ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Understanding Gorkhaland

Gorkhaland Movement: Ethnic Conflict and State Response by Swatahsiddha Sarkar, New Delhi: Concept Publishing House, 2013; pp 700, Rs 700.

Gorkhaland: Crisis of Statehood by Romit Bagchi, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2012; pp 480, Rs 925.

The reorganisation of India’s union states is a recurrent issue in Indian politics. At present, there are about 30 demands for new states in various parts of the country. By questioning the governmental authority and sovereignty over claimed areas, such movements do not only touch issues such as minority representation, India’s dealing with its cultural diversity, governance systems, decentralisation, or the working of autonomy and federalism, but also raise broader questions regarding state–society relations, democratisation, and forms of political authority.

The importance of statehood movements was underlined in July 2013, when the government’s announcement to give in to the long-standing demand for Telangana to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh sparked fierce protests in other parts of the country, where demands for Bodoland (Assam), Kamtapur (West Bengal/Assam), or Vidarbha (Maharashtra) were reiterated. Also Darjeeling District in northern West Bengal, where the first demand for an administrative separation had already been raised in 1907, observed a month-long shutdown and various protest programmes to press for the creation of “Gorkhaland”.

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