31
Dec

Medical Professionals on PANJAB

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Dear Friends,

here are two short reviews by medical professionals on my book Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines. I love positive reviews, I learn from critical ones, but medical professionals have a special place in my heart.

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The book Panjab – Journeys Through Fault lines by Amandeep Sandhu begins with a preface which shows how Bhindranwale’s face, attire, flowing beard, blue turban transformed into iconography for all time. The book then makes a passage through the leftist Satnam’s house to the BKU movement against the incumbent government before heading to the travails the state has meandered through since partition.

The division on the lines of language, the moment Indian army entered the Harmandir Sahib instead of looking at other options and thereby searing a deep festering scar on Sikh minds, the Bargari treason and its mis-handling, the fall from grace of the SGPC, Akalis etc and the fascinating tale of how Nehru first used Article 356 to impose President’s Rule on PEPSU state when Gian Singh Rarewala led the first non-Congress party to power. Later Tara Singh said Nehru should not be allowed to speak at the Jor Mela and Tarlochan SIngh (later chairman National Minorities Commission) along with other students of Mahindra College prevented Nehru from speaking and were arrested for 36 days before Tara Singh intervened and got them off!

It (the book) talks of the syncretism of Punjab still visible in the worship of Peer babas, temples and also our inherent contradictions i.e. the divisions – the caste system still a mammoth elephant in the room, the gender skew, the drug epidemic, the political ineptitude over the agrarian crisis etc.

Poignantly written, one can feel the building up anxiety of the farmers as the whitefly cotton crop disaster and later the yellow stripe rust destroying the wheat crop causes the loan crisis which Punjab and other states are reeling under with no end in sight.

It (the book) even dwells on rising and untalked about impotence and Buprenorphine. Unfortunately, the book mentions and as some believe, the cure for addiction to “chitta” is not an addiction in itself. A person once addicted to opium usually (but not always) keeps relapsing and so Buprenorphine helps to keep them off and in many cases reduces harm. Of course, there are some, (benefit outweighs this though) who end up using high doses of buprenorphine but mostly it has a ceiling effect and is not misused as you do not get a high with it like Heroin etc. However, the book does talk of how the NDPS needs revamping, banning opium and bhukhi is not the solution but part of the problem.

Coming to one of the biggest current and future problems i.e. water and how again villages like Khassan which have won awards for water conservation are not being replicated in other villages. The book covers Zameen, Jaat, Borders, the Missing of Punjab (for that Ram Narayan Kumar’s work needs a read).

Go through two chapters in a week. Take time to read the book to really understand it.

An important piece of work, Amandeep, thanks for it.

Simmi Waraich, Psychiatrist, Chandigarh

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Took a while to read Amandeep Sandhu’s Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines. It is a book one has to take time to read & absorb. It made me pensive at many junctures. I took breaks & came back to it after a while.

A real labour of love by the author. His writing is refreshingly honest & unbiased, as he presents the origins of the expanse of current problems faced by Punjab very logically, & highlights solutions to them. (Is the government listening?). He takes us along with him on the journey across the state, our home, and with him we experience the angst & the real heart of Punjab.

I wish him all the luck for this book and am waiting for his next one, hopefully more on Punjab :) I shall be there in the queue for my copy! This is one of the books I will keep with me & also buy copies for others (another book I did that with was Atul Gawande’s ‘Being Mortal’… one of my all time favourites).

More power to you Amandeep Sandhu & best wishes! Jeendey raho…khush raho!

- Aneeta Minhas, Singapore

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