Gairsain is a small village in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Located in the Garhwal division, it is barely 30 kilometres from Kumaon.
You might wonder how this small, rural village located in some far away district has to do with the election in Uttarakhand?
For us Uttarakhandis, Gairsain was a promise that was never delivered. We have been waiting for it since 9th November 2000.
Dehradun and Gairsain
If you didn’t know, Dehradun was a temporary capital, and 16 years on, it still remains as the representative of the state.
The Dixit Commission formed by the Government of Uttarakhand decided that Dehradun was a more suitable option for a capital because of its proximity to Delhi.
You know what it reminds me of? Priyanka Chopra playing the role of MC Mary Kom. Just like the North East has no right to represent itself in the media, it also seems that Uttarakhandis cannot decide what should represent them. Everything has to be somehow related to Delhi.
Every election story
These political parties very craftily make it seem as if Gairsain is one major issue, rather, the only major issue, that Uttarakhand is facing.
Uttarakhandi culture is slowly disappearing. We are losing our language, our cultural identity. Hence we have started attaching more importance to the external paraphernalia that remotely speaks of “culture”. Gairsain is an easy way to assert ourselves (sadly in our own state).
Therefore it becomes easy for the political parties to evoke this issue every time there is any election campaign.
Of course Gairsain is just a toy that politicians find opportunistic to play with.
Be it the BJP or the Congress administration, the vast farmlands of Uttarakhand owned by the villagers have always caught the government’s attention. The government takes away the land of villagers in the name of “development” and never pays away the necessary compensation.
The same has been happening with Gairsain. No one will talk about unpaid compensation because every political party here has a share in the land, in the money.
Uttarakhandis should understand that these false promises will be ubiquitous in election campaign. While we have to keep the demand for our representation alive, it is also important that we understand how our demands and vulnerability of the disappearance of a culture will ultimately affect what we hold dear, in the near future.
Let’s just create an atmosphere where Gairsain is not the only important issue. Let’s talk about timber mafia, about keeping our languages and dialects alive, about poverty, about compensations. Let’s talk about what we want to recognis=ze Uttarakhand as in the nearing future. If we Uttarakhandis do not work along those lines, history will only remember us as a state whose capital is Gairsain.