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GNLF Chief Subas Ghising : In Memorium: "THE TIGER OF 1986"

Writes: Josan Subba
The memory is a faded one. Like a landscape engulfed in a fog, it rises today in my mind - The Gorkhaland agitation of 1986. I must confess that I was too young at that time to realise the gravity of that situation of fear, terror, sacrifice and spirit of Gorkhali courage that prevailed in 1986. Our parents may have suffered a great deal but for us little ones, those were the days full of thrill, fun and play. The words "we want Gorkhaland," "Jai Gorkha, Jai Subhash," "Phalam ko hoina masu ko, sero phero salam cha mero" echoed all around with a subtle melancholy engulfed in the hopelessness - "that the Indian Gorkhas had no one powerful to sympathise and oppose the atrocities the CRPF carried upon the hill men, women and even children.
Those were the days when the extent of the fourth state that we call media was limited and the Gorkhas suffered a lot due to this shortcoming of that era. But we children of those days, as I have already mentioned had little to bother. It may be said we even enjoyed the era as of free adventure and travel at the cost of our parents having to flee from one place to another.

It took many-many years for the realisation to dawn to us. It was then that the agitation of 1986 unfolded in its true colours before us. It was then when we cried at the pain our people and parents had undergone. It was then when we felt the burden of dept on our shoulders to those bravehearts who died for our cause. It was then when we felt the helplessness and suffocation our parents underwent when labelled as a foreigner in our own land. It was then when we felt in love for the first time with "Gorkhaland". It was then when we, for the first time we understood Subhash Ghising. Subhash Ghising was a tiger of the agitation of 1986. No one can deny that he played a major role in the agitation. No one can deny that in he was fuelled and motivated by the love for his Gorkhali race. No one can deny that he led the people against the stubborn West Bengal Government. No one can deny that he was the most loved and respected leader among d Gorkhas one. Nobody can deny he gave the dream of Gorkhaland to the Gorkhas in its true essence.

The chapter of DGHC is a different story and in this unfotunate hour of loss, I would abstain from playing the judge and discuss the merits and demerits of the era that followed. There are critics for all. All men who rises above the ordinary are critised. Subhash Ghising in his part is not immune to this human affair. However it cannot be denied that Subhash Ghising was the most popular Gorkha political leader in India. I remember an incident that took place in 2003. I was then in Coimbatore, with a group from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok for my STCW training of shipping. The local people and even the faculties n staff of d Marinetime Foundation where we were enrolled used to gaze at us as if we were aliens. When we used to tell them that we were from Darjeeling they use to give a reaction which clearly showed that Darjeeling did not exist in their map of India. However the learned ones who did not show much knowledge of Darjeeling, to my astonishment were familiar with Subhash Ghising. "He is the leader of Gorkhaland? Isn't it? Agitation of 1986?" they used to ask.

It was then when I had realised how popular leader Subhash Ghising was in India and how the agitation of 1986 had made the other Indians, though a little in number in comparison to great Indian population, aware that there is also a race called Gorkhas living in India and they are as much Indians as they themselves were.
So today as I saw the news of Subhash Ghishing's death in the CNN IBN all those memories flashed back into my mind. I also know that many people of hill crossing across party lines have felt a pain in some corner of their heart at the news of Ghising's demise. I have felt the same. People may hate him or people may love him, but no one can ignore him whenever the history of the birth of mass agitation of Gorkhaland will be recalled. Now while the tiger of 1986 has left for d heavenly world... the earthly forest is silent n dark... and far-far away Gorkhaland is sinking deeper and deeper in the swamps of territorial administration and development boards and singing a "melancoly ballad of nostalgia" of 1986.
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