I was born Indian; in a beautiful small town called Darjeeling, sitting in the lap of the Himalayas, river Teesta caressing its lush green meadow as it barge in from the snowy cold mountain and descend down towards the hills. As i visit Darjeeling on my vacations, i know I’m home when the chilly cold wind starts fondling with my hair as we slowly climb up towards the hill. Most of the time i make it to these hills during evening, when the sun gently slides down and hides behind the clouds, covering the hills with a fleece orangish cloak and offering us the most bewitching view ever. Breathing fresh air (which is a myth in metropolitan cities) with some good classic rock playlist on my phone and the mesmerizing view, i certainly carry a pride of belonging to such a beautiful part of India; yet the sad truth is half of India fails to see that we are as much Indian as they are.
I come from a place where i wake up to the sound of the birds chirping and the first thing i see is the view of the majestic Mt Kanchenjunga from my window. On a sunny morning, the Himalayas appear so close that as a child i often thought that its barely some hours walk and i can make it to the top of the mountains. Everyday, i woke up and looked at the mountains, sometimes so bright it made my naked eyes burn and sometimes playing hide and seek in between the clouds. I always adore how it crowns my town, making it one among the most beautiful place in my country. My hometown doesn’t fancy big roads. It mostly has those narrow lanes leading to the main road filled with children in their colorful uniform as they head towards school in the morning. The pace of life is also not as fast as in any cities, no rush hour though morning school hours maybe exceptional sometimes.
Now talking about what made me write this article is, I am an Indian Nepalese; an Indian as much as any other Indian in India could be but people fail to see that. Like in any other part of the nation, we were taught about India. My schooling was done in Darjeeling and from the day i was introduced to history, till i finished high school, i read about Indian history. I am well aware of the early, medieval and modern histories of India. I also know the national anthem by heart and make it a point to stand up and pay respect, whenever it is played. The stories of the Indian martyrs does give me goosebumps. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre displeased me as much as it would have done to any Indian. As a school student, from my fourth standard, uptill high school, i took part in events hosted for Independence day be it dance or drill or any other dramatic acts.
I am as Indian as any of you, yet you question my identity?
You question my integrity?
How could you?
I have come across many people who just disappoint me to such an extent that i even give up on explaining sometimes.
How hard is it to accept Indian Nepalese?
The word “Indian” in front of Nepalese is self explanatory of the fact that yes, we are Nepali but we belong to India. And yet you ask me when am i going back to Nepal?
Darling!! No, i’m not going back to Nepal. Maybe i will pay a visit for tourism purpose as it is a beautiful country but India is my home, not Nepal. If it’s that confusing for you, let me simplify it for you about my origin.
The history of my town does fall back and forth between Sikkim, which was a country then (now a state of India), Bhutan, Nepal and the then British India. During those days, Darjeeling was a part of the Sikkimese Kingdom of which part of it was conquered by Nepal with its constant warfare. But the British India was well aware of the facts and put a check on Nepal from extending its empire which led to the Anglo- Gurkha war. Defeated, the latter had to give Darjeeling to the former with the signing of the Sugauli Treaty in 1815. And by the signing of the Treaty of Titalia, British restored Darjeeling back to the Sikkimese kingdom until they adored the beauty of the place and saw the potential of the growth of tea plantation gardens in Darjeeling. They took the land on lease from the Sikkim Government. It all didn’t end here. The growth of Darjeeling made the Chogyal or the then Monarch of Sikkim jealous leading to a war between British India and Sikkim. Somewhere in between, the British India had already ceded certain parts of current Darjeeling which was then under Bhutan. So defeating the Sikkimese kingdom, British India seized the part of Darjeeling under Sikkim and Darjeeling was in a shape that it is in today. This all happened by 1866.
To cut short, I didn’t come from Nepal. Neither did i migrate or nor do i intend to go back. India has been my home since my birth and for my ancestors too. So what, if i look a little different? Honey, not all South-East Asians are Chinese!
I am a proud Indian and your doubts won’t change a thing.
However in this article, i’m not even bothered to make an effort to explain it to the people who think i’m from China, Japan and so on. Explaining them!! I would not know where to begin.
Please look below to enjoy more pictures of my beautiful home town Darjeeling, India.