‘Bir Gorkhali’

A complete history of Gorkhas settled in Nagaland prior to Indian Independence & their present Scenario in Nagaland

Jacob Sundas
President, Gorkha Students’ Union Chümoukedima District

“Gorkhas" who were settled in the hills and valleys, towns and villages of Nagaland State (erstwhile Naga Hills) prior to Indian Independence, they initially came as construction workers, tea and mining labourers, and military personnel to fit into the colonial designs of the British. If we look back to the history of Gorkhas settled in Nagaland the early settlements of Gorkha families who settled in the (erstwhile Naga Hills) prior to 1963, those District was Kohima, Dimapur, Chümoukedima, Mokokchung, Wokha, Tuensang, Kiphire, Mon, Longleng, Peren and Phek. Since then the Gorkha Community settled in Nagaland are living in peace and harmony with our Naga brethren. Gorkhas were been recognized through a Government of Nagaland gazette notification, dated October 22, 1974 around more than hundreds Gorkha families and their descendants who have settled in Nagaland (erstwhile Naga Hills) prior to December 31, 1940 in the three districts of Kohima, Mokokchung and Wokha was been declared “Non Naga Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland and accorded certain rights and privileges such as equal property rights, equal educational facilities and equal facilities for industrial license and loan.

Many Gorkha Community in Nagaland State who were settled permanently in Nagaland decided not to return to Nepal or other parts of India and the fact is that they will live and die here in Nagaland only. But today many of the Gorkhas themselves; seem to be aware of the Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 which legalizes our immigration to India. In Nagaland Gorkhas were settled in the state prior to Indian Independence and in addition to a floating population today there are 30,000-35,000 Gorkhas settled in Nagaland. During the early settlement the Gorkha Community built a close bond with the Nagas and till dated the Nagas are giving full protection to the Gorkhas of Nagaland. The gorkhas are known for our hardwork and honesty and the nature of Gorkha community are united that is the reason till dated the Gorkha Community has preserved their histriocal records of their settlement in Nagaland State.

Gorkhas Versus Nepalese many people in Nagaland wonder and are confused about 'Gorkhas & Nepalese’. The term “Gorkha’’ is distinguish to the Indian Nepalese from-those of Nepal who have migrated & permanently settled to India. Whereas the word "Nepalese" in the sense that the "Nepalese" represents a culture-linguistic denomination and people of Nepal. Therefore, every Indian Nepali should be called as Gorkha who are the citizen of India.

Even when it comes to the context study of Gorkhas of Nagaland Lt. Hari Prasad, is termed as a jewel of the Gorkhas of Nagaland he wrote about the genesis of Gorkhas in Nagaland. He was renowned literary figure, whose literary works was appreciated nationally and internationally. He started his literary journey in the year 1931. Lt. Hari Prasad Gorkha Rai was also an active social worker. He initiated to open LP. Schools in Chandmari & Aradhura, Kohima during Pre-Independence time, which are now known as Govt. ME. School Chandmari and Govt LP School, Aradhura. The Singha Devi Mandir at Chandmari, Kohima is also one of the oldest Gorkha Mandir in Nagaland. The inception of this Mandir can be dated back to the 1880"s. The Singrijan Village situated under Chümoukedima District is also the only Gorkha Village in Nagaland which also shows that Gorkha Community was one of the first Non-Naga settlers in Nagaland prior to Indian Independence who stood with the locals and supported them in building the Nagaland during their difficulties time.

Today we the Gorkhas of Nagaland is residing among different Naga Tribes, being Honest & Hardworking we are adapting the habitat of Nagaland. But in order to lead a decent and respectable life, a means of sustainable livelihoods is the need of the hour for the Gorkha Community in Nagaland. Our Forefathers generations who have settled in Nagaland in (erstwhile Naga Hills) prior to Indian Independence had a good relationship with Naga people in the blend of Naga history but the resplendent past is not helping us to move into a secure future at present.