TRANSPORT OF “KALO BHARI”


KALO BHARI [Black Loads]was the name given to a special consignment compactly packed in black tarpaulin, which gave the name. Huge quantities of these packages were transported over land to China via Tibet during the later part of the war. Such as the demand for transport for these purpose that the wages offered reached unprecedented heights. The cupidity of the landlords also rose in unison and they stooped to swindling. They falsely requisitioned for forced labour “on the authority of the state” who carry these packages, which they represented as government stores which the ryots were bouned to carry. The ryots would receive the prescribed rates of hire for forced labour whereas the rates offered for these goods were five times the amount or even more. In fact, the goods belonged to private concerns, and the ryots were not bound to carry these goods. But the ignorant ryots were completely deceived. Those who could afford to buy off their liability preferred to suffer extortion and paid through the nose. The poorer ryots were obliged to carry out filthy task. They were paid as forced labour and the landlords pocketed the gains. By such despicable means the landlords concealed for long. When they learnt about it, the victims of the swindle approached the powers that be for redress of the wrongs suffered by them. It was, however, to no effect. As the culprits were all highborn Kazis, the matter was hushed up, and the aggrieved ryots were sent away with a facile advice to “Let bygones be bygones and forgive and forget.” The slightest offence, so much as alleged, against a ryot exposes him to severe punishment whereas even such downright swindling by the privilege class is treated as of no account.

Compiled from Sikkim Darjeeling compendium of documents. [R. Moktan]

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