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Governed as we deserve it

Posted on February 9, 2015 at 3:29pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

If George Bernard Shaw hadn’t made the statement, democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve, I would have. Not to suggest that I am as brilliant as him or trespassing on his intellectual property right, but it’s writing on the wall no social commentator can miss.

The point I’m trying to make is that blaming the politician for every wrong that happens in our life, even if it is that broken tap in the bathroom, is not going to lead us anywhere. As it we the people who have trained the politician to misgovern us, we need to introspect instead of blame.

In other words, Shaw’s quote should be that trigger to sort out ourselves before cribbing about the polity. It is poignant enough for us to immediately stop electing politicians for caste, religion, class and selfish considerations. Rather, we should stop looking them as genies for quick personal gratification and benefit.

Oversight or overlooking?

This thought takes me to the Punjabi aphorism ‘marra jeha dekhlayio’ (just have a slight look). The phrase isn’t as weak as it sounds, but quite muscular and bullying by nature. In fact, such is its power that it sometimes appears to be the operational word of Punjab’s politics and governance. (more…)

Wise words from Baba Penwaley

Posted on January 25, 2015 at 7:36am by khushwant.singh No Comment

Last week during a visit to Gurgaon, I had the misfortune of getting stuck in the mother of all traffic jams. The cause of the jam was not the maverick HR/DL number drivers but the 1 lakh-odd disciples of Sirsa dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh who had descended on Gurgaon’s Sector 29 to watch the screening of MSG. MSG or The Messenger of God has been directed, produced and acted in by the self-styled godman himself. It’s a separate matter though that the organisers couldn’t screen the movie because of censor board issues, but the disciples still got to see their godman rock n roll. Coming back to the traffic jam, I must confess that I felt jealous of the dera head’s following and even pondered how I had wasted my life writing and not striving to become a godman instead. Foolish of me, because in today’s world writing requires far more intellectual rigour than being a baba.

Being baba

Gone are the days when to be hailed a baba the essentials were spirituality and saintliness. All you need now is a flowing beard, some velhas as chelas, a chola and the gift of the gab. The politicians flocked to you, the administration feared you, the bureaucrat came to you for transfer blessings, women came in hordes and the common man was gullible in any case.I am told that the the disciples who had come to watch MSG had paid Rs 2,000 per ticket, even though one could tell that the majority weren’t exactly economically forward. Such is the power of blind faith and who knows they might be the no moh maya types. But sadly such is not the case with godmen and their disciples.  It was only a couple of months ago that one was witness to Chandigarh turning into a fortress. It had seemed that police reinforcements had been despatched to counter an alien attack, till it was clarified that it was no alien threat but a godman named Rampal was expected to appear in the high court with his disciples. Disciples or goons though one wonders because why so much security for spiritual people?

Hope over hard work (more…)

Drug politics of Punjab

Posted on January 22, 2015 at 7:18pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

The Punjab government unleashed an advertisement blitzkrieg recently, urging all and sundry to stop tarnishing the image of Punjabis as drug addicts, because Punjab has nothing to do with drugs. Punjab, as per the spirit of the campaign, is not a producer of drugs, the supply of which comes from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the bordering state of Rajasthan, where opium is legal. In other words, Punjab is a land of milk and honey, and not of drugs, as is being projected.

Kudos to the brain behind this advertisement campaign that has, in a single sweep, washed away Punjab’s drug blues. It has made drugs sound like an alien word to Punjab, just like sarson da saag is to Italy.

Admit there’s a problem

Not only this, the advertisement has in one stroke also tried to make Punjabis look like fools, a very difficult task indeed. Because, try telling a Punjabi that he is a fool, a buck is what one gets, precisely the reason why this advertisement has become a laughing stock. (more…)

Puttar Alam Lohar da

Posted on January 22, 2015 at 7:17pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

Legendary Pakistani folk singer of Jugni fame, Arif Lohar, was in Chandigarh recently. He was in the city to perform at a wedding function, to be followed by a performance in Bathinda at the World Kabaddi Cup final. While many of us may crib about the big fat Punjabi weddings, one cannot sideline the fact that such events, other than providing patronage to folk music, contribute immensely to keep the people to people contact alive between India and Pakistan.

And just as kudos should be given to people who burn a hole in their pockets to invite artistes from across the border, it is equally important for the media to pick up stories of hope and peace with the same enthusiasm as it picks up the war-mongering ones.

Arif Lohar, since he was in Chandigarh agreed to come on a TV show that I host and what a rocking interview it turned out to be.

Best described as a freewheeling one, Arif talked about his music career, folk music, his father the great Alam Lohar and the role artistes played as harbingers of peace. (more…)

Punjab Education League

Posted on January 22, 2015 at 7:15pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

Kabbadi is back again and so are my Kabaddi blues. Blues, because it is my personal opinion that Punjab should concentrate more on Mental Kabaddi and a good sports policy than just Kabaddi.

The government should focus more on children getting their text books and sports kits than just slapping their Jhangs (thighs) once a year. I am not critical of Kabaddi, I simply want to highlight a shortcoming in the state ,which is, that it does not invest in its intellectual pool as much as it does in its brawn. Not that I have anything against brawn, after all what is a Punjabi without brawn?

Moreover who am I to complain, given that Kabaddi has assumed a status of a league now. Credit should go to the Punjab government for gifting something so valuable gift to the nation. In other words, if they put their mind, heart and soul into something then they have the capability to really make it worthwhile. Where there is a will there is a way and all that.

So, how about gifting a Punjab Education League (PEL) to Punjab? Why should only the Kabaddi guys get to see the Priyankas and Sonakshis? What about the geeks and the nerds of the state? After all it is them who need an outing the most. (more…)

Punjab’s water woes

Posted on January 22, 2015 at 7:13pm by khushwant.singh No Comment

That expensive shower you have installed in your bathroom recently? Well it might soon be a piece of junk if the recent images received from satellites are to be believed. Punjab is fast heading towards becoming a desert if Punjabis don’t stop overdrawing the ground water.

Infact, the situation is so grim that the jets installed on the potties will also go dry, forcing Punjabis to invest heavily in wet wipes. I know you don’t believe this, like you have never believed your own scientists, but this is serious stuff .

The Khabar has come from Amreeka. America’s CBS Channel on its very famous program 60 minutes has brought the world’s attention to the depleting water table, especially in California and North India. NASA’s experimental satellite GRACE has picked up images which show that we are drawing out water much quicker than it is being replenished.

Water experts say it’s like overdrawing from a Savings bank account without topping it up.Now that we know that the Thar jeeps that we see in Punjab might get a matching  terrain, what is it that we Punjabis ought to do to save ourselves from this peril? Of driving on sand dunes, wiping with wet wipes and dry showers. Scotch, I am not worried about, because that’s Scottish water. (more…)