The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fest against Ghisingh politics
Indian classical dancers perform at the Kurseong winter festival, a part of the Darjeeling Carnival.
Picture by Vivek Singh

Darjeeling, Dec. 15: The Darjeeling Carnival is not a cultural event. Rather, the organisers claim, it is a movement to bring back the age-old glory of the hill station, lost during the Gorkhaland agitation in the 1980s.

Members of Darjeeling Initiative, the organising body of the carnival, said the fest is a movement against Subash Ghisingh and his brand of politics, which, according to them, has resulted in a bleak future for the Nepali community.

“We also dream of a separate Gorkhaland, but not in the way the GNLF does. We are not mature enough yet to have a separate state of our own,” Ajay Edwards, one of the initiators of this “movement” told The Telegraph.

He said the Nepalis wanted a separate Gorkhaland but “not at the cost of the lives of innocent people”.

“We grew up seeing massacres, indiscriminate killings and bullet-riddled bodies. Our childhood passed in fear and insecurity. But when we became youths, our elders told us about the glorious history of Darjeeling, which motivated us to try and bring back some of the magnificent past,” he added.

The carnival organisers also said they will not support the Sixth Schedule status, if it widened the gap between the tribals and the non-tribals.

Samir Sharma, a member of Darjeeling Initiative, however, made it clear that the state government was partly to be blamed for the current state of affairs.

“Darjeeling has never witnessed any riots or religious strife. But did the state government, which is going all out for industrialisation, ever invite investors here'” Sharma asked. “This may be the only place in our democratic country that has been running without an elected body for so many years (the last elections to the DGHC was held eight years ago).”

The carnival is a movement against all these odds, Sharma said and added that the four-year-old fest was aimed at bringing back the sons of the soil. He said the show would go on and the initiators were already in the process of preparing Generation Next so that they can organise it in the future.

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