Gorkhaland is a proposed state in India demanded by the people of the Darjeeling Hills and the people of Nepalese Gurkha descendants ethnic origin on the Northern part of West Bengal on the basis of linguistic and cultural difference with regard to Bengali culture. The demand is still undergoing in the form of several strikes, rallies, etc. Darjeeling movement for Gorkhaland has gained momentum in the line of ethno-linguistic-cultural sentiment of the Nepali language speaking Indian people who desire to identify themselves as Indian Gorkhas. Two mass movements for Gorkhaland have taken place under the Gorkha National Liberation Front (1986–1988) and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) (2007–present).
A century ago, the people of Darjeeling, Siliguri and Dooars areas felt that on the basis of their ethnic history and distinct identity, a separate administrative unit for the Gorkhas would be an initiative for the greater good of the community. This separate administrative unit, with time, took the shape of a demand for a separate state within India. It was also raised in the Constituent Assembly, by Ari Bahadur Gurung, a barrister from Kalimpong and a member of the Constituent Assembly.
In the eighties, Subhash Ghisingh, a former army soldier and a poet, revived the demand for separate state. He also coined the term Gorkhaland. Following his call for a separate state under the banner of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) a party which he set up, Gorkhas of Darjeeling, Siliguri Terai and Dooars began the agitation. A violent agitation followed in which over 1200 people were killed as per official records. The West Bengal government headed by then chief minister Jyoti Basu relented and agreed to set up the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), an autonomous body under the concept of a state within a state. In 2007, the demand for separate state once again was raised by Bimal Gurung, who broke off from the GNLF and floated a new party, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. After an agitation of about two years, the GJM also agreed to the setting up of another autonomous body, called Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. Gurung is currently the chief executive of the GTA.
However, over the last few months, the GJM has expressed severe dissatisfaction over the functioning of the GTA and have revived the call for separate state of Gorkhaland. The genesis of the demand stems from the fact the region and its Nepali or Gorkhali speaking population do not identify themselves with the rest of West Bengal. The approximately 14 lakh people who are inhabitants of the region speak Nepali language, have distinct cuisine, customs and culture which is different from that of Bengal.