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Gorkhaland issue: BJP’s political ambition blurs its vision of democratic spirit 

Yozan David

No system is perfect. All systems have loopholes and gaps. But what is more acceptable and workable has always been sought after. Organisation of human life as a society or state in the 21st century has displayed that the democratic form of governance still remains the best option.

Abraham Lincoln defined the vision of democracy as government “of the people, for the people and by the people “. However, democracy as a system is not without flaws. In a huge democratic structure like India the system of representation of people is always at the cost of groups who form minority communities. The voice, aspirations and needs of these communities are usually equated with the strength of their representatives and their possible contribution in forming the government. If the strength of representation is less, then so is their voice. The lack of political will of the Centre to speak, intervene and respond positively and responsibly to the ongoing movement of Gorkhaland is a clear example of this. The duty of those in government is therefore not only to nurture its political ambition but to give effect to the values and vision for the realisation of which any system is created. That is the reason why the Indian Constitution has ample provisions for the protection of minority rights. The idea is that – just because they are less in number and their representation numerically weak and insignificant they need not be treated as ‘nobody’, ‘no-citizen’ or ‘no-people’. This vision of democracy, this ethical and humane principle today is grossly neglected by those in governments.

The statehood demand for Gorkhaland that caught fire after the declaration of Mamata Government to impose Bengali language throughout the state and further fanned by the repressive measures of the government to suppress it has failed to move the Central Government to take any initiative for dialogue and resolving of the issue. The indefinite shut down in the hills have reached its 55th day. People have died in confrontation with the security forces, they are suffering from the shortage of food stocks, the future of students are at stake. The period has witnessed a gross violation of human rights such as internet ban for more than a month, arbitrary arrests and false charges and implications of the innocent people, use of bullets killing people without sufficient cause, stopping of the transport of food stocks etc. The neighbour state of Sikkim has suffered unjust damages and harassment. This is not just a political issue. It has turned into a moral crisis of the nation. The silence and lack of political will to resolve and settle the issue of the BJP government at the Centre is far from being politically correct but it’s unethical, abominable and inhuman. The simple reason for everyone to see is their eye on Bengal for 2019 election.

They know that the opposition to Gorkhaland in Bengal springs from no rational basis but from ego nurtured by false sense of Bengali patriotism and chauvinism. The demand for separate state of Gorkhaland is on the other hand justified historically and constitutionally. It’s not only justified but much needed political step from the viewpoints of geopolitical, administrative and national security interests. Now many questions arise here. “Do Gorkhas as a people mean anything to India? The Gorkhas who have sacrificed their lives at the altar of national freedom, who continue to die for this very nation protecting it at the borders, who have been represented at the framing of the Constitution- the supreme legal document of the country, who have made the country proud in so many spheres, who are known for their loyalty to the nation- do they mean nothing to the country? Do they exist only to serve the idealistic Bengali chauvinism? Is that all that they exist for? Where is justice? Where is the right to live with dignity and right to live as equals? Where is ” government for the people?” It’s both constitutional and moral obligation of the Central Government to answer these questions.

It’s also to be noted that the ruling party in the hills is an ally of the BJP government at the Centre. So the Centre has technically acted against the principle of alliance as well.
The BJP government at the Centre has been selfish, cowardly, unethical and has exposed itself before the nation that it’s incapable of fulfilling its promises and being loyal – in its take on Gorkhaland issue. It has failed to protect and safeguard “people” which remains the essential ingredient of democracy. Its political ambition has deviated from the spirit of democracy. But it should not forget that what is not principled- be it home, religion, social institution, corporate world, politics or nation – can not sustain. Karma is not just a theory.

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