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FORMATION OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY



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FORMATION OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY
There was the 'GREAT BENGAL FAMINE IN 1943'. It is estimated that the calamity had taken the lives of three to four million men, women and children. The situation was further aggravated by the most terrible Second World War in human civilization. There was involvement of sixty one countries with a total population of one hundred seventy crore. The war had taken lives of twenty eight lakhs soldiers out of which seven thousand five hundred forty four Nepali speaking Gorkha Soldiers were sacrificed at the altar of the war. Twenty three thousand Nepali Speaking Gorkha Soldiers sustained physical injuries out of which a good number of them became physically disabled for ever. In spite of sustaining such a great loss the Nepali Speaking Gorkha Soldiers earned the recognition and was applauded for BRAVERY in the history of the WAR-FARE of the World.

The scarcity of food, starvation and death had become the order of the day in Bengal. In such hours of shocking catastrophic situation the Political Parties were obliged to carry freedom struggle on the one hand and on the other reaching the rural mass for organising movement against the hoarders and blackmarketeers. The Communist Party of India {CPI} had started a programme as good as an expedition for organising People's Relief Committee in different parts of Bengal. Sushil Chatterjee made a dash to Darjeeling on being detailed by the CPI for organising the movement in Darjeeling District. During the period there were the nascent All India Gorkha League and the adult Indian National Congress in Darjeeling but they had not taken any progamme against the hoarders and blackmarketeers so as to ameliorate the plight of the people, but a driver, Ratanlall Brahmin, who was also known as MAILA BAJAY with some of his friends had been making dare-devil activities of breaking the godowns and plundering the hoarded items for distribution to the famine starved people of Darjeeling town. On hearing the activities of Ratanlall Brahmin, the leader of CPI, Sushil Chatterjee deputed to Darjeeling was eager to meet him. Thus, a seasoned and literate political leader found a courageous and daring hill boy who was well suited to the mission for which he had come. Ratanlall Brahmin too was impressed and influenced on hearing the ideals of the Communist Party from Sushil Chatterjee. The Communist Party helped establish him a leader and in turn he made the Communist Party in Darjeeling District. As "for the first time DRIVER UNION came into existence under the leadership of MAILA BAJAY and it followed the formation of Gariman Union, Rikshaw-man Union, Din Majdoor Union, Chattra Federation, Mahila Samity and Kisan Sabha one after another. As it was remarkable that the Party started in 1943 had extended its influence in the intellectual circle more particularly among the student community" {R.B}. The Gariman Union is to be understood as the union of Bullock Carts which used to ferry in between Siliguri and Darjeeling during those days for carrying provisions. Hence, the present national highway 55A was known as Hill Cart Road till early 1990. The Rikshaw-man Union was the union of RIKSHAW PULLERS, as in those days manually pulled rickshaws were in service in Darjeeling town. With the advance of civilization the man-pulled Rickshaw has disappeared from Darjeeling town but not from Kolkata city. In a short span of time the erstwhile Communist Party of India had taken a shape of well knitted cadre based strong organisation in Darjeeling.



Immediately after the Second World War, THE LAST ELECTION OF British India was held in 1946 in Darjeeling, in that election, Darjeeling was allotted two constituencies against earlier one. In the General Constituency the AIGL candidate Damber Singh Gurung the former lone representative, had won the election with the support of the Indian National Congress. And in "the Labour Constituency, that was comprised of Twelve Tea Gardens, the contestants were Gaga Tshering of Indian National Congress, S.K. Tshering sponsored by the owners of tea gardens and Ratanlall Brahmin of CPI. In that election for Darjeeling, the CPI had issued eleven points proposal in favour of workers to be realised from the owners of the gardens and won the election with thumbing majority by polling 85 percent of the total polled votes" {R.B}. The election of the 1946 ushered three representatives of the Communist Party of India into the Assembly of undivided Bengal. They were Jyoti Basu representing the Railway Constituency of Calcutta, Rupnarayan Roy elected from the reserved seat of Dinajpur and Ratanlall Brahmin from Labour Constituency of Darjeeling. India then was at the very threshold of attaining independence after two hundred years of British rule. The Communist Party of India, the Darjeeling District Committee being overwhelmed of its victory in the election, held the first District Conference in a house called Topsitia owned by Snehangshu Kanta Acharya at Jalapahar. The conference was attended by Saroj Mukherjee and Bhawani Sengupta on behalf of the Bengal Provincial Committee. In that conference a political resolution was adopted and it had stated as "the demand of independent Gorkhsthan in independent India submitted from time to time by the District Committee is being upheld and reiterated. The demand of the Gorkhasthan was not the wishful thinking of Ganeshlall Subba, the then Secretary of CPI Darjeeling District Committee and Ratanlall Brahmin, the CPI MLA from Darjeeling, but keeping in mind the erstwhile national and international situation and the ideological and theoretical line of party, in the context of the politics of Darjeeling the demand is found to have been made" (R.B). The adoption of that resolution FOR THE FORMATION OF GORKHASTHAN in the first conference of the Communist Party of India, Darjeeling District Committee in the presence of the leaders of the PROVINCIAL COMMITTEE clearly shomed that the demand was being supported and consented by the Provincial Committee of the CPI. Hence, it becomes obvious that Ratanlall Brahmin M.L.A. from Darjeeling and the District Secretary of the party Ganeshlall Subba dared to submit a memorandum for the formation of Gorkhasthan for the Nepali Speaking Gorkha on 6th April 1947 to the Constituent Assembly of India. The copy of the memorandum was endorsed to interim Prime Minister Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mr. Liaquat AIi Khan the Finance Minister of the interim Government and also the leader of Muslim League. In the memorandum citing various geographical, political, historical, cultural, linguistic and ethnical facts and figures, had urged and demanded as “The Communist Party of India, therefore, demands that after making necessary revisions of the existing boundaries, the three contiguous areas of Darjeeling district, southern Sikkim and Nepal be formed into one single zone to be called GORKHASTHAN." Thus, the erstwhile Communist Party of India operating in Darjeeling is found to have made the demand on the basis of the Right to Self Determination of Nationalities as propounded by Lenin and adopted by the then CPI for different nationalities of India. The Communist Party of India FOR DARJEELING DISTRICT had published a magazine titled BIR GORKHA which bears the map of GORKHASTAN ON ITS FRONT COVER PAGE, but the same Communist Party of India and its other off shoots today have become voracious opponent for the formation of separate state within India as per the provision of the Indian Constitution for the National minority Gorkhas of India dominantly inhabitating Darjeeling and its contiguous areas for reasons best suited to them. The ruler of the state of West Bengal from 1977 till today, the Communist Party of India [Marxists] popularly known as CPM, an outfit of CPI had moved a Resolution in West Bengal Assembly in the year 1978 and 1981 urging the Government of India for making arrangement to grant Regional Autonomy to the District of Darjeeling and the areas attached to it having the dominance of the people with different language, culture, tradition and mind set. The resolutions were passed and adopted in Assembly without any opposition. The Member of Parliament Ananda Pathak, elected for the Eighth Lok Sabha in 1984 from Darjeeling Parliamentary Constituency on CPM ticket being armed with the resolutions unanimously passed by the West Bengal Assembly, moved a private member bill number 122 in the Lok Sabha of the Indian Parliament on 9th August, 1985, seeking regional autonomy for Darjeeling District and its contiguous areas having Nepali population in majority with the full consent of his party. But the Bill after debate was defeated by 47 vote against 17 votes only in spite of having CPM 22 MP, CPI 06 MP, RSP 03 MP and FORWARD BLOCK 02 MP (altogether 33 Members of Parliament belonging to Left Front for that particular Lok Sabha as they were elected from across the country.) The composition of the Eighth Lok Sabha from 1984 to 1989 was as follows: the Indian National Congress led by Rajiv Gandhi had 397 MP, Telugu Desam 29 M.P, CPM 22 M.P, CPI 06 MP, RSP 03 MP, Forward Block 02 MP, Janta Party 13 M.P, Asom Ganaparisad 06 M.P, Lok Dal 05 M.P, AIDMK[I] 07 M.P, AIDMK[II] 03 M.P, Akali Dal [Badal] 03 M.P, Akali Dal [Barnala] 02 MP, BJP 02 M.P, DMK 02 M.P, National Conference 02 M.P, Kerala Congress 02 MP, Sikkim Sangram Parisad 01 MP, Muslim League 02 MP, Peasant and Workers Party 02 MP, Plains Tribal Council 01 MP, Independents 06 MP, Nominated 02 MP, Unattached 10 MP, 15 vacant seats. Thus it is clear from the voting pattern and the composition of the house that neither the mover nor the sponsors of the bill for regional autonomy for the people of Darjeeling and adjoining areas nor the ruling and other parties were serious on the issue of the conferring of minimum political right to the Indian Gorkhas.

The demand of separation from Bengal made by Darjeeling and its people from the very day of the birth of political consciousness was avoided one way on the other by the British. The same demand at the time of independence of India,by the then Communist Party of Inidia made was into a demand for a country called Gorkhasthan, by the then communistp party. And the same Party after the independence of the country is found to have modified the Gorkhasthan into a Regional Autonomy, but the demand of Regional Autonomy on the basis of ethnic composition and other aspect related to it is not in conformity with the provisions of the Indian Constitution in force. In order to materialize the Regional Autonomy as wished by the Communist Parties of West Bengal the Indian Constitution requires to be amended by the two third members of Lok Sabha. Subsequently, the amendment has to be ratified by the majority of States legislatures. Hence, the Regional Autonomy is nothing but juicy grape that dangles as an offer made to political jackals by advanced and major ruling community as a ploy to perpetuate their Administrative and Political Hegemony over the Region.

The Communist Party along with other national party were not sincere to the political cause of the people of Darjeeling and its contiguous periphery, where the non Bengali people dominantly reside. The people are subjected to exploitation and deprivation in a systematic way. The exploitation and deprivation are more subtle and serious in Dooars and Terai than in the hill areas of Darjeeling. The Nepali and Adivashi community constitute the overwhelming majority of workers in tea gardens, but the posts above the workers are being held by the people belonging to the ruling community of the state in almost all gardens. There is utter negligence in the establishment of schools for the children of Gorkhas and Adivashis in comparison to the running and management of Bengla medium schools. In some of the Nepali Medium Schools, Bengali teachers are found to have been appointed despite the availability of educated unemployed Nepali national in those areas. It is a widely held belief that in the fitness of majority population, there is the presence of overwhelming number of under-trials and convicts in the Correctional Homes of Jalpaiguri and Siliguri belonging to other than the ruling community. And, really the thickness and density of the particular communities could be felt and seen in the rallies and public meetings of political parties as well as at the time of forming a disciplined queue on the day of polling in different booths. But in terms of employment in the offices of the different Departments, the ratio between the ruling and ruled communities are exactly the reverse, if compared with the numbers that have been made to participate in rallies, public meetings for slogan shouting and standing in queue as stated above. This is due to the social, cultural, economical and political backwardness of the concerned people and group. Thus, in order to be employed, the competition between the advanced ruling and the backward ruled communities has become like a race between an Olympian and a Village Champion. The village champions are lacking safeguard and protection. However, they are as always obliged yet immune to the drawing of systematic political move. Their only consolation is to rely and believe in the result of their own faith.

It seems that there is no way out in sight to the end of this exploitation and deprivation. The imposition of the will of the dominant community over the national minority having different culture, tradition, language, history and geography have so far refused to acknowledge exploitation and deprivation, rather they feel, it is their prerogative to subjugate and rule the people and place.




POLITICS AND DIPLOMACY AGAINST THE PEOPLE AND THE REGION
The socio-political and geographical constitution of modern Darjeeling District and the Dooars are the out come of the physical strength and perseverance of the inhabitant with the administrative-political knowledge of the British. Thus, in a sense it could be said that British made the region and laid the foundation of development that is still going ahead but with a tempo, which is far less than a snail's pace in this age of computers, but the stride of development activities was fast during the British days. While comparing the progress and development of the British days, with that of the present day Darjeeling in independent India, there is a notion and feeling that the British were more sensitive and sympathetic to the people and place than the present rulers of the state of West Bengal. In terms of development, the feeling and notion could be regarded as true to some extent for it does contains some substance, but, as regards to the conferment of political right and assuring a guarantee of the socio-economic upliftment of the people of Darjeeling, the British and rulers of the place of Independent India belong are different faces of the same coin. "Mohammed Ali Jinnah converted Pakistan from a slogan into reality in seven years" {Bhattacharjee}. The people of Darjeeling had not demanded a sovereign country like Jinnah but had represented to the British authorities for a separate administrative arrangement of the region by segregating them from Bengal where they have been tagged against their wishes and conscience. But the persistent demand for forty years {1907 to 1947} for separating the region from Bengal failed to attract a mere consideration of the British, and at the time of leaving India unmindfully, the region is found to have been thrust into the administrative- political mouth of wolf like Bengal. There are people who extol and describe the magnamity of British for making deposit of Twenty Lac Pounds in the Bank of London after the first and second world wars for the welfare of Gorkha Soldiers. They take it as an expression of generosity and love towards the Gorkhas. But "King Mahendra, without feeling a shame, had got transferred the amount in the account of his wife Ratna" (Krishna Abiral). Thus, the transfer of the money that was meant for the welfare of Gorkha Soldiers embezzled into a royal, private account, did not attract the attention of the so called benign British. The generosity and munificence of the British towards the Gorkhas is seemed as superfluous and if it had not been so the Gorkhas of Darjeeling region would have certainly obtained political justice from them at the time of their departure to London. The Gorkha had given sweat and blood for making modern Darjeeling by sincerely assisting the British. However, Darjeeling region is found to have been given and tacked to Bengal by the British despite knowing well, that the people and place were adverse and against the idea to be in Bengal. The people of Darjeeling region had worked shoulder to shoulder with British for making Darjeeling a replica of London and they were attuned and acculturated with the manner, deportment of the British and had acquired education as that of the British, but at the decisive hour of arranging and ensuring socio-political security of the place and people who were by-product in culture, manner and education were thrown into the lap of usurper stepfather and departed for London for ever. It could be claimed and acknowledged that the British would not have been able to make Darjeeling their second home, had there been other people in place of the loyal, amenable, trustworthy Nepali speaking Gorkhas. As "it is clear that prior to the entry of the British in the hill region of Darjeeling district, no Hindu king of Hindustan and the Muslims who had maintained seven hundreds years rule could dare to set their foot in the region" {Gurung}, but the British came, saw and won the love of the inhabitants through subtle diplomacy, intrigues, deceit, betrayal and war also. They ruled the region as "Sikkim was betrayed by her native son, Chhibu Lama, then Darjeeling too has been let down by numerous native sons. The district was merged with Bengal and thereby with India" (Wangyal).


THE STATE REORGANISATION COMMISSION AND DARJEELING
Even if you prevail over them, they are not going to concede to your essential superiority or your right to rule them despite your evident wealth and power. The history of this stand-off is manifest throughout colonies where white masters were once unchallenged but finally driven out. Conversely, the triumphant natives soon enough found that they needed the West and the idea of total independence was a nationalist fiction designed mainly for what Fanon calls the ‘nationalist bourgeoisie’, who in turn often ran the new countries with a callous, exploitative tyranny reminiscent of the departed masters.
Edward W. Said, Culture And Imperialism.

The region being "merged with Bengal" after the departure of the British, the plight of the people and place under the new master started in a new scale with the possible newest designs. In spite of the formation of the FIRST STATE REORGANISATION COMMISSION {SRC} in the early fifties of twenty century, the long cherished aspiration of the people of Darjeeling is found to have been betrayed. For the purpose of the formation of the State Reorganisation Commission, {SRC} the first "Prime Minister of Independent India Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru on 22nd December, 1953 had made statement in Parliament that a Commission would be appointed to examine objectively and dispassionately the question of the reorganisation of the states of the Indian Union so that the welfare of the people of each constituent unit as well as the nation as a whole is promoted" {SRC-Report}. The statement was followed by the resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, the 29th December, 1953 with announcement of the formation of the SRC and in the resolution it was mentioned that "on the attainment of Independence, India was partitioned and the independent State of Pakistan was created. A process of merger and integration took place in regard to what was then called the 'Indian States'. This integration of the old Indian States which was brought about within a very short-period was an event of historic significance" {Ibid}. Thus, constituted SRC accordingly invited representation so as to reach them not later than 24th April, 1954. The SRC and its notification for representations was the God sent opportunity for the People of Darjeeling for realising the long cherished desire of getting separation from Bengal and to have its Own Administration as Other Communities of India. But the God sent opportunity got intercepted by the redoubtable political ghost. The political ghost had inherited the responsibility, of keeping Darjeeling under West Bengal by all means that were under their command and disposal. And, as a means of keeping Darjeeling with West Bengal against the wishes of the inhabitant of the Darjeeling, a ploy for setting aside the claims of the people of Darjeeling seemed to have been hatched in a very meticulous way. The SRC, in consideration of the various representations stated that "in our examination of the various proposals for reorganisation we have mainly relied on statistical figures as given in the Censuses of various years. The Census figures for 1951 have been compiled according to what is known as 'Census Tract'. It has, therefore, been difficult to estimate the mother tongue figures on a taluk or tehsil-wise basis. We were given to understand that it might be possible to make estimates of taluk or tehsil-wise figures on the basis of certain statistical assumptions. Having regard, however, to the controversies which surround such assumptions, we took into consideration only the figures as printed in different Census reports in our conclusions" {Ibid}. Thus, it is crystal clear that the SRC had heavily relied on the census report for consideration and awarding the justification on the various representations. Being full aware of the modus operandi of the SRC, the Government of West Bengal headed by the Chief Minister Dr. B.C. Roy, so as to deprive and debar the long cherished aspiration of the people of Darjeeling for separation from Bengal, the CENSUS REPORT 1951 OF DARJEELING WAS TACTFULLY DISTORTED. In that distorted CENSUS REPORT of 1951 the total number of Nepali Speaking Population of Darjeeling District was shown as 88,958 only, and the Nepali Speaking population was shown 19.96 percent only. It was the mathematical jugglery of the Government of Dr. B.C. Roy, as only the Brahmin, Chhettri and the Scheduled Cast only were counted as Nepali Speaking People of Darjeeling District and the rest having their own dialects were not treated as Nepali Speaking People. The dialects spoken in their families were regarded as their mother tongue. In the preceding census Nepali speaking population of Darjeeling district was recorded as 94 percent. In the year 1920, while making demand of separation of Darjeeling region from Bengal, the memorialists had stated that "we should have a population about as large as that of New Zealand" {Nicholas & Deki}. But after thirty five years the same population in Independent India at the decisive hour of the formation of separate STATE through SRC was found to have been made a minority in their own land by a stroke of pen that was at the disposal of the Government.

The SRC had received 1, 52,250 representations and in order to dispose off the cases it had visited 104 places of the country interviewing nine thousand people. In Darjeeling the All India Gorkha League {AIGL} and the Communist Party of India {CPI} had submitted representations. But in the final report of the Commission there is no mention of a single line regarding the submissions made by those two parties. When the SRC visited Darjeeling there was the political dominance of AIGL as the representatives to West Bengal Assembly from the district were elected from the AIGL. The Communist Party of India had submitted a memorandum to the commission on 20th May, 1955 making a demand of autonomy by amending the Constitution of India. The AIGL also placed a demand in the line of the Communists. The Communist Party that had placed a demand of a separate country, GORKHASTHAN to the Constituent Assembly and the same party after eight years are seen to have been making a demand for autonomy to the SRC, but the responsibility of the SRC was not to consider the case for autonomy but to create separate STATE through reorganisation of states. Thus the Demand of Autonomy made by the Darjeeling District Committee of CPI to the SRC seemed to be a tutored Demand in the Interest of West Bengal. During that period Satyendra Narayan Majumdar, a member of Rajya Sabha, was in-charge of Darjeeling District Committee of the Communist Party of India, from the provincial committee of West Bengal. The man of the status of Satyam Majumdar knowing well the terms of reference of the SRC would not have made the demand of regional autonomy if he were really concerned for the socio-political interest and safeguard of the people of Darjeeling. Thus, it is not difficult to discern that his inchargeship of the Darjeeling District CPI was to organise and strengthen the party base by concealing the prime interest of West Bengal on Darjeeling. The Indian National Congress Party had its representatives in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha from Darjeeling when the SRC visited Darjeeling, but the party as of today is not clear in regard to the political issue of Darjeeling. It is understood that the Congress Party of Darjeeling had maintained its stand of neutrality when the SRC had visited Darjeeling, but the All India Gorkha League having a nationalistic fervor in its programme and campaign also seemed to have been dragged knowingly or unknowingly in the tract followed by Communist Party of India. Hence, it is the irony of the political fate of Darjeeling that the All India Gorkha League had its representatives in the West Bengal Assembly elected from Siliguri, Kalimpong, Jorebunglow and Darjeeling constituencies during the decisive period of SRC's visit to Darjeeling, failed to register a mere presence to the First State Reorganisation Commission but the Government of BIHAR had made a claim of Darjeeling to the State Reorganisation Commission for merging it with Bihar. Rejection of the claim made by Bihar, the SRC has noted that "the Bihar Government's claim to Darjeeling and some other districts of West Bengal and to three districts of Orissa which are contiguous to Bihar, to which reference have been made in the opening paragraphs of this Chapter, are not justified on the ground of linguistic or cultural affinity, administrative necessity, or any other special reason. It is not, therefore necessary for us to examine them in any detail" {SRC Report page 171}. Thus, it is clear that the claim of Darjeeling by Bihar has been turned down by the SRC on the ground of dissimilarity of language and culture. In terms of language and national behaviour Darjeeling has a near proximity to Bihar, but there was and is also total dissimilarity of language, culture, mindset of the people of Darjeeling with that of West Bengal. If Darjeeling were West Bengal and had Darjeeling kept them and ruled, then in that case they would not have remained there even for a day, but Darjeeling and its people had been kept and ruled in independent and democratic India for more than six decade against their wishes. The grip is so firm that the first State Reorganisation Commission remained incapable of unfastening the grip as the task seemed to have become as difficult as snatching out a prey, from the mouth of a hungry wolf.




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