ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tribal Detour in Darjeeling Hills

Tribal identity in the mountainous Darjeeling area of West Bengal is being used as a tool by the state to dismantle the renewed Gorkha agitation. An analysis of the ways in which the classificatory arrangement by which the state identifies and designates communities as tribes has become a politically provocative and productive tool to divide hill communities.

This brief communiqué is but a reflection on the contemporary tribal situation in Darjeeling hills, West Bengal. Besides being the historical site of a long-standing ethnic conflict (i e, known as the Gorkhaland movement) Darjeeling hills have acquired political prominence in the recent past for being the playground of intra-ethnic revivalism and tribalism. In addition to the Bhutias, Lepchas, Sherpas and Yolmos – the already designated tribes of Darjeeling district since Independence – majority of the hill communities today are busy both in claiming and establishing their claims of being a tribe of the region.

Nepali Social Structure

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