29
May

Punjab Today: O Nanak! Our own seek to undo us

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Whatever happens in India in the 2019 elections, an unlikely constituency – Khadoor Sahib – is slated to become the cynosure of Panjab. In Khadoor Sahib a democratic electoral process has pitted two radically different Sikh ideologies against each other.

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29
May

Review – The Hindu: Fiction can hit harder

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Book: Stillborn Season

Author: Radhika Oberoi

Publisher: Speaking Tiger

Most of what has been written about the anti-Sikh pogrom over the last 35 years is either broad-brushstroke rage and rhetoric, pedantic information, or literal reportage. Oberoi breaks this mould by making Amrit a journalist seeking human stories beyond the clichés. Through her search, Oberoi takes a fresh and intimate look at the violence. The novel proves that fiction can do what non-fiction cannot — tell a thousand untold stories in a way that makes the violence more real, and so indict it more sharply.

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29
May

Review – Punjab Today: A Metaphor for Migration

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Book: The Rainbow Acres

Author: Simrita Dhir

Publisher: Om Books

The well-structured, quick read novel The Rainbow Acres by Simrita Dhir sketches the era when gold was discovered in California and depicts the lives and journeys of a man and a woman from their faraway native lands on two ends of the world to the West Coast of the United States. Dhir alternates the chapters between Kishan Singh and Sophia Morales, from Noor Mahal in Panjab and Acapulco, later Guadalajara and then the village Bahia de Kino in Mexico, to parallel how people are marginalized – either through ravages of nature or political turmoil –and how they become migrants seeking refuge in alien lands.

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The national discourse does not get a simple fact: when two Punjabis meet, they hug as a way of greeting each other. It does not get it that former cricket stalwarts Imran Khan and Navjot Sidhu seek to re-write history.

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For 71 years now, in spite of how New Delhi and Islamabad define the relationship between India and Pakistan, the Sikhs have been making the prayer to unite with their Gurdwaras. The desire to go to Kartarpur Sahib has been a sigh of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization, a plea for peace in a sub-continent divided by the one of the most militarized borders, a soulful cry not only of the Sikhs but also of around 12 crore people of different sects, affiliations, who believe in the name of Nanak.

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18
Oct

Punjab Today: Allah to Prayag

   Posted by: aman   in Other, Punjab

Friends, how can one river flow through two locations? Here I call out the right wing hypocrisy and sham in naming Allahabad as Prayag while actively running the Saraswati Heritage Project in Haryana. The Saraswati project in Haryana – noble in intent but flawed in execution if its waters are to be supplied from river Sutlej in Himachal Pradesh-  has dire implications for Panjab.

Thank you Punjab Today for publishing the piece.

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Friends, on 9 October BBC News Punjabi interviewed me on the #MeToo movement. Specifically, if the movement is making men feel insecure.

My response was as follows but before that the headline which is also from the response. It translates as: Women have experienced (being scared and silent) for 3000 years, let men too now for two centuries know what that means.

However, that is a bit flippant. My slightly more elaborate response was: ‘In a patriarchal society, violence is structural. It is embedded. Men feel entitled. Until that changes, the society will not become equal.

‘(The next point is related to how feminism has changed society over the last seven decades or so.) Issue is we no longer have good examples of masculinity. Men do not know how to change. They do not have role models. But that does not mean we suppress women and stop them from speaking. Every human being has a right to state their point.

‘(On which stories are true and which fake) Many kinds of talks will tumble out … when the taps open every type of water flows. We need to develop a nuanced understanding of which stories have weight and which don’t have it. But we need to support the #MeToo movement which is lifting the veil and breaking the reign of silence.’

Thank you Tahira Bhasin. Please read more here …

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Friends, senior anthropologist from Brandeis University Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria examines the matter of the turban controversy that erupts from time to time within the Sikh community in the sports arena and quotes me in his article.

The recent context is the cyclist Jagdeep Singh Puri’s petition in the Delhi courts. Another instance is of wrestler Jaskawarbir Singh Gill aka Jassa Patti, one of our best freestyle wrestlers, who opted to not contest and allowed a walkover in Istanbul recently over the head gear issue. We know about a reverse stance by famous shooter Heena Sidhu over the Hijab in Tehran in 2016.

Recently there has been resistance to helmets by Sikh women drivers in Chandigarh. Interestingly, Jon sent me links to Sikh helmets which also he quotes in piece.

Please read here …

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Friends, seems like tomorrow (Sunday, October 7) would be world tourism day in Panjab. The Akalis have organised a rally in Capt Amarinder’s home turf Patiala. The Congress has organised a rally in Lambi, Badal’s village. One faction of AAP is marching from Kotkapura to Bargari over sacrileges. Everyone has forgotten major issues: agrarian crises, vanishing industry, unemployment, drugs and crimes.

Cut to circa 2016, the SAD-BJP was still in power in Punjab, Captain Amarinder had not made his promise at Damdama Sahib, the STF on Drugs was not formed, the Maro Jan Virodh Karo protest had not happened when Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi proposed an amendment to the NDPS Bill 1985.

The Parliament Committee approved the amendments to the Bill to be tabled. However, the Bill never came up for discussion. As the Parliament meets for its last winter session before 2019 elections, is it still not time to discuss the NDPS Act?

Thank you Punjab To for re-presenting the article. Please read here …

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Friends, I am very happy that my in-law state Kerala has featured me in their leading newspaper Matrubhumi. Thank you Suneetha Balakrishnan for the effort. The article features my books and thoughts on writing. This is so lovely.

Please read more here …

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