Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Aqui

She is from Darjeeling. Her great-grandfather used to be part of the Gorkha regiment of the British, and her father is a civil engineer who is now retired and runs the Gorkha Times. Her twinkling eyes and contagious smile hide a deep passion and an intense pain, a love for her Darjeeling, for her Gorkhaland. She spoke, and I listened.

She spoke of the plight of the youth, who in frustration take up drugs, and if female, engage in prostitution. This fulfils their desire to dress well and look fashionable. She spoke about how BJP support is growing in the area, because the party is for small states and that is what the Gorkha people want. I was surprised to know that Jaswant Singh is the current MP from Darjeeling. However, I wasn't surprised to hear that he hasn't been back there since the elections. She spoke about how witches are seen as wise and treated with respect, and how it is a part of her family tradition to take upon the role of such wise and respected persons. She was chosen by a spirit to be a witch. It approached her one night, but she was going to Bombay for higher studies, and she had to refuse the role and apologize. She spoke about the Mother Goddess and Father God, their spiritual grandparents known as Bhoje and Bhoju, who are thanked before every meal, otherwise it is believed that ill will befall them.

The increase in sexual activity in the tea gardens, being targetted by 'educated' folk and accused of being a hooker, being treated as a foreigner in one's own country...as she spoke, I questioned the concept of nationalism. What does it mean, to be part of a nation? As a child, what if your options for recreation are limited to doping and sex? As an adult, what if your options for livelihood are limited to working for the Gorkha Regiment or at a call centre? What does this all mean? With increasing Hindutva influences, Gorkha culture is going through a coercive evolution. Bhoje and Bhoju are now idolized and renamed Shakti and Shiva. Alcoholism, drug use, an increasing rate of HIV, and a lack of a State that looks after one's welfare.

Freedom.

You call us yours
United. One.
But we are alone
We suffer
And you preach
Fly that flag on August 15
We dance and you smile
Self-satisfied
That democracy exists

Look deeper and you'll see
Why we have screamed
Why we have been raped
Looted, murdered
You've violated our Goddess
By shaping her entity in stone
How can you understand
When you come
Wielding power
Through your flag
Red, soaked with the blood
Of our ancestors
Green, with the envy
Of your hegemony
White, with the surrender
Of our souls

We are warriors
Not just for your army
But for ourselves
We are fighters
Who give everything
For loyalty
To our brothers and sisters
You made a mistake
In binding us
For all we wish for now
Is to be free.

1 comment:

  1. Sad to learn their side but having a seperate state is not the answer, in my humble opinion.

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