Thursday, 23 January 2020

THE CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019 (CAA) – THE IMPLICATIONS IN RIGHT PERSPECTIVE




The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (No.47 of 2019) that received the assent of the President of India on the 12th December, 2019, came into force on the 10th January, 2020 vide Govt. of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification S.O. No.172(E), dated the 10th January, 2020. This is an Act further to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 which elaborates in details on Short Title, Interpretation of the legal Terms, Methods for Acquisition of Citizenship, Termination of Citizenship, Deprivation of Citizenship, Supplemental Clauses including Power to make rules and Qualifications for Naturalisation.

2. Major Amendments Made:

(a) In the ‘Interpretation’, while describing about “illegal migrant” a proviso has been added - meaning a foreigner who has entered into India with a valid passport or other travel document or authority as may be prescribed by or under any law in that behalf but remains therein beyond the permitted period of time “Provided that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act;’.

          (b) In relation to State of Assam, Special provisions as to citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord, (1985); in clause 6A, Citizenship by naturalisation of the principal Citizenship Act, 1955, a new clause 6B has been added which further allows the Central Government to grant certificate of registration or certificate of naturalisation to migrants, legal or illegal, subject to fulfilment of certain conditions as mentioned above (2a) .
Secondly, an added clause 6B (4) reads – “Nothing in this section shall apply to tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area under “The Inner Line” notified under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873.”.
 
(c)  In the Third Schedule to the principal act in regard to ‘QUALIFICATIONS FOR NATURALISATION’, in clause (d) that during the fourteen years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months, he has either resided in India or been in the service under a Government in India, or partly the one and partly the other, for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than eleven years – (added further proviso under the amendment): - Provided that for the person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, the aggregate period of residence or service of Government in India as required under this clause shall be read as “not less than five years” in place of “not less than eleven years”.
             
3. Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, 1985 [It is pertinent here to relate this clause of Assam Accord, 1985 as Rajbanshis of North Bengal or Koch Rajbanshis of Assam (who belong to same ethnic group) are affected by influx of migrants from Bangladesh]:

Signed between the Central Government and the leaders of All Assam Students Union (AASU), the accord came into existence after a six-year agitation demanding expulsion of illegal immigrants into the territory of Assam from neighbouring country Bangladesh.
The Clause reads – Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.  

4. CAA in the National Perspective:

India is already over populated country with a huge population over 133 crores. Bangladeshi migrants are mushrooming in and around all major cities and towns. Further inflow of migrants is not sustainable. At the same time, on humanitarian grounds, it is not advisable to deport the already settled migrants. In such a scenario, CAA allows migrants to settle down in India and applies a stop on further influx of migrants beyond the cutoff date, the 31st December, 2014.

5. CAA in the West Bengal Perspective:

There has been continuous influx of migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan and now Bangladesh into West Bengal ever since partition of India into two countries in 1947 – Pakistan and India on religion based two nation theory i.e. two major religions Hindu and Muslim. As greater opportunities are available in West Bengal, migrants of both religions are heading towards West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. It is likely that during the last decade, maximum number of migrants have entered West Bengal not only directly from Bangladesh but also through Assam as well. At number of places, borders with Bangladesh are porous and movements of both human and trafficking of cattle are a regular feature. Most of the migrants have already obtained required basic documents of citizens such as Aadhar Card, Ration Card, Voter Card and purchased properties in West Bengal. The refugee or migrant colonies in West Bengal have already been given due recognition by the State Government.  Whether CAA is implemented in the State or not, it is almost humanely impossible to deport such a large number of people who, in all practical purposes, have already become citizens of India. If CAA is implemented, at least there will a stop on further influx of migrants from Bangladesh into West Bengal with a cutoff date of 31st December, 2014.

6. CAA in the Perspective of North Bengal in general and Rajbanshis in particular: 

Rajbanshi group of people (Aborigines / ethnic people of different faith) are the majority in rural population in North Bengal and undivided Goalpara district of Assam (Lower Assam). Since the days of partition in 1947, there have been influx of refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) who have settled in vast areas of North Bengal. Rajbanshis who were the landowners in North Bengal have always been courteous and helpful to outside settlers. Poverty and illiteracy were two major factors that made poor Rajbanshis to sell their lands to the settlers on abnormally low cost.
Now, the influx of migrants is changing the demographic picture in North Bengal as it has done in lower Assam. In North Bengal alone, as per Newspaper agency reports, there are 55 to 60 lakhs of Bangladeshi migrants including so called ‘Matua’ community who have settled in North Bengal in recent years. These people have already obtained all the documents such as land deeds, Aadhar- Ration-Voter Cards. It is not advisable to deport all these people who have been welcomed by Rajbanshi group of people.
However, future of Rajbanshis of North Bengal looks bleak as economic, social, linguistic and political negligence are harming these sons of soil, immensely. If CAA is implemented, it will at least put a stop on further influx of illegal migration from Bangladesh with effect from 31st December, 2014 and, if not, the influx of migrants will continue unabated.

7.  Constitutional Safeguards are needed for Rajbanshi Ethnic Group of People:

In Assam, Koch Rajbanshis have recently been assured by the State Government of giving ‘Kamatapur Autonomous Council’ in which they will have certain political and administrative rights. This step by the State Government has lessened the effects of CAA on a majority people of Assam as Koch Rajbanshis form the largest ethnic group in Lower Assam.
In North Bengal, similar measures including the following democratic constitutional welfare measures are suggested:
(a)  Land rights to ‘sons of the soil’ i.e. Rajbanshis and all ethnic aborigines of all religions of the land of North Bengal to save them from outsider well to do settlers.
(b) Economic packages/facilities to these poor people such as housing, agricultural implements / aids, establishing shops/business/industries and job opportunities.
(c)  Educational facilities as rate of illiteracy and school drop outs are maximum among these poor and downtrodden people.
(d) Mother tongue is like ‘Mothers’ Milk as it is widely believed. These group of people are divided into two groups as the State Government has given recognition their mother tongue in two different names - Rajbanshi and Kamatapuri as two different languages. This anomaly needs immediate correction. Only one name should be given such as Kamata-Rajbanshi and it should be included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India as about 2 crore people speak in this historic language.
(e)   Political rights are must in a true democratic nation. While they are in majority in North Bengal, lower Assam and certain areas in Bihar, they have hardly any say in the State governance. In these States, leadership from mainstream community enjoy the power of corridors. Such aberrations need to be corrected through constitutional methods.



Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Rajbashis of North Bengal and Assam in Dilemma over NRC & CAA

We know who are these group of Rajbanshi people. We are aware of their rich historical background. But, many of us show ignorance and avoid telling the truth for obvious reasons. They are economically poor and socially denigrated.
Since, National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being implemented in Assam and Citizenship Amendment Bill(CAB) has become a  (CAA) a Central Act now, Rajbanshi group of people in Assam and North Bengal do feel the pinch.
These people are Aborigines / ethnic people of this vast region of Indian State. They form the majority in rural population in North Bengal and undivided Goalpara district of Assam(Lower Assam). Since the days of partition in 1947, there have been influx of refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Illegal intrusion into this region from across the border is still on. For all these years, Rajbanshi people, true to their simple, friendly nature, welcomed all the Bengali refugees and settlers coming from across the border. Poverty and illiteracy were two major factors that made poor Rajbanshis to sell their lands to immigrant Bengalees. Respective State Governments extended all possible help to all those settlers. As a result, Rajbanshis have been loosing their lands to outsiders. Now, while they welcome NRC, CAA has come as a hindrance. Also, it's a fact that those who have already came from East Pakistan/Bangladesh and settled due to Government patronage or purchased lands, property from Rajbanshis and permanently settled in Assam and North Bengal, cannot be driven away to Bangladesh. It's a fact and reality.
So, whether there's CAA or not, there's hardly any effect on these group of people, practically. However, NRC and CAA will certainly put a break on further influx of illegal immigration from Bangladesh.
Therefore, it's imperative on the part of both State Governments of Assam, West Bengal and the Central Government to make provision of 'Safeguards' for saving the Rajbanshi group of people from further social, economic and political miseries.
At the same time, an appeal to all those Rajbanshi/Kamatapuri organizations/parties who are on the streets to express their protest against CAA to maintain peace and put up their demand democratically and constitutionally.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Excerpts from Sardar Patel’s Correspondences on Merger of erstwhile Princely State of Cooch Behar

Ever since I learnt that something important was written in this  particular  volume of Sardar Patel’s Correspondences which came out in seventies, I kept searching for it but never got hold of it. It was much wanted book “Sardar Patel’s Correspondence – 1945-50 Volume 7 – Integrating Indian States – Police Action in Hyderabad”, edited by Durga Das, published by M/s Navjivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad – 380014. Never ever, I could find it in any library in many places in my great country, India. Although, other volumes were traceable in number of libraries, the Volume 7 was not traceable. More I searched, I got despaired. The search was on for this much wanted text of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel which was sent by telegram on 11th September, 1949 to Nanjappa, Chief Commissioner, Cooch Behar on handing over this princely state to Central Administration of India.
            Finally, a copy was found. I got exalted, went up above the sky. It appeared to me that I got the goldmine. How such important information could remain hidden for so long? I got a copy of it so kindly sent to me by Shri Surinder Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (MP) of Darjeeling Loksabha Constituency. With my earnest request, the Hon’ble MP took all the pains to search a copy and find it from the Library of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Smarak Trust (Regd.), 7 Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi. The Hon’ble MP wasted no time and sent it to me by hand of his trusted assistant Shri Shiv Deo. Readly, I went through the volume and found the mosy important facts favouring the unfortunate people of my fellow Rajbanshi community, the deprived subject Rajbanshi people of erstwhile princely state Cooch Behar. I must say, the editor, Durga Das, who was Editor-in-Chief, India News & Feature Alliance; Formerly Chief Editor, Hindustan Times, New Delhi; author of ‘India-from Curzon to Nehru and After’ wrote the following astonishing fact in the introduction to Volume VII , page [1vii] :
                             Cooch Behar did not want to merge with West Bengal as there was an anti-Bengali feeling in the State. The Maharaja, it was alleged, was considering the possibility of acceding to East Pakistan. The Sardar ruled out merger with West Bengal and the Maharaja accepted the Sardar’s advice and handed over the State to the control of the Centre. In a message to mark the occasion Patel said: “To give up sovereignty over territory is no mean sacrifice. I am grateful to him (Maharaja) for the spirit of accommodation and understanding which he has displayed and the manner in which he accepted our advice.”  

The book contains eye opening correspondences of the Sardar that may change the whole scenario of the ill fated subject Rajbanshi people of erstwhile princely state Cooch Behar and all Rajbanshis of the neighbouring states and countries. Without any bias or hidden agenda, I am going to  unveil the truth which Maniben Patel, beloved daughter of the Sardar, took pains to preserve, compile and publish the mind boggling correspondence of her father who was instrumental in uniting almost all princely Indian states with free Dominion of India on gaining its independence in 1947.

Excerpt No.1. Page.547-548/Ser.No.457

Calcutta
15 May 1949

My dear Vallabhbhai,

You remember I spoke to you on several occasions about allowing Cooch Behar to be merged to West Bengal. I am perfectly sure you are inclined in the same direction. It may be that it will take a little time before the preliminaries can be settled before the merger is decided.
     You know that Sri Sarat Chandra Bose has filed his nomination for the Assembly from South Calcutta, the last date of nomination being 24 May. Poling is taking place on 12 June. I certainly expect help, advice and co-operation from you and Panditji. In this connection may I suggest to you that the announcement from the Centre that Cooch Behar would be merged to West Bengal would be a great help to us in the election campaign? When you have finally decided about this merging, kindly let us know so that we can keep the field ready and make our propaganda that this merging has been affected not by Sri Sarat Chandra Bose but by the West Bengal Government. The Provincial Congress Committee has decided to put up a candidate, strong one, against Sri Sarat Bose. But, of course, the polling booth is always a tricky customer.
I hope you are keeping well.
An early reply will be welcome.
Yours sincerely,
B.C. Roy

The Hon’ble Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Deputy Prime Minister
New Delhi   

Reply of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel: Page No.548/ Ser. No.458

Dehra Dun
18 May 1949

My dear Bidhan,

     Thank you for your letter of 15 May 1949 regarding Cooch Behar. I am afraid we cannot hustle things through like this. In view of the local feeling, it will not be possible for us to do this overnight. We have to tread warily.
Yours sincerely,
Vallabhbhai Patel

The Hon’ble Dr. B.C. Roy
Premier
West Bengal
Calcutta

Excerpt No.. Page.549/Ser. No.459

Government House
Shillong
29 June 1948

My dear Sardarji,

My wife and I have just returned from Cooch Behar. This was our first visit to the State after your decision that its relations with India should be carried on through me. You may therefore be interested in the report of my impressions which is given in Rustamji’s letter to Kripalani, copy enclosed. The only further comment which I wish to make is on the subject of the anti-Bengali feeling in the State.
            I was informed that out of the State’s population of between six and seven lakhs the Bengalis number a mere 30,000; yet Bengali propaganda would make it appear as if Bengalis constitute the greater portion of the population. The bulk of the population consists of Rajbanshis including Muslims between whom and the rajbanshis there is so far amity and free social intercourse. The danger of the situation lies in the fact that the Bengal Congress leaders are lending themselves to propaganda that Cooch Behar should be merged with West Bengal. This is resulting in the Congress as a whole tending to become unpopular in Cooch Behar. Any attempt to bring Cooch Behar under the wing of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee would be violently resisted and in the present state of feeling the Congress would find few Cooch Behari adherents. The best solution in the present circumstances would be to let Cooch Behar come under the wing of the Central Congress; but if that not possible, the second best would be let it be affiliated to the Assam Provincial Congress. This is only the second best solution as it might still further exasperate Bengali feeling against Assam. During my visit I was cordially received by all classes of people which was not a personal tribute to me but relief at seeing in me visible evidence that Cooch Behar was not tied to the apron strings of West Bengal.
            By their aggressive attitude the Congress leaders of West Bengal and Calcutta press are increasing the animosity roused against West Bengal in this part of India. Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee is visiting Shillong on the 7th and is staying part of the time with us here and the rest with Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy (at his Shillong house) who is accompanying him. I am arranging that every possible courtesy should be shown to them and will take the opportunity of their visit to impress upon them tactfully that if they really want the present anti-Bengali feelings to subside they must put a curb on West Bengal’s propaganda machine for a greater Bengal wanting to absorb bits here and there from her neighbours. Dr. Prafulla Chandra Ghosh, who recently stayed with us in Shillong, created a very good impression both by his moderation.... We were meeting him for the first time, and my wife and I took a very great liking to him. In difference to his advice, Bordoloi*[Premier of Assam] is seriously considering the grant of some compensation to the few sufferers in the Gauhati disturbance and I am encouraging him to persuade his colleagues to agree to this gesture of friendship.
            With my kind regards and hoping that you are getting better and better every day.
Yours sincerely
A.K. Hydari
The Hon’ble Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel   
           
*Gopinath Bardoloi : headed Congress Ministry in 1937-39 and again in 19945.



Excerpts from Page:550/Ser No.460

New Delhi
10 July 1948

My dear Hydari,

Thank you for your letter of 29 June regarding Cooch Behar. I am glad you went there. It has enabled us to get a first-hand report pf how things are shaping there.
            I have seen your letter to Jawaharlal regarding Bengal versa Assam. It is unfortunate that things should develop on these lines. I shall see what can be done to check these matters from worsening.
            With kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Vallabhbhai Patel

His Excellency Sir Akbar Hydari, KCIE, CSI, ICS
Governor of Assam
Shillong

Excerpts from Page: 551-552/Ser. No.461

Dinhate
29 July 1948



Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Deputy Prime Minister
Ministry of States
New Delhi  

Sir,

I, on behalf of the State Prajamandal, beg most respectfully and humbly to submit herewith a copy of the resolution passed unanimously in a meeting for immediate merger of the State and thereby saving Hindusthan from future danger and troubles.

RESOLUTION

Resolved that a most reactionary group has been formed, formulated and patronised by the Maharaja of Cooch Behar, to serve his personal purpose of dominating and ruling the people for his own exploitation to the detriment of the interest and safety of the Indian Union. Ignoring the fact that the Raja of the small State (which has an area no greater than that of a sub-division in an Indian district) had so long been allowed to rule the State to serve the ends of the British Raj, His Highness, in collusion and collaboration with his favourite Muslim pro-League and scheduled caste ministers, thinks that he can still now play the same reactionary role as was done previously during the British era. The Ministers of the State are absolutely pro-League and they are in constant touch with Pakistan and the result of their friendship has been to divide the Hindus of the State into two factions namely Cooch Beharis and non-Cooch Beharis (two nation theory). All sorts of rules and regulations have been and are being formed to drive out the caste Hindus of the Indian Union from the State.
            The effect of this division among the Hindus by rules and laws has been to effect both solidarity and expansion of the Muslims of the State. The outcome of this policy is to Muslimize the whole State effacing the Hindus. His Highness and his puppet ministers for the purpose of their own personal gain have been dragging the State to be Pakistanized. Attempts are being made to send a deputation to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Indian Union to persuade not to merge the State and with that end in view false figures and charts have been prepared. The actual income of the State is only Rs.48,00,000 but by including false figures as that of tobacco excise duty (which the consumers pay and who practically live outside the State) and also false figures of income tax which according to the prevailing rules and custom should go to the Indian Exchequer, the total income of the State is falsely shown Rs.75,00,000. It will suffice to say that the land revenue of the State is only Rs.22,00,000. To allow the State to remain autonomous will be suicide to the safety and interest of Hindustan.
            In view of the above circumstances and many others it is resolved further unanimously that for the safety and interest of the people of Cooch Behar and custom for the solidarity of the Indian Union the State of Cooch Behar be at once merged with  such a province which is indissolubly connected with Cooch Behar State culturally, economically, geographically and linguistically.

Yours sincerely,

For the State Prajamandal Cooch Behar
Radhakanta Sarkar
Secretary     


           
Excerpts from Page:552/Ser. No.462

TELEGRAM



Gitaldaha
4 August 1948



Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Home Minister
New Delhi
COOCH BEHAR STATE AUTHORITIES FORCING PEOPLE TO SIGN AGAINST MERGING AND MAKING PROPOGANDA AGAINST INDIAN DOMINION. TAKE ACTION.

SECRETARY,
BAMANHAT THANA CONGRESS



 

Excerpts from Page:553-554/Ser. No.463

TELEGRAM



                                                                                                            Camp Birla House
                                                                                                            Malabar Hill
                                                                                                            11 September 1949


From
Ministhome
Bombay

To Nanjappa
Chief Commissioner
Cooch Behar

FOLLOWING IS SARDAR PATEL’S MESSAGE:

(BEGINS) ON THE HANDING OVER OF COOCH BEHAR TO CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION I SEND TO ITS PEOPLE MY BEST WISHES AND ASSURANCE ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA THAT, THOUGH FAR, THEIR INTEREST AND WELFARE WILL CLAIM OUR CLOSE AND INTIMATE ATTENTION. I AM FULLY AWARE OF THE MANY PROBLEMS, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC, WHICH AFFECT THE STATE AND I AM CONFIDENT THAT WITH THEIR COOPERATION AND ASSISTANCE WE WOULD SUCCEED IN SOLVING THEM IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE STATE AND THE COUNTRY. FOR THEIR HAPPINESS AND PROSPERITY, UNITY AND MUTUAL ADJUSTMENT BETWEEN THE CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OF THE POPULATION ARE ESSENTIAL PREREQUISITES, WITHOUT THESE SUCH RESOURCES AND PERSONNEL AS WE MAY BE ABLE TO SPARE FOR THEM WOULD AVAIL LITTLE. I HOPE THEREFORE THAT THE PEOPLE OF COOCH BEHAR WILL WORK WITH SINGLE-MINDEDNESS AND DEVOTION TO DUTY AS A UNITED TEAM FOR THEIR OWN BETTERMENT AND TO ACHIEVE THEIR DUE PLACE IN THE POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE SET-UP OF INDIA. TO ACCEPT TRANSFER OF TERRITORY FROM A RULER IS NO SMALL RESPONSIBILITY. I AM THEREFORE CERTAIN THAT HIS HIGHNESS THE RULER OF COOCH BEHAR WILL APPRECIATE THE SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY WHICH WE FEEL ON THIS OCCASION. TO GIVE UP SOVEREIGNTY OVER TERRITORY IS NO MEAN SACRIFICE. I AM GRATEFUL TO HIM FOR THE SPIRIT OF ACCOMMODATION AND UNDERSTANDING WHICH HE HAS DISPLAYED AND THE PROMPT MANNER IN WHICH HE ACCEPTED OUR ADVICE. MAY HE AND HIS PEOPLE FEEL HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS UNDER THE NEW DISPENSATION WHICH IS BEING INAUGURATED TODAY - ENDS.


Excerpts from Page : 554/Ser. No.464

Government House
Calcutta
4 October 1948

My dear Sardar Sahib,

There has been all sorts of reports in the newspapers about the developments in Cooch Behar. It was suggested that the Muslims from Eastern Pakistan were infiltrating into Cooch Behar and some reports went to the length of suggesting that there would be a definite attempt made to make Cooch Behar join Pakistan, and this movement would not be wholly repugnant to the ruling house. The police report which I recently saw was very much to that effect. Last week Mr. Himmat Singh K. Maheshwari who is now the Chief Minister in Cooch Behar called on me. I have known him for a long time as he was in the UP Civil Service. He assured me that all these reports were completely baseless. There was absolutely no infiltration of Muslims of any kind and no pro-Pakistan movement of any description. The Muslim Minister who is an elected representative on the Legislative Council is an entirely harmless individual. He suggested that all these reports were parts of propaganda for ulterior ends. I have advised him to submit a full report to you of all that is happening and what the true state of affairs in Cooch Behar is from his point of view. Cooch Behar having acceded to the Indian Dominion, the Government of India are vitally interested in its security, and should, I think, be kept informed correctly of what is happening in the State. I dare say that this advice was unnecessary and you are in full possession of all these facts.
            With respectful regards,

Yours sincerely,
K.N. Katju*

The Hon’ble Shri Vallabhbhai Patel
Deputy Prime Minister

*Minister in first Congress Ministry, UP, 1937 and later in 1946; Governor of Orissa, 1947; Minister of Home and later Defence in Nehru Cabinet; Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh


Reply- Page:555/Ser. No.465

New Delhi
9 October 1948

My dear Katju,

       Thank you for your letter of 4 October 1948. I am so glad to hear what you say about Cooch Behar, particularly the reliance you place in its Chief Minister, Himmat Singh K. Maheshwari. I was a bit uneasy about conditions there as reported by my Bengali friends. It is something that things are not as bad as they are painted.

2.   I shall certainly keep in view J.L. Jobanputra, the ex-Dewan of Sachin State. I know him personally.
       With kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Vallabhbhai Patel

His Excellency Shri Kailash Nath Katju
Governor of West Bengal
Government House
Calcutta.


            Hope better sense prevails in the corridors of political power at the highest level in India to rectify the errors which were committed against the most docile, simple, patriot people of Rajbanshi communities as mentioned in above mentioned correspondence of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Hope his assurances given to Rajbanshis are honoured in right earnest.
                                                                                                                        Jai Hind !

Friday, 9 March 2018

Recognition of Kamtapuri, Rajbanshi and Kurmali Languages by West Bengal Government

Last year, the Government of West Bengal had decided, in principle, to recognize Kamtapuri(Rajbanshi) as a State Official Language of West Bengal vide their Notification No.170-Home(Cons)/CE/N/R1M-20/2017 dated Howrah, the 6th March, 2017 and constituted an expert 7-Member Committee to examine all aspects relating to it under the chairmanship of Mr. Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri constituted by the State Govt. to study the issue. The Committee submitted its report to the State Govt.on 31st Dec. 2017.
The West Bengal Assembly passed the West Bengal Official Language (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018 on 28th February, 2018 recognsing the three languages - Kamtapuri, Rajbanshi and Kurmali which have now joined Bengali, Nepali, Urdu, Hindi, Santhali, Oriya and Punjabi (Gurmukhi) as official languages of the State. State's Parliamentary Affairs and Education Minister Shri Partha Chatterjee moved the bill which was passed by voice vote. According to the Chief Minister of the State, Ms Mamata Banerjee, the decision to include the three languages in the official languages list was based on the recommendation by a seven-member Expert Committee headed by scholar Shri Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri. Stating that her government has respect for all languages, Banerjee said she had also urged the Centre to enlist the people belonging to 'Kurmi' community under Scheduled Caste category.
            The passing of the Bill in the State Assembly, was undoubtedly a landmark decision to recognise the mother tongue of Rajbanshi group of people which is spoken by more 15 million people spread over West Bengal, Assam, Northern Bihar, Western Meghalaya in India; and, neighbouring countries of Bangladesh (Northern Region), Nepal (Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari districts) and Plains areas of Bhutan. West Bengal has taken the lead to recognise these languages for which the Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee deserves appreciation.
For long years, there has been a movement for recognition of Kamtapuri language. Kamtapuri, one of the 38 regional languages is under consideration by a high level committee appointed by the Central Government. Earlier, the demand was raised in the Parliament by the Hon’ble Member of Parliament of Darjelling, Sardar Surinder Singh Ahluwalia in August 2014. Since, the West Bengal Government has given State recognition, Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi) language should get the approval from the Parliament and get included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, soon.
            The recognition of their mother tongue has brought happiness to many people of Rajbanshi origin and attracted criticism from some sections of the people especially, the left parties and the Congress who are arch rivals of the Chief Minister and her party Trinamool Congress (TMC). Mr. Ashok Bhattacharjya of Communist Party of India (Marxist) opposed the idea of giving official recognition to Kamtapuri language, according to whom; the decision would instigate the separatists to divide West Bengal. Mr Sukhbilas Barma, Hon’ble MLA of Jalpaiguri of Congress party who also a Rajbanshi himself has expressed similar opinion and said that the step would instigate people for demanding separate Kamtapur State. However, the Chief Minister. Ms Banerjee has clarified her stand saying that giving recognition to a language should not be taken as division of the state and all languages should be respected; and, ruled the allegation made by the opposition CPM and Congress that recognition to Kamtapuri language would instigate their separatist movement.
                As per the rules, an amendment to the West Bengal Official Languages Act, 1961 was necessary to declare these three local languages as official languages in the district, sub-division, block or municipality, where the population of Kamtapuri or Rajbanshi or Kurmali speaking people exceeded 10 per cent as a whole or part of the district like sub-division or block. Thus, such a historic step was taken by the State Govt. However, now it has to be seen as to how the Union Govt. of India, takes the next step while giving Constitutional recognition to these two newly and separately recognized State languages i.e. Kamtapuri and Rajbanshi spoken by a same group of people whose worldwide estimated population is more than 15 Million spread over India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

রাজমাতা গায়ত্রী দেবী RAJMATA GAYATRI DEBI {Written in Modern Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi)} Language

রাজমাতা গায়ত্রী দেবী
RAJMATA GAYATRI DEBI
(আধুনিক কামতাপুরী-রাজবংশী ভাষাত লেখা, লেখক দ্বারা রচনাধীন ‘ভোরের তারা’ সংকলন থাকিয়া গৃহীত)
{Excerpt from forthcoming book 'Bhorer Tara' being written in modern Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi) language by me}
 

ভোর বেহানের লালিমা ভরা আকাশ  
শিল-শিলানি মৃদু মনমাতানো হাওয়া
সেইদিন দেওঞা হইচিল আলোকিত
উদিত হইচিল উজ্বল ভোরের তারা 
স্বর্গ থাকিয়া নামিয়া আসা এক পরী
সগারের নয়নমনী প্রানবন্ত সুহাসিনী |

আসিলো আর মন ছুইঁয়া চলি গেলো
দুই চোখুর পলক পড়িতে না পড়িতে
উল্কার বেগত আসিয়ায় চলি গেলো
মনের কাথা মনতে থাকি গেইল
কত দিনে পুরিবে হামার মনের আশা ?
আবার ফিরিয়া আসিস হামার প্রিয়্মনি | 

আজি লোকে এমনিতে রাজবংশী বলিয়া পরিচয় দিতে লইজ্জা পায়, কিন্তুক যদি গায়ত্রী দেবীর কাথা কওহা যায়, তাহলে যে কোন রাজবংশী একেবারে এক কাথায় কয়হা উঠে হ্যা, হ্যা, মুই-ও তগায়ত্রী দেবীর দেশের লোক, কোচবিহারের লগতে মোর বাড়ি | নাম শুনিচেন তকোচবিহার একটা বিশাল রাইজ্য আর গায়ত্রী দেবী ঐঠেকার রাজকুমারী ছিল | পরে, ব্যাহা হবার পিছত হয়া যায় জয়পুর রাইজ্যের মহারানী, জয়পুরের রাজমাতা |
দেখিতে অতি সুন্দরী ছিল সেই রাজকুমারী | আর, দেখিতে সুন্দরী ক্যানে হবে নি ? কোচবিহার রাজ পরিবারত দেশ-বিদেশের রাজ-পরিবারের ব্যাহা-সাদীর সম্পর্ক হইত | এইজৈন্য, সাধারণ রাজবংশীর চাইতে গায়ত্রী দেবী অনেকগুনে বেশী সুন্দরী ছিল | এত সুন্দর ছিল যে লোকে কহে সারা পৃথিবীর মইধ্যে সব চাইতে বেশী সুন্দরী নারীর মিঝত একজন চিরকালের সেরা সন্দরী হইল গায়ত্রী দেবী | অমার মাও ছিল এক সুন্দরী রাজকুমারী বরোদা রাইজ্যের মারাঠী রাজা সভাজী রাও গাইকোওয়াড়-III-র গন্যমান্য সমাজসেবী বেটি রাজকুমারী ইন্দিরা রাজে | গায়ত্রীর জন্ম হয় সন ২৩শে মে ১৯১৯ ইংল্যান্ডত | বাপের নাম ছিল কোচ বিহার রাইজ্যের যুবরাজের ছোট ভাই রাজকুমার জিতেন্দ্র নারায়ন ভূপ বাহাদুর | জ্যালা ওয় খুব ছোট ছিল, স্যালায় অর জ্যাঠার মারা যাওআর পর অর বাপ কোচবিহারের রাজসিংহাসনত বসে |
গায়ত্রী দেবী ছুটুবেলাত প্রথমে লন্ডনত গ্লেন্ডাওয়ার প্রিপ্রেটরী স্কুলত  পড়াশুনা করিচিল | পরবর্তী কালত, শান্তি নিকেতনত বিশ্বভারতী ইউনিভার্সিটিত পড়াশুনা করিচিল | তার পরে, সুইজারল্যান্ডের লাউসেনত পড়াশুনা করিবা গেইছিল আর সঙ্গে গেইছিল অর মাও আর ভাই | তারপর, লন্ডন স্কুল অফ সেক্রেটারিসত সেক্রেটারিয়াল স্কিল্স অধ্যয়ন করে | লন্ডনত ব্রিলিয়ান্টমন্ট  আর মংকী ক্লাবত ওয় লেখাপড়া করিচিল | 

          রাজস্থানের জয়পুর রাইজ্যের হিস হাইনেস সরামদ-ই-রাজা-ই-হিন্দুস্তান রাজ রাজেন্দ্র-শ্রী মহারাজাধীরাজ স্যারসাওয়াই মান সিং-II এর সঙ্গে  রাজকুমারী গায়ত্রী দেবীর ব্যাহা হয় ১৯৪০ সনের ৯ই মে |  অমার দুইজনের প্রথম দেখা হয় জ্যালা গায়ত্রী দেবী ১২ বছরের ছিল | সেই সময় কোলকাতাত সাওয়াই মান সিংহ(জয়) পোলো খেলেবা আসিছিল আর গায়ত্রী দেবীর পরিবারের সঙ্গে অমার বাড়িত কয়েকদিন রহিচিল | সেই থাকিয়া অমার পরিচয় তৃতীয় মহারানী, জয়পুরের রাজমাতা (১৯৪০-১৯৭০) বলিয়া বেশী খ্যাতিলাভ করে |
জয়পুরের মহারাজার সঙ্গে ব্যাহার পর অয় মহারানী গায়ত্রী দেবী বলিয়ায় সাধারনত পরিচিত | অয় অতি সুন্দরী হবার সঙ্গে সঙ্গে একজন খুব ভাল ঘোড়সওয়ারও ছিল আর একজন সুদক্ষা পোলো  প্লেয়ার ছিল | খালি এইলায় নাহয়, গায়ত্রী দেবী একজন ভাল শিকারীও ছিল | অর শিকার করা  বাঘের সঙ্গে ফটোখান কি কাহ দেখিছেন নাকি ? ওই ফটোখান দেখিলে গায়ত্রী দেবী যে কত ভাল শিকারী ছিল সেইটা বেশ ভাল  রকম বুঝা যায় |  অর রহন-শহনের স্টাইল দেখিলে বুঝা যায় যে অয় কত ব্যক্তিত্বপূর্ণ রাজবংশী মহিলা ছিল | একজন রাজমাতা কেমন হয়, এর প্রমান গায়ত্রী দেবী সারা পৃথিবীক দিয়া গেইছে | ধন্য তুই রাজমাতা !
অয় গাড়ি-ঘোড়ার খুব সৌখিন ছিল | হামার দেশত প্রথম  W126 একখান SEL 500 মোটর গাড়ি আমদানি করে হামার প্রিয় গায়ত্রী দেবী | ওই গাড়ি খানক পরে মালয়শিয়া দেশত জল জাহাজত রপ্তানি করিয়া দেয় |  দেশ-বিদেশত খুব নাম হয় গায়ত্রী দেবীর |
গায়ত্রী দেবীর দাদা-দাদী ছিল মহারাজা নৃপেন্দ্র নারায়ন ভূপ বাহাদুর আর সুনীতি দেবী | ব্রাহ্ম সমাজের প্রবর্তক কেশব চন্দ্র সেনের সুপুত্রী ছিল সুনীতি দেবী যায় পরে রাজবংশী নারায়ন হয়া কোচবিহারের মহারানী হয় | গায়ত্রী দেবীর দুই ভাই ছিল জগদ্দীপেন্দ্র নারায়ন আর  ইন্দ্রজিতেন্দ্র নারায়ন | ১৯২২ সনত পিতার মৃত্যুর পর শিশু কালতে জগদ্দীপেন্দ্র নারায়ন কোচ বিহারের রাজ সিংহাসনত বসে |
রাজমাতা গায়ত্রী দেবীর একজনেই বেটা ছিল জয়পুরের রাজকুমার জগত সিং, যার জন্ম হইচিল ১৯৪৯ সনের ১৫ই অক্টোবর | রাজকুমার জগত সিং, অর জ্যাঠোর (বাপের বড় ভাই) দেওয়া রাজন্য গিরী হিসাবে ইসার্দা রাইজ্যের রাজার সিংহাসনত বসে | এই সম্পর্কত, জগত সিং ছিল  জয়পুরের বিখ্যাত ভবানী সিংএর জ্যাঠতুত ভাই | জগত সিং ১৯৭৮ সনের ১০ই মে থাইল্যান্ড-এর রাজকুমার পিয়ারংসিত রংসিত আর রাজকুমারী বিভাবতী রংসিতের বেটি মম রাজবংসে পিয়ানন্দনা রংসিতের সঙ্গে বিবাহ বন্ধনত জড়িত হয় | অমার দুইজন সন্তান হয় ১৯৭৯ সনত রাজকুমারী লতিত্য কুমারী আর ১৯৮১ সনত দেবরাজ সিং(ইসার্দার রাজা) |
১৯৪৭ সনত, ভারতের স্বাধীনতা লাভের পর, জ্যালা রাজতন্ত্র বা রাজার রাজত্ত্ব শেষ হয়া যায়, স্যালা দেশের রাজনৈতিক পরিস্থিতিও বদলিয়া যায় | ওই বদলিয়া যাওয়া পরিস্থিতির সঙ্গে খাপ খায়া চলিবার জইন্যে গায়ত্রী দেবীও রাজনীতিত নামিয়া পরিচিল | সী.গোপালচারী, দ্বিতীয় গভর্নর জেনারেল অফ ইন্ডিয়া স্বতন্ত্রপার্টি নামে এক নয়া রাজনৈতিক দল গঠন করে  | ওই পার্টির হয়া, ১৯৬২ সনত গায়ত্রী দেবী লোকসভার ভোটত দাঁড় হয় আর প্রচুর ভোট পায়া সাংসদও হইচিল | মোট ২,৪৬,৫১৬ ভোটের মইধ্যে গায়ত্রী দেবী পাইচিল ১,৯২,৯০৯ ভোট | এত ভোটে ইলেকশন জিতা পৃথিবীর মইধ্যে রেকর্ড হয়া থাকিচে  গিন্নিস বুক অফ রেকর্ডস এইটা স্বীকৃতি পাইচে |  তারপর, ১৯৬৭ আর ১৯৭১ সনত লোকসভার ভোটত জিতেচিল |  যেহেতু, ক্ষমতাশীল দল কংগ্রেস পার্টির সঙ্গে অমার মতের মিল হয় নি, এই জইন্যে গায়ত্রী দেবীর সঙ্গে কেন্দ্র সরকারের সঙ্গে সব সময় মতবিরোধ হইতে থাকে |
এমন কি, ১৯৭১ সনত জ্যালা  কেন্দ্রীয় সরকার প্রিভি পার্সধ্বংস করিয়া দেওয়া হয় আর রাজ পরিবারের সব সুবিধা বন্ধ করিয়া দেওয়া হয়, স্যালা গায়ত্রী দেবীক ট্যাক্স আইন অমান্য করার অভিযোগত আটক করিয়া দিলীর তিহার জেলত ৫ মাসের জইন্যে কারাবাস যাপন করিবা লাগিচিল |
১৯৭৬ সনত একজন লেখক সান্তা রাম রাউ-এরসঙ্গে মিলিত ভাবে  নিজের জীবনী প্রকাশিত করে যার ইংরেজীত নাম দেয় এ প্রিন্সেস রিমেম্বার্স  | গায়ত্রী দেবীর জীবনীর উপর ভিত্তি করিয়া একটা সিনেমাও তৈরী হইছিল যার নাম ছিল মেময়ার্স অফ এ হিন্দু প্রিন্সেস আর যাকে পরিচালনা করিচিল ফ্রানকয়িস লেভী |
গায়ত্রী দেবীর সুন্দরতার তুলনা খুব কম হয় | অর সমসাময়িক যুগত, আধুনিক ফ্যাশনের প্রতীক হিসাবে হামার পুরা দেশটাত অর নাম জুড়িয়া গেইছিল |  ইংরাজি ‘ভোগ’  ম্যাগাজিন দ্বারা লীলা নাইডুর সঙ্গে গায়ত্রী দেবীক-ও পৃথিবীর দশজন সব চাইতে সুন্দরী মহিলার মইধ্যে একজনহিসাবে মান্যতা দিয়া গেইছিল |
 সমাজ সেবার দিকেও গায়ত্রী দেবীর বিশেষ ঝোঁক ছিল | জয়পুরত মায়া ছুয়ালার জইন্য স্কুল খুলিচিল  অর নামে মহারানী গায়ত্রী দেবী গার্লস পাবলিক স্কুল১৯৪৩ সনত স্থাপিত করাইচিল | ১৯৯৯ সনত শুনা গেইছিল যে গায়ত্রী দেবীক নাকি কোচবিহার লোকসভা ক্ষেত্র থাকিয়া তৃনামূল কংগ্রেসের হয়া ভোটত দাঁড়াবার জইন্যে আমন্ত্রণ দেওয়া হয়ছিল কিন্তু, ওয় সেইটা স্বীকার করে নাই |    
৯০ বছর বয়সত ২০০৯ সনের ২৯শে জুলাই গায়ত্রী দেবীর জয়পুরত মৃত্যুলোক প্রাপ্তি হয় | কোচবিহার বাসীর জইন্যে গায়ত্রী দেবীর মন সবসময় কান্দে | ওয় চাহিচিল যাতে রাইজ্যের ভূতপূর্ব প্রজা যাতে সুখ-শান্তিতে থাকে | কিন্তু, রাজার রাজত্ব দেশ থাকিয়া উন্মূলন করিয়া দিবার পর, রাজনৈতিক তুল-কালামের মইধ্যে আর গায়ত্রী দেবীর স্বাকার হবা পারে নাই | অয় রাজনীতিত ঢুকিয়া চেষ্টা করিচিল দেশ আর সমাজের প্রতি আরহ কিছু করার সেই বাকি কাজগিলা এলা হামাক করিবা লাগিবে |


   -কাপ্টেন নলিনী রঞ্জন রায় (আর্মি অবসরপ্রাপ্ত)
     Capt. Nalini Ranjan Ray (Ex-Army)