Imphal, Jan 2:
In the picturesque landscapes of Manipur, the brave and resilient Gorkha community faces a paradox as they grapple with the challenge of recognition and safety in a land they ardently cherish. Renowned for their valorous history dating back to significant events like the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891, the Gorkhas find themselves marginalized despite their deep-rooted cultural integration.
The Gorkhas’ legacy is woven into Manipur’s historical fabric, with heroes like Subedar Niranjan Singh Chettri making ultimate sacrifices and cultural ties solidified through royal marriages. Their contributions during World War II, exemplified by the Victoria Cross awarded for gallant efforts against the Japanese invasion in Manipur, are foundational chapters in the making of modern Manipur.
However, despite their historical presence, the Gorkhas often confront the harsh reality of being perceived as outsiders. A recent instance of harassment by the Liangmei community in Irang Village, despite a favorable court verdict, sheds light on the grim picture of intimidation and fear faced by the Gorkhas. Forced taxations and threats exacerbate the situation, leaving the Manipuri Gorkhas in a precarious position.
The deletion of four Panchayats namely Kapur Leikha, Torbari, Kalapahar, and Santalabar Parsain in 2012 by the then-Congress government further exacerbated their plight, undermining political representation and a sense of belonging. Amid these challenges, the Gorkhas’ response has been marked by a stoic silence, raising questions about whether it is acquiescence or a testament to enduring patience and hope for a harmonious resolution.
As the community stands at a crossroads, contemplating refuge to safer regions, a significant question looms over every Manipuri Gorkha: What lies ahead for those who consider Manipur their motherland and are willing to defend it at all costs?
The narrative of Manipuri Gorkhas is a plea for recognition, understanding, and integration. It emphasizes the need to acknowledge their contributions and sacrifices, seeking not charity but the respect and rights that befit their unwavering commitment to Manipur.
In envisioning a more inclusive future, it is imperative to ensure the voices of the Gorkhas are heard, their rights safeguarded, and their place in Manipur’s diverse culture firmly secured. The time has come for collective action and empathy, ensuring that the Manipuri Gorkhas are active participants in shaping the destiny of Manipur, no longer relegated to silent suffering.