Gorkhas outraged by the words of an NGO

Marching contingent of the Gorkha Rifles pass through Rajpath, New Delhi during the 67th Republic Day Parade, 2016 | Wikimedia Commons

Another controversy erupted on Friday, after the NGO All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) did not recognize Nepali as an official Indian language and banned a participant from performing a Nepali song in a program celebrating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to mark the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence.

The Gorkha community and local elected officials in Darjeeling demand an unconditional apology from the NGO and the dismissal of those responsible for filing the complaint. They also threatened legal action.

“It is shocking that an organization as esteemed as the AIWC has members who seem to be completely unaware that Nepali/Gorkha is spoken by India’s 10.5 million Gorkhas, duly recognized as an Indian language under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India,” Ramesh said. Bastola, the general secretary of Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh, said.

Chandra Prabha Pandey, an executive member of the AIWC, had rejected contributions sent by artists from Kalimbong district in West Bengal for an “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” event while saying that the performances could not be presented in “languages non-Indian”, according to the Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh.

When performers from Kalimpong in West Bengal sent in their contributions, Pandey allegedly rudely told them “we cannot present performances in non-Indian languages,” the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) alleged.

She further insisted that artists cannot send the national anthem sung in Nepali as it is “not a language of India”, the group said.

The AIWC said its management had been seized of the matter and condemned its member’s remark.

“We strongly oppose and condemn the MP’s ignorance. On behalf of all AIWC members, we extend an unconditional apology to our dear Gorkha brothers,” said the statement released by AIWC President Sheela Karkde.

Nepali is a widely used language in the northeast of the country. The Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India contains a list of 22 listed languages. Nepali is one of them.

It seems the AIWC was unaware of this, even though it is literally printed on every Indian banknote.

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