Ma, mati, manush and my mother tongue: Bengal’s language politics is behind the unrest in Darjeeling

I was in a hospital in Siliguri, North Bengal a village three hours drive from Darjeeling June 8 I was there to meet up with my younger brother. The morning tour hour had just started and I was glad to see it looked better.

My parents came to visit Darjeeling late in the day. Siliguri was warm and I had hoped that he was cool when they arrived because they were not used to the suffocating heat of the plains.

Why was I in a hospital and not Siliguri in Darjeeling? The lack of basic services, even in my city means that people have to make regular trips to Siliguri and beyond their medical needs. Why is it that even 70 years after independence is a story for another day.

My parents came previous visit of the day, as they do not want to miss a second of this precious moment with their son.

But half an hour after his arrival, my older brother who accompanied them told us that he had just learned that police had fired tear gas shells at supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in Darjeeling, while walking instead of a cabinet meeting chaired by Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal. A stop that is spoken in the hills. My parents had to leave immediately.

The violence of 8 June was a radioactive fallout from the announcement of the West Bengal government on May 15 to make Bengali a compulsory subject in schools across the state until class 10.

The theme has been taken in a movement for an independent Gorkhaland and an indefinite closure, now in its second week, paralyzing the hill neighborhood. But he is not reluctant to learn a new language that infuriated the people of Darjeeling. Rather, it is the state government’s movement to impose Bengali they resist because they feel a threat to their freedom of choice.

As the state government realized the impact of its movement and was quick to say that the order was not necessary for Darjeeling, the hills were burning.

I attended a high school in Nepal to class 7, Bengali student in grades 5 and 6, in the 1990s. Without Bengali, I have not stopped promoting a higher class student, since it was not a compulsory subject .

Therefore, you learn a new language without it being a burden. The language I learned at school was very useful when I did my post-graduation in zoology at Darjeeling Government College, where speakers were from different parts of the state and fought against English, regardless of Nepal or Hindi.

They taught us in a mixture of Bengali and English, and that gave me the opportunity to polish my basic Bengali. Most of my classmates were native speakers of Bengali, while among the speakers in Nepal, there was another person besides me who could follow what the teachers were saying.

Personally, I think learning a new language can be very useful, almost like a survival kit. Now my nephew chose to study Bengali as the fourth language in a reputable school in Darjeeling, not by force, but by choice.

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