When a region is not respected, revolution is the repercussion. Catalonia in Spain and Gorkhaland in India have intensified their assertion for a greater autonomy. The underlying issue behind these protests is the discontentment generated due to the subjugation of their regional aspirations by the corresponding governments. Though the displeasure in both the regions was simmering through many decades, the immediate cause was the negligence of their language by their governments. Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal imposed Bengali as the compulsory language in the Gorkhaland. Similarly, Spain never respected the Catalan language. So, the protests were imminent and led to political unrest in the region. As of now, peace is established in Gorkhaland but the war is just about to begin in Catalonia.
The present-day Catalonia is on the border of Spain and France. Through ages, it has its own culture and identity. By 1715, Spain was able to subjugate Catalonian provinces and brought the entire islands under its control. Till 1938, Catalonia was granted greater autonomy and it was able to protect its traditions. However, in that particular year, General Francisco Franco destroyed Catalonian nationalism with a deadly war which consumed 3,500 lives. Since then, Catalonian people tried to gain more independence through various protests. But, the drastic step taken by Catalan leader this September, led to present crises. Carles Puigdemont brought in a resolution in Catalonia urging for its complete independence. 90% of the participants voted for independence but only 43% of voters participated in the elections conducted.
This was not in line with the agreement between Spain and Catalonia. So, Spain had to take a drastic measure of imposing Article 155 of Spanish constitution which brings Catalonia’s governance under Spain’s control. In response to which Catalonia lawmakers passed a resolution demanding complete independence. Now that the Catalonia has taken the extreme step, Spain is left with no other choice but to impose direct rule. Further action by both the governments is yet to be seen. Political parties such as Catalan European Democratic Party are adamant are not accepting anything short of complete independence. Spain on the other hand, cannot lose Barcelona, present in Catalonia, which contributes to 20% of its GDP. The situation is nowhere near peace and it will just add the fuel to the already burning European crisis in the form of Brexit.
In India, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is demanding for the creation of Gorkhaland. They needed a separate identity for themselves. They also feel that Bengal is slowly intriguing into the affairs of its administration. Gorkhaland, similar to Catalonia has got autonomous powers to create their own rules in the form of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). However, both the Catalonian administration and Gorkhaland administration has to abide by their nation’s constitution. Few fringe elements in Gorkhaland used artillery to demand their independence which cannot be tolerated by India. Similarly, Catalonia went ahead and passed the resolution which is contravening with Spain’s constitution. So, it has to ready to face the backlash from the Spain’s government. If India were to take a stand, we would definitely support Spain, as we have Kashmir sitting right above our head.
Article Originally Written by Adithya N