Voices of the Silenced: A study of the survivors and witnesses of 27th July 1986 in Kalimpong
Post-independence, the Indian nation-state has time and again witnessed the demand for a separate statehood on the basis of linguistic, ethnic, and cultural differences. The state reorganization act, of 1956 has led to the formation of several states such as Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, and many more. The demand for a separate statehood Gorkhaland within the Indian sovereign is one of the old and pending demands of the Indian Gorkhas. The past three phases of the movement recorded are in the years 1986, 2007, and 2017. According to Tamang (2020) failure to engage in dialogue and the use of repressive measures to end the movement have generated conflict as a permanent state of affairs in the Darjeeling hills.
Several studies on the Gorkhaland movement have explored gender dynamics, mobilization of people, and state measures after the movement. Lama (2013) focuses on women’s political participation of women in the Gorkhaland movement of 2007 and 2011. Rai (2015) argues that in the second phase of the Gorkhaland movement, there was an increase in the political participation of women owing to the ‘relaxation of traditional’ practices. The marginalization of women in the movement has been recorded (Tamang, 2020). Chettri (2021) notes that the political participation of women did not necessarily lead to women’s empowerment. He has explored the position of women in changing socio-political development of Darjeeling hills. However, 27 July 1986 which
is considered a Black Friday amongst the Gorkha community is often described and studied within the larger movement of 1986. It further leaves a research gap to study the collective loss, fear, anger, and resilience of a community particularly focusing on 27th July, 1986. Fictional writing on the Gorkhaland movement is also incomplete without mentioning the mass killings of 27th July 1986 (Fatsung, Fulangey, Gorkhaland Dairies, The Endless Wait). The objective of the paper is to explore the violence, emotions, and collective suffering of the survivors of 27th July 1986. How do they remember that incident? How did they continue with their everyday life? Oral history and secondary sources such as photographs, newspapers, poems, and official documents will be used to gather the experiences of the people. The present study intends to contribute to the existing literature on the social movement by studying the experience of collective suffering, violence, and emotions of the survivors of 27th July 1986.
Keywords: violence, collective suffering, social movement, everyday life
Chhetri, N. (2021). Gendered Frames of Mobilization: Differential Participation of Women in Ethno-politics of Darjeeling. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 28(1), 46-66.
Lama, S. (2014). Role of women in Gorkhaland Movement: assessing the issue of power sharing. International Journal of Gender and Women’s Studies, 2(2), 75-85.
Rai, A. (2015). Women in Gorkhaland movement: A sociological study (Doctoral dissertation). Tamang, D. (2020). Rethinking ‘participation’ in Women, Peace and Security discourses: engaging with ‘non-participant’ women’s movements in the Eastern borderlands of India.International Feminist Journal of Politics, 22(4), 485-503.