CK Shrestha – no harm in individual development boards

After the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha sidelined its statehood movement and the Lepcha community got a development board of its own, several communities in the Darjeeling hills have begun demanding development bodies for themselves. Moreover, some communities have also started demanding for scheduled tribe status.

CK Shrestha.
CK Shrestha.

Amid such a backdrop, the region’s intellectuals and observers are expressing diverse opinions, with many believing community-based politics will only serve to undermine the statehood movement and the very fabric of social life in the hills.

On the other hand, noted dramatist and intellectual CK Shrestha harbours a different opinion. He feels it is possible to move ahead by choosing a middle path amid the seemingly chaotic environs.

According to Shrestha, there is no harm if hill communities pursue individual development boards, but they need to remain conscious of their identity as components of the Gorkha community. The dramatist, who has been campaigning for the ideological evolution of the Gorkha community through his Gorkha Bharati Bichar Mancha, said the Gorkha community as a whole must be looked upon as the tree and the various sub-communities as its root.

“The tree mustn’t be annoyed when the root receives water and nutrients and likewise, the root must not envy the tree for receiving sunlight,” he explained.

Shrestha is of the view that no one should object when a community receives the benefits of development as long as that community does not disintegrate from the parent, in this case the Gorkha community. He said community leaders should always remain sensitive towards the peaceful co-existence of the entire Gorkha society. At the same time, Shrestha had a word of advice for the leaders: “The communities and their leaders, however, must remain aware of government tactics”.

Expressing happiness at seeing the enthusiasm of the communities in preserving and promoting their respective language, culture and tradition, Shrestha described the development a positive one. He said when communities yearn to safeguard their ethnic treasures, the Gorkha community as a whole becomes richer and stronger.


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