PERSPECTIVE

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Punjab Today commends journalists for displaying utmost professionalism, even at risk to life
25.08.17 - From the Editor's Desk
Punjab Today commends journalists for displaying utmost professionalism, even at risk to life



PUNJAB TODAY commends the journalists who put their life on the line while covering the bloody happenings in Panchkula and elsewhere, and continued to do their job with utmost professionalism even as marauding goons attacked them on Friday. Many journalists suffered injuries while the equipment of many was damaged. Some OB vans were also damaged and set on fire.

While we strongly condemn these attacks and demand that the culprits be brought to book and those officials who did not do their duty be held accountable, we also want to underline the hazardous conditions that journalists often encounter in performing their duties.

The Chandigarh Press Club has also strongly condemned the attack on scribes and has called an emergency meeting of the fraternity on Saturday (August 26) noon at the Press Club "to decide future course of action".
 
It said the attack on journalists came in the aftermath of the Dera chief rape case verdict in Panchkula when they were performing their duties. The Chandigarh Press Club has demanded that the Haryana Government, "which failed to provide adequate security to journalists covering the verdict, should compensate (the journalists) for the loss." They also asked for an inquiry into the attack.
 
Vehicles and equipment of many journalists was damaged, and many suffered injuries. 
 
Journalists and photojournalists from the Hindustan Times, the Times of India, The Tribune, Danik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala, NDTV, Aaj Tak, Times Now, Dainik Jagran, Punjab Kesri, Dainik Savera, to name a few suffered either injuries or their vehicles and equipment were damaged, a statement issued by the Press Club secretary general Barinder S Rawat said.




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The Sabh Ton Khatarnaak Punjabi Alive
Let's KILL PAASH
21.08.17 - sumail singh sidhu
Let's KILL PAASH



"You need to find it in your heart that small spark of accountability...You poke that finger at yourself like Heather would have done, and you make it happen. You take that extra step. You find a way to make a difference in the world." -- Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. Defiant in grief.

WHITE SUPREMACISTS in Charlottesville, a college town in Virginia, United States, charted a bloody trail of hatred, leading to death of someone opposing hate. Scores of peaceful protesters were maimed when they were holding the rally to seek removal of a statue of pro-slavery Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Lee’s military leadership against the forces of the Union, led by Abraham Lincoln, had brought the question about the ideological legacy of American civil war to the forefront with slogans of ‘Taking America Back’, eerily echoing Donald Trump’s electioneering slogan ‘Make America Great Again’. Related to the Ku Klux Klan supremacist parivar and emboldened by the Trumpian moral equivalence posited between the victims and aggressors, these attackers have triggered a debate about what it means to be an American. The dead are summoned–once again–from the graves to legitimise contemporary struggles, ideological contests and political battles. 
 
Syllabus formation is another such site of exercising power, where a suitable national tradition is imagined and thrust upon, through the construction of a corresponding scholarly canon. Criteria for inclusion or exclusion are, in fact, markers of power routinely carried out in almost every nation-state. Mr. D.N. Batra–Hindutva’s field marshal in educational sphere–has suggested to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)  to remove a poem by Punjabi poet Paash along with translations of Rabindranath Tagore, Mirza Ghalib and others from Hindi textbook. Paash's poem 'Sabh Ton Khatarnaak' (The Most Treacherous) is deemed unsuitable for adolescent learners of Indian schools in Mr. Batra's world.  
 
The attempt to excise his work from national syllabi appears innocuous in the face of Paash’s cold-blooded murder almost thirty years ago for his fearless resistance to Sikh extremist movement. More than his physical elimination, his detractors are aware of their need to sully his image which has survived, rather thrived, after his death. So we have Gurbir (widely presumed to be a Khalistan ideologue who was at one time an associate of Paash) in Rajinder Rahi’s hatchet job ‘Jitthe Paash Rehnda Hai’ (2007) explaining away his murder as a logical outcome of conditions, where Paash, in fact, invited the wrath of extremists by employing provocative phrases in his writings. Moral equivalence is once more on display, when Gurbir (or you know who) virtually absolves the perpetrators. On yet another plane, many aspiring poets have sought to come out of his long shadow by labelling his poetry as ‘average but carried forward by slogan-shouting left-wing cadres'. Writer of epic poem ‘Ilaahi Nadar De Paindey,’ Harinder Singh Mehboob, gracelessly dismissed Paash's oeuvre as a "blatant copying of Pablo Neruda's imagery.”

Arrayed alongside these omnipotent armies of national, cultural, sectarian greatness is a Punjabi blog offering empirical evidence of Paash plagiarising 'The Grass' - a poem by American icon, Carl Sandburg (1887-1967) - and publishing it as his original work. With justice to bloggers, an editorial oversight is the culprit here, due either to the exceptionally tragic circumstances when the said anthology was first published or the editor was unaware of its origins. First published in 1988, roughly three decades have passed without any editor rectifying the lapse or adding a note to the Punjabi version. The editorial omission has contributed to this almost Trumpian muddle aimed at wounding Paash, contributing to the momentum that the campaign gathered and culminating, finally, in an attack by proxy on those who claim to uphold his legacy of ideas. 
 
The hilarious, high-octane exchanges on the blogpost make for compelling reading. Self-righteous swagger of erudition on display at having consulted dusty files, compared texts and tallied multiple editions to substantiate this grave claim quickly leads to moralist hubris labelling others as dumb bhakts. Heart-rending concern at falling standards of Punjabi letters is accompanied by resolute declarations to further scrutinise modern Punjabi poetry by cataloguing such thefts. Expressions of dismay at Paash's trickery - in substituting proper nouns in the original poem, thus skilfully masking his literary piracy- are worthy of a Lalita Pawar act. 
 
Paash never included this poem in his three anthologies published while alive. It was noted in his notebook and published posthumously without the requisite mention of its origins in Carl Sandburg. The evidence so heroically rescued by the blog scholars flies in the face of the fact that Paash never published this poem as his original work.

 Paash never published this poem 'Ghaah' while alive. It was published posthumously without the requisite mention of its origins in Carl Sandburg. Did Pash refer to this connection to Sandburg? Those out to call him a plagiarist should have used this thing called Google. Shamsher Singh Sandhu, in his 'Ik Paash Eh Vi' (2011) narrates the crucial incident. It was never meant to expose some bloggers in the future, but does just that...If we are tuned in, both Carl Sandburg and Paash could almost be heard in conversation here. 
 
The blogging researchers would have saved themselves much effort and tomfoolery if they had just run some search engine queries about books with the name ‘Paash’ in the title. Shamsher Singh Sandhu's collection 'Ik Paash Eh Vi' (2011) narrates the crucial incident while underlining Paash's immense popularity amongst students. Paash was invited for a recitation at a youth festival in Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Science College Jagraon, where his recitation of ‘Jiddan Tun Pirthi Nuun Jammia Si Maan’ was rapturously received by hundreds of students. Later, a motley bunch of students followed him for yards on foot, pestering him to recite some more. In deference to their enthusiasm, the poet stood by the roadside and launched into an impromptu recitation of the poem Ghaah. As was his wont, he outlined the context of the poem. But read Sandhu's eye-witness account on page 63-64 of his book, wherein Paash said: 
 
"The poem I am about to recite is a Punjabi adaptation of an English poem by Carl Sandburg 'The Grass', done while I was jailed. You could ascribe this (version – Ed.) either to him or to me, because it has come to be associated with my name.”
 
Composed in ironic mode by Carl Sandburg in 1916 when the First World War was deploying science, technology and progress to ratchet up destruction, ‘The Grass’ is a pacifist poem dwelling upon the wretchedly industrial manner of human loss, underlining the futility of war. Fated to be mere blips in time, fading from memory, all the decisive battlefields will be erased by grass that states’...let me work’. However, the ghaah in Paash’s adaptation is about remembrance of struggles by people in protest. But for the humble swaying of Paash’s ghaah, the memory of Moga, Barnala, Phagwara-Banga road, Ludhiana or Sangrur would be obliterated. If we are tuned in, both Carl Sandburg and Paash could almost be heard in conversation here.

The bigger question is, why Paash still remains the favourite target to vilify? Why is he summoned from the ashes to answer our allegations? Why can’t he understand our desire to live in peace for the sake of our children’s future? What does he get by asking annoying questions all the time? Why does he so stubbornly refuse to be dead and gone, forever? It is also a commentary on his followers and other Punjabi poets that none of them is considered dangerous enough to be targeted by ideological adversaries or powers that be.
 
The internal evidence of this incident narrated by Sandhu concerns the times in the wake of the murder of a very popular student leader, Pirthipal Singh Randhawa, in 1978. By then, since the poem had come to be identified as his work, it must had been in circulation prior to this incident. So the great detective feat of forensic exactitude is deflated by Paash's own words in late 1970s, which are then published in 2011 by Sandhu. The Panjab University had included ‘The Grass’ in MA English syllabus, so it was not exactly an obscure work to be appropriated by Paash, as the bloggers make out. So another attempt to fell Paash comes unstuck. So much for the evidence and court martialling.
 
Mr. Batra, on the other hand, in one stroke, has bracketed Paash with Mirza Ghalib and Tagore. In all sincerity, we should reassess our characterisations of Mr. D N Batra, for he is spot on here. Gulp this irony. This farcical exercise about Paash would have been quite amusing, had its timing been a little less fraught.  
 
The larger historical question is, why Paash still remains the favourite target to vilify? Why is he summoned from the ashes to answer our allegations? Why can’t he understand our desire to live in peace for the sake of our children’s future? What does he get by asking annoying questions all the time? Why does he so stubbornly refuse to be dead and gone, forever? Contrarily, it is also a commentary on his followers and other Punjabi poets that none of them is considered dangerous enough to be targeted by ideological adversaries or powers that be.
 
A much popular poet in the social media sphere fitted the bill, though. Surjit Gagg faced much vilification for his choice of words when referring to the first Sikh Master in his poem, ended up seeing the insides of a prison cell, but then wasn't the opportunity to seriously engage with a debate about the state of affairs in Sikhism allowed to pass? By all means, one may have a justifiable grievance to settle with anyone who one thinks denigrates religious figures, but by not having the debate, status quo was allowed to prevail. None are so blind as those who just won't see.
 
Well-known for its brimming coffers, assorted kaar sevas of gold work, never-ending marble-cladding and complicit in obliterating the architectural heritage of Sikhs, the SGPC has woken up from its deep slumber. Having earned ignominy through spectacular somersaults when crowds of the devout were asking uncomfortable questions about desecration of Adi Granth Birs, it now wants to be the final arbiter on movies, books, academics and everything under the sun, claiming the sole copyright to be the saviour of Gurus who ceaselessly laboured to sustain dialogue across the divide. Soft targets are being found to deflect attention from grave issues staring the Sikh panth. The debate about democratic accountability is reduced to inane issues. Thus, printing mistakes in the English translation of 'Mahan Kosh' come in handy to target the state government.
 
We all saw the less-than-academic, rather abusive, exchange around Baldev Singh and his latest novel 'Suraj Di Akkh,' based on the life and legend of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Pleading for respite for himself and his family from abuse and reiterating an abiding faith in Gurbani, he declared he will be shelving further research into many projects he had planned on Sikh history. Painful as it is, I am equally intrigued by Baldev's citing of gurbani and withdrawing from the arena of debate in the same breath. At the very least, Gurbani offers a resource of resistance in which ethics of debate are consistently articulated. If our authors who otherwise claim to uphold the legacy of Sikh gurus and sufi masters are unwilling to stand up for their freedom of expression, then we are relinquishing space to megaphones and bully pulpits, thus emboldening them. Kanwar Grewal, a popular singer, is the latest victim of this tendency to demonise. The idea is that there could be sensible things to say for and against these men and women, but increasingly, hurling invective is often the chosen form of articulation. 
 
An earlier instance of this self-righteous silencing of the hapless intelligentsia happened in Mohali at Saarang Lok where some individuals claiming to be members of Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee barged into a reading session where exegetical discussion of Gurbani was in progress. Silencing the pleas of organisers and participants, the intruders charged that proper etiquette was not followed and hence it amounted to desecration. The innovative method and the quality of discussion underway with an eminent classicist Dr. B. S. Rattan striving to unravel deeply embedded meanings of Gurbani were brushed away. 
 
Chastening of diverse voices, pluralist approaches, eclectic experiments are a strict no no in Punjab as in Charlottesville of the Trumpland. While our founding texts, historical figures are sought to be reified, brave contemporary thinkers like Paash are stigmatized. Both these processes are simultaneously carried out blocking any attempt at engagement with these texts of immense beauty and hope. While exhortations to safeguard democratic rights; calls to mount resistance against fascist tactics or passing resolutions in meetings are the stock responses, these are clearly not enough. The contest over history, symbols, individuals is definitively on since the late-seventies in Punjab. Its enabling ideological habitat and political charge has eventually cornered a clueless Punjabi intelligentsia busy in churning out tonnes of words or plotting for awards. 
 
Paash has given his assessment of the situation that we confront today in his important poem Khooh (The Well): ‘In the face of such formless darkness, your cozy corner isn’t enough. You cannot walk unarmed in the face of such formless darkness.” While we seem to have made our peace with shadows and dimming of light, Paash remains a luminous monument of verdant green, the grass mound reminding us of directing our attention to horizons surrendered, battles deserted, ideas abandoned.
 
Mercifully, these wretchedly difficult choices are not the only way out of the morass. There’s an effective one, easy too: this sabh ton khatarnaak Punjabi alive is a pain in the neck, not letting us go about business as usual. Summon the bullets, blogs, books. Let’s kill Paash, instead.
 
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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.

— Team PT





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Comment by: chandan

बड़े फलक का लेख..बेजोड़..

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Comment by: Dhido Gill

salute

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Comment by: Harman Kapoor

The writer, in his ideological throes, makes some valid points about the orthodoxy inherent in some religious groups who try to suppress scholarly or heretical research into Sikh scriptures.

However, the writer is clearly not also for freedom of expression of those views which are not to his liking. Had he bothered to actually see the footage of Charlottesville, or more recently, in Boston, he would have understood that the vilification and suppression, and curbing of free speech, is in fact from the left-wing AntiFa and BLM groups who are opposed to right-wing authors and intellectuals even holding a simple rally, seminar or talk in a college.

In addition to the incident in which a car injured and killed street protesters in Charlottesville, there are hundreds of incidents in which the right-wing speakers and rally-goers are attacked, bullied and beaten up. In his fervor based on news reports peddled by global media and in his passion to decry Trump in every other sentence, Mr Sidhu dares not ask the question whether he himself, by aligning with left-wing extremists found at Charlottesville and Boston, is not on the side of oppressors.

It is important to be against Fascism, but it is also equally important to be aware that fascist tactics can be used by both the left and right. If we understand oppression to be curbing the liberty of expression and using threats of violence, intimidation, purges and actual violence, then Hitler, Mao and Stalin are equally guilty.

Let Mr Sidhu say that he is against the violence used by BLM and AntiFa and that he is for freedom of expression of right-wing people as well. Let him read Chomsky's essay on his defense of his forward to Faurisson's book, or the essays by Glenn Greenwald against censorship as worse than hate speech.

The writer would do well to keep aside his well-known sympathies for left-wing movements and be true to the spirit of liberty and humanism by realizing that just because he disagrees with someone does not mean that the other is evil.

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Comment by: Dr. Smith

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The WhatsApp Silence……
12.08.17 - DR. PUNEET DHILLON
The WhatsApp Silence……



First guests of the monsoon and here we welcomed a bunch of oldies whom we recognize as dad’s chuddy buddies. We are finely acquainted with these faces for we have often seen the group titling, jiggling and even bursting into laughter at weddings, Bhog ceremonies or other gatherings. This time it was an After Party at a carefully chosen venue at our home as they say home is a perfect place to return to when you have nothing better to do. So here the group enters with a lot of hustle and bustle, though difficult to understand due to the coarseness of the aging Adam’s apples in the throat of the speakers. The group seemed to have met after a long interval as the corresponding hot months did not witness any weddings or parties. A recognizable authoritative voice ordered the oriental but gentleman’s drink: Tea. So the household became busy arranging the snacks as the friends settled themselves in the Drawing room to discuss anything to everything.

As expected this gathering of these friends has to be full of gossip: a sport which is bought to its ultimate refinement by these Time Machines. But the usual Déjà vu types of situation seemed to be somewhat different this time. The clattering of the vocal cords suddenly faded away as if the guests have left! To my surprise it was too early for them to leave from a meeting which often resulted in consumption of at least two hours. I was still confused with their early departure when the sound resumed. Again the house echoed with conversations from nowhere to nowhere. The hot simmering cups of tea were ready to add sweetness to the loud chitchat. The trays trekked from one guest to another and reinforced the narrations which these friends loved to take with a pinch of salt from each other. 

The household after serving tea got occupied in winding up the kitchen and simultaneously waited for the next orders. But what was that the sound died away again. This time for a longer interval and longer to the extent that the kid in the house was selected, as a common practice in Punjabi households, to go and check whether the guests have left. And to my embarrassment the child shouted from the top of the pitch "Baithe ne Hale” (Guests are still there). Embarrassed by the version, I somehow mustered up the courage to tell the kid to return back to the bedroom immediately as my damage control act. I tried to manage the kid from not repeating the act and putting the whole family as well as the guests in an awkward situation but the child with her experience figured the fun out of the thing and wanted to do repeat the act. My mind was trapped between the kid control as well as the misery of the sudden silence for a pretty long interval and then a rapid recommencement of the talks.

Finally I took the decision and went for my turn to investigate the matter and start my own little spying. Smartly escaping the eyes of the guests I pin towed towards the drawing room and peeped through the curtains. Now I know the secret of this stillness, to my surprise it was the smart phones in the hands of all the pals who were suddenly detached from their usual tittle-tattle and would bow their heads to their mobile screens which would make them virtually disappear from the scene. I felt as if I was captured by a fit of mixed emotions including humor and amazement as I witnessed a ‘New Old’ generation engrossed with WhatsApp and lost in their personal virtual worlds in front of me. The pattern of this silence became so perfect that I didn’t even realize when the guests actually left the house turning those intervals of silence into an eternal silence of the drawing room sofas.




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Comment by: Shumita Madan Didi

What is "titling, jiggling" I didn't understand

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PUNJAB: An Idea In Search Of Words
07.08.17 - SUMAIL SINGH SIDHU
PUNJAB: An Idea In Search Of Words



AMIDST THE cacophony of competing claims to speak on behalf of Punjab, any sincere claim to do so is necessarily a fraught one. Leaving aside the truth of the claim, it has to contend with a land almost blinded by the instant solutions syndrome, whether in political discourse, raising agricultural productivity or addressing the educational crisis. Even in the rarefied realms of words and ideas instant solutions to complex issues are available on demand.
 
To imagine a collective utopia in such times has been a valuable project undertaken by societies in crisis. But the Punjab lacks any critical mass or enabling institutions to cradle utopia. It is drained, indeed, of the moral courage to even gaze at the future. Punjab today is a land of nostalgia, of opportunities squandered, of a wallowing about times. An Eliotesque wasteland has been realized here with land spewing poisonous water, failing crops and a corroding countryside. Today, Punjab is all about the past.

An off shoot of this condition is the wholesale appropriation of all visions and blueprints for the future by prospect of immigration to northern countries. The cultivation of utopia is effectively substituted by the patient execution of the procedure to fulfill terms of immigration. The painstaking attention to detail serves as an antidote to the instant syndrome blooming here. The various and assorted bands, grades or points are the new real estate trading at a premium than any assets here. Ironically these aspirational Punjabis are also the alienated ones.

Punjab today? Which one? Whose? Isn’t it a myth when all we have left to ourselves is a fractured, fragmented and fatigued society? Perhaps voting in elections is the singular activity where all Punjabis participate alongside each other, once more to start the cycle of fracture, fragmentation and fatigue!
 ----------
 The English writing on Punjab has constructed an urbane Punjabi universe as a carrier of its aspirations to power and cultural distinction, reducing it an island of prosperity or a source of sectarian strife. Punjab is more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from the promise of modernity.
---------- 
Dystopian as the situation is, it is addressed by assorted media where the Punjabi songs and music videos are both documenting as well as creating a dynamic scenario. The gradual ascent of Punjabi cinema has brought a scale and vividness to proceedings. Even the social media is agog with spirited exchanges, notwithstanding its capacity to spread half-truths, rumours or doctored content. Adding to cacophony surely, but determined to be heard.
 
Having democratised the field, the citizen journalists pose a challenge as to how loud, shrill and polarizing we could be? Parallel to the instant solution syndrome, does journalism or non-fiction carry a space for a field report of deep observation, narrative of insight and considered conclusions? Both in the structure as well as the medium of writing, the question of multiple layering comes to fore. A consideration of these elements of narration also constructs an intended audience.
  
For instance, the pre-1947 Punjab, ‘saanjha Punjab’ witnessed the Delhi Sultans, the Mughals, the Sikhs and finally the British as rulers with Persian, Urdu and English as languages of administration and power. The society, however, presents a formidable sense of continuity with the Sufi shrines, the Sikh centres, the jogi or vaishnava establishments providing armature for a shared Punjabi universe mediated robustly by the Punjabi language. With the Muslims being a demographic majority and Lahore as its civilizational centre, this saanjha Punjab lost to the sectarian zeal of urban middle-class Punjabis. These were more comfortable with their exclusivist identities than any common bonds. The festering wounds of partition remain an enduring legacy of bonds giving way to borders – a ‘pock-marked dawn’ – whose innate logic still reigns supreme.
 
 Ditching the ‘saanjha Punjab’ in 1947, the new-fangled‘maha’ Punjab saw the Hindus as the new demographic majority. Partap Singh Kairon was its Nehruvian icon and leader rolled in one with the founding of Chandigarh promising a new civilisation of modern institutions, progress through technology and cosmopolitan spirit. The institutional networks of the Arya Samaj movement supplied the social glue to this haloed project based on industry, trade and urbanization. Onset of green revolution in agriculture provided a similar ‘progressive’ vision transforming the countryside. The rural mobilisation and peasant movements contributed to the political momentum for a state based on linguistic units. A perfectly constitutional demand gradually descended to sectarian rhetoric. The political culture, thus, remained impervious to modernising impulses. The ghosts of 1947 were back.

The post-1966 Punjab of ‘two-and-a-half rivers’ had the Sikhs ascending to a demographic majority for the first time in Punjabi history. The urban centres were pushed from central positions and the countryside rose to eminence. The left-wing student movement and the Punjabi poets inspired by the Naxalbari uprising lit the horizons briefly but the battle-hardened Akali agitators and DamdamiTaksal zealots eventually gained prominence. An essential component of this process was an almost complete unravelling of the Nehruvian agenda and its institutions. Replaced by polarizing rhetoric, from classrooms to legislature, the spaces for reasoned deliberation and debate were ridiculed and demeaned. The power centre rested with the Malwa countryside and Amritsar started to dictate terms to Chandigarh. Institutional collapse was accompanied by a pervasive culture of coercion in everyday life preceding the contemporary phenomenon of systematic plunder of public resources. Both the eastern and western Punjabs mirrored each other in this journey to oblivion, with the logic of partition reaching its apogee.
 
These multiple spaces of Punjab are sadly a conflict zone where the idea of Punjab, its institutions and territories are seemingly at loggerheads. This is the precise challenge for any writing purporting to speak about Punjab. Writing in English in such a milieu brings to table its own set of complexities as a marker of social exclusivity and status. Located mainly in Delhi and its poor imitator Chandigarh, the English writing on Punjab has constructed an urbane Punjabi universe as a carrier of its aspirations to power and cultural distinction. Seen through this prism, Punjab was narrated either as an island of prosperity or a source of sectarian strife – a poster boy of progress or a renegade from the promise of modernity. Common to both characterisations was an image of Punjab as a bashful, loud, all flesh or to sum it up – ‘all agriculture, no culture.’It seems that Punjab and its people became  almost a prop for articulating an elitist understanding through English. On the other hand,the challenge is to articulate a Punjabi vision through English. A determined provincializing of a metropolitan language is an essential aspect of this project. 
 
Negotiating these conceptual battlefields, a layered Punjab narrative has an immediate issue to ponder over. The region shows a paradox: a bewildering variety of micro-initiatives bubbling from below, but seemingly contributing to strengthening the conventional political culture represented by the two-party cyclical phenomenon. The critical gap in field initiatives of social protest and resistance and the manifestly impervious and impenetrable nature of high politics in Punjab asks for a writing of sustained focus and insight scrupulously avoiding the easy, polarizing stance. The region is crying out for a tough, critical and tempered narration, oriented to a reflective mode of understanding.
 
The kind of profound social commentary and fearless political criticism as practiced by Baba Farid and Guru Nanak remains an immense reservoir for a vernacular cosmopolitan Punjabi vision. Speaking truth to power, their uncompromising content continues to thrive due to its exceptional lucidity with the power to lift commoners to a utopian vision. Thus was forged the Punjabi spirit under conditions of duress and social dislocation, conditions we are familiar with. Precisely this is the legacy of Punjabi narrative that Punjab Today has to aspire to. The task is arduous, indeed.
 

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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.

— Team PT

 





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Comment by: Shumita Madan Didi

Wonderful initiative which promises a powerful engagement with all things Punjab

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Comment by: chandan

बिहार अब बिहार में नहीं रहता अपने आप्रवास में रहता है, वैसे ही पंजाब अब पंजाब में नहीं रहता. वह नगर चंढीगढ़, डेरा अमृतसर और बस्ती मालवा के बीच होने वाली टकराहटों में कहीं खोया खोया सा रहता है...या फिर खो ही गया है...
आज का पंजाब एक याद है, एक आह और बीते को लौटा लाने की ना खत्म होने वाली कोशिश भी. पंजाब के मन, उसकी बस्तियों के उजाड़, उसकी हंसी में बजती सिसकी, उसके गीतों में गूंजती चीख..पंजाबियत के आस-निरास को समझने के लिए शायद भाई sumail singh sidhu के इस लेख से बेहतर कहीं और लिखा ना मिले आपको..!
मेरे लिए तो खैर सौभाग्य का मामला है कि सुमेल भाई के मुंह से जो बातें टुकड़ों में सुनीं उन्हें आज एक जगह सजा हुआ देख रहा हूं... इस शे,र का अर्थ नये सिरे से खुला--
दिल में अब यूँ तेरे भूले हुए ग़म आते हैं
जैसे बिछड़े हुए क़ाबे में सनम आते हैं
उम्मीद करुं कि लिखने का यह ठेठ सुमेलियन अंदाज बरकरार रहेगा...!

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Want to save your house? Fight for the entire town's Fire Brigade system
04.08.17 - PT Bureau
Want to save your house? Fight for the entire town's Fire Brigade system



NDTV'S Ravish Kumar spoke to Devy yesterday; Arnab Goswami, it's your turn today to save the Republic. Tomorrow, lovers of Punjabi can sit on a dharna.
 
But it is alright if you missed it. Devy was yesterday at the India International Centre where 11 volumes of the ongoing mammoth work on the linguistic survey of India were being released.

This is the first time that someone took upon himself to engage with a task for which India should have had a full time ministry/directorate. Last time, and the only such survey that was carried out, was when George Abraham Grierson pulled off the feat. And that was in the late 1920s.

Former PM Manmohan Singh was there, as was cultural czarina Kapila Vatsyayan, the power house that stands on the intersection of dance, architecture and art, and surveys the domain with  an understanding that dwarfs many a scholars.

A representative of Punjab Today, himself a linguistics student, met Devy after the formal interaction and asked if any of the myriad groups fighting for the Punjabi language and worried that it will be extinct in a matter of a few decades write to him too often, and have shared their concerns. I am refraining from sharing Devy's answer.

In no way am I denigrating the brave and consistent fight being put up by lovers of Punjabi -- but this struggle has to be a part of the larger struggle for India's diversity, its vernaculars, and the fact that all languages are important. If the fight is only for Punjabi, then it is a fight to demand more resources for a fire brigade truck to save one house in an alley from fire.

You need to draw up a plan and allocate resources for fire fighting for the entire town, otherwise that one house you need to save will remain under threat.
 
Punjab Today stands in solidarity with the People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) and wishes G N Devy and his dedicated team well. The fight for 850 languages will be a long one. 

Those who slammed India's top academicians, scholars and women and men of letters for returning their awards, a reminder: GN Devy was also among them. Now they can go back and snatch the subject from Ravish Kumar and start a campaign against him on Republic TV.
 

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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.

— Team PT




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