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Indian Gorkhas (Nepali: भारतीय गोर्खा, Bharatiya Gorkha) are Nepali language-speaking Indian citizens. The term "Indian Gorkha" is used to differentiate between Gorkhas who are Indian citizens and those who are Nepali citizens and are allowed to stay in India as per the Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship (1950).
Indian Gorkhas are citizens of India as per the Gazette notification of the Government of India on the issue of citizenship of the Gorkhas of India. However, the Indian Gorkhas are faced with a unique identity crisis with regard to their Indian citizenship because of the Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship (1950) that permits "on a reciprocal basis, the nationals of one country in the territories of the other the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature". Thus, there are also many Nepalese citizens of Nepal living in India. The Indian Gorkhas are mistakenly identified as Nepali people, which has led to several movements of the Indian Gorkhas, including the Gorkhaland movement, for a clear recognition of their Indian identity and citizenship.
Demand for Gorkhaland state
The quest of the Indian Gorkhas for a distinct Indian identity has given rise to the demand for a state of Gorkhaland within the Constitution of India under Article 3(a). The Gorkhas believe that with the establishment of a state for the Gorkhas within India, every Indian Gorkha would have an Indian address that would quell any doubts of their Indian citizenship. The proposed state of Gorkhaland comprises the district of Darjeeling and the adjoining areas of the Dooars in North Bengal. Two mass movements for Gorkhaland have already taken place under the Gorkha National Liberation Front (1986–1988) and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (2007–to date).
Castes and clans
The Indian Gorkhas are a mixture of Indo-Aryan castes and Mongoloid-featured clans. The Indo-Aryan castes include the Bahun (Brahmins), Chhetri (Khatriyas/Khatris), Thakuri (Rajputs), Kami, Damai, Sarki, etc. The Mongoloid/hybrid group is a heterogeneous mixture of various clans and ethnic groups, including Gurung, Magar, Newar, Tamang, Thami, Bhujel (Khawas), Rai (Khambu), Limbu (Subba), Sunuwar (Mukhia), Yakkha (Dewan), Sherpa, Yolmo, etc. Although each of them has their own language (belonging to the Tibeto-Burman or Indo-Burman languages), the lingua franca among the Gorkhas is the Nepali language with its script in Devnagari. The Nepali language, which is one of the official languages of India, is the common binding thread of all Gorkha castes and clans.
Notable Indian Gorkhas
- Ram Singh Thakurii – Nepali Indian Freedom Fighter and music composer of Kadam Kadam Badaye Ja and Subh Sukh Chain
- Major Durga Malla – Indian Freedom Fighter
- Lieutenant-Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa - Param Vir Chakra recipient
- Nar Bahadur Bhandari – Former Chief Minister of Sikkim
- Pawan Kumar Chamling – Chief Minister of Sikkim
- Damber Singh Gurung - Indian Gorkha representative in the Constituent Assembly of India
- Mahendra P. Lama - Founding vice chancellor of Sikkim University
- Bharat Chettri – Hockey player (former captain of Indian hockey team)
- Bhaichung Bhutia – Indian Footballer (former captain of Indian Football team & Arjuna Award recipient 1998)
- Nirmal Chettri – Indian footballer
- Sunil Chhetri – Indian footballer (Arjuna Award recipient 2011)
- Binod Pradhan – Nepalese & Bollywood cinematographer
- Geetanjali Thapa – Bollywood actress (National Film Award for Best Actress recipient 2013)
- Louis Banks – Jazz musician
- Ranjit Gazmer – Indian film musician
- Prajwal Parajuly - English language writer and novelist
- Trilochan Pokhrel - Indian freedom fighter
- Sanju Pradhan – Indian Footballer, East Bengal F.C.
- Tarundeep Rai – Archer, Asian Games 2011 silver medalist, Arjuna Award recipient 2005)
- Soumya Rai - Dancer
- Mala Sinha – Indian Bollywood actress in Nepali and Bengali cinemas
- Pratibha Sinha - Bollywood Indian actress (daughter of actress Mala Sinha and Nepali actor C.P. Lohani)
- Shiva Thapa – Boxer (youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the Olympic Games)
- Hira Devi Waiba - Nepali language folk singer
- Prashant Tamang - Singer/actor of Nepali Film, winner of Indian Idol Season 3
- Bipul Chettri - Nepali singer/composer
- Rangu Souriya - Social worker
- Chobilal Upadhya - Prominent figure of Indian Independence Movement and first President of Assam Pardesh Congress Committee
- Shihan Pemba Tamang - Former World Karate Champion, 8th dan black belt, first non-Japanese to finish the Kenshusei (Instructor course), Chief Instructor of Nihon Shotokan Karate Do- Federation.
- India and Nepal. Treaty of Peace and Friendship. Signed at Kathmandu, on 31 July 1950. untreaty.un.org
- http://gorkhalandstate.blogspot.in/p/gazette-notification-on-issue-of.html. Gorkhaland State website. Retrieved on 2012-12-23.
- http://www.darjeelingtimes.com/opinions/political/5163-flawed-media-reporting-hurts-gorkha-community-.html ‘Flawed’ media reporting hurts Gorkha community
- Barun Roy (2012). Gorkhas and Gorkhaland. Darjeeling, India: Parbati Roy Foundation.