All posts in Column

From hoof power to horse power

Posted on July 4, 2015 at 11:37am by khushwant.singh No Comment

Last week, my father and I were driving from Chandigarh to Kasauli when our conversation, from politics, meandered to the changing times.

I was of the view, that the Gen Next is more accepting about gender, race and class equality than mine, and especially my father’s.

Even though they remain glued to the Internet and their smartphones, I find them to be much more sober and less loud than my generation.

The topic struck a chord with him and he started reflecting on his growing up days and sharing anecdotes from that era.
As per him, his generation is the fortunate one (he is 67) to witness two extreme times and see times change.

My father then started sharing tales of the days gone by and narrated various incidents of how the village life was in his growing up days at Chhauni in Hoshiarpur district. (more…)

To my daughter, with love

Posted on July 4, 2015 at 11:33am by khushwant.singh No Comment

Last week, in this column I had shared a letter I had written to my son on his joining Class 11. The letter had evoked much interest among readers, many of whom in emails addressed to me asked how about a letter to my daughter? Though, I don’t have a daughter, the emails left me pondering as to what would I have written if I had a daughter joining Class 11. Allow me to share a letter to a daughter that I don’t have, but always wanted.

Dear daughter,

You are my joy and my love. You are the only one who can twist this ‘khadoos’ on your little finger. I overheard you call me Khadoos while complaining about me to your mother.

Many congratulations to you on joining Class 11, which in a way, marks a new chapter in your life. (more…)

A Punjabi’s tryst with Europe

Posted on July 4, 2015 at 11:30am by khushwant.singh No Comment

In today’s column, Khushwant Singh dishes out some tips on how a Punjabi must travel across Europe in the absence of a Punjabi traveller’s app!

Iam writing this piece from Paris, the city of romance, architecture and fashion. I’m here as part of a holiday with my wife, son, another couple and their two daughters.

To be precise, there are seven of us now, though when the plan was being made, our strength had stood in double digits. Let me give you the liberty to imagine the chaos 17 Punjabis, including children, must have created in trying to plan the trip. Each one trying to tailor it to their liking. Oops! I stand corrected – to their better half ’s liking.

I can well sympathise with all the spouses when this trip was being planned because surely enough every morning, a new idea would emerge. “I googled Amsterdam. Looks like a fun place. I think Amsterdam is a must visit.” (more…)

The farmer ain’t a land bank

Posted on April 5, 2015 at 8:59am by khushwant.singh No Comment

Who is a farmer? Perhaps someone who owns a piece of land, which an industrialist, real estate agent or a politician for that matter could take over at any later stage.

One day while sipping my early morning tea, I felt this urgent desire to revisit the meaning of the word ‘farmer’. A very strange and moronic desire indeed, but the urge I felt was because somewhere, along the years, we lost the meaning of the word and its significance. We lost track of its meaning to the rhetoric and the abuse it underwent, be it in the parliament, media or the intellectual space, thus making a revisit imperative.

So who is a farmer? I asked myself pacing up and down on my terrace and ‘googling’ it on my ever so slow internet connection. If one were to derive its meaning from the ongoing debate on the land acquisition bill, the closest one could get was that a farmer was someone who owns a piece of land, which an industrialist, real estate agent or a politician could take over at any later stage. No questions asked, a price is paid and off with you.

In other words, the din of the political tamasha has twisted the meaning so much that the farmer now appears as someone with a land bank, rather than a person who toils hard under unfavourable conditions to produce food for billions. And of course, for that canteen in the Parliament, which boasts of cheap food. (more…)

For change, age will need a new definition

Posted on March 22, 2015 at 3:46pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

When discussing reasons of Punjab’s downslide, the primary arguments that I put forward are — the state ought to have young political leadership and its dynastic politics should fade away.
Many may disagree with the first view since they prefer experience over youth, but it is imperative to inject young, non-dynastic political blood in the state considering the way Punjab has gone low on energy and ideas over the years.

Simply put, more young people rather than the existing septuagenarians and octogenarians, should be involved as stakeholders in Punjab’s future, with the state’s population getting younger by the day.

The seed of this thought should be sown for Punjab’s future. The state’s land is fertile and who knows we just might get an early harvest that brings a balance between experience and energy. (more…)

Punjabi James Bond: The Super Sikh

Posted on March 8, 2015 at 11:06am by khushwant.singh No Comment

Déjà vu should I say? Something that I had been contemplating to create over the years had suddenly caught the media’s attention. Confused? I am talking about the Super Sikh comics for children launched recently by Silicon Valley-based senior financial executives Supreet Manchanda and Eileen Alden. Supreet is a venture capitalist, while Eileen is a portfolio manager.

It’s interesting and amusing about how I was sure that if I failed to accomplish my desire to create a Sikh Super hero, it would only be a matter of time before someone else conceptualised it and he or she would be from the Silicon Valley, California. No, I am not saying why I didn’t get to create a Punjabi James Bond, as I am rather thrilled that someone has actually gone ahead and developed the idea, which looks sustainable. For example, the Sikh Super Hero is a highly trained Indian security agent, wears a turban and loves Elvis over Honey Singh. Though I am yet to lay my hands on the comic, initial reports indicate that it is not an over-the-top one.

Supreet and Eileen’s team seem to have maintained the right balance to ensure mainstream commercial success.

Replacing cape with turban

Given the circumstances in the US, where Sikhs are being continuously targeted racially because of their turbans, beards and scarves, this comic should aspire nothing short of mainstream American readership to generate more awareness about Sikhs. “Having closely watched the level of aggression and bullying against Sikhs here, we wanted a positive role model for kids and this has been in the works for many years,” Supreet told me via email. (more…)