Contesting authority in Darjeeling: The politics of “Gorkhaland”

Movements for new Union States in India are often interpreted as expressions of a deepening democracy and attempts for a decentralisation of political power. Contrary to such perceptions, evidence from the “Gorkhaland” movement in Darjeeling/West Bengal suggests that the state preferential treatment of a regional party claiming leadership of the Statehood movement has instead contributed to the establishment of a dominant party regime in Darjeeling which shrinks spaces for political participation and expression.

Miriam Wenner is a PhD candidate from University of Zurich, Switzerland. In 2010 she graduated in geography from Bonn University, Germany, with a study on the effects of food assistance on recipients in a remote village in the Nepalese Himalayas.

Her recent research focuses on regional struggles over political authority and legitimacy in India. Exploring the role of ethno-regional ideology, leadership, patronage, and violence within a Statehood movement she takes a critical look at the role of so called social movements in the broader context of “democratisation” and “decentralisation” of political power.

Prathama Banerjee is Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Monday, 15 September 2014, 3.30 pm    
CSDS Seminar Room