Opinion » Lead

Updated: August 15, 2012 19:50 IST

The absence in Punjabiyat’s split universe

Ajay Bhardwaj
Comment (34)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

Nationalist politics and official patronage to a selective narrative of Partition have not succeeded in wiping out the memory of a composite pluralistic culture

The partition of Punjab in 1947 created a paradoxical situation that Punjabis had never experienced before: they were one people, but with two mainlands now — India and Pakistan. In that sense, Punjab ceased to exist; by and large, Punjabis took to perceiving their world through the prism of nation states and national boundaries, shaped by whichever side of the divide they found themselves in.

In the process, the self became the other. The universe of Punjabiyat — a shared way of life — was marginalised. It was replaced by perceptions of contending identities, which have found an echo in the dominant power politics of east Punjab these past 65 years. However, the idea of Punjabiyat has not been totally erased. In ways seen and unseen, it continues to inhabit the universe of the average Punjabi’s everyday life, language, culture, memories and consciousness.

Living paradoxes

Born almost two decades after Partition, my first realisation of a composite Punjab, ironically, was through the presence of absences. Behind my grandparents’ house in our village Akalgarh, in district Ludhiana, is a narrow street. To this day it is called Rajputan de Gali (the street of the Rajputs). This is where the influential community of ‘Rajput Muslims,’ as they were addressed, lived before Partition. The villagers’ reference to the Maseet Wala Gurdwara (literally the mosque turned gurdwara) is yet another symbol of the once powerful presence of Muslims in Akalgarh.

Similarly, there is a pond called Taru Shah da Toba, named after a wandering fakir Taru Shah, who preferred to stay on in our village. Over the years his shrine in the old graveyard has grown in size and stature. Yet there are no Muslims in the village.

To me, these living paradoxes spoke unequivocally of the presence of an absence of Punjabi Muslims from east Punjab. It was a reminder that any imagination of Punjab which excluded Punjabi Muslims would only end up ghettoising east Punjabi society.

The last six decades have witnessed two parallel trajectories in east Punjab as a response to Partition. One trajectory is defined by a dominant mode of politics in the domain of national contestations; the other, reflecting an organic response of people in their everyday lives, emphasises local continuities.

Contestations & continuities

In spite of occasional expressions of bonhomie during a cross-border cricket match, offerings of prayers at each other’s holy shrines for the benefit of competing media cameras, or photo-ops centred on prisoners granted amnesty across the border, it is a fact that politics in east Punjab has always engaged with west Punjab strictly within a nationalist framework — just like India would deal with Pakistan.

Strangely, the State’s Akali leadership, which is never shy of confronting the Centre on any issue, big or small, imagines Punjab no differently. Such is the influence of national boundaries in imposing constricting visions that Punjabi Muslims and west Punjab have been rendered completely invisible in the conceptualisation of the Punjabi self by this brand of politics in east Punjab.

For instance, the complete silence over the killings of Punjabi Muslims in east Punjab during Partition could be explained away by the nation state as a “side effect” of the birth of a nation. But, equally, east Punjab’s political class has chosen to be silent on this issue of Partition, which had a totally different meaning for Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs who shared so much in common with Punjabi Muslims in terms of culture, language, traditions and spirituality.

In all these years, the same east Punjabi political class has shown little interest in articulating any expression of regret for the killings of Muslims during Partition. As for the idea of a reconciliation which would help recover the self banished as the other in 1947, that has never been part of any political agenda.

This gives rise to a significant question. If this is how the State’s political leadership has envisioned Punjab, how is it any different from the Hindutva politics of Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan? Often, the justification of this silence stems from a positioning based on playing the blame game. It is a political stance that has been used by the likes of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to invoke Newton’s third law of motion during the killings of Muslim minorities in his State in 2002.

In the year of the Gujarat killings, the Rashtriya Sawayamsevek Sangh (RSS) held a massive function in the heart of Amritsar to honour its cadres who had actively participated in the genocide of Muslims in 1947, ostensibly to protect the Hindus and Sikhs in east Punjab. At this Shaurya Smriti Samman function, (honouring the memory of valour), the RSS made an audacious attempt to appropriate iconic Punjabi revolutionaries of the anti-imperialist movement like Shaheed Udham Singh and Kartar Singh Sarabha.

The counterpoint to this trajectory is to be found at levels closer to the ground, in the responses of the Partition generation that witnessed the genocidal violence of 1947 in east Punjab. In the villages straddling the Malwa region of Punjab, people of this generation can often be heard talking about the fate of the perpetrators of the killings, the accounts disturbing in their sharp details. They never fail to describe how the perpetrators, who were from their own community, met with miserable ends. The widely shared faith of this generation in a morality based on the belief that those who commit inhuman acts, suffer in their own lifetime, that there is always a payback, carries within it a great humanist and universal message.

While shooting my documentaries in this region over a decade, rarely did I come across anyone valorising the killers of Muslims. This fast fading generation’s expressions of guilt and remorse seem to be a way of cleansing the soul, with the potential to heal the scars of a traumatic past and show the path to reconciliation.

Memorialising — what and what not

Yet there has been no acknowledgement of this articulation anywhere on a formal level in east Punjab. No memorials have been erected for the one million people who perished in 1947. At the same time, building memorials has been an unceasing political activity in the State. The pertinent ones in this context are the memorials of Wada Ghalughara, Chhota Ghalughara and the Banda Bahadur War Memorial. They are largely meant to invoke the heroic battles of the Sikhs against the Mughal state’s oppression. The point worth pondering is that these acts privilege a memory that is exclusivist, selective and sectarian, over the historical pluralist ethos of Punjab. This act of institutionalisation of memory is not very different from the manner in which Hindu nationalist forces and the RSS invoke the memory of Maharana Pratap and Chhatrapati Shivaji as saviours of Hindus from Muslim oppression.

Away from the glare of such grandstanding lies the universe of the common Punjabi. In so many villages across east Punjab, people throng the shrines of Sakhi Sarvar — Lakh Data Pir or Nigaha Pir as he is called, whose main shrine is located near Dera Ghazi Khan in Pakistan. This is a vibrant living tradition outside the domain of the dominant faiths of east Punjab that has survived Partition — and is evident in multiple spaces of shared spirituality, especially Sufi shrines.

The political class has never bothered to argue on behalf of such cross-border traditions which speak of multiple expressions of identity. It is more interested in picking and choosing elements which have the potential to harden the identity politics of Us against the Other.

The silencing of language

There is one more interesting dimension to this rubric and it has to do with language. Post-Partition, in west Punjab, the imposition of Urdu virtually decimated the Punjabi language; in east Punjab, Urdu became a casualty of Punjabi. I remember having an animated conversation about Urdu with four elderly men under a pilkhan tree in a village in Ludhiana some years ago. “A beautiful language, with nuances neither Hindi nor Punjabi can equal,” said one. “It’s our language, forged from Arabic and Punjabi,” said another. The third one remembered how, when Partition was announced, “all of us in Class III, studying lesson number 14 in Urdu, threw our Qua’ida in the air and said, ‘Urdu ud gaya, Urdu ud gaya’ [Urdu has flown away].” The fourth friend ruminated: “We used to think Urdu belonged to Muslims; nobody knew it was a language.”

Here, too, the dominant trajectory of politics, with a skewed sense of Punjab’s history, continues to deny the organic links between Persia and Punjab — cultural, spiritual and linguistic. It has ghettoised the Punjabi language by keeping Urdu and Persian at bay. Ironically, while people in villages celebrate Gaus Pak Pir from Baghdad, students in Punjab are denied the option of studying Persian or Urdu as a second language.

This underlines the nationalist perspective echoed by east Punjab politics; it is certainly not a Punjab perspective.

(Ajay Bhardwaj is a Delhi-based documentary filmmaker.

More In: Lead | Opinion

I grew up listening to stories of lahore, stories of partition and couplets in urdu from
my grand parents. However, noone apart from them spoke about the other half of
panjabiyat. Neither my punjabi literature books nor my history books. I used to
wonder while growing up why they never spoke about the land my grand parents
came from. When punjabis from both sides meet there is an immediate connection.
We speak the same language (except I believe their punjabi is sweeter because of the
influence of urdu) , we sing the same heers and we love our butter and lassi. Then
why has no government from east punjab made a conscious effort to reconcile? Why
did my punjabi literature book not tell me about the grandeur of Lahore ? Why is our
idea of punjabiyat ending in Amritsar? The next generation will not have these
grandparents from partition but they have to be told the stories from lahore,
otherwise they will grow up with a very dwindled idea of punjabiyat.

from:  Guneet
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 23:05 IST

I am glad that Ajay Bhardwaj has written this important piece on the
continuing agony of a Punjab which is no more but whose long shadows
continue to touch the lives of Punjabis, even the younger generations.
There are several myths about the old Punjab but one fact that cannot
be denied is that it was an infinitely more peaceful and harmonious
cultural-geographical region than many other parts of India. It had
its ugly features too but those have been replaced by even uglier
ones. It is time to remember the crimes against humanity committed in
both East and West Punjab, in the hope that another type of Punjab,
even when divided as now, emerges out of the sense of shared guilt and
a shared belief in reconciliation

from:  Ishtiaq Ahmed
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 14:50 IST

A kick in the gut article! To all those who want to move on - 'If you forget history, it will repeat itself.' The author offers a practical way to examine and engage with our history by stressing on the inclusive and life affirming actions that occurred even during a horrific time that partition was. We can go on with the diatribe of 'so what if we killed so many _____, didn't they kill so many _____' that we have been fed on or we can make some movement towards collective healing.The author suggests some moves towards that, am sure there can be many more. Why don't we add to that list instead of vomiting the same old turgid arguments of hatred mongers? My bit -why not a museum straddling both the countries at Wagah border which chronicles all these shared cultures and spaces that existed and still exist on both sides? It could even include big and small facts about all those that saved their neighbours like the moving account by Mr/s Murthy in a comment above.These were heroes dammit!

from:  mamta
Posted on: Aug 17, 2012 at 13:09 IST

@All you folks-"You can't see the forest for the trees".Try to move back a step and understand the crux of the piece.Don't get personal on 1-2 points.

We have 100s of radical and irrational articles/books on partition about who killing whom;who is at fault etc.It s a write-up about culture,history,shared interests and not political misgivings.

Well done,Sir!

from:  Aks gupta
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 19:59 IST

The whole point of nationalistic boundary making is non sense. It aims at creating an identity of a nation by forsaking each persons individual identity. And when nationalism (usually thought as patriotism) gets on to the heads of people, they behave in ways that undermine the gray areas of one's nation.

I simply cannot understand the point that how a person living next to you can be your enemy and a person living 1000kms from you be your saviour

from:  vidyasagar
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 19:24 IST

This is an absolutely one sided article. It was the Muslims of Punjab
who first started killing Hindus and then Hindus retaliated. I fail to
understand what the author intends to achieve by raking up an old issue.
Have the Punjabi muslims of Pakistan ever apologized for massacre and
rape which they perpetrated on Hindus and Sikhs? Why doesn't the author
get true accounts from the Hindu and Sikh survivors of Partition?

from:  Nachiketh
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 13:35 IST

Ajay Bhardwaj has brought to light certain historical facts,which nobody
dares to even touch upon.I congratulate Ajay for writing this article in
appropriate intellectual sense.
I am sure Punjabiyat will survive the onslaught of 1947 by identifying
the designs of its perpetrators and their lackeys alike.

from:  Tarlochan Singh
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 09:39 IST

I am a retired academic living in Canada. The film maker's twisted logic amazes me.I was a kid riding on a goods train with my parents from Lahore to Jullunder in August,'47. That train and many others that followed,were loaded with the wounded and dead Hindus and Sikhs. The writer regrets that no Muslims are left in East Punjab, yet he wants madraasas opened here to teach our kids Persian and Urdu. Yet he regrets not for the State-abolition of Punjabi or the almost banning of saris in West Punjab,or the genocide of Kashmiri Pundits and Sikhs funded by Pakistan. Monumental ignorance!

from:  Prem Kumar
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 05:39 IST

As observed since immemorial, for every cataclysmic change (like partition) the man-kind has reacted with the baser instinct. This probably is engendered in our genes from having gone through such events for generations. And such a protracted instinct would also remember that the roots of Urdu are an import and an imposition by foreigners. Which would explain the comments regarding Urdu flying. If such were the bonhomie between the Islamic and the rest of the Indian culture (arising out of Sikhs, Hindu, Jains etc), would you have not seen much more amalgamation, a syncretism, between the two ? The truth is that the Islamic culture has been a jarring imposition. The details and truths are lost due to the attempts of the successive governments to keep it latent. As for the lament about the lost/departed, I wonder how many would welcome them back with open arms on either side of the border. I wonder if the author is nostalgic because it is gone and not that it is absent.

from:  Arun
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 01:52 IST

Mr. Murthy, aberrations can not be axioms.
Mr.Sanjay,I fail to find the real motive behind this article despite putting alarmingly high stress on my grey matter.Is it nostalgia ? or palpitation about absence of any communal conflagration or other kind of unrest in the state ? well,after 65 years I find it ridiculous to expect apology from the generation which hardly has any idea about x,y,z who killed each other and correctly they should not.Moreover, if apologies are to be made for past sins then why should we not start with 1100 CE and go on till 11th August 2012 ?

from:  Manish
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 01:43 IST

Genocide,whatever it base be,is act which should and must be condemn.
What happened in that time shouldn't have happened but one,even million cannot change the past.These incidents is always full of remorse but a lesson is always within,lesson to respect each and every religion,culture and tradition,its all on us how much of it we are ready to adopt and practise to decimate the chances of iteration of such disasterous incident

from:  Sharad Singh
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 01:20 IST

All I can say is that this author is just trying to attract attention
by blaming all on the people of the East Punjab. Any rational person
will understand the folly of the author's argument. Any one who has
attended class 1 and has even a basic understanding of history knows
that abominable violence was present on carried out on both sides of
the border ,actually the west exceeded the east to be precise. By just
lamenting on the violence unleashed in East Punjab the author has
proved that he doesn't even have an iota of understanding of Indian
history. Mr. Ajay if you want to hog the limelight please do something
else which has not been attempted by others before. For the communal
anti-national route which you have taken has already been tried by
many and have failed.

from:  Shiv Ganesh
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 01:12 IST

I was raised in Ludhiana too and both my set of grand-parents migrated from west
Punjab. I grew up listening about stories of my grand parents childhood in the other
Punjab, stories of partition and instances of their love for Urdu. One of the first plays
that I saw was "Jis Lahore Nahin Vekhiya" . I am not sure if it was the play or if it was
about the stories my grand parents told me about lahore or the countless books I
read about lahore and partition but today, if there is a city I really crave to go to, it is
Lahore. I often wonder how life would have been, had I grown up in lahore, had there
been no partition. I try to imagine myself in Anarkali bazaar or looking for books in
urdu bazaar or flirting with pathani clad men. The mention of lahore brings a sense
of nostalgia inside me. I, somehow thought punjabi was a very rude language.
However, a couple of years back, I met someone from west Punjab. His punjabi was
different from the one I grew up listening to. It had a sweetness

from:  Guneet
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 00:37 IST

During partition clamour was everywhere whether EAST or WEST Punjab .
both the sides witnessed the bloodshed and violence and mass slaughter
........we need to learn from the previous faults so that we will serve
the purpose of analysis of faults committed earlier rather blaming and
coercing "who was the culprit " ......we need to have the complete
resonance with everyone without any bias

from:  Om Mishra
Posted on: Aug 16, 2012 at 00:23 IST

This is a totally biased article that tries to distort history.
It does not mention the killing of hundreds of thousands of Hindus and Sikhs in the Pre-Partition and Partition riots in what is now Pakistan and the erstwhile E.Bengal. The riots were delibrate and pre-planned by the Muslim League when the party announced Direct Action day on 16th July to force the Congress to agree to Partition.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 23:36 IST

"...the same east Punjabi political class has shown little interest in articulating any expression of regret for the killings of Muslims during Partition."
I wonder if you could have said anything similar in the same unequivocal tone about the 'west Punjab'. Or why just Punjab, it was a shared tragedy across the sub-continent - from Punjab to Bengal.
Now is certainly not a time to voice for such fancy ideas when the reality is so far removed.

PS: I guess I'm fair enough to object to the repeated use of 'west Punjab' to refer to Indian state of Punjab. It's ok to use such adjective just to notify regions of a pre-partition state but now the formal official name of the state should have been used.

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 23:27 IST

In some comments here people cite on incident good either too good or
too bad and then ask everyone to pass judgments for the entire
community. That's ridiculas.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 23:24 IST

A very interesting article! My parents are from Pakistan but both were born in what is now Indian Punjab. In our house we speak with a Jullandhari accent and our caste is a local Punjabi one not one from outside. From my father's side of our family were Hindu many generations back and my father knows all the names of his forefathers, including his Hindu ones. From my mothers side they were Sikh.

The real Punjabiat is in its spirituality. Yes we are Muslim and followers of saints, but in those saints we also follow Guru Nanak. I have been to Nankana Sahib and bowed my head in front of the GGS. We also revere some of the Sikh Gurus as they protected ALL Punjabis from the Moghul kings and the Afghans.

Mool Mantra helped a young Indian boy rise to be a General in the Pakistani army and Baba Farid's Shlokas are sung in temples. But you see this is our Punjabiyat that is living. It may not be reported but it still lives. A border cannot remove a nations collective conscious!
Peace to all

from:  Ali
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 23:01 IST

The article seems very biased towards the deaths of Muslims. It does not account any incident where the opposite happened and Sikhs and Hindus were killed. At the same time culture changes. What was happening 60 years ago may not happen these days, even without any communal cleansing. Why to write about issues like these during times when there is a tension due to the religious differences (Assam, Burma and Mumbai)? Article such as this will provocate more hatred within the community and result in more communal riots.

from:  Mohit
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 22:24 IST

I am a south indian from andhra Pradesh .my daughter in law ia a punjabi girl whose
forefathers have migrated from Lahore area during partition .I heard a first hand account
from one of their elders how their family was rescued by their neibours whe are Muslims.they
(my daughter in laws family)were sheltered in the Muslim neibour's house.when mobs
attacked the Muslim neibour's house this Muslim gentleman sat on the rooftop and
challenged the mob at the risk of his own life.they were escorted to the railway station at mid
night in burkas .
I am not passing any value judgment but only quoting this for people to arrive at their own

from:  M.S.S. Murthy
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 19:29 IST

After reading your article,you are presenting just one side of the coin.You are talking about Harmony and Peace in Punjabis but that is impossible because the memoirs of great divide still haunts the Punjabi Hindus and Muslims.65 years is too less a time for their bitterness to go.The major flaw in your article lies in the fact that you are accusing the govt of east punjab but what about West Punjab,Have they ever apologised for their misdeeds.Still a lot of Hindu families are migrating in India from pakistan.Do you care to explain that?

from:  Ashutosh
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 16:29 IST

Remember that the atrocities were planned and initiated by the Muslim League in West Punjab, specifically in the Rawalpindi area. The Direct Action Day was an open call for violence. The subsequent ethnic cleansing had full state support. The atrocities on the Indian side simply do not compare to the scale and the deliberateness of the actions on the other side. As long as we equate the two side and brush away the truth, as this article attempts, reconciliation will remain impossible. Nobody is looking for retribution, but an honest and accurate account of the history is necessary for closure.

from:  Gopal Vaidya
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 12:47 IST

I support the idea of erecting a memorial in memory of one million
innocent Hindus-Sikhs and Muslims, who became victims of fratricide in
1947 creation of two irrational nations to appease the power hunger of
certain politicians and ruling classes. The memorial should be named
'Tobha Tek Singh' the unforgettable story of Manto on partition and
its brutalities. Wish that Indian and Pakistani Governments could
spare a piece of land at border and jointly build this memorial,
allowing free access to civilians of both countries to visit and pay
tributes to the unsung martyrs!

from:  Chaman lal
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 11:15 IST

The writer has thrown light on half page of the history, forgetting
the other half where Hindus and Sikhs were massacred by Muslims in the
same era. So, I believe article can be made less biased.
Moreover, writer should take in account that during partition, people
were in such a state of mind that mayhem was unavoidable. But now
there are lot many other issues to bring up and discuss on this
podium. So, we should try to overlook religions and castes, and focus
on practical issues , country is facing. We should try to learn from
our past rather whining on what happened then and there.

from:  Naincy Jain
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 10:32 IST

very nice article,thanks for keeping us awake and i promise you that
punjabiyat will come back soon and unite our country with love and

from:  Jitender Singh
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 10:17 IST

I disagree with the fictional punjabiyat romance that is being
portrayed by the author. The reality of partition is that the Muslims
of Punjab wanted to be free of Sikh and hindu domination post british
rule. Jinnah came as a deliverer for this section.

The fault lines in Punjab were too deep to be reversed and partition
was the pressure valve for it to be let off. The same storyline goes
for Bengal as well.

Every state in India and for that matter pakistan has its own unique
vibrant culture and identity. Punjab is no exception and is surely
not a special case. yes, the states most affected by the wounds of
partition are Bengal and Punjab for the then post 1947 india and

lets get realistic and accept the past, and not cry over spilt milk.
Partition was inevitable and in hindsight a necessary evil of high
cost that happened to the sub-continent.

happy independence day to everyone in the sub-continent.
Happy independence day.

from:  Srini
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 09:22 IST

A brilliant article. As a Punjabi (and I feel ashamed and sad that I
have to write this in English - not our language), I have always felt
for my language and culture. I have very dispassionately observed it
and found it perhaps the most vibrant culture of our times. Something
which no culture from any part of the world can match. With the
exception of Classical Dances from southern Bharat or Kathak,
Punjabiyat offers almost everything that one can expect from a

Your article has brought to my notice a whole new dimension to my
knowledge. The inclusive character of the region and its many
dimensions have been completely lost.

I wish that I can work with you in order to revive this Punjabiyat for
the benefit of our society.

from:  Harpreet Chugh
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 06:14 IST

Excellent article.

from:  Azhar Siddiqui
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 04:59 IST

Times change, old ways gets diluted with new and modern ( whether
natural or forced ) ways of living, Big Deal! huh!. If you always cry
for the waning of the past practices then you will never adopt new
ones. Punjab WAS that way and the people who lived in that old punjab
were happy and then there must have been a punjab before that and those
punjabis must have been happy with the way they lived, the language
they spoke etc. Muslims didn't came from persia bearing gifts for the
punjabis they conquered punjab by their sword in battles ( same kinda
bloodshed and killings as during partition ) but then mingled with the
natives and a new lifestyle was born, Similarly Non-Muslims drove the
muslims from east-punjab and vice versa in west-punjab and again in
course of time new ideas of language and culture and lifestyle will
mingle with old and existing ones and something new will be created
which will also be susceptible to change. NO NEED TO CRY ABOUT IT.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 02:21 IST

Let bygones be bygones. By no means is only one side guilty. An equal
number was displaced and killed on both sides. Currently the youth of
West Punjab have been highly radicalised since Zia, that there is no
prospect of rapprochment for a few decades. Moreover, the Sufi cuture
of West Punjab has been dismantled due to the rise of Salafism. As
they say in my hometown, a clap does not make noise unless both sides
try. If only one side tries and the other side sneers back, it will
make us look naive and stupid. An argument can be made that the
population exchange was for the better, when we see the cognitive
dissonance and communal mess in Assam/Bengal.

from:  S Divakaran
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 02:15 IST

What the writer says is correct but only half correct.He does not talk
about murder of Sikhs and Hindus at that time.It is true that Panjabi
culture was one irrespective of religion but the fault-lines too were
quite deep.Now that 66 years have elapsed, what can we do about it? A
lament, which indeed it is, is of no use.One could similarly lament
for Bengalis or Taiwanis or Germans.Now that we have been a nation for
66 years, why not think from nationalistic perspective.This nation has
accepted Punjabi culture in music,cinema,dance and language.Going back
to narrow regional boundaries would be a mistake now.

from:  Pawan Pandey
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 01:42 IST

Ajay....I may not as good with words as you are and my command on english is also not as good as yours.But I believe you are mixing two different issues and that looks more biased to me. You talked about muslim killing on east pakistan side but you never mentioned about killings of hindu and sikhs on west Punjab side.
I am not in favour of any kind of violence but your article about Punjabiyat is sheer just adding fuel to the extremist idea's of many people whether those are muslim, Hindu or Sikh.Let me ask you when you attended RSS meeting? When you have heard in their meeting's killing anyone.

Well I can't change your opinion but i would have surely appreciated if you would have written how corrupt we have become over the period of time after independence.

from:  Yogesh K Sharma
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 01:39 IST

Let bygones be bygones. By no means is only one side guilty. An equal
number was displaced and killed on both sides. Currently the youth of
West Punjab have been highly radicalised since Zia, that there is no
prospect of rapprochment for a few decades. Moreover, the Sufi cuture
of West Punjab has been dismantled due to the rise of Salafism. As
they say in my hometown, a clap does not make noise unless both sides
try. If only one side tries and the other side sneers back, it will
make us look naive and stupid. An argument can be made that the
population exchange was for the better, when we see the cognitive
dissonance and communal mess in Assam/Bengal.

from:  S Divakaran
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 01:36 IST

How are memorials of "Wada Ghalughara, Chhota Ghalughara and the Banda Bahadur War Memorial" exclusivist, selective and sectarian?

In Punjab, most of Sikhs live and lastly what happened to them in 80s and 90s?

from:  Prem
Posted on: Aug 15, 2012 at 00:30 IST
Show all comments
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
The Hindu presents the all-new Young World



Recent Article in Lead

A new beginning with Nepal

An early visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kathmandu will offer an opportunity to remove the accumulated cobwebs of mistrust between the two neighbours and focus on future potential »