Paul Rai, KalimNews, Kalimpong, 27th July 2016: A day of 1986, 27th July.. that morning with full josh (enthusiasm) we all prepared to go for Julus (procession), no idea what’s going to happen next, but I saw my neighbours including my father with enthusiasm. 
My
cousins wolfing down breakfast, while others getting ready with extra care as if they were going for Pandra August (15th August) celebration. People from all over started pouring in at Doo-bato (two lane meeting point), wearing their best clothes, some carrying madal ( musical drum) and khukuri (traditional sharp knife) on their waists.  
By the time we reached the venue a lot of people had already gathered. Some big-guys (as we used to say) – started distributing some papers to all of us, they said ‘Yo chai Sandhi ho… Jalaunu
parcha…. ekchinma (Its treaty agreement paper .. will burn it after sometime)
’. One of the big guys handed over to me a bunch of flyers nodding to distribute to the people. 
I tried to read with some difficulty, however, I quickly lost interest as it was beyond my comprehension. I put some in my pocket and with the rest I started playing carelessly to give out to the new
joiners. In no time the crowd swelled to a huge mass as other people started assembling at Doo-bato. After we burnt Sandhi (treaty) we peacefully started marching up to the Mela Ground with slogans like Jai Gorkha-Jai- Gorkha, Hamro mato farkai dey, Bangal ma hami basdainau (Hail Gorkha! return our land we will not live in Bengal) etc. etc. where actual Sandhi burning was scheduled to take place. 
However, this dream of many was shattered by the shots fired by CRPF which took many lives and countless people were wounded in Kalimpong. Why the then leaders of statehood seekers and the Government chose Kalimpong as battlefield is another mysterious thing which will never be answered.
Year by year we commemorate ‘27 July’ as Sahid Diwas (Martyrs’ Day) , some  we have celebrated in heavy rain, some in dry days, but outpouring of sympathy and reverence for those martyrs can still be seen in the hearts of the statehood lovers. On this day we remember those who gave their lives to keep the voice of the statehood alive. The following year after the DGHC accord was signed, on Sahid Diwas cash money was distributed to the families of those martyrs as a token of appreciation or a compensation for receiving hot bullets on their chest and heads by DGHC at old police line (where Kalimpong Ma Supermarket stands today). 
Ironically, prior to that year the streets of Kalimpong were buzzing with slogans like ‘Chalis crore ley hudaina, 200 crore chahincha – Subash Ghishing Jindabad’ (Forty crore is not enough we need 200 crore) – while negotiations were in progress in Delhi and Kolkatta (in crores). 
During the announcement there were heated arguments between the party cadres and the
families of the martyrs about the amount offered for their dear ones’ sacrifice. One lady who’s brother’s name was on the martyrs’ list stood up and challenged abruptly as they announced the compensation amount – ‘mero bhai ko jyan ke Saat hajar ma aucha? (Is my brother’s life worth seven thousand?)’
Recently, in Darjeeling and Kalimpong I posed a question to many in Town Areas to know general opinion about statehood.I asked people since we have come a long way for the demand of separate state, what do you think about the creation of Gorkhaland? I saw people reacting unusually which I consider not suitable to react with. In other cities when I meet Darjeelingeys and non-Darjeelingeys from North East, I don’t hesitate to ask the same question. To my surprise their answer is no different than the people in the main land (Darjeeling).
Especially the educated ones have a problem to understand our demand. They know much about history and current realities that gave various shapes to the establishment of Darjeeling district, but somewhere in the process they miss the magic of the movement i.e. lackof belief in what we are demanding for. 
Our intellectuals are trying to explain Gorkhaland in their famous rhetoric – ‘Darjeeling is like a primary school and Gorkhaland is a university – so how can we get to the university without going through secondary and college level of studies?’ These rhetoric and beliefs are being cultivated across Darjeeling to deviate people from actual path.
Gradually Bengal magic is becoming vibrant in hill people’s lives. It is the same Bengal who is all time vocal against the formation of separate state, infamously known for its atrocities against hill people on 27th July 1986. 
If we remember the martyrs on Sahid Diwas then we should also remember those who are responsible for this massacre. It is the same bunch of people who are trying to uproot the demand of Gorkhaland from our hearts and minds, only difference then and now is – the former government used power to suppress our demand, the new one is doing through petty development packages. 
I have reasons to believe for some people it is nice to sample the food in every political party, perhaps, their reputation draws them to do so. But what happens when a large chunk of people barters their voice for right to self determination with some development packages which is done with periodical whitewashing. It will be the same old journey we traveled in the past with no dead end – after going through various phases since 2007 – now if we talk about change in Darjeeling for the sake of mere development then what was wrong with Suhhas Ghising and
GNLF. They were doing ok – in terms of maintaining peace in hills through their Khukuri dictate.
If at all people want to see the change in political party in every five or ten years then probably they do not wish to see Gorkhaland happening, as they resort to another political agenda for their economic and political pursuit. They have lots to say about leadership, the political parties and concludes with a fair ask – ‘then what, is it not true?’ Having these sorts of ambiguities they are enthusiastic and in forefront, have shouted ‘Gorkhaland’ under countless banners. But what keeps them to believe in what they are fighting for? Is it frustration, disbelief or self righteousness? 
In the past communists put invisible sanctions against hill people which crippled us on all fronts, few hill communities were so loyal to paranoid regime they went against their own people during first Gorkhaland agitation. Bengal played – people against people. Again they are playing the same game in the name of development. What had been sown in the hills decades ago people are still reaping, the mentality of present government is no different than the former. Perhaps, people are exhausted due to rough journey but the hope is the thing that keeps us going, we should hold on to the belief that Gorkhaland will happen one day and will to come to pass any time when we are least expecting it.