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Trajectory of a Movement


Nilamber Chhetri

GORKHALAND: CRISIS OF STATEHOOD
By Romit Bagchi
Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2012, pp. 445, Rs. 895.00

VOLUME XXXVII NUMBER 4 April 2013

The book is an effort by a journalist to unravel the complex political and social factors involved in the re-emergence of the Gorkhaland Movement in the State of West Bengal, after a period of nineteen years. While discussing the trajectory of the movement the author divides the book into four sections. The first deals with the historical antecedents of the movement and carries the discussion on the first phase of the movement raised by the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF). Following the course of events this section takes into account the debacle faced by the GNLF in the Hills owing to the invocation of the Sixth Schedule provision in the post-Gorkhaland decade. The author takes into account the dwindling influence of GNLF in Hill politics and the development of an alternate front in the form of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJMM), and the re-emergence of the Gorkhaland movement.   The second section of the book highlights the crucial events of the movement led by GJMM; it takes into consideration the political tangle involved in the course of the movement and the nature of alliance politics of the GJMM, particularly its intricate ties and conflicts with the political/cultural organization of the plains, especially from Siliguri and Dooars. The third section of the book focuses specifically on the author’s reflections on the history and cultural legacy of Darjeeling. Here the author recounts many historically significant events associated with the place, and its relevance in contemporary times.   A novel endeavour is the fourth section of the book as it includes views of many prominent personalities involved directly or indirectly with the Gorkhaland movement. The book is a synthesis of past events and present developments in Hill politics; it focuses mainly on the changing nature of alliance formation and its impact on the course of the Gorkhaland movement. Despite its undeniable merits, the absence of analytical and theoretical engagements makes the book a journalistic piece rather than a serious social science text. However, it is an easy read for those who do not have a solid social science background, but who are equally interested in knowing more about the Gorkhaland movement.   Nilamber Chhetri is presently pursuing PhD in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University. His M.Phil dissertation was on ‘Politics and Identity: The Changing Contours of Gorkhaland Movement.’ He is currently teaching Sociology at Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi South Campus, on an ...


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