After traveling in Varanasi, I have been to Darjeeling for a week. I took one night train journey to New Jalpuiguri station. One of my friends I got in Goa in last month, who is from Sonada in Darjeeling, showed me around there.
I stayed Kurseong that is small town but having good access to every areas in Darjeeling. There was no foreigner tourist except me. So every local people talk to me Nepali language when they see me because I looks like Nepali they said…
You know, Darjeeling is famous about tea. My friends brought me to Anbotia that is most famous place about tea plantation. I could see a lot of people work in tea plantation in villages and they showed me factory. “It is very hard life for them. They can only get 60-80 Rs for a day as a salary and they also must take their lunch by themselves. Only managers can get high salary.” My friend’s grand father also worked in tea plantation at first. “But now, my family do not work like that. My grand father joined Indian army and improved his life. He can get enough money by the army even after retiring. The life of middle class people in India is still very hard, you know.”
I heard Darjeeling tea is quite expensive in abroad. But would it happen? I guess most of money is taken by trading company and people who work for plantation or factory cannot get enough salary. “Few years ago, people burned the factory in my village because they were not quite satisfied with their work condition. There are still such a problems and they try to solve not by violence but through discussion. Because their leader was changed and he does not like violence.”
On June 17, my friend told me the strike was started in Kouseong. Because there was some problem between police and local people the day before. We had to go out from Kouseong as soon as possible because we cannot get any taxi to go out from there to railway station after few hours because of strike. Actually, our train was next day but we had to go at that time. “The party of anti-government will burn the car if someone try to go out from this town.” Sometimes, the strike is kept for 30 or 40 days.
“Political Problem” They say about it. Darjeeling looks very peaceful place and people are so kind. Surely,I love that place. However,they never forget to insist their opinion to government. Tea plantation issue or strike are one of the examples. Maybe if we want to keep peace, it is necessity to make out our opinion. Peace is never kept without it.