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Sunday, May 22, 2011

GPTO strike on 23 may, .... Hope for Chattrey freedom... HH the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje visits Darjeeling

KalimNews: A meeting of central committee of GPTO held in Darjeeling today decided to withdraw bundh in educational institutions on 24 May in view of the ongoing examinations in different schools. Swaraj Gurung, President of Intensive Unit of the organisation in Kalimpong disclosed it today. According to Gurung, the schools would remain closed only on 23 May, Monday. 
Earlier the organisation had announced two days shut down in all the educational institutions across the hills which created confusion among the guardians and the school authorities as well. According to another output it is learnt that the central committee members of the GPTO have planned to meet Anil Verma, Care Taker Administrator of DGHC on 23 May to discuss the prevailing matter. It is presumed that the outcome of tomorrow's meeting would give final shape to the agitational programme of the organisation.
In the meantime, the JSTO and Vidyarthi Morcha have also extended their support towards the movement of GPTO

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, May 22: The Gorkha Primary Teachers’ Organisation has called for the closure of all educational institutions, including ICSE schools, across the hills tomorrow to press for the fulfilment of a number of demands, foremost of which is the appointment of 4,000 teachers.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha-affiliated organisation had earlier called for a two-day strike at educational institutions on May 23 and 24. But the GPTO decided to make it a one-day shutdown following a meeting between Morcha and association leaders.
The GPTO has kept colleges outside the purview of the strike.
“We have decided to call a strike at educational institutions, including higher secondary and private institutions. However, the strike has been called only for a day. The decision has been taken after consulting the leaders of the Morcha,” said Benedict Gurung, the president of the GPTO.
Apart from the 11-point charter of demands, the GPTO also wants the transfer of P.T. Sherpa, the educational secretary of the DGHC. The association says “nothing (with regard to their demands) is going to move forward” as long as Sherpa remains as the education secretary.
“We waited till May 20 but we have received no assurances from the council till date on our demands,” said Gurung.
The GPTO had called a three-day strike at primary schools starting from May 17 to press for the fulfilment of demands. Besides the appointment of 4,000 primary school teachers across the hills, the GPTO has placed 10 other demands also. The formation of a District Primary School Council in place of District School Board as in other districts and establishment of a district project office for the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan are some of the demands
It is learnt that the Morcha leadership has impressed upon the primary school teachers that they should restrict the educational strike to only a day.
“The Morcha leaders will meet the DGHC administrator tomorrow. Depending on the outcome of the meeting tomorrow, we will decide on the fate of our pre-announced agitation,” said Gurung.
The GPTO had earlier announced the closure of all government offices and educational institutions, including colleges, on May 26 followed by a rally and public meeting on May 30. The teachers have also threatened to call a 24 hour-general strike on May 31 and an indefinite hunger strike from June 1.
Funeral party accident
During a truck accident carrying funeral party, 16 passengers were injured. All had minor injuries and released after first aid,while the truck WB 73A 6786 met with an accident while retuning from Labarbotay near Chitrey.
Headlines: 3 arrested with fake currency worth 12 lakh in Siliguri
Hope for Chattrey freedom
RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Kalimpong, May 22: The supporters of Chattrey Subba and five other accused in the case relating to the abortive attempt on the life of GNLF president are hoping Mamata Banerjee’s decision to form a committee to review the release of political prisoners would eventually ensure their freedom after spending more than 10 years in jail.
The CPRM, which has been campaigning for the release of all the accused, said it welcomed the chief minister’s decision to set up the review committee and hoped that they would be set free at the earliest.
“The new government should release them without wasting a day. Chattrey and the others are victims of political conspiracy of the erstwhile Left Front government and the GNLF,” said Gobind Chhetri, the CPRM spokesperson.
The 62-year-old Subba has been languishing in prison since April 20, 2001 after he was arrested from Nepal for allegedly masterminding the attack on GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh near Kurseong on February 10 the same year. Although Ghisingh had escaped with injuries, a policeman had died in the incident when the GNLF chief’s convoy was ambushed by gunmen on Pankhabari Road, a few kilometres from Kurseong.
The other accused still languishing in jail are Saran Dewan, Kumar Chettri, Shyam Bahadur Karki, Bijay Chettri and Gunjay Lama.
The names of all the six will figure in the list of political prisoners being prepared by the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR). “Even after 10 years, Subba’s trial remains incomplete. He being denied a bail in all these years goes against the principle of natural rights,” said an APDR source.
Subba was the chief of the Gorkha Volunteers’ Cell, the militant wing of the GNLF, during the Gorkhaland agitation of the 1980s. He formed the Gorkha Liberation Organisation after quitting the GNLF. He fell out with Ghisingh over the GNLF’s decision to accept the DGHC, instead of Gorkhaland.
HH the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje visits Darjeeling to empower His devotees
KalimNews, PR, Darjeeling, May 22, 2011: The people of Kalimpong were enthralled by the presence of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje during the Buddha Purnima celebration. Following His first visit to Kalimpong after more than two years, His Holiness visited the Darjeeling area of West Bengal, heeding the repeated requests of His countless devotees. During His two-day visit in the area on 21 and 22 May 2011, His Holiness visited schools and monasteries in the Darjeeling region.
On the way to Takdah on May 21, His Holiness stopped at the following gonpas (monasteries), temples and schools: Urgyen Tenpa Rapten Ling Monastery, Jinglam Uday Government High School, Gielle Government High School, Thegsum Chhoiling Buddhist Monastery, Batakeswar Shiv Mandir, Green-Shield Private Academy, Shri Diwakar, Sarbajanik Lama Boudha Sangha, Takdah Private Jr. High School, Takling Dopkhang Chhoikhorling Gonpa and Saraswati High School. Thousands of monks, nuns and students got an opportunity to meet His Holiness and seek His blessings.
Addressing the students at various schools His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje stressed the vital importance of education: “Education is one of the utmost importance, since it is the key to peace and prosperity in general, and it also represents the first step towards inner peace. Therefore, I am very grateful that all the necessary facilities for a good education are available for all of you. May you (the students) be able to benefit all sentient beings!”
On May 22, at 12:00pm, His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa bestowed the wang (empowerment) of Avalokiteshvara (tib. Chenresig), the Buddha aspect representing enlightened compassion, to His devotees. The transmission took place at the big playground in Takdah, Darjeeling. Several thousands of His devotees had gathered in Takdah for this precious opportunity to receive this empowerment and meet with their spiritual master.
Police feedback form
Prabin Khaling, Gangtok, May 22: If your Sikkim sojourn is ruined by dangerous driving or inflated fares from a taxi driver, collect and fill up a feedback form and just hand it over to any traffic cop or post it back after you return to your hometown.
Serious charges alleged in the form, also available online in a Facebook page of the East district traffic police, will attract investigations and action against the errant driver, says the traffic police here.
The East district traffic police had from Saturday started circulating these forms to drivers, hotels and tour operators in Gangtok seeking feedback from tourists on quality of services extended to them by taxi drivers.
The form asks the passengers to tick out whether they were overcharged, felt safe and comfortable while travelling, whether the driver was over speeding , smoked or used mobile phones while driving or was drunk and whether he was courteous. There is also a space for tourists to record good performance of the drivers.
A remark box has been added in the form where the tourists and passengers can pen down suggestions on tourism, traffic management, roads and anything about their experiences while traveling around Sikkim.
Around 3,000 forms were handed out on Saturday to tourists at 3rd Mile checkpost travelling towards Tsomgo Lake, Vajra taxi stand for those travelling towards North Sikkim and the Deorali taxi stand for those moving towards Siliguri after completing their Sikkim trip.
The feedback forms are also available online in Facebook page where suggestions are also solicited from locals for improving traffic management system in the capital.
A suggestion-cum-complaint box has also been installed at the traffic police booth near tourism information centre in Gangtok for the convenience of the tourists.
“We have uploaded a format for feedback in the Facebook page, for feedback on errant and dangerous drivers. It can be filled in electronically or downloaded and sent through email or post after tourists reach back to their home towns”, said deputy superintendent of police (East & North Sikkim traffic) Dhiren Lama.
For immediate attention, tourists or locals can also hand over feedback forms to any police station, outpost or traffic cop on duty or to Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS), Sikkim Hotels & Restaurants Association (SHRA), hotel reception and tourism office here at Gangtok.
Earlier, the only recourse for tourists were to lodge a complaint to the nearest police station.
Lama informed that the contents in the form will continue to evolve depending on the suggestions and analysis of the feedback on the performance of the drivers. This is our initial introduction and we will wait for suggestions from the people, he said.
It was explained that these forms will be studied and those drivers, who have regular negative remarks, will be observed. Serious allegations will be immediately investigated.
The forms will serve like an ACR (Annual Confidential Report) of the drivers, it was told.
Associations, to which these drivers are affiliated with, would be called in to sensitize and correct those who have received adverse remarks.
Even locals coming from Siliguri to Gangtok can make use of these forms and submit their complaints, if any, with the traffic police.
The traffic police have also teamed up SHRA for adequate distribution and availability of such forms at any counter of those 670 hotels in Gangtok. Tourists can simply ask for these feedback forms from the hotel counter, fill it and leave it there for submission to traffic cop or reach to the nearest traffic police on duty, said SHRA president Bhanu Rasaily.
“We distributed around 600 forms at the 15 odd hotels located at MG Marg here in Gangtok. These forms will be made available the hotel counters. We have decided to print 10,000 forms for this year and will distribute 3,000 forms for this season which is nearing its end”, said Rasaily.
The involvement of traffic police, tour operators and hoteliers for this exercise aims to improve the transporter services to the tourists and place a safe driving practice along the roads of Sikkim by keeping the drivers under constant observance through the feedback forms.
Sikkim had recorded 71 deaths due to vehicular mishaps last year, out of which, twenty percent were tourists, said Lama.
“If we manage to instill a sense of safety among the tourists while travelling, this will boost tourism inflow in Sikkim. Tourists will also now be happy that there is an easy system in place to check poor transportation services in Sikkim. Once the word spreads around, it will help in bringing in more tourists in Sikkim”, said Rasaily.
TAAS joint secretary and tour operator Phurba Sherpa, who sends 15-20 vehicles carrying tourists to Tsomgo Lake daily, said that most of the drivers don’t have any problems with this drive of the traffic police. Drivers have already started becoming alert on knowing that their performance and services can know be monitored by their passengers.
Locals can also post pictures to the Facebook page of the traffic police to report violations of traffic rules.

26 मईको दिन भाजपाको कलुकमा भोकहड्ताल
भ्रष्ट्राचारीहरूलाई नाके डोरी लगाएर जनताको अघि उभ्याउऩे छौंःलातेन शेर्पा
गान्तोक,22 मई। भारतीय जनता पार्टीले शहरबाट सोझौ गाउँमा रहेका समस्याहरूलाई अन द स्पट विरोध गर्ने निर्णय गर्दै आगामी 26 मईको दिनदेखि पश्चिम सिक्किमको कलुक बजारमा भोकहड्ताल गर्ने घोषणा गरेको छ। भाजपाका राज्य सचिव लातेन शेर्पाले  ग्रामिण स्तरसम्म राज्यमा भ्रष्ट्राचार भएको बताउँदै आजदेखि जनतालाई अवगत गराउन गाउँलेस्तरका भ्रष्ट्राचारहरूको बेलिबिस्तार लगाएर पर्चा वितरण गर्दै भोकहड्तालको निम्ति आम नागरिकलाई पनि उपस्थिति दर्ता गर्ने आह्वान शुरु गरेका छन्। सचिव लातेनले भने, आगामी 26 मई 2011को दिन भारतीय जनता पार्टी सिक्किम राज्यशाखाद्वारा पवन चामलिङ सरकारको नौटङ्कीपूर्ण सिक्किम भ्रमण र सिक्किममा भएको खपिनसक्नु र भनिनसक्नु भ्रष्ट्राचारको विरूद्धमा पश्चिम सिक्किमो कलुक बजारमा एकदिने भोक हड्ताल आयोजन गरिएको छ। उनले यो भोकहड्ताल सांकेति हड्ताल रहेको बताउँदै अब उसो तृणमूलस्तरबाटै भाजपाले भ्रष्ट्राचार निर्मूल पार्ने आन्दोलन थालेको बताए। उनले सिक्किमका सबै नागरिकलाई आफ्नो हक अधिकारको खोजी गर्न भय र त्रासमुक्त भएर अघि आउन आह्वान गरेका छन्। उनले मुख्यमन्त्री चामलिङको खोइरो खन्दै भने, पवन चामलिङले 17 वर्षसम्म निदाएर अहिले एकसय दिनभित्रमा आकाश र पाताल जोड्छु भन्दैछ, जनतालाई अलमल्याउन मेरो वचन ढुंगामा खोपेको अक्षर भन्थ्यो त्यो अक्षर अहिले मेटिएर गएको छ। तिनले अझ हियाएर आफ्नो कुरा राख्दै भने, बाटो,पानी पुल, स्कूल, अस्पताल, बिजुली जस्ता जनताका बुनियादी पूर्वाधारहरूको कमिशन काएर अहिले जनतालाई धुलो खुवाउन सडकै-सडक सिक्किम भ्रमणको नाटक गर्दैछ।
उनले कलुक क्षेत्रमा भएको भ्रष्ट्राचारमाथि प्रकाश पार्दै भने, 2009 सालमा सोरेङ कलुकको निम्ति सडक बलियो पार्न र अलकत्रा ओछ्याउन 8 करोड 93 लाख 11 हजार 294 रूपियाँ छुट्याएर अहिले पैसा पचाइसकेर पनि सडक बनिएको छैन, यसको जिम्मेवार को हो। यसैगरि कलुक रिञ्चेनपोङको निम्ति सडकमा कालो अलकत्र ओछ्याउऩे 25 लाख रूपियाँ दिएर पनि काम भएन, काम सकियो अलकत्रा कता गयो थाहा भएन यसको जवाफ कसले दिने तिनले प्रश्न तेर्साए। यसैगिर साङदोर्जी नामगोङमा टुरिष्ट लज निर्माण नभइ बेहाल भएको छ तर सरकारले जनतालाई झुक्याएर झुटो कुरो गर्दै सडक-सडक घुमिरहेका छन्,उनले आरोप लगाए। उनले भने, अब भ्रष्टचार विरूद्ध भाजपाले गाण्डीव उठाएको छ भने भ्रष्ट्राचारीहरूलाई नाके डोरी लगाएर जनताको अघि नाङ्गोझार पार्नेछौं। यसको निम्ति उनले राज्यका सबै जनसमुदाय देवी-देवराली सिमे भुमेलाई भ्रष्ट्राचार मासेर सिक्किम आमाको दुधको ऋण तिर्न सबैको सहयोग र एकवद्धता हुनुपर्ने मन्तव्य जाहेर गरेका छन्। सचिव शेर्पाले यो एकदिन भोग हड्तालमा राज्य समितिका सबै पदाधिकारीहरूले पनि भाग लिऩे तथा भ्रष्ट्राचारको विरोधमा अभियानै शुरु गर्ने बताए।
दरामदिनको महायज्ञ आयोजन समिति भङ्ग
दरामदिन, 22 मई। यहाँको सर्वधर्म केन्द्र साई मन्दिर परिसरमा गत 9 मईदेखि 15 मईसम्म आयोजन गरिएको विराट श्रीमत भागवत् महाज्ञान यज्ञ आयोजन समितिद्वारा आइतबार बैठक बसेर यज्ञ आयोजन गर्न सहयोग गर्ने सबैमा आभार प्रकट गरेको छ। 
श्री सत्य साई सर्वधर्म केन्द्रमा बसेको बैठकमा यज्ञ आयोजन समिति भङ्ग गरियो भने आगामी वर्ष साई सर्वधर्मकेन्द्र निर्माणको पाँचौ वर्षगाँठको अवसरमा अझ भव्यताको साथमा यज्ञ आयोजन गर्ने समितिले निर्णय लिएको छ। यसैगरि बैठकमा समितिका अध्यक्ष  पवित्र राईले आफ्नो सम्बोधनमा समितिद्वारा लिइएको निर्णयहरूबारे जानकारी गराए। जसमा आगामी वर्षदेखि यज्ञ अवधिमा आधिकारीकरूपमा कुनै पनि राजनैतिक नेतालाई अतिथिको रूपमा नबोलाउऩे उनले बताए। उनले भने, राजनेताहरूलाई स्याहर्ने समयमा आम मानिसले  भागवतको रसपान गर्ने मौका पाउँदैनन् यसकारण आगामी वर्षदेखि आफू खुसी आउऩेहरूलाई केही रोकटोक छैन तर समितिद्वारा भीआइपी बोलाउने प्रथाबन्द गर्ने निर्णय लिएको छ। यसैगरि आगामी वर्षदेखि मानिसहरूको घर-घरमा चन्दा संकलन गर्ने प्रथालाई पनि बन्द गर्दै श्रद्धालुहरूले जति दिन्छन् त्यसैको आधारमा यज्ञ सम्पन्न गराउने बताए। सभामा महासचीव बीआर कोइरालाले सचिवको प्रतिवेदन पेश गरेका थिए भने कोषाध्यक्ष हर्कनारायण प्रधानले आयव्ययको हरहिसाब सुनाए। जसमा यसपाली यज्ञको निम्ति सात लाख 52 हजार 7 सय 62 रूपियाँ संकलन भएको त्यसमा 7 लाख 38 हजार 6 सय 81 रूपियाँ खर्च भएको उनले बताए। रहल रकमलाई साईसेवा समितिद्वारा संचालित गुरूकुल पाठशालाको फर्निचर निर्माणको निम्ति सहयोग प्रदान गर्ने सभाले निर्णय लियो। बैठकका अध्यक्ष तथा लोवर थाम्बोङ ग्राम पञ्चायत एकाईका अध्यक्ष  केबी थेगिमले  पनि आफ्नो सम्बोधनमा क्षेत्रमा आध्यात्मिक कार्यक्रमले समाजको संस्कारीत हुने तथा आध्यात्म ज्ञानले युवाहरूमा राम्रो प्रभाव पार्ने बताए। बैठकमा यज्ञ अवधि भरि निःशुल्क स्वस्थ्य जाँच शिविर आयोजन गरिदिने चिकित्सक डॉ युवराज रिजाललाई सम्मान जनाइयो। बैठकमा दरामदिन सरकारी विद्यालयका प्रधानअध्यपक एचबी रिजाल लगायत  समितिका सबै कार्यकारी सदस्यहरूको उपस्थिति रहेको थियो।
New CM brings officials from Delhi to reconstruct Writers

Mamata Banerjee inspects the Writers Buildings with Shovon Chatterjee on Saturday
Mamata Banerjee inspects the Writers Buildings

Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay, Sun May 22 2011, Kolkata: In a bid to rebuild and reconstruct the Chief Minister’s office (CMO), Mamata Banerjee has brought in a host of officials from Delhi, who used to work both for her at the Ministry of Railways and for Mukul Roy, former minister of state for shipping.
Reconstructing the CMO is one of her priorities and while speaking to reporters today, the new Chief Minister said that the CMO would be given more office space and would be strengthened as well.
Yesterday after assuming office, Banerjee took a round of the CMO and said: “The rooms are unhygeinic and small. They will have to be made bigger.”
The officials who have been brought here include Gautam Sanyal, OSD, Railways, Shantanu Bose, her private secretary in the ministry, Barun Roy, private secretary to Mukul Roy, Nazrul Islam, of the Railways.
Ratan Mukherjee and Ashok Subramaniam, two of her personal secretaries have also been brought here.
According to officials of the CMO, Banerjee will appoint IAS officers in the posts of joint secretaries in the CMO. Earlier, such posts were filled up by WBCS officers. “She has kept major portfolios like Home, Health, Land and land reforms, Information and Culture, Power with her and it is better to keep these departments under IAS officers so that work can be expedited. However, no formal orders have been issued so far,” a senior bureaucrat told The Sunday Express.

Hidden beauty
Chitra Ramaswamy, Deccan Chronicle, Sunday, 22 May 2011: It is a steep, hairpin descent from Ghoom, where we are holidaying, to the main road that takes us anywhere out of Darjeeling. Our chauffeur deftly navigates through the narrow alleyways that are choked with creatures of all sizes and shapes, including the human species. Add to this chaotic street scene is the mist that borders on fog, making for poor or near nil visibility. We are on our way to Mirik, a relatively less explored hill station at an altitude of 1767m, midway between Siliguri and Darjeeling, about 50 km from each place.
The name Mirik comes from Mir-Yok, the Lepcha words meaning place burnt by fire. It is two hours to our destination but the journey to it through serpentine roads is as picturesque and splendorous as Mirik itself. Of course, the first half-an-hour drive is fraught with tension as a heavy blanket of fog envelops us.
The landscape en route shifts between verdant and rolling tea gardens and rich forests of crytomaria-japanica trees that appear to drape space and sky. We are 15 minutes away from Mirik when we are stopped by giggling school children smartly attired in maroon and grey. They are late for school and ask to hitch a ride with us to Mirik where their school is situated. Half a dozen of them bundle into our car, continuing to giggle through the way. We bid goodbye to them as they alight at their school gate and proceed a few hundred yards to reach Somendu Lake, Mirik’s centre of attraction. The sun is at its mildest best as mist hovers over the 1.25-km-long lake.
Several eateries dot the lake area and we enter one of them for a cup of masala chai. Since it is still early for tourists to begin arriving, the proprietor engages us in an easy conversation.
Feeling energised after an aromatic cuppa, we amble along the 3.5-km promenade circumscribing the lake. Towering pine trees and lush gardens overlook the lake on the side opposite the walkway. The 80-foot-long, arched Indreni Pull footbridge links the two sides of the lake.
We cannot help being awe-struck at our environs with the imposing Kanchenjunga peak serving as the backdrop to this rich verdure that is strewn with maple, oak and chestnut trees.
The crowds begin coming in and the sun too becomes a trifle more daring. The fishes in the lake’s backwaters are demanding to have their breakfast of puffed rice, entertaining us with leaps and jumps in the bargain. We also pitch in our bit to humour the Pisceans.
As their grub touches water they bob up, opening their little mouths as wide as they can to grab their catch. I try to capture them on my digital camera and don’t do a bad job of it!
Satiated with this exercise, we walk down a few hundred metres to access the footbridge but not before stopping for a couple of crisply roasted and spiced bhuttas (corncobs).
We continue to explore the garden and come upon a flight of uneven steps to reach a Shiv mandir, nestled amidst dense woods. Paying our obeisance to Shivji, we move towards the boating area. We take a leisurely “cruise” in one of the shikaras.
The reflections of the Kanchenjunga in Somendu’s crystal waters have us gushing in ecstasy. The moderate sun and the symphony of the oars against the placid cerulean flow lull us and we dreamily rove our surrounds, willing ourselves to keep our eyes open.
Satiated after an hour’s ride, we groggily wend our way to the parking lot and move on to see some of Mirik’s other sites that include the Rameetay Dara, a vantage point from where we get a panoramic view of the town in its various shades.
En route we visit a monastery and watch with amazement its little monks, engaged in friendly banter and enjoying a late afternoon siesta. Mirik and its environs have us truly spellbound.
By air: The airport nearest to Mirik is in Bagdogra at a distance of 55 km
BY road & rail: The broad gauge railhead at New Jalpiaguri caters to the rail transportation to Mirik but is 60 km away from the hill resort. The excellent road network links Mirik with other important places like Bagdogra, Siliguri, Kurseong and Darjeeling
where to stay: Accommodation is easily available at Mirik. You may take your pick from the many hotels, tourist lodge, tourist hostel and tourist cottages in Mirik.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Mirik is pleasant all through the year. The temperature variations range between 13 and 30 degrees in summers and winters respectively.
(The writer is a travel enthusiast.)
Flying sex workers - The Untold Story
Urgen Yolmo, Darjeeling Times
The opening line of Paulo Coelho’s work, Eleven Minutes goes “Once upon a time there was a prostitute…”. It is said that every girl lives in a fantasy where she weaves a world which has its advent with this very line “Once upon a time…” and ends with “…happily ever after.”, but often it is forgotten that there exists discrepancies, as all girls are not endowed with the same kind of lives— some are born with predicaments, others are pushed into them, so their lives end with no semblance of a happy ending. Such a situation is created by the society, and thus the aforementioned line by Coelho sounds almost as if it were a deviance and that sex workers are not supposed to have wishes and desires. The sex workers are marginalized beyond boundaries by our society: calling them names, viewing them as being immoral and considering them a taboo in the society. But what is not considered is the fact that after all this, they will not cease to exist in the society because they are created by the society itself.
Flesh trade in Darjeeling is still rampant, albeit the only brothel that existed about three decades ago is no more in business. Sex workers here do not have a fixed place of business, and they meet their clients outside in varied places. These types of sex workers are called Flying Sex Workers (FSW). It is estimated that there are more than five hundred FSWs in Darjeeling and they work in different places in a discreet fashion. Most of these women are school-drop outs and do not possess ample knowledge about STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Moreover, there are very few prominent organizations in Darjeeling which equip them with proper Sex Education and provide them with Regular Medical Checkups (RMC).
People view FSWs with disgust and repugnance, but they never realize the desperation and the coercion behind their actions which lead most girls to sacrifice their honour and shame. It is to be kept in mind dear readers, that to a girl her honour means everything. But now the question is what kind of compulsion could lead to such desperate measures? Here are two true stories of two very real girls to exemplify my statements:
Shruti (name changed) used to live with her parents and siblings in a very remote place in the outskirts of Darjeeling town. Her father was an alcoholic and it was very difficult for the mother to earn enough for the family. She was barely 13years of age when she was sent to a wealthy family which promised to raise her. In the beginning, Shruti was admitted to a local school and she thought she would be happy, but as fate would have it, the man of the house who had taken the responsibility of taking care of Shruti started abusing her sexually. He used to drug and molest her in the absence of his wife. She was innocent and very young to know what was happening. Darker times cast a pall in her life when she found out that she was pregnant with the man’s child. She was in the fifth standard then. She was dropped from the school and was kept at home the whole time to conceal her pregnancy from the society. Some years later the man’s wife died. The exploitation by the so called caretaker went on. Shruti now understands the appalling things that had occurred in her life which cannot be undone. “I am content, as long as there is extra money to earn for the sake of my daughter” says Shruti without inhibition.
Today, Shruti has a daughter, the same child she was impregnated with when she was 13 and lives in the same house. She is being treated no less than a servant but is content because her daughter is given the love she deserves in and around the house. She wants to provide every comfort to her child so that she could save her from difficulties in life. In order to look after her daughter she is compelled to work as a flying sex worker. Her experience has also made her a very strong person and she proudly says, “Yes I do have a dream. My dream is to see my daughter grow and become successful in life.”
Another very touching story is of Anamika (name changed). Young Anamika used to go around her village; was very mischievous and fun loving. Her family suffered from acute poverty. It was difficult for her parents to earn their livelihood. “Sometimes we had to boil the husk from the rice and eat just that.” she says with tears shining in her eyes. She started working as a porter at 11 years of age.
She was married off when she was 12 years and by the time she was 14, she gave birth to a baby boy. Her husband turned out to be an alcoholic and was unemployed. He eventually demanded money from her. As she did not earn enough, he forced her to work as a sex worker. She says that all she wished for in life was to have a husband who would love her. She had never dreamed of a profession which would be a disgrace to her dignity.
No girl would dream to become a professional sex worker in her life. It is mostly poverty that thrust these young girls into such a profession. Flying sex workers exist in the society and are despised by everyone. Looking forward for their betterment and helping them quit such measures for livelihood should be our duty altogether, instead of reviling them. Society fails to remember that they are compelled to work as such, and not because they crave to sell their bodies for the rest of their lives.
The FOSEP (Federation of Society for Environmental Protection), an NGO in Darjeeling, funded by the NACO (National AIDS Control Protection) aims at helping these unfortunate women and showing them a path for a better life. They conduct Regular Medical Checkups (RMC) and deliver Sex Education to the FSWs so that they are aware of the various STIs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) and their impacts. The PE (Peer Educator) visits various remote places and finds sex workers to spread awareness. Additionally, the FOSEP has also started a new SHG (Self Help Group) called “A Ray of Hope”, in which these women are given beautician courses so that they can forsake their current occupation and start afresh.
Everyone has the right to live their fairytale. NGOs like FOSEP help fulfill that for these women. Even laypeople like us should join hands and work for their betterment and help fulfill their fairy tales for them. Coelho gives a beautiful example by writing and showing how normal the lives of such sex workers are and how humane even they are. All we can do is help these women by lending a hand and helping them mend their ways. (courtesy-Source:

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