Culture

Photo Feature: The Struggle for Gorkhaland in Kalimpong

A look at the ongoing struggle for separate statehood in Kalimpong.

Police stand guard in Kalimpong.

Police stand guard in Kalimpong.

The century-old demand for Gorkhaland has regained momentum, this time when the government of West Bengal made Bengali one of the compulsory languages in the schools of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts. As people started protesting about it, the situation quickly turned critical when CRPF personnel deployed in the hills started conducting raids in the houses of party activists, including chief of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha Bimal Gurung. This made the crowd furious, which resulted in the ongoing indefinite strike in the hills. This time, the common people are leading the Gorkhaland movement, unlike other times when party leaders led the masses. As of now, six people have lost their lives and there is a ban on internet services and the local media.

The shields, batons and helmets of the police resting before the arrival of a mass rally.

The shields, batons and helmets of the police resting before the arrival of a mass rally.

The police watch as the mass rally of Gorkhaland supporters arrive.

The police watch as the mass rally of Gorkhaland supporters arrive.

Students return home from the boarding school after indefinite strike has been called in the hills of Kalimpong and Darjeeling.

Students return home from the boarding school after indefinite strike has been called in the hills of Kalimpong and Darjeeling.

People wait for the NBSTC ( North Bengal State Transport Corporation ) bus to travel to different places.

People wait for the NBSTC ( North Bengal State Transport Corporation ) bus to travel to different places.

Public speech by a party activist.

Public speech by a party activist.

Sabitri Giri, 56, a loyal party member of GJM, waving the national flag after a protest rally.

Sabitri Giri, 56, a loyal party member of GJM, waving the national flag after a protest rally.

A silent candle rally organised by the students of Kalimpong.

A silent candle rally organised by the students of Kalimpong.

A lady prays for the martyrs during the silent candle rally.

A woman prays for the martyrs during the silent candle rally.

A man arranges the candles after the silent candle rally.

A man arranges the candles after the silent candle rally.

The deserted street turns into a playground for the kids.

The deserted street turns into a playground for the kids.

Farmers brought agricultural tools into the protest to showcase their support towards the movement. The state and the media terming these ‘weapons’ was disrespectful to these traditional farmers.

Farmers brought agricultural tools into the protest to showcase their support towards the movement. The state and the media terming these ‘weapons’ was disrespectful to these traditional farmers.

A little boy cries while his mother rushes to get a seat in the NBSTC bus.

A little boy cries while his mother rushes to get a seat in the NBSTC bus.

A person's thoughts on the movement.

A person’s thoughts on the movement.

People gathered to watch the burning down of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration ( GTA. ) Accord. The GTA Accord was signed on June 18, 2011 between the Centre, state and GJM

People gathered to watch the burning down of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration ( GTA. ) Accord. The GTA Accord was signed on June 18, 2011 between the Centre, state and GJM

G.T.A. Accord burning.

GTA Accord burning.

A lady shouting slogans supporting the formation of a separate statehood of Gorkhaland.

A lady shouting slogans supporting the formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

A man praying for the unrest happening in the hills.

A man praying for the people in the hills.

Students lead the rally by shouting slogans in favour of the formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Students lead the rally by shouting slogans in favour of the formation of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

Smoke ascends from a government office which was set to burn during protests.

Smoke ascends from a government office which was set to burn during protests.

The national flag flies in Kalimpong.

The national flag flies in Kalimpong.

Images and text credit: Brihat Rai. Brihat Rai is a Kalimpong-based photographer.

  • K SHESHU BABU

    Excellent photo – feature depicting the struggle for a separate Gorkhs- land. The scenes depicting candle March in memory of martyrs are poignant and emotional expressing reverence