Second, unlike earlier, there is an intellectual push to the current demand for Gorkhaland. One of the impetus for a separate state of Gorkhas would be securing of their identity as Indians. Indian Gorkhas have long been misidentified as being citizens of Nepal and they feel that a state of their own will root them to India. The Gorkhaland of their imagination, therefore, does not only secure the economic development of the Darjeeling area but also the political identity of the over one crore Indian Gorkhas across the country.
• So are the Indian Gorkhas migrants from Nepal or where have they come from?
Indian Gorkhas have been residents of India for centuries. Under the Treaty of Sugauli in 1815, Nepal ceded an area of 18,000 sq km to the British. This territory constitutes what are today parts of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Darjeeling district. A treaty with Bhutan in 1860 brought the current Dooars areas in Bengal and Assam into British possession. The Gorkha population resident in these territories became part of British India then. The Gorkhas participated in the Freedom Movement with Gandhiji and also joined the Azad Hind Fauj in big numbers. The tune of India’s national anthem Jana Gana Mana was taken from an original composition by Captain Ram Singh Thakur, a Gorkha in the INA. Two Gorkhas, Damber Singh Gurung and Ari Bahadur Gurung were members of the Constituent Assembly. Ari Bahadur Gurung was a member of the drafting committee. He is a signatory to the first Constitution of India.