Saturday, February 20, 2010

S.H.E.E.M

Sms Headline Every Evening on Mobile

What is SHEEM?
      SHEEM stands for Sms Headline Every Evening on Mobile.

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Any contact :
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      This is an effort of a few local educated youths of Kalimpong to supply daily information of regional interest through SMS to the subscribers of SHEEM.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Is Gorkhaland very far?




Why is Bimal Gurung, GJMM Chief stressing on alternative set up as interim arrangement and indicating towards change in the nomenclature of proposed state of Gorkhaland and exclusion of certain areas from the present map of Gorkhaland?
These questions are brainstorming riddles and questions for discussion among the GJMM supporters of all status as well as others interested in activities of GJMM or related to Gorkhas.
Sources and agencies state that Bimal Gurung and the GJMM top rankers were repeatedly informed by the Central Government that demand of Gorkhaland is an impossible demand, at least for the present. There are so many hurdles, of them some are similar demands cropping up from the Adivasis and Rajbanshis in the neighbouring areas. while others are such demand will endanger the country's defense mechanism. It is also known that they were convinced to these explanations. 
On this appraisal Bimal Gurung forwarded the demand of union territory to the Central Govt which too was discarded stating that it has legal and technical difficulties like objection from State Government and for UT it has to have atleast three districts and 19 police stations. 
As an alternative to the demand of GJMM Central Government forwarded a proposal of granting a high power autonomous body according to them which is also proposed by the State Govt. If this arrangement as an alternative to the demand of statehood is agreed upon it has further offered  to grant more powers afterwards  and UT too in near future.
According to the sources, considering the violent opposition from the Adivasis of Dooars on the nomenclature (according to the ABAVP it will abolish their identity by the name of Gorkhaland)  Gurung consulted the matter with the think tank and study forum of GJMM. To resolve the matter and to receive support from them he has forwarded the center that if the center has any objection then GJMM is ready to consent on the proposal to change the name from Gorkhaland to similar names. So as to please the State Govt it has proposed to change the map and area of Gorkhaland demanded by GJMM. It has consented to exclude most of the areas of Dooars and a few areas of Siliguri (now in DGHC) dominated by Non-Gorkha & Adivasi populace too.
It is understood division of Constituency Committee are being divided into zonal committees as a preliminary exercise for the formation of new constituencies of the forthcoming interim alternative setup. Similarly representative to the Subdivisional Committees are also chosen as per the choice of the Central Committees taking into consideration of similar ideas.
There has been grumblings among the Hill people regarding the matters related to the demand of Gorkhaland as well as the agitation in which reluctant people too are being forced to participate. Mistrust among the party cadres, fight amongst leaders for the chair, corruption and involvement of party leaders in contract works of DGHC, misuse of DGHC fund, harassment facing by the people during agitational programme is increasing day by day. The sincere party workers are overburdened to reorganise the party structure and convince and clarify the public regarding rumours and charges made against the leaders including Bimal Gurung. (....agencies)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Telangana State Formation: Age-Old Demand Under Process

Thanks to Sonia Gandhi, who promised to concede the long-pending demand in 2004 itself, enforced Union Home Minister P.Chidambaram to initiate the process of state formation on December 9, 2009. Incidentally, those violent youth movements that were organised at home and abroad during that period of late 60s were once again engineered this time in Telangana and elsewhere. The rise of the Naxalite movement in various parts of India is a case in point. At the international level, anti-American movements in the backdrop of the American fiasco in Vietnam and elsewhere were also popular. More than anything else, it was the students and employees who raised the banner of revolt against their systems and political regimes. Obviously, those movements shook the established regimes and their political leaderships. As history repeats itself, similar movements are back on the fore once again. The Jai telangana movement surfaced in 2009 that continued to haunt the Union government once again.
In the recent past, following an eleven days of hunger strike by the former Union Minister and the Lok Sabha MP K.Chandra Sekhar Rao (KCR) the Congress-led UPA government has conceded the popular demand of telangana state formation on December 9, 2009. The Union Home Minister announced the positive response that the core committee headed by the UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi has come out with. At a time when the Telangana Students Joint Action Committee (JAC) has decided to implement the much publicised “March to Assembly” on December 10, the Union government responded appropriate and very favourably. Obviously, the government response has pacified both the students and KCR to the extent that they welcomed the move without any reservations.
However, people and students in non-telangana areas, viz., Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema reacted to the celebratons that the telanganites had organised overnight on December 9, in a very hostile manner. Thanks to the Resignation-drama, that was initiated and enacted by the political leaders, cutting across parties and castes, announced their resignations from the legislatures, at once on December 10. Obviously, the panic-stricken public, the students and political activists were out in the streets and markets in the urban areas. They burnt the effigies of the Union Home Minister, besides those of the KCR, who was singled out as the cause for creating the state of telangana state.
The parties that promised statehood in their election manifestoes, declared their unconditional support to the T-state, in the all-party meeting that was convened by the state Chief Minister on December 7 itself, were found reversing their stand on telangana state. Shockingly, all the political leaders belonging to the non-Telangana areas made a volte-face on the ground that there were popular upsurge. Interestingly, the state chief minister remained a mute spectator to the ongoing violent developments in the state. While the government was paralysed for a week or so, when the Central government appealed the agitators to remain peaceful. But then, failed to ensure any peace and tranquillity in state, the Union Minister made another statement on December 23, whereby peace process would be initiated prior to proceeding with the process of state formation. While this announcement was welcomed by the antagonists of t-state, the protagonists renewed their movement once again.
Meanwhile, politicians from the non-telangana areas having camped in Delhi continued lobbying against state formation. It was reported in the media that there were moneybags carried and offered to those who were ready to sabotage the process of state formation. In contrast, there were movements at every level from the village to the towns and cities in the Telangana region. People belonging to all walks of life and communities had demonstrated their support to the JACs (Joint Action Committees) that coordinated the agitational activities on end. For the first time the Jain Telangana movement has become the most popular movement that the state has ever witnessed. There was none to abstain, leave alone oppose, from the ongoing movement. Even those mute spectators, who were non-political so far, were also those enthused to join the movement wholeheartedly.
Gone are the days of parties and leaders who used to organise the activities in support of jai telangana, are there now, queuing behind the people and the agitationists. The people are aware what to and not to do, during the course of day-long programmes. Slogans and symbols of the movement are created afresh and spontaneously. Singers and dancers are there ready to present their share of contribution waiting for their turn to come. Donors and philanthropists are ready to offer their valuables in cash and kind, as and when required. Yes, that is the show of strength, strength of Telangana people against the money bags and conspiracies. Obviously, the media that seldom supported the cause of telangana, for the media-monarchs being financed by the affluent non-Telangana persons, was compelled to give coverage to the ongoing developments. Of course, the media coverage is timely and helpful for both the antagonists and protagonists to understand the seriousness of the movement.
As part of continuing the process of consultations, the Union Home Minister convened an all-party meeting in Delhi on January 5, 2010. Except two parties (CPM & PRP), all other parties expressed their support in favour of the state formation. That speaks majority support on the subject. Since the ball, now, is in the court of the state and central governments, the agitationists, the JAC and KCR having called off the movement for the time being. Expectedly, the announcement of an expert committee led by the former Justice Sri Krishna to hold consultations on the subject that paralysed the state for so long is right step at right time. Perhaps, within a couple of days, the reputed members of the committee start the process of organising meetings so as to gather the ground information. Unlike the politicians, these experts of high calibre are under no pressure to yield and take sides. Given a sufficient time, these members are expected to come out with very rational land logical settlement of the problem. Till then, the protagonists of state formation should restrain themselves and maintain calm in their day-to-day activities.
Historically speaking, the Constitution of India has a provision, under Article 3, which facilitated the creation of more than one dozen new States in the last 50 years, and that too without the recommendation of any so-called SRC. Irrespective of the opinion of the concerned parent State, the provision empowers Parliament to alter the boundaries of any State, if such a demand is found to be democratic and popular. Whereas, the demand for telangana state stems from the demand for the revival of old Hyderabad state of telugu-speaking people that existed during 1948-56.
It is the question of regional discrimination in various fields that strengthened the argument that both the entities namely, Telangana and Coastal would find it difficult to integrate together in the same state any further. For over five decades such an experiment of simulated integration between these two people was in vogue. There was exchange of violent incidents on several occasions due to widening gulf between the two regional entities. Within a period of first 13 years of Andhra Pradesh formation the Telangana public demanded for the revival of old state of Hyderabad, which is otherwise known as 1969 movement of Jai Telangana! Thanks to the Chennareddy-hijacked student movement that cost the lives of about 369 students, but surrendered to the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government. While the Congress leaders were accommodated in the government positions, the disgusted students joined the newly emerging Naxalite movement that continued to agitate the minds of both central and state governments so far! For over four decades though there were several such telangana movements, none of them attracted the mainstream politicians, leave alone governments!
Unlike before, the other opposition parties in the parliament and state assembly have already extended their support. But then, their counterparts in the non-telangana areas have opposed the new state. Incidentally, following the tragic death of YSR, the issue of Telangana was raised in a big way. KCR has elevated the telangana movement to the extent that students and other sections of society have responded very actively. Thus, the saga of the Telangana struggle continues unabated, and there is no end in sight! It is immaterial if the movement is led by KCR of the TRS today or the students under the platform of JAC or any other leader tomorrow, for that matter. Ultimately, the democratic component of the Telangana demand will keep the telangana movement energetic in the days to come, of course till the old state is revived once for all.
Dr.K.Vidyasagar Reddy, Dept. Of Political Science, Osmania University, Hyderabad-7

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gorkhaland what does the future hold?
Meghna Menon: Gorkhaland, Telangana, Bundelkhand…the political cut and divide game in India just keeps getting bigger and bigger. While the Telangana issue has gained more than needed momentum in the last few months, what with the Central government setting in motion the process of carving out the separate state, the contenders for Gorkhaland don’t want to be left behind.
Now, for those who might be unaware, ‘Gorkhaland’ is the term given to the areas around Darjeeling and Duars in north West Bengal. The residents of this region, being Gorkhas, have long been fighting for an independent state of theirs, distinct from the mainland Bengal. Their stance is that this would lead to better development of the region, à la forming smaller states in 2000.
The first appeal was made more than a hundred years back in 1907 when the hill leaders sought Darjeeling’s separation from Bengal and the plea has continued ever since. In the 80s, this appeal gathered violent force under the leadership of Subhash Ghising of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF). And now, after almost 20 years, the agitation regained momentum in 2007 with the coming up of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). Its leader, Bimal Gurung, urged his people for a non-violent but forceful demand for the separate state of Gorkhaland.
Gorkhaland, in fact, already looks like a properly functioning state. At least that’s the impression one gets from the outside.  All signboards in the region have replaced the name ‘West Bengal’ with ‘Gorkhaland’. Citizens have stopped paying their taxes including electricity and phone bills. Even the government offices have started going by the name of ‘Government of Gorkhaland’ and it is the GJM that decides when to open or shut the offices. Vehicles now put a GL number plate and not the earlier WB one, forcing many to take to walking and avoid their Bengal registered vehicles from being noticed. The GJM has even taken the matters of law and order into their own hands with the help of their police wing, the Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP). Moreover, they direct people even as far as their dress, drinking etc. and have made it compulsory to display the party’s green-white-yellow flags on all houses and shops. Bimal Gurung holds the reins while not even a gist of Budhadeb’s chief-ministership is seen. Gurung’s word is law. In fact, Budhadeb Bhattacharya was not even allowed to enter the area in 2007 as the GJM called a three-day strike.
The fight for complete autonomy of the region has been a very thought-over and non-violent one. Being referred to as the ‘Gandhian’ approach, it has gathered support from major sections like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the mainstream parties of Sikkim. But nothing has come out of all this yet. That is, at least, from the Bengal government’s end. Adopting a rigid and inflexible stand, they’re observing restraint to avoid any kind of uprising or disturbance to the ongoing peace process.
With the government beginning to look into the Telangana issue, Gorkhaland has once again become a major subject for contention. It is one of the aspiring states among many and its future is not known. Though it is true, that development in smaller states does pick up steam after their formation, a case of point being Uttarakhand, yet the uncertainty would stay and the there would always be unending questions. Is the formation of Gorkhaland the true solution? Will Bimal Gurung also adopt the same tactics as the Telangana patriarch, K Chandrasekhar Rao? Is the appeal for a new state genuine or is to only satisfy the whims and fancies of political heads and parties? Does the solution really lie in division and not unity?
Diverse options have come up including that of making the area a Union Territory. But with both the GJM and the Bengal government taking the uncompromising route, we as citizens, can only hope that none follow the footsteps of KCR and none reach an extent of extremes on the Gorkhaland subject.