The First Activists

Michael Hutt

in Unbecoming Citizens

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195670608
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081806 | DOI:
The First Activists

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This chapter explores the Lhotshampas' first attempts at political organization inside Bhutan, and the way in which refugees recall the response of the Bhutanese state. An important element of the Lhotshampa refugees' historical consciousness is their collective memory of movements of political protest in southern Bhutan during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The ‘Jai Gorkha’ movement of the Bhutan Congress was believed to have involved their ‘leader’ named ‘Masur’ or ‘Masur Chetri’, who was killed, and came to occupy a vital place in the exiled Lhotshampas' construction of their oppression by the Drukpa state. The author feels that the failure of the Bhutan State Congress movement was probably due less to government repression than to the Congress' inability to engender broad-based support. After the failure of its 1954 satyāgraha, the Bhutan State Congress was a spent force. The Bhutan State Congress leaders were granted an amnesty and permitted to return to Bhutan on 6 August 1969.

Keywords: Lhotshampas; Bhutan State Congress; ‘Jai Gorkha’ movement; Masur Chetri; political organization; Drukpa state; Bhutan

Chapter.  5767 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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