By Paul Rai

Sub: Reference to your visual broadcast 28 May 2019 by SIBLAC President Mr. Tseten Bhutia.

As an independent public observer I feel it is my duty as an Indian citizen to express my observations to point out some items of the cuisine laid on the table the composition which is unsuitable for digestion. After all culinary is an art by itself and an artist by definition is one who is able to differentiate right from the wrong to create his art and not otherwise. The Himalayas have been the subject of many artists each depicting the glorious mountains according to his mental optics and not only by the visualizations of the eyes. This instance is cited just to clarify some of the points addressed by Mr. Bhutia, as an individual perspective and therefore require a larger interpretation of his perspective in relation to the true picture which subject matter is intended to redress which is the purpose of the delivery – the visual broadcast. In short and simple language on analysis of the subject matter of the interview many points differed in interpretation in contrast to literary empiricist. In this case it is reference to the Constitution of India and which the spokesperson alleges the sources of its information in composing his perspectives of his statement. Therefore I feel duty bound to express certain items in his statement innocently flawed possibly due to subjective reading of the Writ and not otherwise. To err is human but to forgive divine, the dictum I excuse myself is my interpretation differs to that of the speaker. This difference in perception is cited here to initiate a debate if you will in order to hit the bull’s eye.

Interview | Tseten Tashi Bhutia, Convenor, SIBLAC | Article 371(f) |

Following topics were discussed in the interview:

  1. Article 371F: The contentious issue which provisions are provided in Chapter XXI of the Constitution titled “Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions”. Mr Bhutia citing Article 371F as ‘temporary’ is a flaw. Temporary provision is provided only for Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370 read with Art.35a. Whereas Sikkim is provided by ‘special provisions’ under Article 371F alongwith the others – 371A Maharashtra & Gujarat, Nagaland, 371B Assam, 371C Manipur, 371D Andhra Pradesh, 371F Sikkim, 371G Mizoram, 371 H Arunachal Pradesh, 371I Goa. The word ‘transitional’ in the title seemingly connotes the evolutionary process of state formation. Articles 379-391 repealed in 1956 (SRC) new state formation under Article 392 under the powers of the President “… particularly in relation to the transition from the provisions of the Government of India Act 1935, to the provisions of this Constitution …”.
  2. Inner Line Permit 1873: The ILP regime is restriction of all foreigners’ entry to the designated states Arunachal, Mizoram, Nagaland implicitly provides protection for the ethnic anthropological geography of the designated territory. It might be peculiar to note the whole of North Bengal (the Districts of Darjeeling, Cooch Bihar, Jalpaiguri, Malda, West Dinajpur) in West Bengal implied with the ILP, Restricted Area Permit, Protected Area Permit, system since historical times and relaxed only in 1990. The system is a reconstruction of the American Constitution applied to the Indian Constitution in analogy – the protection of the numerous indigenous Red Indian tribes. To compare this analogy requires sufficient time to indulge in detailed explanations (interested persons are welcome to participate in discussion to deliberate on the subject). If this study is acquired by Mr. Bhutia it would be beneficial in explaining further the articulations of 371F.
  3. Nepali : This reference used by Mr. Bhutia, more than often require to be politically put in place as his version of the term is somewhat perplexing. The reason being:

(a). Nepali is a citizen of Nepal. (b). Nepali is a language under the Eight Schedule of the Constitution. (c) Census 1941 – 2001 was on linguistics basis (spoken tongue/language of the mother), (d). Indian Nepali speaking population (Census 2001- pop.28 lacs), Census 2011 was based on ethnology or the anthropology of the census pop. 30 lacs. Note. The basis of Census was reverted to 1931(ethnology-records 26 tribes of the Himalayas), 1941 -2001 (linguistic- marginalization of indigenous population), 2011 ethnology – increase in indigenous population accounting for (a) reestablishment of indigenous population (Limbu & Tamang as Scheduled Tribes) under Article 342 and provided designation of representation under the ST Order 1950 read with ST Order 1978 (Sikkim).

  1. In consonance with the above perspectives logically as per Census 2011 language does not determine ethnology viz. all Hindi speaking population are not tribes but many tribes speak Hindi as a lingua franca in the population-mix (although the indigenous people read Adhivasis as per UN Charter, in actual writ as their own distinct language/dialect distinct from the Indo Aryan Sanskritic origin. As a matter of fact all the major Indian languages are offspring of the former seeded into the socio-cultural features of the indigenous population.
  2. It might be relevant to point out at this stage that such misreading leads to a general misunderstanding the salient features of the Constitution in determining oneself of its citizenship status. To illustrate this point as a nearest example citizenship is transferred from one dimension to another when the territorial area shifts from one political party to another. Sikkim as a British Protectorate till 1950 so to say were British subjects till transferred to India in 1975 as Indian citizens. Corollary to this Darjeeling District (1817/1835/1861 Treaty of Tumloong) were Sikkim subjects transferred to British India became British subjects till 1947 – 1950 (Constitution of India) and under the Citizenship Act of 1955-56 became Indian citizens. That is, any national of the globe residing in British India before 1950-52 has the legal right to acquire Indian citizenship as per law subject to relinquishing the original nationality i.e. the European colonists Portuguese, English, French, Dutch or Asians of all nations no matter their origins born or settled in India have the right to citizenship as per law- and not otherwise. The present National Registered Citizens (NRC) is an indication to prove the point subject however to application of ‘cut off’ year mutually agreed upon on basis of historical exigencies. The partition of India though unfortunate is one of the major cause of creating the immigration problem which otherwise did not exist prior to independence 1947. Note: A nationwide debate is suggested to understand the nature of the immigration problem to resolve the situation adhering to the best means of conciliation amongst the chief players in the subcontinent. Doubtless the problem is acute when restricted only to constitutional parameters, on account of which international attention in some form could be a mean towards a humanitarian resolution. Till such decision is undertaken the problem will increase unendingly without a sight of decrease particularly under vote bank largesse of political dispensations.
  3. Mr. Bhutia requires being familiar particularly with the problems of West Bengal to which it is directly related on account of Darjeeling District since its inception in 1947. Previous to which Provincial Bengal the District was administered as a Partially Excluded Area. Conveying it was outside the administrative purview of British India i.e. directly under the Governor General relegating powers to the Lt. Governors. In a similar fashion to the present administration of the seven Indian Union Territories, provided with a democratic government but the administrative provision at the behest of the Lt. Governors. Since Darjeeling District formed a part of Sikkim now a State in the Union is still seeking its original identity which still remains as a unit under various constitutional provisions, primarily as ‘absorbed area’ under the Absorbed Area (Laws) Act 1954. Under the Constitution there were numerous states with territories defined under this Act. It is on account of this identity many new states emerged. To mention the last three emerging as new states on account of the ‘absorbed’ identity were able to demand assimilation and integration into the federation accordingly e.g. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand in 2000.

Darjeeling District in West Bengal is the last of the Absorbed Area to acquire its original identity, not in the form of a new body (State) but as a part of jigsaw puzzle to complete the map of Sikkim which now forms part of India. This was not possible till 1975 at which time the kingdom of Sikkim was only a protected area since 1890.

The provision was amended in 1950 transferring the status to India in continuation to its final status as an associated state in the federation in 1975. With this foresight in mind it is arguably able to assert the merger of Darjeeling District in Sikkim is predictable, not on terms of political imagination (as demanded by Gorkha Rastriya Congress) but as a consequential legal event but observed already in progress in implementation accounted by

(i).Establishment of Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) in West Bengal and implementation of the Fifth Schedule [Art. 244(1)] in 2012 is an indication that lawful process is in effect. It may be pointed out that the establishment of TAC was effective during period 1952-56. But with the inception of the Province of Bengal transferred to the State of Bengal (SRC) subsumed Darjeeling District within the administration of the new state. However the lawful identity of Darjeeling District remained intact within the legal provisions of the Absorbed Area Act, and account of which once again TAC (Fifth Schedule provision) was established on basis of Census 2011 on account of Limbu & Tamang tribal communities being recognized as Scheduled Tribes (Art.342) in Sikkim and Darjeeling District, West Bengal whereby increasing the ST population Darjeeling District and Sikkim approx to 22% to 55% respectively.

(ii).The Ordinance/Bill 2013 (ST/SC reservation of MP/MLA seats) is another pointer to that direction.

(iii). The Union Ministry of Law & Justice having commissioned Justice Shah Commission to report on the final repeal of the Absorbed Area (Laws) Act 1954.

(iv). Separation of three Districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Bihar as North Bengal from the two Districts West Dinajpur and Malda is noticeable in fulfilling certain futuristic events in regard to the three North Bengal Districts. Also the bifurcation of Kalimpong District from Darjeeling District as an administrative unit is an indicator in fulfilling the aforesaid event.

Digressing from the main theme (Darjeeling District and Sikkim) it is of interest to note that Alipurdur District is formed out of Jalpaiguri District is also an indication for a futuristic event in sight. In consideration of the Indo Bhutan Treaty 2007 wherein the annual gratuity of Rs. 5 lacs is not mentioned at all. It is reasonable to perceive Alipurdur District and adjoining areas will be provided similar kind of administration like the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) under Sixth Schedule – and could be Gorkhaland Territorial Council under Sixth Schedule??? This predicament as a related consequence to the non mention of annual gratuity just referred above in understanding the gratuity was a compensation in revenue loss from acceded territories to British India/independent India (concluded in Indo Bhutan Treaty 1950). It is notable that the Bhutanese Dooars (18) later 17 Kalimpong (Dalingkote Dooars) was extracted and merged with its original whole Darjeeling to form an administrative unit 1866 as Darjeeling District. It is totally a misconception of the uneducated in citing Kalimpong/Darjeeling /District are leasehold territories, not realising they were ceded on documented in treaty terms and continued in force. Not forgetting the last of the three North Bengal Districts, Cooch Bihar, in reckoning the current constitutional flow of the Fifth Schedule in West Bengal the chances of the long standing demand for Kamtapur may well become a closing event in the guise of Kamtapur Territorial Council under Sixth Schedule???

The knowledge of the above script is not a heresy but the concept and ideas deducted from many years of research and should reserve at least reading and is possible understanding for the greater welfare of all concerned. Bearing in mind many soothsayers have indulged in various interpretations of their own subjective views than objective reading thereby miscuing the direct pot leaving for chance to seek its own hole. After all the game (billiards) requires a scientific approach accompanied by experiment and conclusions in becoming an expert. Similarly acquiring knowledge alone is not sufficient to paddle the boat to the opposite shore. The boatman generally is also a swimmer -the reason is obvious, saving the self from the hazards of a fall into the river could occur anytime of boatman’s lifespan. After all earthly world itself is a vast expanse of sea of knowledge and one must learn to swim both on the surface as well below to save oneself from drowning. The adept is a swimmer abled with practice to teach the exercise of swimming only then the student is qualified to save self as well as others when in facing crisis which is ever occurring every moment of life. The purpose of living is to save one’s life and those of others whenever possible versed in the art of living which is a composite of the mind and body unified as the soul. Gleaning these in hindsight only leads to acquiring education of the self relevant to the universe. In other words to realize salvation – is to free oneself from ignorance from the true nature of life on earth – to obtain simply peace and not happiness as normally understood or desired. Peace unlike happiness is not a quotient it sustains itself. Happiness is a mental quantum provided by the sensual observations and therefore subject to transformation perpetually ad infinitum which requires to be bridled by the stirrup of mental peace. Therefore the true meaning of happiness lies in defining peace – unquantifiable in physical terms. Without these perceptions in mind education is simply a physical component to sustain the individual and others psychological components nearest in sight –whether a person or material. True education lies in understanding oneself in the nature of phenomena bearing the opposite of two equal forces. This happens to be the basic combination of all existence in all forms. Learning about these two forces is the only path to educative wisdom. Present society is an accumulation of past failures still pending a solution which the present intends to invoke with all the means t its disposal but still unsuccessful. The question may be asked is it safe to build a house on sand is the one odd dollar question. The million dollar question does not arise when none is able to solve the one dollar.

This philosophy is attached for the simple reason to awaken those who are asleep for propounding their limited understanding of the Constitution which itself is a jingoism of words and sentences not understood by the ordinary mind, nay in fact even academics of law, citing the Constitution as lawyers paradise. This quote absolves one and all of any misdemeanors on account after all forgiveness divine, we do not know what we are doing or have done. Only that is certain is one learns from ones mistake but certainly not repeating the mistake three times and over. This is pure downright selfishness opposite of unselfishness (altruism) derived from ying & yang, or the opposite of two equals – understanding the equation and practicing balancing the two forces in the state of yoga – for a sustained state of peace of mind. Therefore those preaching the precepts of the Constitution to ones like and fancy as teachers are in a way described as false prophets (two wrongs don’t make a right) as the impacts of wrong delivery could be catastrophe.

Accordingly it is highly suggested that each individual (as far as possible, in spite of limitation of resources) should attempt at least to understand the basis of the constitution at various stages of learning so that in the future they are able to play a grand role in conserving and sustaining the Indian nation, within and without, for playing a greater role in the comity of international nations.

The writer can be contacted at paulrai2000@gmail.com )

NB: Views/Opinions expressed in the article or write up is purely of the author or writer. For any queries or contradictions the author can be contacted in his/her email id.

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