Archive for the ‘Punjab’ Category


Punjabi Jagran Editorial on PANJAB

   Posted by: aman

Dear Friends,

it does not often happen that a newspaper bases its editorial on a book. Last Sunday, Punjabi Jagran, did that. The paper talked about the use of pictures to construct the Preface of PANJAB Journeys Through Fault Lines.

Thank you Walia Sa’ab.

Please read …

SKM Sample Press Note

   Posted by: aman Tags: , ,

Dear Friends,

A few days back I was writing an essay on media in Farmers Protest and was looking for links to showcase the Samyukth Kisan Morcha Press Notes which had served as an important tool to disseminate information. I could only find Facebook link which can be compromised by platform removing content, content owner changing persmissions. Hence here is a well formatted Press Note, mostly for reference.

Introduction: As discussed briefly yesterday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha comprehensively rejects the Central Government Committee on Agriculture and refuses to send their members to the Committee. Here is their Press Note from yesterday.

Suggestion: Please read, if for nothing else, how to put together a solid response and call out the hoax.

Actual Press Note begins …

Samyukta Kisan Morcha Press Release

19 July 2022

  • Samyukta Kisan Morcha rejects the committee formed by the Government on MSP and other issues; Morcha will appoint no representatives in the Committee.
  • There is no scope to discuss the MSP law in the agenda of this committee full of government representatives and its loyalists.
  • All the apprehensions of SKM about this committee turned out to be true; Morcha cannot have any association with such anti-farmer committee.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha has rejected the committee formed by the Government of India on MSP and other issues, and has decided not to nominate its representative in the committee. Morcha had made public its doubts about any such committee ever since it was announced by Prime Minister along with the repeal of the three black laws on 19 November. In the month of March, when the government had asked the Morcha for names for this committee, the Morcha had sought clarification from the government about the committee, to which it never got a reply. On July 3, the national meeting of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha unanimously decided that “unless the government clarifies the jurisdiction and terms of reference of this committee, there is no point to nominate a representative of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha to this committee”. All the doubts of Samyukta Kisan Morcha about this committee have come true with the notification issued by the Government. Obviously, there is no rationale for sending representatives of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha to such an anti-farmer and meaningless committee.

When the government had asked the Morcha for the names for this committee, in response to it, in an email sent to the Agriculture Secretary on 24 March 2022, the Morcha asked the government:

i) What will be the TOR (Terms of Reference) of this committee?

ii) Apart from Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which other organizations, individuals and office bearers will be included in this committee?

iii) Who will be the chairman of the committee and what will be its functioning?

iv) How much time will the committee get to submit its report?

v) Will the recommendation of the committee be binding on the government?

The Government did not respond to these questions. Yet the Agriculture Minister kept making statements that the formation of the committee was stalled due to non-receipt of the names of the representatives from the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.

By announcing this committee before the Parliament session, the government has tried to complete the paperwork. But the notification makes clear the ill-intentions of the government behind this committee and the irrelevance of the committee:

1. The chairman of the committee is former Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, who drafted all three anti-farmer laws. He is accompanied by Ramesh Chand, a member of NITI Aayog, who was the main advocate of these three laws. As experts, it is the economists who have been against giving legal status to MSP.

2. Space has been left for 3 representatives of Samyukta Kisan Morcha in the committee. But in other places, in the name of farmer leaders, the government has placed its 5 loyalists who openly advocated all three anti-farmer laws. All these people are either directly associated with BJP-RSS or support their policy. Krishna Veer Choudhary is associated with the Indian Farmers’ Society and is a leader of the BJP. Syed Pasha Patel is a former BJP MLC from Maharashtra. Pramod Kumar Choudhary is a member of the National Executive of the RSS affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. Gunwant Patil, associated with the Shetkari organization, is a WTO advocate and General Secretary of the Swatantra Bharat Paksh Party. Guni Prakash has been a pioneer in opposing the farmers’ movement. These five people spoke openly in favor of all three anti-farmer laws and most of them have been spewing venom against the farmers’ movement.

3. There is no mention of making a law on MSP in the agenda of the committee. That is, this question will not be placed before the committee. Some items have been put in the agenda on which the government committee is already established. In the name of reforms in agricultural marketing, an item has been inserted through which the government can try to bring back three black laws.
In the light of these facts, there is no rationale for Samyukta Kisan Morcha to send its representatives to this committee. The struggle for the legal guarantee of MSP to ensure fair price for the crop to the farmers will continue.

Issued by-

Dr. Darshan Pal, Hannan Mollah, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Yudhveer Singh, Yogendra Yadav

Samyukta Kisan Morcha


Today on Facebook Goan writer Amita Kanekar shared an article I had posted so I looked up our inbox and found this piece in which she had acknowledged me. At that time, in the hurry of the early days of the farmers protest, I had thanked her but not made a record of this article.

Doing that now.

Please see…


PANJAB: review in The Wire Hindi

   Posted by: aman

Dear Friends,

the beauty of us knowing more than one langauge is that our responses to situations, books, movies are not confined to one language. Many a times in the past Prof Adnan Farooqui has asked me to review books for ‘The Book Review’. Some of the times I have expressed time constraints and refused.

This time Prof Farooqui told me his mother Ms. Kanwaljeet Kaur, who tought at and now retired from central school, Dehradun wants to review my book PANJAB Journeys Through Fault Lines but in its Panjabi translation PANJAB Jinna Rahan Di Main Saar Na Jaana by Yadwinder Singh and Mangat Ram.

I was looking forward to an email but here comes a full-fledged review, that too in Hindi. I love the way Ms Kaur has zeroed down to the critical point of every chapter of the book. Thank you Ms Kaur and The Wire Hindi.

Please read …


Model Patients

   Posted by: aman

Model Patients

When Prof Aman Caur came to Bangalore late June, Yasmeen, our younger cat, was already not well. Aman came because a Doctor in Bangalore had called her over for three weeks, for check-up, investigation and treatment for her nine-month old, sometimes debilitating, sometimes niggling, but constant back pain; Yasmeen had stopped eating and was running high fever.

When the Doctor met Aman, saw her reports, which she had plenty – X-ray, MRI, conclusions by seven doctors in Amritsar – the Bangalore Doctor’s conclusion was stark: there is no issue. We had taken Yasmeen for check-up, got her injections, medicines, Gastrointestinal food, and she recovered a bit, but then went back to not eating.

After the Doctor who had called Aman to Bangalore, we met another Orthopaedic, elder, much more experience. He too said no issues. After a round of two nearby hospitals, we took Yasmeen to her first Doctor Prabhu who had literally saved her when she was 4 weeks old. We got another blood report, an X-Ray, even a Scan done. Nothing came up – zero issue, cipher except some perhaps hard stool lodged in her larger intestine. But she refused food.

After Aman’s tickets to Bangalore were booked, she had had an accident in Amritsar. On a service road, with clearly one-side traffic allowed, to save someone coming from the opposite side, her scooter skid, she fell, broke her elbow and her ankle. Her cast came off three days before coming to Bangalore. Now Aman’s back issues remain undiagnosed, Yasmeen food intake was stalled. Basically, medical science, its modes of investigation, its line of diagnoses, could not find the reason Aman and Yasmeen were in trouble. Hence, they declared there are no issues. But there were issues – Aman had pain, Yasmeen refused food.

For Aman, there was one thing left to do: physiotherapy. Any travel plans from Bangalore were ruled out because of her joints that had not fully healed. For Yasmeen too, there was one thing left to do: stay indoors, follow the regimen, and we wait for her to poop. Out of Aman’s 21 days, she did intense physiotherapy for 18 days. Throughout her ailment, Yasmeen followed her GI food and medicine regimen. In the nights Yasmeen would snuggle up to Aman. Aman would spend hours caressing her.

Each evening, after Aman came from physiotherapy sessions, I would see her body literally trembling from the pain of the exercises, her face pumped up with blood, yet her tone even while responding to ‘how was the session?’, I was filled with awe and respect. Seeing Yasmeen, locked at home, co-opertate in hand-feeding (using a 10 ml syringe) food 5 times a day, taking her treatment without flinching, I was filled with love and gratefulness. Yasmeen’s Dr Prabhu was always at hand over WhatsApp for consultation.

Cut to three weeks later, Aman’s hands and legs have eased up. In fact, her back pain was also low and some days not at all. Yasmeen has been passing motion. Earlier once in two days, now everyday. She is back to eating solids: dry and wet food, some GI, boiled shredded chicken, her medicines have reduced and will end likely this week.

Both Aman and Yasmeen had issues, severe issues. For each’s issues we had no root cause identified. Yet, both dealt with the issues and whatever treatment was available with equanimity. It was simply their attitude, their will to go beyond where their bodies were at those points.

They were indeed model patients!

Aman left this morning. Before leaving, she opened the door for Yasmeen to re-enter the outer world. Aman reached airport, had to shift some books from check-in luggage to hand luggage. I hope her back can take it. Yasmeen will go to sleep on neighbour’s car and tease the Rottweiler in another neighbour’s house.

In health and sickness, life goes on … I learnt, it does not help to deny an issue. What we need is the attitude to face up to it and work on lines that may help, but stay consistent.

Respect, Huge Respect!


Mattewara: Post picked by Worker’s Unity

   Posted by: aman

Dear Friends,

the media channel picked this post on Mattewara forest and Panjab’s AAP government’s intention to push with a Industrial Park next to it polluting the River Satluj flood-plains.

Please see …


The Telegraph: Sangrur Bypoll Result

   Posted by: aman

Dear Friends,

Pheroze Vincent from The Telegraph quotes my post yesterday when reporting on the Sangrur bypoll result. Thank you Pheroze.

I think the newspaper is being cheeky placing an astonished Bhagwant Mann, Panjab CM from AAP’s picture. After all, Sangrur is his constituency and informal AAP headquaters in Panjab.

Read here …

Dear Friends,

I am not sure if it is the frequency and intensity of assault on civil society or same old apathy, I am a bit surprised how quickly we have forgotten the Farmers Protest. In those days, more than a year, we had all become bigger than ourselves. Now we are shrunk again. I wonder, if we do not mind?

It is always a pleasure to speak to someone who who takes deep interest in India. Professor Kenneth Bo Nielsen is from Norway and I have always learnt from how he looks at India.

A few weeks ago, at almost six months since the Farmers Protest were suspended, we spoke at the Nordic Asia podcast on the legacy of the protest. Thank you Kenneth for taking the voice to Europe.

Please listen. Link to podcast in the page. 30 minutes, English.

A Facebook post.

Holding Grief

Note: I live in Bangalore, Karnataka but am concerned about Panjab. Yet, I am a bit removed from local film industry and music that Panjab’s youth loves. Here are my reflections looking at two tragic events, one in each state. I waited for Sidhu Moose Wala’s funeral to make this post about the evening he was shot dead.

A few months back, Karnataka lost a youth icon. Puneet Rajkumar’s loss created a void in Kannada film industry and society. There was an overflowing of grief on ground and on social media. Karnataka had lost a promising son, India paid respect.

Two days back, Panjab lost its youth icon Moose Wala. While Panjab grieved, many in Panjab and many more outside Panjab flooded the social media with commentary. The singer’s tragic death became a site for political wrangling. Why was our attitude to Puneet and Karnataka different from Moose Wala and Panjab?

There is no doubt, knowing well that he had expressed threat to his life, the AAP government in Panjab was responsible for reducing Moose Wala’s security. They did it to appeal to AAP’s well wishers – the liberal middle-class in the states where AAP seeks to win in next elections and on social media. Not only that, the Panjab government flashed the names of those 424 people whose security was reduced and withdrawn. This list was supposed to be secret, why was it made public? Now Delhi police says it had alerted Panjab police. The government had no answer but it had a ready social media troll army hell-bent on defending the government. They vitiated that evening on social media.

Then there are those who have seen the truth of AAP’s elaborate hypocrisy, its treatment of minorities, its technocrat-bureaucrat model that refuses to engage with deeper underlying issues of the two states they govern. They went hammer and tongs against AAP and further vitiated the evening. This did not happen when Puneeth passed away though there were accusations of medical negligence. Is it their issue that in its desperation and to break the clutch of Congress and Akali Dal on state politics, Panjab voted AAP? If those who see through AAP want their states to not vote AAP, they can build their states. Why blame Panjab? Most of these states have already gone BJP, Panjab hasn’t. Is there any credit to Panjab for that?

Inside Panjab, there were those who proposed Moose Wala upheld gun culture and guns claimed him. This was poetic justice – those who live by guns, die by guns. But poetic justice is willed and wished. They surely did not will and wish this on Moose Wala. It is like saying fire is hot. Yes, it is. So? I am sorry, this was extremely wrong timing. Even Moose Wala’s body had not yet gone cold. In this approach, I have some idea – given Panjab’s various deep fault lines – but I still do not understand that though there is much need for investigation and correction, why I sense self-loathing or Panjab-loathing in these responses?

I have not heard Moose Wala’s music much. I am not young. I find rap too fast. I do not understand the lyrics. Yet we know, every art is a response to the creator’s times and conditions – some literal and some tap into undercurrents. Moose Wala started from a village on sand dunes, was unapologetic about his roots, responded to angst and tapped into the undercurrent – gave words to what a large number of youth in Panjab and in the large Diaspora feel deep in their hearts.

To me this undercurrent is Panjab’s resistance and Moose Wala’s music was one expression of this resistance. You may like his music or not, but it stood in defiance, as a response to the social, economic and political discontent that brews in Panjab. Since such music breaks pre-defined boundaries and traditions, by necessity, it has to be irreverent and that irks many.

Moose Wala saw the world and came back to his village, made it his base, and slowly his music changed. Of course, the impact, the resonance was huge, but his career was merely 5 years long, from 2017-22. He was still maturing. Off late, Moose Wala was shedding his early Jutt-supremacy casteist, feudal and misogynistic tropes and moving towards larger themes. Listen to ’295′ – an acute political song of our times.

Most ground-breaking art comes from edgy places in the artist’s life. Guns are extensions of this edginess, arms are a part of Panjab’s culture. We all know those are vicious circles, yet some artists feel driven to take that route. Minus them from an artist and the art diminishes. Death wish is a theme of most such music, like for Jim Morrison, for Kurt Cobain. Listen to ‘The Last Ride’ – Moose Wala’s last song where he pays homage to his Guru Tupac Shakur who too was gunned down. The song is almost prophetic in that it sadly proved true.

In the tragic death of Moose Wala and the response that evening, what astounded me is the hate I saw playing out on social media: from AAP towards its detractors; by anti-AAP folks in their propensity to slander; the self-righteous stuck to moral high seats; and Hindutva bhakts who for no rhyme or reason – Moose Wala never attacked any religion – went slandering him the very evening he was shot dead.

Hate is as old as civilization. In recent years, one political party weaponised hate against another political party, has won two terms at the Centre, has activated hate against minorities, tribals, women, run down the economy, sold off assets and continues to hate monger over religious symbols. What are we who are giving in to hate against each other trying to do differently from that party? Do we really believe by giving in to hate we can create a different world?

Coming to Panjab, to Sikhs for Moose Wala kept a turban. Unlike Karnataka, what do people have against Panjab, its people? Is there any understanding that the music that Moose Wala created, the one Panjab’s youth vibed with, came from the angst that comes from Panjab’s fault lines and also the decadal negligence of Panjab by the same people who were blaming Panjab, its political choices, and its youth? What are they doing to heal Panjab? Do they have any empathy?

Moose Wala’s killing now deepens the abyss in which Panjab finds itself – with a political change that has cost the state so much already, no direction out of the morass, no improvement in systems, no avenues for livelihood … now with Moose Wala’s killing that discontent is heavier by another huge stone.

Deep sadness on a journey cut short even before it could ripen. A son is gone, some media says thousands, some says lakhs attended the funeral. Please allow Panjab and all Moose Wala fans to hold their grief.

May Sidhu Moose Wala’s music live.


Yesterday, farmers in Panjab had marched down to the state capital Chandigarh to present their demands to the Panjab CM Bhagwant Mann. They were not only stopped in satellite town Mohali, their leaders were lured into taking a bus to meet the CM. However, the CM ran away to Delhi.

Later in the night, as farmers camped on roads, like in Delhi last year, the CM came back to Chandigarh and said: ‘Protests are not the way. Give me one year, I will sort out all issues.’ The farmers had earlier discussed their issues with the government. The government had even made big announcements, but had not put them in writing, issued notifications, so those announcements were not legal tender. Seeing a repeat of government play hide-and-seek, the farmers were determined to make the government accountable.

The farmers’ demands were:

1. A Rs 500 bonus on each quintal of wheat as their yield has dropped and shrivelled because of unprecedented heatwave conditions.
2. Take back installation of 85,000 smart electricity meters.
3. Notification on MSP for Green Gram and Corn.
4. Basmati MSP at Rs 4500 and notification.
5. Panjab nomination to Bhakra Beas Management Board.
6. Electricity should be supplied to Panjab on earlier terms.
7. Paddy sowing from June 10 and not June 18 as ordered by government.
8. Lower charges on the extension of electricity load from Rs 4,800 to Rs 1,200; 10-12 hours of power supply.
9. Release of outstanding sugarcane payment.
10. No more land auctions of loan defaulters.
11. Take back 22,000 cases on loan defaulters.
12. As promised in manifesto during elections, waive off farmer loans up to Rs 2 lakh.
13. Do not snatch away settler lands in the name of recovering Panchayat lands.

Thankfully, today, the meeting between CM and farmer leaders took place. The government has agreed to majority of demands:

- Paddy sowing moved to June 14, Panjab to be divided in two and not four zones. Farmer leaders to propose areas.
- Green Gram MSP notified.
- Promise to give MSP on Corn and issue notification.
- No auctioning of loan defaulter land.
- Smart meters won’t be implemented.
- Release of outstanding sugarcane payment.
- Lower charges on extension of electricity load.
- Intention to not waive farm loans but make farmers loan free.
- To re-look Panchayati land recovery, divide them into two kinds of lands. Not uproot settlers.

CM Mann to meet Union Home Minister tomorrow on: wheat compensation, Basmati MSP, Panjab nomination on BBMB, and others.

On that side lines of this protest, an act played out:

In the last few days, Panjab has been plagued by fires to dry stalks of wheat left after harvesting. In one incident a school bus carrying children caught fire, 10 children were injured, 3 seriously. In another a 1.5 year old girl succumbed to flames as her shanty caught fire as the slum burnt down. While people understand the problem of paddy straw and wheat stalk burning has persisted for years and the system has not provided succour, popular opinion in the state turned against farmers. Especially, farmer unions that do not forbid farmers from starting fires. There is no doubt that straw and stalk burning must end. It destroys land, flora, fauna, insects, now humans too, pollutes land, water and air. But we can dwell upon it in another thread.

For now, as farmers reached Chandigarh, many outraged on social media about farmers being irresponsible, even being beggars seeking sops. Plus the AAP supporters turned against farmers abusing them in the worst language, saying they would get nothing, give government time. Now they are licking their burns.

Sadly, what blind supporters of AAP do not realise is their leaders, perhaps Kejriwal yesterday, would have instructed Mann to not let the farmers protest grow. To end it at any cost. The protest would have been very bad optics for the nascent AAP government in Panjab. The farmers capacity to non-violently agitate is now legendary.

The real point is: given the global food crises, the world is waking up to the merits of an agrarian state, importance of farmers. It is big win today that the AAP government has stood by the farmers. I hope the government continues to stand by the people and Panjab solves all its major systemic agrarian issues – river and canal waters, soil use, crop diversification, reduction of chemicals, and fair price for produce.

Who knows, perhaps Panjab will then start feeling the world as it once fed the country.