Afghanistan, all Muslims to Pakistan, Tibetans, Bhutanese, why are they sitting in our country?" The book received an unprecedented noise of applaud in the literary community of the world but there wasn’t a single intellectual, historian, journalist or writer of national repute who dared to stand and state the historical fact, that the IndianNepalese are included in India with their territory in their occupation prior to the formation of the Indian nation-state under the leadership of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Thus being undefended by their own fellow citizens across the country they are further harassed and intimidated by ultra communalist organizations of state of West Bengal. "Drive the Nepalese to Nepal" slogan shouting processions are also seen taking place in Siliguri in more than one occasion.

India is regarded as the Land of Unity in Diversity in which the former Prime-minister Indra Kumar Gujral had his birth place in Pakistan. The present Prime-minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is the first Congress Leader to head a coalition Government at the centre was also born in Pakistan. The renowned Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar commanding international repute was also born in Pakistani soil. Many intellectuals of high order, par excellence bureaucrats and politicians at the helm of affairs in West Bengal have their ancestral place in Bangladesh including the former Chief minister Jyoti Basu and the present MIC, Urban Development & Municipal Affairs. Further it is also a truth written in golden letters that Barrister Aribahadur Gurung was the member of the Constituent Assembly representing the Indian Nepalese in the august body and had put his signature on the Draft Constitution of India and the same is in force today. But ignoring all these relevant and prevalent facts the sword of Damocles- of suspicion of their belongingness to Nepal has been made to hang over the heads of every Indian Nepalese merely on account of not having astate of their own in India.

Darjeeling is known around the globe for its matchless tea. The people living a luxurious way of life, the industrialists, bureaucrats, diplomats, businessmen and politicians throughout the world have relished the taste of Darjeeling Tea. They are well acquainted with Darjeeling tea. But they are practically unaware of the plight and sufferings of the workers who produce that same unrivalled tea, by shedding their sweat and blood. Similarly, the people seemed to have been mesmerized and captivated on hearing and seeing the wonderful Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The involvement and participation of the people from the region while making the DHR move on its rails and the benefit and facility derived by them has been sadly kept covered by the smoke emitted from the steam engine. The tourists and travellers are believed to have been experiencing ineffable joy on seeing the breath taking beauty of the mountain range. But their vision has not been able to penetrate inside the mountain ranges where the lava of aspirations, desires, and cravings for having a separate state for Indian Nepalese within India has been boiling for years together.

Darjeeling has not well for several decades in Bengal and West Bengal. In order to get rid of the malaise suffered, there was expression of Darjeeling with different manifestations. But in each expression, Darjeeling is being outmaneuvered by West Bengal with high and sharp administrative and political diplomacy. During the movement of Gorkhaland 1986-88, there was signature campaign from amongst the reputed Cinema Artists and Singers from across the country for condemning the movement and the demand. The celebrity of the stature of Satyajit Ray had also been pushed into the mire for the purpose. Further, it was not only the artists and singers even the personality of the standard of General Sam Manekshaw had made smutty remarks like "Gorkhaland should never be granted" which was gleefully carried by an English daily, The Statesman in its issue dated 29th April, 1988 published from Calcutta. In this manner, a national minority dominantly inhabiting Darjeeling Hill, Terai and Dooars region has been fighting for achieving a separate state within India against the advanced and majority ruling community who are well equipped with administrative and political power which is impregnated with an oversized nationalistic chauvinism. The fight has resulted in passing from one ordeal to another without tangible achievement for several years. And, it is my sincere endeavour to present some of the flashes of the ordeals suffered by Nepali Speaking Gorkhas in West Bengal. And, in the end, I intend to place this humble work at the hands of the people belonging to legal, political, intellectual profession along with the luminaries associated with print and electronic media of India and abroad for analysis and comments. I have a conviction that history should not be thought of a harmonious, uninterrupted and unhindered social progress. The progressive nature of social development has been proved by science. But, it is also incontrovertible that this progressive movement is only a general tendency, which operates through bitter struggle and over coming temporary diversion and retreats. And finally, the formation of knowledge society equipped with wisdom is the inevitable process of human civilization. And that truth is a form of wisdom to ward off destruction and it is also an "inner fortress which enemies cannot destroy".


P.O. GHOOM, Darjeeling. 734102.


My endeavour of writing this book would not have materialised, had Mr. R.B. Rai not taken the trouble of going through the manuscript in its rough form and tendering sweet words of encouragement for making the manuscript into a PRESS COPY. As assured and encouraged, he made arrangements for the publication of this book and also took the trouble of writing a foreword. Hence, I am indebted to him. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Milan Bantawa who took the trouble of proof reading and page setting and to Nirdesh Parimal for making incessant visits to the press to see through the publication of the book in time.

Late Rahul Sanskrityayan, during his life time was regarded by many as one of the intellectual giants of Asia. He breathed his last in Darjeeling in 1962. Prior to his travel to eternity he had published books, two of which were dictated to Buddhiman Bantawa who on hearing the dictation, had to type instantaneously for making the manuscript. And, Buddhiman Bantawa had wished to have some books from Rahulji and the same were rewarded to him as his remuneration for his expertise and efficiency in the job. Perhaps, he is the only person to have received books from the man of the stature of Rahul Sanskrityayan. While I was preparing the press copy of this book, the same Budhiman Bantawa volunteered to read the manuscript and tendered suggestions for which I am grateful to him.

I do acknowledge and express a word of gratitude to the editors and columnists of different daily papers and magazines whom I have quoted and also the authors and publishers whose names have been mentioned in the Select Bibliography. A word of thanks to Amar Lama too for he had supplied some pages of a magazine for reference.

I have owed a lot to Griffith’s Higher Secondary School, Takdah where I had reached for teaching Science and Mathematics. But at the time of retirement, I was teaching Political Science and History. The conversion of angle in perception was for making unity of similar and dissimilar algebraic expressions on the historical perspective and accommodating geometrical theorems and hypotheses in the drawings of latitudes and longitudes of geography. Assimilation of the theories and doctrines of political science into arithmetical ratio and proportion of nationalities for establishing an axiomatic equation of dynamics and calculus based on the Indian Constitution. Thus mixing humanities with science and churning it for making a paste of communal harmony for national integration, the four decades were spent as if it was four years in an atmosphere of warmth, affection and respect from my colleagues and students of Griffith’s Higher Secondary School, Takdah. I am much indebted to them for the immense love, regards and respect that they have bestowed on me.

It would be inappropriate, if I fail to express my thanks, love and blessing to my wife Yobina, son Ahsesh, daughter Anu and son-in-law Prabin Lepcha for their tolerance and bearing with immense patience my convictions and commitments which many a time pushed them into difficulties.

Lastly, I, without naming acknowledge a literary figure dedicated to spiritualism. It seems that he wished to maintain a distance from any sort of acknowledgment for his contribution. While writing this book I was profusely encouraged, inspired and blessed by him.



P.O. GHOOM, Darjeeling. 734102.


A Word of Gratitude
Several written and verbal responses, comments and appreciations were received after the publication of first edition of this book. A large numbers of readers of the book had contacted me over phone and offered congratulations and thanks for my endeavour. Hence, I do hereby acknowledge all the written, verbal and telephonic messages received from different corners with total humility. The acceptance of the first edition of this book with love and care by the readers from a wide section has encouraged me to update the book to publish the second edition within five months of its first publication.

I am very much thankful to my esteemed friend K.B.Yogi, a reputed officer in the different departments of the Government of West Bengal, for his analytical review of the first edition. A word of thank also goes to Lakpa Sherpa for writing a review of the book in accordance to tenets and the political perceptions of his association. It would be ingratitude of mine if I fail to put across my earnest thanks to my beloved brother Sudha Sidarth Tamang who despite his busy schedule spared time for strenuous task of proof reading of this edition.

Lastly I do express my sincere thanks to Bikash Jana Sahitya Kendra for publishing this edition also within a very short time.


P.O. GHOOM, Darjeeling. 734102.

17th Bhasha Diwas, 20th August, 2008
Words of Gratitude to the Editors

This edition of the book has seen the light of day due to the timely and untiring efforts of the editors Professor. Ashish Chettri, St Joseph’s College, Darjeeling and Philip Rai (WBSES), English Master, Government High School, Darjeeling. Their effort to improve the text is their contribution to the purpose of the text as well as to the people’s movement to free itself from ‘internal colonialism’.

To the duo I extend my heartfelt gratitude and blessings.

P.O.Ghoom, Darjeeling. 734102


1. Geo-Political Formations 1

2. Immigration Label 4

3. Development of Darjeeling 12

4. (a) Tea Garden 12

(b) Cinchona Plantation 21

(c) Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) 25

(d) The Plight of Four Ts 30

5. Administration 33

6. Electricity 40

7. Drinking Water... 43

8. Economy 49

9. Nepali Language... 52

10. Evolution of Nationality Consciousness 78

11. Formation of Political Parties 86

12. Formation of Communist Party 94

13. Politics and Diplomacy... 100

14. The State Reorganisation Commission... 102

15. The Year 1955 and Darjeeling 106

16. Darjeeling Enquiry Committee 110

17. The Subtle Assault 113

17. Stillborn Sixth Schedule... 128

18. Emergence of Bimal Gurung... 135

19. The Advanced and Big National’s Perception… 147

20. Micro-Compartmentalism 149

21. Merger of Darjeeling with Sikkim 155

22. Economic Potentialities of Darjeeling 160

23. Suppression of Aspiration 164

24. Prashant Phenomenan 170

25. Ignored by Fourth Estate of Democracy 176

26. Finance and Development Proposal 179

27. Political Development after Ghisingh’s... 182

28. The Great Kolkata Dharna 215

29. An Historic Seminar on Gorkhaland 222

30. Dooars — Geo-Political Reality 227

31. Annexure I 238

32. Select Bibliography 239

You stricken Land, how they love

Your teeming soil, your bruised children.

One of them told me, “You know,

Yours is a truly metropolitan city”.

Desmond Kharmawphlang, The Conquest.
The geographical space lying between 26º31'N to 27º13'N and 87º59E to 88º53E and within an area of 3015 square kilometres, backgrounded by the ever majestic Kanchanjunga is called Darjeeling. In terms of population and physical area, it is slightly bigger than the independent countries such as Maldives and Macao of the Asian continent, Gibraltar and Malta of Europe and Bermuda and British Virginia of North America. In spite of being small in area, Darjeeling has international borders extending 145 kilometres with Nepal, 52 kilometres with Bhutan and 26 kilometres with Bangladesh. Sikkim, once an independent country, but presently a hill state of India, also shares a 165 kilometre border with Darjeeling.

Darjeeling is a land famed for more than one reason. Darjeeling's journey to fame initiated from the third decade of the nineteenth century. Prior to the debut of two officials of East India Company named George W. Alymer Lloyd and JW Grant [ICS] to the place, the present three subdivisions, namely, Darjeeling, Kurseong and Siliguri were parts of Sikkim which was then a sovereign state. Present Kalimpong was then a part of Bhutan. The duo happened to pass through Darjeeling on their way to Antu (a flat hill top near to Mirik on the Indian border but situated in Nepal) wherein a dispute of boundary between Nepal and Sikkim had taken place in 1827. The two Britishers were deputed in the year 1828 by the then Governor General, William Bentinck to investigate and settle the boundary dispute. The Governor General was requested to do so as per the Treaty of Titliya, by the erstwhile Chogyal of Sikkim.

The origin of Titliya Treaty is to be traced in "in 1789 under the redoubtable General Damodar Panday of Nepal had conquered the whole of Sikkim west of River Tista" (Basnet). The area West of River Tista comprised of and understood as the present three subdivisions, namely, Darjeeling, Kurseong and Siliguri of Darjeeling district. In the year 1789, the present three subdivisions were conquered and annexed by Nepal. But the same was ceded to East India Company through the Treaty of Sugoulle in 1815 after Nepal was defeated in the first Anglo-Nepal War (1814). The British had their eye on Tibet for their commercial and political aggrandizement, for which the support and friendship of Sikkim was imperative. Hence, in order to placate the ruler of Sikkim, a Treaty was signed between the Sikkimese ruler and the British at Titliya in 1817. By this treaty, the British restored to Sikkim only parts of the lost territories including a tract of Terai over which the Sikkimese ruler showed signs of dissatisfaction. The Governor General of India then ceded an additional territory of Morung lying between the river Mechi and Mahanadi. Thus, Sikkim became a restitutory through the Treaty of Titliya, of which the Article III reads as "That he will refer to the arbitration of the British Government any dispute or question that may arise between his subjects and those of Nepal or any other neighbouring state, and to abide by the decision of the British government." Hence, as per the provision of the article of the treaty mentioned here above, the two British, as whom where on their way to settle the dispute at Antu happened to proceed via Darjeeling, “ the old Goorkha station called Dorjeling”(LSS O’Malley). Seeing the breathtaking scenic beauty, mountain ranges, the bracing climate and the flora and fauna, a strong craving for the occupation of the land most have sprung in their heart for making a hill resort for the officials of the East India Company against the sweltering heat of summer in Bengal. So the desire of the two Britishers to occupy Darjeeling proceeded to change the destiny of the region by giving rise to diplomacy, politics, intrigues, manoeuvreing and war. The subtle politics, manoeuvreings, and diplomacy of the civilised, advanced, educated and powerful British resulted the Grant of an area approximately seventy seven square kilometres of Darjeeling comprising "all the land south of the Great Rungeet river, east of the Balasan, Khail and Little Rungeet rivers, and west of the Rungno and Mahanuddi rivers" (LSS O'MALLEY) by the then Raja of Sikkim to the Governor General of East India company. The Company, as token of gratitude offered "[a] A double barrelled gun, [b] A rifle, [c] A pair of shawls superior, [d] A pair of shawl inferior and [e] 20 yards of Red Broad cloth"{PINN} to the benefactor Raja. It is said that the limit of human craving is the sky and like fellow beings the British being unable to reach the limit of the sky for satiating their cravings, played with carrot and stick policy and firmly set their feet on the land and thereby extended their political, geographical and administrative jurisdiction. Thus the region where the Nepali Speaking People are dominantly inhabitating today was brought together and unified by the British from 1835 to 1865 and ruled till 1947.

The simultaneous strategy of political manoeuvreing, intrigues, war and the development followed by the British led to the formation of geopolitical region extending from Phalut to Sunkosh River embracing Kalimpong and Siliguri i.e. both the hills and Morung. And for the development of the region, construction of roads, bridges, buildings and railways were carried out with total alacrity. It was followed by the plantations of tea bushes that have been producing tea containing matchless taste, flavour and aroma, even after their departure from the region.

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