Commemorating the spirit of struggle on 25th Nepali Bhasa Manyata Diwas – Gorkha Students, JNU

It was a new dawn for the Gorkhas of India when their language, Nepali was given a constitutional status on the 20th day of August 1992. This day commemorates the struggle of those visionary and revolutionary Gorkhas who had fought to provide Nepali language in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, thereby fulfilling the aspirations of millions of Gorkhas living in different states of India.  Nepali as an official language is spoken in the Indian state of Sikkim, Gorkhaland and it has many speakers in the North-East region of India and Uttarakhand. There are also a lot of Nepali speakers in countries like Bhutan and Burmaand a Nepali speaking diaspora lives in different countries of South Asia, Middle east, Europe, the Americas, Australia and other parts of Asia. Nepali generally falls under the category of Pahari language branched out of the Indo-Aryan language family, thus sharing a commonality with languages of the Himalayan belt. Its history like any other language is rooted deep in time and the story of its struggle is the story of the Gorkhas in India. The recognition of Nepali language in the constitution is not merely a victory but a stepping stone towards the formation a separate state for the Gorkhas of India.

Nepali Bhasa Manyata Diwas celebrated by Gorkha Students, JNU.
Nepali Bhasa Manyata Diwas celebrated by Gorkha Students, JNU -2015 a file photo

Although Nepali language has been given recognition by the Indian constitution but whether in practice, it has been able to breed properly in the sub-continent is a big question in itself. It is a sad reality that the West Bengal government has always alienated Nepali language by its power of hegemony and linguistic imposition on the people of the Gorkhaland. Such linguistic imposition is exercised by many clever bureaucratic and cultural tactics which includes forcing the people of Gorkhaland to learn a language(Bengali) which has always been alien to them, denying skilled jobs to Nepali speakers in government offices, changing names of places (roads, streets etc ) that were once in Nepali and introducing the Bengali script to write Nepali .Such is the atrocity meted out to people where Nepali language is an official language. In places where it is not, conditions are even more worse where the majoritarian attitude even denies to recognize the importance of Nepali language or its speakers in their hegemonic paradigm. When many other indigenous language has its healthy space to breed and grow, Nepali language in India is in the verge of endangerment. Even in the most progressive campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University which claims to protect the rights of the history and culture of the oppressed, there is no centre for the learning of Nepali language. The question should be raised as Why a language which is spoken by millions of people in India still do not have a place in JNU or many other big universities in India? It is an irony that a scheduled language in the Indian constitution is facing an act of discrimination and isolation. We have always known that India is a diverse country with many cultures interacting together in peace but such peace seems to exist in fairy tales in school textbooks. In practice it is a majoritarian communal attitude which is spreading its obnoxious tentacles to succumb the rights of the minorities and other oppressed communities. This linguistic and racial discrimination that the Gorkhas face is not a new event. This community has been ignored for centuries and has been recognized only as pawns in battlefields and yet the eyes of the so called progressive forces that fight for all never care to give a look at our plight. Thus, a separate state for the Gorkhas becomes obvious and inevitable in order to protect and preserve the rights of the community by its people so that they do not fell prey to any majoritarian attacks in the future.

Gorkha Students, JNU salutes all revolutionaries who had struggled for their cultural and linguistic identity in the past and whoever are doing so in the present. We demand that the rights of the oppressed communities and nationalities be ensured thereby bringing an end to the majoritarian tyranny in any form anywhere. Please join in large numbers for a public meeting on the history and struggle of the constitutional recognition of Nepali language in India.

Speaker: Prof. Shrawan Acharya, CSRD, JNU
Venue: Godavari Mess, Time: 9:30 PM

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