Book: The Punjab Story
Author: Multiple essays and records from famous public and media figures
Rating: 2/5 ⭐️⭐️
Having grown up in Punjab of 80s. This story is bound to be important for me. These times stay somewhere as the setting of my childhood. Not that I did not have a happy childhood, but the politics of those times impacts a child through its parents whose economy is dependent on it. Why terrorism is Bad? For killing people yes, but also killing livelihood, making people homeless and breaking millions of homes. It kills people and loosing one life after another becomes a norm. It's not peace. Life is survival. And all for the politics and economies of the world mixed with human emotions and evils. To kill for just the sake of killing. How can killing be a punishment for anything, especial not for killing another. So he killed someone but that doesn't mean you kill someone too under the preview of society or law. This eye for an eye business is a vicious cycle, and it's only saints who can break them. But when saints pick this issue then religion becomes ugly.
Anyways this story has unfolded in front of my eyes from the whispers and words of elders, who talk about it, thinking the child is not listening and if listening not understanding, and if understanding then good for it to know.
The stories were more of narration by some of the famous political and media figures of the times. Two famous ex editors of Illustrated Weekly. first the intellectual Sardar himself Khushwant Singh bringing an insiders side of the story. The victim side but not ready to accept being a victim but a rational critic. He adds his historical background on Sikhism and its derivation from Hinduism and the proclamation 'na main Hindu na musalman'. If Jesus was born a Jew that doesn't make all Christians are Jewish. Well that's kind of debatable. If you really question the perversion of conversion.
Anyways not my area of expertise but instead a belief. So Mr Khushwant accepts and rejects ideas and notions but gives his honest and wise opinion nonetheless. he is a well respected man but wait till you read his jokes, which probably are the reason for so many Sardar jokes in the culture.
The second editor, his success Mr Kamath brings a special third party opinion discussing the issues of regionalisation and multilingual nation like india. It's a very intelligent written article which is well researched. He talks about his only visits to Punjab durung the incident basing his opinions on Punjabis and their quom on basis of a book gifted to him at the Golden Temple Gurudwara. Seriously how can you ever judge a religion by a book. instead it's the people who are writing and rewriting religion. In each time period it changes shapes and sounds and styles. Fear in the war, joy in the celebration, peace in the prayer and warmth in its share. There are so many faces. It's so difficult to explain your feelings, especially the faith becomes the basis of your nurture, your principles and tenets of life. So easily it's divided into facets and rules of dressing, eating, language, living, thoughts, choices, behaviour, conversations, and everything else.
I also liked Tavleen Singh, another Punjabi media personality. Refreshing writing with nice interpretations and keeping an unbiased view being a Sikh herself. Probably that's the reason they are respected. Emotions are there but not emotional. If only we could separate religion from rational, life would be Easy.
Next I read the political leader Amarjit Kaur, wife of Mr Fauja who was one of the first casualty of the Khalsa vs Nirankari sect war. You see there are so many factions within a religion that we have wars at each level. Digambars and Shvetambars, Sunny and Shia, Brahmins and Sudras, and many more. she definitely stays true to her profession putting all the blame on terrorist Bhindrawala who allegedly did nothing to avenge her husband when he could have. I was utterly confused as her unconvincing and childish writing was more of an attempt to politicise the issue and malign all parties and justify oneself as the most righteous and fair. Felt like a lot of stories were twisted and turned and fitted and fixed to create a Punjab story.
Then Mr KPS Gill who starts clearly by saying that how there would never be extremist emergence in Punjab again. A pat on his own back or an estimated intelligence. An insider again.
I would say it was overall an interesting collection of good writers. They were a mix of balanced and biased writers so you get a bit of truth and a bit of fiction, which is perfect. Read it!