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

A+| A| A-

Politics of Hysteria

The West Bengal government must initiate a political dialogue to resolve the Gorkhaland issue.

The cornerstone of a functioning democracy is popular participation in politics. But hysteria only threatens democracy. For democratic politics presupposes an informed citizenry; hysteria, on the contrary, promotes thoughtlessness. Today, Indian politics seems to be propelled by catchphrases meant to produce a frenzied response: cow slaughter, love jihad, black money, and, above all, separatism. The latters spectre obfuscates open-minded discussions on claims to political autonomy. The current crisis in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal is symptomatic of the shrinkage of space for democratic dialogue.

On 8 June, massive demonstrations led by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) rocked Darjeeling as the West Bengal cabinet held its meeting in the hill town for the first time in 45 years. The trigger was Chief Minister Mamata Banerjees decision to make Bengali compulsory in schools across the state. However, by the time the state cabinet met in Darjeeling, Banerjee had clarified that this would not apply to the predominantly Nepali- speaking hill region. The language issue, by then, had mutated into a renewal of the demand for Gorkhaland. The government responded with its armed might. It deployed police, paramilitary forces, as well as the army to crush the protests.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Or

To gain instant access to this article (download).


Pay
INR 59

(Readers in India)


Pay
$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.