PERSPECTIVE

Monthly Archives: JANUARY 2020


Landless in Panjab: An Appeal
28.01.20 - AMANDEEP SANDHU
Landless in Panjab: An Appeal



Randeep’s film shows us a major issue and unless Panjab acknowledges it, understands it, empathises with it, we can’t even begin to solve it.
 
LAST EVENING I had the satisfaction of seeing my friend Randeep Maddoke's documentary Landless. A few years back, when I was travelling Panjab for my book, I had met Randeep who until then was a photographer whose work I much admired. At that time, Randeep was making a documentary. He had very graciously invited me to accompany him on one of his shoot schedules and we had spent 5-6 days together.
 
I was interested in seeing how a still picture artist starts composing a moving picture but beyond that, my interest was caste – how it plays out in Panjab. We spoke a lot and he showed me the dynamics of caste in Panjab. It was a huge education for me. Naturally, I wrote about him in my book but I deliberately kept out a lot because those are Randeep's material. Any artist, any writer, any film maker, is defined by the stories they tell and these were Randeep’s stories.

Landless is a film about the lived reality of the farm labour in Panjab – their issues and their struggles. Each frame, each scene of the film carries the message of how this labour faces the brunt of both: 

a) Earlier, the inequality inflicted through thousands of years of being the lowest and resourceless in the stratification of the society.

b) Now, the huge inequality caused by the Green Revolution where the labour finds themselves as absolute have nots. 

Randeep captures many stories leading to a focus on how the Dalits face Jutt brutality and social boycott when they rise to ask for their right in the Panchayati Land. This is land granted by law but hegemonized by upper castes with the connivance of the police and other state machinery. 

I was now aware of caste but for many in the audience at Suchitra Film Society, Bengaluru all this was absolutely new. It was a very different face of Panjab romanticised by Bollywood and Panjabi pop-culture songs and music. Over the last few days, Randeep has had a good viewership in Bengaluru. He was telling me he is getting more and more invites to show his film and might have to extend his stay. 

This brings me to an important point also raised by an audience member. What is the response in Panjab? I was disappointed to note - zilch, nada, zero. In the last year and half since Randeep has been ready with the film - which has been appreciated in Kolkata, Delhi, now in Bangalore, and some other cities - he has not got a single invite to show his film in Panjab. 

I learnt from Randeep that at the one screening he held in Chandigarh, some Jutt Sikh audience called the film anti-Sikh because Randeep shows how the call to boycott the Dalits at village Jhaloor was made from a Gurdwara. Randeep is correct, even I have reported on it and have written about it. The progressive groups are unhappy because Randeep shows how the marginalised Dalits are treated by the land owning Jutts the same way the bigger Jutt farmers are treated by moneylenders and the state. This upsets the class consciousness and unity around poverty these groups are trying to evoke between the small and marginal Jutts and the Dalit labour. 

As far as Gurdwaras are concerned, Randeep’s portrayal must inspire the Sikh religious community – rooted in equality and justice - to probe why Gurdwaras are misused and prevent their misuse. As far as small and marginal Jutt farmers and landless Dalit peasantry is concerned, no doubt, there is now some unity between communities as displayed in the many of their recent solidarity and coming together for protests but Randeep's take on the differences cannot be overlooked. The questions the film is raising cannot be evaded. The irony is, between these two factions, the film has fallen through the cracks. There has been no boycott, no trending against the film, but Randeep has just not been invited from anywhere in the state to show the film. He and his film have simply been ignored. 

Being ignored is the worst fate an artist can face. That the artist’s work is not acknowledged at all is worse than even being censored or boycotted. In censor and boycott, at least the artist’s work is acknowledged. When ignored, the artist is consigned to the dungeons of pubic space without even a hearing. It is erasure of the artist, it is death. It saddens me immensely that Panjab has ignored Randeep and Landless. However, upon seeing the film, I believe ignoring Landless is entirely Panjab's loss. Randeep’s filmshows a major issue and unless Panjab acknowledges it, understands it, empathises with it, we can’t even begin to solve it. That is why it is my appeal to all forward looking people and groups in Panjab to screen Landless, to discuss Landless, to participate in the conversation that Landless is trying to begin. If we in Panjab do not do it, we are committing a grave injustice to our land and to our people, and ultimately to the idea of Panjab. 
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For the rest of India and the world, until recently Panjab was considered the 'breadbasket' of India. We need to learn who is it who actually makes Panjab the breadbasket. Who tills the fields, who produces food, and who guards the fields - it is the landless. 

May you make more movies, my friend. May they be watched widely and may we acknowledge the reality of caste and work towards annihilating it. Wake up Panjab! 

 

Amandeep Sandhu is the author of Panjab: Journeys Through fault Lines. 

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT


 





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ATROCITIES IN PAST
Can Kashmiri Pandits forget the past and move on?
20.01.20 - Markandey Katju
Can Kashmiri Pandits forget the past and move on?



KASHMIRI PANDITS (KPs) were a small peaceful community living for centuries in Kashmir. They constituted of only about 400,000 people out of the 8 million people living in Kashmir i.e. about 5% of the total population.

In the 1990s they were selectively targeted during the militancy in Kashmir, several were brutally killed and threats were given from mosques in Kashmir that they should convert to Islam or leave the Valley. Notices were posted overnight on their doors that they should get out of Kashmir or get killed.
 
Mobs would come to their houses shouting that the male KPs should get out of Kashmir, but the females will not be allowed to go. All this led to the ethnic cleansing and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley out of fear.

I am myself a Kashmiri Pandit, and I know what was done to Kashmiri Pandits was terrible. Several of my own family members (on my wife’s side) suffered a lot, and they told me their horrible experiences.

But all that happened over a quarter of a century ago. The present Kashmiri Muslim youth were not even born then, or were toddlers. So to blame them is like blaming the present Germans who were born after 1945 for what the Nazis did to the Jews.

As regards the middle aged Kashmiri Muslims, no doubt many of them participated in the atrocities on KPs, or were indifferent when they should have actively opposed such atrocities, However, it must also be added that many Kashmiri Muslims, who were against oppression of KPs, had to be silent as they were unarmed and so did not want to risk their lives confronting armed militants (just as many Germans who did not approve of atrocities on Jews during the Nazi era had to remain silent lest they themselves were sent to a concentration camp).

The present KP youth were born outside Kashmir, or were small children when their parents fled from Kashmir. So they have no roots in Kashmir, and they are settled in Delhi, Mumbai etc and holding jobs there. They will not go to live in Kashmir.

As regards the middle aged KPs they too would be unwilling to go back to Kashmir because they have nothing to go back to. They fled from Kashmir a quarter of a century back, losing their jobs and much of their properties.
 
Also, they have lived for a quarter of a century outside Kashmir and would have adjusted there. Their children have completed their education and would be in some jobs in Delhi, Mumbai etc or even abroad. So they would prefer to live with their children.

So Kashmiri Pandits have to forget the past and move on!
 

 

Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.

  
 
 
Watch Video:


 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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THE CONTROVERSY
Is Faiz’s Poem 'Hum Dekhenge' Anti-Hindu?
10.01.20 - Markandey Katju
Is Faiz’s Poem 'Hum Dekhenge' Anti-Hindu?



The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur has set up a panel to consider whether the poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’ by the famous Urdu poet Faiz is anti Hindu. This followed the recitation of the poem by students of IIT Kanpur on December 17th, 2019 on their campus during their gathering in support of the students of Jamia Milia, Delhi who were assaulted by the police during their anti CAA agitation.

I need not go into the inanity of such a step by the IIT authorities who seem to have no understanding of Urdu poetry or of this particular poem. However, I am taking this opportunity to say something about Urdu poetry and mention my own connection with Faiz.

I have read the poetry of many countries of the world, England, America, France, Germany, Russia etc and I have read the poetry in many Indian languages, Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Bangla, Tamil etc.
 
In my opinion no poetry in the world expresses the voice of the human heart in such a powerful and yet elegant manner (andaaz-e-bayaan) as Urdu poetry does.

I regard Mirza Ghalib as the greatest Urdu poet of all times, and Faiz the greatest Urdu poet of the 20th century.
 
I saw Faiz only once when he visited my home town Allahabad in 1981 and was honoured in a massive function in the Allahabad University lawns, about which I wrote an article ‘The power of Urdu poetry, in and out of court’.
 
In that article I also mentioned about some shers (couplets) which I used in some of my judgments in the Supreme Court of India, and how I dealt with a ‘dismissing judge’ (to use a vulgar expression) of Allahabad High Court, using one of Faiz’ shers.

Now before coming to Faiz’ poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’ which has sparked of a fatuous controversy I would like to say something about Urdu poetry.

Urdu poets often express their thoughts not in direct language but indirectly, by hints and allusions.
 
Urdu shers (couplets) often have a literal, superficial meaning, but also a deeper, real meaning which is conveyed by indication, insinuation, suggestion and metaphors. It is this deeper, real meaning which the poet is seeking to convey, but to understand it one has to ponder deeply and apply one’s brains to understand.
--------------
--------------
This is particularly done by poets in times when it may be dangerous to talk directly such as during martial law (when this poem was written).

Take for instance Faiz’ sher:

Gulon mein rang bhare
baad-e-naubahaar chale
Chale bhi ao ki
Gulshan ka kaarobaar chale.

Now the literal meaning of this sher is :

‘Among the flowers, a colored breeze of the new spring is blowing
Come, so that the work of the garden can be done’

But that is only the ostensible, superficial meaning. The word ‘gulshan’ literally means garden, but here it means the country.

So the real meaning of the sher which the poet is conveying is this :

‘The objective conditions in the country are ripe
Come forward patriots, the country needs you (for a revolution)’

Faiz and wife Alys with Lata Mangeshkar, Sultana and Ali Sardar Jafri, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Chitra and Jagjit Singh, Zoe Ansari, Padma Sachdev and others


Similarly, when we read Urdu poetry we must wrack our brains and try to understand what it is really what the post is seeking to convey.

Coming now to Faiz’ poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’ one must remember it was written during Gen Zia-ul-Haq’s oppressive martial law regime when it was dangerous to talk too directly. So part of the poem uses traditional Islamic imagery, but it is used to attack Zia’s dictatorship and restore democracy, not for establishing orthodox Islam. 
 Iqbal Bano
The poem was sung by Iqbal Bano, deliberately wearing a sari (regarded by some as an Indian and unislamic dress for Pakistani ladies), despite the ban on public recitation of Faiz’ poems at that time.

Some lines of the poem which are described as anti Hindu are :

‘Jab arz-e-khuda ke kaabe se
sab but uthwaaye jaayenge
Hum ahl-e-safa mardood-e-haram masnad par baithaye jaayenge.’

which means:

‘When from the abode of God (Kaaba) all idols will be removed 
Then we the faithful, who were debarred from sacred places
Will be placed on the royal seat’

It is alleged that these lines are anti Hindu as Hindus worship idols, and these lines are clearly against idol worship.

Faiz and Vajpayee 
But this is only a superficial understanding. Faiz was a life long communist, and he could hardly have meant that he wanted Islamization of society. In fact it was his antagonist Gen Zia who wanted this.
 
To understand these lines we must see the context, and also see the lines preceding and succeeding these lines.

Before these lines, the verses in the poem are :

‘Jab zulm-e-sitam ke koh-e-giraan,
rui ke tarah udh jaayenge
Hum mehkoomon ke paaon tale,
yeh dharti dhad dhad dhadkegi.’

and the succeeding lines are:

‘Sab taaj uchaale jaayenge,
Sab takht giraaye jaayenge‘

It is obvious from this that there is nothing anti Hindu in this poem, and it is the height of stupidity to regard it so. It is a poem powerfully attacking the oppressors of the people, and expressing a conviction that one day the oppressed will become the rulers of their own destiny.

The administration of IIT, Kanpur, which is otherwise a reputed institution, have made themselves a laughing stock before the whole country.
 

 

Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.

  
 
 
Watch Video:


 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





[home] 1-5 of 5


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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com

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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com

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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com


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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com

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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com


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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com

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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com

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Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com

We are in urgent need of a kidney donor for a good amount of 7Cr (Advance money 3.5cr) in India, Interested person kindly Contact us now..
DR Craig Parrish
Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com


We are in urgent need of a kidney donor for a good amount of 7Cr (Advance money 3.5cr) in India, Interested person kindly Contact us now..
DR Craig Parrish
Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com

We are in urgent need of a kidney donor for a good amount of 7Cr (Advance money 3.5cr) in India, Interested person kindly Contact us now..
DR Craig Parrish
Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com

We are in urgent need of a kidney donor for a good amount of 7Cr (Advance money 3.5cr) in India, Interested person kindly Contact us now..
DR Craig Parrish
Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com

We are in urgent need of a kidney donor for a good amount of 7Cr (Advance money 3.5cr) in India, Interested person kindly Contact us now..
DR Craig Parrish
Call / WhatsApp: +919047292804
Email- craigparrishkidneyfoundation@yahoo.com

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A successful attempt to depict Panjab’s crises
Footsteps on a Journey gone Astray
04.01.20 - Yadwinder Singh
Footsteps on a Journey gone Astray



We Panjabis
Are a history lost through centuries
We are the scattered pages of 
a sacred book  
the aware, twinkling alphabet 
on pages flying in the wind
- Afzal Aihsan Randhawa, Panjab di War
 
Amandeep Sandhu’s book Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines is an attempt to collect these scattered pages of the sacred book called Panjab and contextualize them in a specific space and time. While he tries to get the pages in order, some of them continue to disrupt the order. The fact is: no one knows the correct order for these pages. While going through these disordered pages, the reader encounters various Panjabs playing hide-and-seek with each other and seeks a wicket gate to enter the book.  

While ordering the pages, Amandeep too struggles with these various Panjabs. The struggle opens with a twist presented through Satnam Jangalnama’s comment to Amandeep, ‘Panjab will test you and beguile you. It has forever beguiled its seekers. That is because those who seek to define it are often in haste. They want control. But Panjab rebels—it breaks definitions ascribed to it. Your journey here will be incomplete if it is not a journey towards your own self.’ Satnam’s prompt is that door through which a reader enters Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines.
Amandeep’s footprints mark the narrative of the Panjab that he depicts. Though the book includes Amandeep’s understanding of many layers of Panjab’s historical past; he travelled through this Panjab from 2015 to 2018. Amandeep’s sojourns are not like those of sociologists to collect facts or data on Panjab. In other words, this is not a book that seeks to find only one truth of Panjab where the subjectivity of the writer is absent. Following Satnam’s suggestion this book is also about Amandeep’s inward journey towards his own self.

Throughout the book, Amandeep struggles with his own relationship with Panjab. That is why this book cannot be read by basing oneself in a singular perspective. The need is to read this book, as Derrida says, ‘by reading between the lines.’

The Panjab embedded in Amandeep’s imagination does not align with the Panjab he experiences. The idea of Panjab he has inherited from his parents and Panjab’s current reality seem two different Panjabs to him. Amandeep registers this confusion in the very first page of his book which begins with lines of a song he heard at Baba Kala Mehar’s arena in March 2016. 

What you know of me, my dear, 
I am not that.

Amandeep believes that akin to what the narrator of these lines says, understanding Panjab is not as easy as it seems. Writing about this far-near relationship with Panjab, he says, ‘Unlike people born in Panjab who have a direct connection with, and hence a memory of, the land, I have no liminal or tangible marker of belonging to Panjab. While my family did hail from Panjab, I was neither born here, nor do I live here. I have no address, bank statement, Aadhaar card, passport or land ownership to prove my connection with Panjab.’ This struggle is not Amandeep’s alone, it is also the reader’s struggle who too finds himself in an insider-outsider dilemma with the book. 

If Satnam’s suggestion is one door to enter the book, Amandeep opens the other door upon the advice of photographer Satpal Danish. At his shop in Brahm Buta Akhara, while showing Amandeep some of his photographs, Danish says, ‘If you want to understand Panjab, be ready to count its corpses.’ The puzzle that Danish lays out is peeled layer by layer through the chapters of the book.
 
As the readers travel with Amandeep (in pic), they too sense that they are counting Panjab’s corpses. Each of the 16 chapters of the book places its finger on one or the other painful nerve of Panjab. Of course, what the chapters stand for in totality can only be learnt by fully reading them, but their headings also summarize them.
 
These headings are: 1. Satt—Wound, 2. Berukhi—Apathy, 3. Rosh—Anger, 4. Rog—Illness, 5. Astha—Faith, 6. Mardangi—Masculinity, 7. Dawa—Medicine, Paani—Water, 9. Zameen—Land, 10. Karza—Loan, 11. Jaat—Caste, 12. Patit—Apostate, 13. Bardr—Border, 14. Sikhya—Education, 15. Lashaan—Corpses, 16. Janamdin—Birthday.

Just like the headings, the picture on the end-sheets of the book is a vivid portrayal of the subject of the book. This photograph is the creation of Danish’s camera. The photograph was taken in the second half of June 1984 when after Operation Blue Star, first time ordinary people were allowed entry into Darbar Sahib. In the photograph a few people have climbed the Ramgharia Bunga and are the first eyewitnesses of the havoc caused by Operation Blue Star.  The people seem like they are floating in a boat. In a symbolic manner, Amandeep calls the boat a ‘Naam da Jahaz‘ (reference Guru Nanak’s hymn) by riding which the people seek to find deliverance from their ocean of woes. 

Operation Blue Star is Panjab’s deluge which while unseen is present in the photograph. The Panjab that survived the deluge seems like it is now riding Noah’s Ark. But while Noah’s Ark had both men and women on it, this photograph has only men. In Panjab’s patriarchal discourse, the women are absent. Perhaps, we have no photograph that depicts the plight of women during this calamity. 

This photograph can also be compared to the Ship of Theseus. In ancient Greece, for long the Ship of Theseus was famous for its might and seaworthiness.  As time passed, the ship rusted and was confined to a museum. After many years, the ship was brought out, fitted with parts from other ships, and deployed for warfare. This led to the intellectuals debating if it was correct to still call it the Ship of Theseus? No doubt, the ship’s framework was the same as earlier but there were other parts that had now made it battle ready. 

The same question can also be asked about Panjab. After all, which is the real Panjab Amandeep seeks to find? Is it the Panjab of Amandeep’s imagination? The Panjab of historical valour, where five rivers flow, the one that feeds the nation, the one that is an island of greenery and prosperity in the ocean of India’s poverty? During his journeys, Amandeep encounters the other Panjab: the one that faces the brunt of the aftermath of the Green Revolution, the one that now commits suicide over the poverty caused by the Green Revolution; the one that borrows huge loans to somehow escape Panjab and seek their fortunes in foreign lands; the one that carries aloft the flags of masculinity and casteism but kneels down in front of the storms of drug abuse;or the one that in spite of all its efforts to forget 1947 and 1984, carries the ghosts of those calamities on its shoulders. Are these two Panjabs the same or - like the Ship of Theseus - Panjab too has been recast but it remains unaware of the changes? 

Amandeep’s book presents some reasons for his journeys through Panjab going astray. He looks at Panjab through the change in its character owing to its reorganization on linguistic basis in 1966 along with two major developments – the Green Revolution and the Khalistan movement.  Though the two developments seem different on the surface, there is a deeper connection between them. Both emerged from a belief that they will give Panjab a better future. For most Panjabis these were economic and political changes but in a symbolic sense these were the two boats on which the people rode to cross their oceans of woes but could not reach any landing shore.

The Green Revolution filled India’s stomachs but devastated Panjab’s indigenous natural methods of agriculture. The experts in agriculture and economists projected Panjab’s prosperity to such an extent that it was even represented in the region’s films and songs. The image of Panjab as the ‘food basket’ of the nation eclipsed the fact that its own waters had turned poisonous and land had become barren. Panjab that gave the message ‘Air is the guru, water is the father, and earth is the great mother of all’, ended up selling its own earth, water and air.
--------------
Publisher: Westland Publications (an Amazon company)
Pages: 584,   Price: Rs 899
Format: Hardcover in India, Paperback abroad, Kindle Worldwide
---------------
As the aftermath of the Green Revolution revealed its results, Panjab’s people sensed their sorrow but could not acknowledge their loss. They considered an acceptance of their defeat beneath their dignity. Owing to Panjab’s valorous past, its people considered death a better alternative to an acceptance of their defeat. Finally, in anger, they made a final charge which turned into the Khalistan movement. For Panjab this movement was a political attempt to turn the results of the Green Revolution in its favour. 

When towards the last decade of the 20th century these haphazard movements reached their culmination, it became difficult for Panjab to keep itself afloat on narratives of the Green Revolution and its valorous past. Panjab’s anger took an inward turn - directed at its own self. Psychologists say that when anger turns inward it becomes fear. Trapped in fear, Panjab found two paths: one goes towards suicides and drugs, the other goes abroad. Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines is an account of Panjab’s journey from anger towards fear and bewilderment.  
-------------
-------------
Comparing Panjab with his mother on the death bed, Amandeep writes (I summarize): the two holes in Mama’s chest seem like Panjab’s two revolutions gone astray. Like my big-hearted Mama, Panjab too has never looked it its own ailments. It continues to fill India’s stomach. Its disease spreads like termites and one by one its organs shut down.

Yadwinder Singh teaches at Delhi University. This review originally appeared in Punjabi in the Punjabi Tribune, dated December 29, 2019

Harleen Kaur has translated the review into English.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

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WE, THE PEOPLE
Anti-CAA protesters must think over this
02.01.20 - Markandey Katju
Anti-CAA protesters must think over this



The Citizens Amendment Act (CAA) permits non Muslim immigrants into India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to become Indian citizens if they have lived in India for at least 5 years, but it does not grant the same right to Muslim immigrants.

The justification for this distinction given by the government is that non Muslims were minorities in these Muslim majority countries, and came to India to escape religious persecution, whereas Muslims who came into India from there could not be said to have come due to persecution, but were ‘economic refugees’ i.e. they came for a better life.

This reasoning is partially correct. It is true that Hindus, Christians, Sikhs etc are often persecuted in these Muslim majority  countries e.g, by forcible conversions and marriage of minor girls, misuse of blasphemy laws, Ordinance XX made by Gen Zia-ul-Haq, etc.
------------
------------
So the anti CAA protesters should  have clearly said that they are not against grant of citizenship to immigrants who came into India to escape religious persecution, rather they support it, and condemn persecution of minorities in the aforementioned 3 countries.

At the same time they should have said they oppose denial of citizenship to all Muslim immigrants because (1) Some Muslim sects in Pakistan are often persecuted e.g. Shias and Ahmadis (see my article ‘Barbaric persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan’), and (2) Economic refugees is a world wide phenomenon e.g. about 11 million Mexicans are said to be living illegally in USA.
 
Many Muslims who came from Bangladesh into Assam after March 1971 (the cut off date under the Assam Accord) have now been living in Assam for decades, some for over 40 years, and now have no roots in Bangladesh, and the Bangladesh Govt has refused to take them back.
 
Surely they cannot be dumped into the Bay of Bengal. They too should be granted citizenship if they have lived in Assam for at least 5 years.
-----------
-----------
However, the anti CAA protesters failed to clarify this, and created an impression among many Hindus that this is only an agitation for Muslims.
 
Secularism has to be a 2 way traffic, it cannot be a 1 way traffic. So it won’t do to condemn persecution of Muslims, but turn a Nelson’s eye to persecution of Hindus.
 
Most Muslims shout themselves hoarse if Muslims are persecuted in Palestine, but they were dumb when much nearer home Kashmiri Pandits were hounded out of their homes in Kashmir in the 1990s.  
------------
------------
I remember when I was in my home town Allahabad, I went to a Muslim friend and said to him that I raise my voice whenever any atrocity is committed on Muslims, so he should also speak out against atrocities being committed on Kashmiri Pandits. He asked what he could do, and I replied that he should write a short statement and I will get it published in the newspapers. However, he refused. 
 
This is the problem with most (not all) Muslims. When I condemn atrocities on Muslims, they clap and cheer. But when I condemn atrocities by Muslims on Hindus, Christians or Sikhs, I am immediately branded as communal.
-----------
-----------
When I say there is nothing wrong in eating beef, and that building Ram Mandir is only a gimmick, they applaud. But when I say that sharia, burqa and madarsas should be banned (for their own good) many Muslims abuse me.

For this very reason many Hindus in India (and even abroad) are not supporting the anti CAA agitation, and it will soon fizzle out.
 

 

Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.

  
 
 
Watch Video:

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





[home] 1-5 of 5


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