I recently visited Punjab, the state to which I belong, the soil from which I got created and i wish will one day be cremated in. I can do nothing but pity the sad fate to which this great state is leading itself to.
Punjab, a state deserted by its own sons and daughters, for the lure of dollars or jobs. All the intellect and hard-work of these not so worthy and overambitious sons and daughters – I am one of them – is benefiting their adopted lands. But, the sad fact is that probably leaving Punjab is not just an option, but a mandate for these displaced men and women, who want to go to greener pastures to try their luck, after-all nobody wants to leave his/her motherland, willingly. Poor Punjab is left to be run by a huge migrant population who can not care less about the mess that they leave this land in.
Punjab had the highest per capita income in country even in the troubled days of militancy. Now, unfortunately it stands at a not so satisfactory fifth position overall in the country. One of the reason for this decline is the exploitative governance that this state has gone through for years and years now. Punjab is a ping-pong game as far as governance goes, every five year people elect a new party to rule because they get fed up of being exploited and ignored by the current government. Previously, i used to think and celebrate it as the power of vote and democracy, but now, i have realized that this kind of governance oscilation is hurting Punjab’s development real bad.
Its a pity that no government, whether its this or that, cares about development and keeping up with times. Punjab, which used to be the wheat basket of India, is now a living hell for any farmer who does not hold huge land of the state. Punjab, lags badly as far as the new information technology industry is concerned, as a result, companies like Infosys and TCS, that have centers even in remote areas of India, do not have even a single centre in Punjab (Chandigarh, constitutionally and politically is not a part of Punjab). It is really hard to think why most of the governments ruling Punjab have ignored information technology for so long, at their own peril, when the rest of India is doing everything possible to get information technology to their places. Even, a communist West Bengal has declared IT as essential service to keep it out of the purview of labor strikes. The manufacturing and textile industry, for which Ludhiana, the Manchester of India, is popular, is an example of unprofessional management and a working model of exploitation and frustration for the heavily under-paid labor working in these industries.
Punjab, a land whose populace is getting as far away as possible from its own mother tongue. Thanks to the huge number of villages that Punjabi is still alive. Today, if you live in a town of Punjab and speak Punjabi in public, you can be easily passed of as illiterate or as un-mannered crude indiviual. What a pity. The language that came out as the alternate to highly flowery urdu as the language of common man, is these days receiving a step motherly treatment by its own family. The hypocrite Punjabi youth is considered civilized only if they choose to converse in hindi and english in public, no matter, if they prefer Punjabi in private conversations. Punjabi has just been reduced to one language you need to learn while still being in school.
To a person who is not from Punjab, Punjabis are always singing and dancing, such culture is being protrayed by cheap Punjabi music channels, to the outside world. Go to any marriage party in Punjab these days and all you will find is, skimpily clad girls dancing to vulgar songs in front of a pack of completely drunk crowd that mostly consists male fraternity. Where has the real culture of Punjab gone? Why have the erstwhile Punjabis left it to adopt a culture of showoff and extravagance? Its a big pity that the Punjabi populace has chosen to forget its own sweet and unique culture.
Punjab, a state killing its own daughters. Male to female ratio is lowest in Punjab, as compared to the whole country. The way this new Punjab treats its daughters, mothers, sisters is, by killing them, by not letting them to be born. It is a huge pity that Punjabi woman, who has always been an equal to its male counterpart in every field, is facing such a fate in modern day Punjab. This can not be dismissed as male chauvinism, the woman of Punjab will also have to accept responsibility for this shameful feat.
Punjab, a state where booze and drugs run in blood. Its a shameful irony that the state which was know for its good food and diet is today known for the enormous amount of booze that it guzzles. The intellect and self-awareness of the state which is always in a drunken frenzy can never think about higher issues of development and societal change. What a pity that the wine shop owners are kings in a boastful Punjabi society, which like to make it known in no uncertain terms that we drink and no one can match or out-do us in that. I dont know how long can this Punjabi society survive with such a self-destructive nature.
Once Surjit Patar, the famous Punjabi poet had written about the militancy days. “Laggi nazar Punjab nu ehdi nazar utaaro, Lai ke mircha kaudiya ehde sir toh waro”. I wish it was as easy as burning a few chillies to get Punjab out of this mess of its own making.
I can only pray, that the common man of Punjab wakes up before its too late.