Politics

At Pussimbing tea estate in the Darjeeling Hills, any talk of the Lok Sabha election is unwelcome. “Sorry, please don’t ask us anything about politics,” said a man in his twenties. Another asked: “Is there any democracy here? We say something to you today and tomorrow they may come to arrest us.” The immediate provocation…

Read more In Darjeeling, the BJP is silent on Gorkhaland demand – but most Gorkha parties are supporting it

One recent day, colourful flags added cheer to the grey, pre-monsoon morning in the West Bengal hill station of Kurseong, 30 km from Darjeeling. With the football World Cup less than a fortnight away, the hills have come alive with the flags of Argentina, Germany and Brazil sticking out of shared cabs, decorating shop fronts…

Read more A year after the Gorkhaland stir, the hills are gripped by a sense of betrayal – and football fever

It is a month now since ABN Network, India’s only satellite channel in Nepali language, went off air. On July 22, West Bengal police raided and sealed its corporate office and recording studio in Siliguri. The next day, Rachna Bhagat, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri, issued an order restraining the channel from broadcasting news programmes…

Read more For a month now, India’s only Nepali satellite news channel has been facing an unofficial ban

An otherwise-quiet community centre of a Roman Catholic religious order, some 5 km from Siliguri, in North Bengal, has recently taken up a new role. From last Wednesday, it started functioning as an off-site school for students of Classes 10 and 12 of a reputed century-old school from Darjeeling, 62 km away, run by the…

Read more With no sign of strike ending, Darjeeling schools begin off-site classes to tutor board examinees

On a damp monsoon afternoon in July, a clutch of children were playing cricket in a lane in a residential area in Siliguri. Usually fond of football, which is more popular in the Darjeeling hills from where they had come, they had just discovered the joys of gully cricket – one of the ways in…

Read more ‘Are we also not Gorkhas?’ Trinamool supporters who fled Darjeeling hills want to return home

Forty-six days after a general strike began in the Darjeeling hills in support of the demand for a separate state, leaders of the 14 party-strong Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee are meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. But well before the meeting, on July 27, they had already declared that the strike will continue. Beyond extending…

Read more Gorkhaland agitation: Weak leadership looms large over a strong mass movement

Late night, sometime in the hours before dawn, Rajen Lama* of Kurseong, a town in the West Bengal’s mountainous Darjeeling district, drives down to Siliguri, about 35 km away in the foothills. The first thing he buys when the shops open is formula milk. Next, he picks up some vegetables and rations for his family…

Read more Food shortages intensify in Darjeeling hills but the statehood movement remains strong