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Stop imposing Bengali on the people of Gorkhaland - Gorkha students JNU

Our languiage is nepali why should we learn bengali
The ruling class of Bengal and its stooges has once again come up with their brazen display of power and contempt towards the people of Gorkhaland, whose democratic aspiration for self-determination has always been a thorn in their flesh. The subjugation and exploitation of people of Gorkhaland have been going on for centuries only to benefit a few ruling elites of Bengal. Despite 60 years of barbaric regime involving intense economic exploitation, state sponsored ethnocide of 1986 (where CRPF butchered 1500 people in Darjeeling Hills), snatching away of livelihoods of tea garden workers and pushing them into starvation; the appetite of the Bengal Government for repressing the Gorkhas seems to be yet insatiable. West-Bengal Government has yet again unmasked its hideous and desperate agenda of orchestrated discrimination towards the Gorkha community by making Bengali compulsory for non-Bengali population. The history of subjugation and belittlement of Nepali language and forceful imposition of Bengali language by the ruling class of Bengal on Gorkha community of Gorkhaland is a clear indication of it.
There is a deliberate attempt by the West Bengal Government to undermine Nepali language which is the lingua-franca, in the region of Darjeeling hills where more than 90 percentage of the population neither speak nor understand Bengali. Recognized in 1961 as the official language of West Bengal and on 20/08/1992 as one of the Official Languages of India under the VIII Schedule of Indian Constitution, Nepali is the first official language for Darjeeling and Doars region in West Bengal. The Nepali language is spoken by more than 20 million people across India, predominantly in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, Sikkim and marginally in other northeastern states and few other states like Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Inspite of the constitutional recognition of Nepali language, the West Bengal Government has left no stone unturned to show disdain and disrespect towards the Nepali language and the Gorkha community.
The cultural integrity of the Non-Bengali native communities residing in Gorkhaland is being out-rightly threatened by the Bengali Nationalist Jingoism which has declared to impose the compulsory learning of Bengali language till class X in all schools of Bengal. Education minister, Mr. Partha Chatarjee on Monday announced that all schools irrespective of boards and mother tongue will have to learn three languages, one of which has to be Bengali. The current proposal just excludes school under GTA area which has Nepali as the first language which implies almost all CBSE and ICSE schools within GTA area will have to make Bengali compulsory. Also, the proposal has not completely exempted minority institutions which mean that they can impose it in a school run by Christian missionary also. As of now, students learn two languages in schools-one being English and the other their own mother tongue. Till now it was not compulsory for students to opt for Bengali, if they are not interested. Now, however, Mr. Chattaerjee has said that even if a student opts any other language as his first language, Bengali should yet be learned compulsorily. This way the government is not only increasing the academic burden of Gorkha students in Bengal but also planning to alienate the young Gorkhas from their own language and literature. This insidious policy has shown absolutely no regard for the fact that people of Gorkhaland are not familiar with Bengali language. The Gorkha community is a multi-cultural society which comprises many languages and dialects along with Nepali. But Nepali, being the lingua franca has been attached to the emotions and sentiments of the people like their own mother tongue and it is also the first language for many people living there. The Bengal government instead of encouraging the promotion of languages of many communities, like in Sikkim, is instead robbing and undermining the lingua franca of the Gorkhas. The Bengal government’s strategy to colonize the minds of the Gorkhas in Darjeeling and therefore Gorkhaland by a process of ‘Bengalisation’ is starkly visible. It is a deliberate attempt to destroy the culture and history of the Gorkhas to not only marginalise it culturally but also to keep it politically shackled under the diktats of the Bengali Brahmanical chauvinistic heads at the centre.
Such tactics of linguistic imperialism and cultural invasion should not go unquestioned and unanswered. History is witness to the fact that whenever state jingoism has spread its tentacles to succumb the rights of the oppressed, the voices of the masses have always come forward to secure their rights. The vibrant and uncompromising struggle of Tamils in Tamil Nadu during 1960s ensured that imposition of Hindi by Central government was immediately withdrawn. The agitations involved several mass protests, student and political movements in Tamil Nadu concerning the official status of Hindi in the state. The anti-Hindi imposition agitations ensured the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1963 and its amendment in 1967, thus ensuring the continued use of English as an official language of India besides Hindi. Similarly, in 1961 when Assam government imposed Assamese as the only official language of Assam, there were voices of resistances from the brave people of Barak Valley where majority of the population comprises the Bengalis. They questioned such draconian and chauvinistic laws and fought for their rights until they achieved it. There are numerous instances of movements where people have struggled to secure their cultural and linguistic rights. Even, Nepali spoken by crores of people in India was given a constitutional status in the eight schedule after four decades of continuous struggle. The Gorkha politicians, literary and cultural figures and activists, social workers and visionaries along with the Gorkha population of Gorkhaland, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and many other states have waged a long history of relentless struggle to deliver the language a constitutional status. The recent diktat of the state is an outright ploy to rob Nepali of its hard-earned status.
The imposition of Bengali has serious implications for future of Gorkhaland Movement. Such a move is but a Trojan Horse which will slowly acclimatise the population to various modes of oppression and give easy way for complete subjugation. It will erode the very foundation on which the political legitimacy of demand for the separate state of Gorkhaland is based (Article 3 of the Indian Constitution). The choice of speaking Nepali language is an act of resistance of this community against the domination and exploitation of ruling class of Bengal. It may not be wrong to predict that the Bengal State, through this, can possibly claim that most people residing in Gorkhaland are Bengali speaking population (in Census); thereby eliminating the very basis of demand for Gorkhaland. Repeated betrayal and conspiracy has sharpened our scepticism and eroded every bit of faith in the ruling power. Let it be known to the perpetrators that none of the acts of cultural imperialism in Gorkhaland have gone unnoticed!
The callous and self-seeking attitude shown by all existing political parties, which claims to fight for Gorkhaland, is highly shameful and deplorable. Will their duties, responsibilities and right senses be jostled up for action only when lakhs of Gorkha are forced to live as second-class citizens in their own land? How much more of ridicule, humiliation and servitude will it take for our ‘leaders’ and for our masses to take a stand and fight against this injustice? Are we waiting for another forced mass exodus of Gorkhas from our own homeland? And where would we possibly go? When will our civil society be moved enough to come out of hibernation and resist the marginalisation of our community?
Gorkha students, JNU demands the immediate revocation of this draconian move of making Bengali compulsory on Non-Bengali people and demands Bengal government to stop practicing linguistic imperialism and cultural invasion in Gorkhaland. We respect all languages and culture like our own, but any forceful imposition of a language on any community will not be tolerated at all. We appeal to the people of Gorkhaland including all progressive organisations and civil societies to break the silence and rise together to resist this blatant imposition of Bengali language on our people. We also believe the progressive people from entire Bengal and India will come forward to collectively oppose this act of oppression against the Gorkhas.

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