How Tea Became a Weapon in Darjeeling’s Ethnic Struggle
An Indian Minority's Push for Independence Has Roots in the British Empire's Divide and Conquer Policies
Darjeeling tea is a world-renowned product that reliably flows from India’s highlands, where it has been grown for more than a century. But since early this summer, none of it has reached global markets.
A newly revived independence movement has cut tea exports, stopped the region’s tourism, and shut down schools. The Gorkhaland movement asks for independence from the state of West Bengal. Activists have long felt that this shift would secure rights and recognition for the Nepalese-speaking majority population.
While many distinct local issues and histories have driven this …