Gorkhaland (Nepali: गोर्खाल्याण्ड) is a proposed state in India demanded by the majority people of Darjeeling hills and the people of Gorkha ethnic origin in Dooars in northern West Bengal. The movement for Gorkhaland has gained momentum in the line of ethno-linguistic-cultural sentiment of the people who desire to identify themselves as Gorkha.
The demand for a separate administrative unit in this region has existed since 1907, when the Hillmen's Association of Darjeeling submitted a memorandum to Minto-Morley Reforms demanding a separate administrative setup.
In Independent India, Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) was the first political party from the region to demand greater identity for the Gorkha ethnic group and economic freedom for the community. In 1980, the Pranta Parishad of Darjeeling wrote to the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, with the need to form a state for the Gorkhas of India.
The movement for a separate state of Gorkhaland gained serious momentum during the 1980s, when a violent agitation was carried out by Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) led by Subhash Ghising. The agitation ultimately led to the establishment of a semiautonomous body in 1988 called the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) to govern certain areas of Darjeeling district. However, in 2008, a new party called the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) raised the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland once again. In 2011, GJM signed an agreement with the state and central governments for the formation of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, a semiautonomous body that replaced the DGHC in the Darjeeling hills.
History of the area 
Before the 1780s, the area of Darjeeling formed a part of dominions of the Chogyal of Sikkim, who had been engaged in unsuccessful warfare against the Gorkhas of Nepal. From 1780, the Gorkhas made several attempts to capture the entire region of Darjeeling. By the beginning of 19th century, they had overrun Sikkim as far eastward as the Teesta River and had conquered and annexed the Terai.
In the meantime, the British were engaged in preventing the Gorkhas from overrunning the whole of the northern frontier. The Anglo-Gorkha war broke out in 1814, which resulted in the defeat of the Gorkhas and subsequently led to the signing of the Sugauli Treaty in 1815. According to the treaty, Nepal had to cede all those territories which the Gorkhas had annexed from the Chogyal of Sikkim to the British East India Company (i.e. the area between Mechi River and Teesta River).
Later in 1817, through the Treaty of Titalia, the British East India Company reinstated the Chogyal of Sikkim, restored all the tracts of land between the Mechi River and the Teesta river to the Chogyal of Sikkim and guaranteed his sovereignty.
The controversy did not end there. Later, in 1835, the hill of Darjeeling, including an enclave of 138 square miles (360 km2), was given to the British East India Company by Sikkim, executed with a Deed of Grant. In November 1864, the Treaty of Sinchula was executed, in which the Bengal Dooars, which originally had been under the Cooch Behar State and taken over by Bhutan in the second half of the eighteenth century with the passes leading into the hills of Bhutan and Kalimpong were ceded to the British by Bhutan. Kalimpong as well had been a part of Sikkim and was occupied by Bhutan in 1700; but according to the Treaty Sincula was ceded to British India along with the eleven Bengal Dooars; though seven Assam Dooars had already been taken over by the British in 1942. The present Darjeeling district can be said to have assumed its present shape and size in 1866 with an area of 1234 sq. miles.
Prior to 1861 and from 1870–1874, Darjeeling District was a "Non-Regulated Area" (where acts and regulations of the British Raj did not automatically apply in the district in line with rest of the country, unless specifically extended). From 1862 to 1870, it was considered a "Regulated Area". The term "Non-Regulated Area" was changed to "Scheduled District" in 1874 and again to "Backward Tracts" in 1919. The status was known as "Partially Excluded Area" from 1935 until the independence of India.
Agitation under GNLF and formation of DGHC 
In the 1980s, Subhash Ghisingh raised the demand for the creation of a state called Gorkhaland within India to be carved out of the hills of Darjeeling and areas of Dooars and Siliguri terai contiguous to Darjeeling. The demand took a violent turn, which led to the death of over 1,200 people. This movement culminated with the formation of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in 1988. The DGHC administered the Darjeeling hills for 23 years with some degree of autonomy.
The fourth DGHC elections were due in 2004. However, the government decided not to hold elections and instead made Subhash Ghisingh the sole caretaker of the DGHC till a new Sixth Schedule tribal council was established. Resentment among the former councillors of DGHC grew rapidly. Among them, Bimal Gurung, once the trusted aide of Ghising, decided to break away from the GNLF. Riding on a mass support for Prashant Tamang, an Indian Idol contestant from Darjeeling, Bimal quickly capitalized on the public support he received for supporting Prashant, and was able to overthrow Ghisingh from the seat of power. He went on to found the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha raising the demand a state of Gorkhaland.
Agitation under GJM 
Ahead of the 2009 general elections in India, the Bharatiya Janata Party again announced its policy of having smaller states and to create two more states, Telangana and Gorkhaland, if they won the general election. GJM supported the candidature of Jaswant Singh of BJP, who won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat with 51.5% votes in his favour. In the July 2009 budget session of Parliament, three Parliamentarians— Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sushma Swaraj and Jaswant Singh—strongly pleaded for creating a state of Gorkhaland.
The demand for Gorkhaland took a new turn with the assassination of Madan Tamang, leader of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League. He was stabbed to death allegedly by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supporters on 21 May 2010, in Darjeeling, which led to a spontaneous shutdown in the three Darjeeling hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong. After the murder of Madan Tamang, the West Bengal government threatened action against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, whose senior leaders are named in the FIR, meanwhile hinting discontinuation of ongoing talks over interim arrangement with the Gorkha party, saying it had "lost popular support following the assassination".
On 8 February 2011, three GJM activists were shot dead (one of whom succumbed to her injuries later) by the police as they tried to enter Jalpaiguri district on a padyatra led by Bimal Gurung from Gorubathan to Jaigaon. This led to violence in the Darjeeling hills and an indefinite strike was called by GJM that lasted 9 days.
In the West Bengal state assembly election, 2011 held on 18 April 2011, GJM candidates won three Darjeeling hill assembly seats, proving that the demand for Gorkhaland was still strong in Darjeeling. GJM candidates Trilok Dewan won from Darjeeling constituency,  Harka Bahadur Chhetri from Kalimpong constituency, and Rohit Sharma from Kurseong constituency. Wilson Champramari, an independent candidate supported by GJM, also won from Kalchini constituency in the Dooars.
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration 
The memorandum of agreement for the formation of a Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), a semi-autonomous administrative body for the Darjeeling hills, was signed on 18 July 2011. Earlier, during the West Bengal assembly election (2011) campaign, Mamata Banerjee had promised that the issue of Gorkhaland would be resolved. While Mamata implied that this would be the end of the Gorkhaland movement, Bimal Gurung reiterated that this was just another step towards statehood. Both spoke publicly at the same venue in Pintail Village near Siliguri, where the tripartite agreement was signed. A bill for the creation of GTA was passed in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on 2 September 2011. The West Bengal government issued a gazette notification for the GTA Act on 14 March 2012, signalling preparations for elections for the GTA. In the elections of the GTA held on 29 July 2012, GJM candidates won from 17 constituencies and the rest 28 seats unopposed.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Gorkhaland|
- A documentary on the Gorkhaland movement (Bengali)
- An English subtitled documentary on the Gorkhaland movement
- A digital library of various articles, documents, photos and videos of Gorkhaland