The Hindu BusinessLine: Hide and Sikh Politics

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

The week the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visited I watched the blown up controversy between two friendly nations with increasing dismay. The word that caused the controversy was Khalistan. Honestly, I felt cheated of my own decision in the mid 1990s to not opt for a PhD abroad and choosing to stay in India and deal with issues here. I felt now, a quarter century later, the very people I believed in had betrayed me by going silent.

This is a piece written with a weary heart. I am very thankful to Aditi Sengupta for carrying it without cuts, it gives me hope. After all one friend be one’s reason to stay, find home.

Please read here …

Later Punjab Today also carried it with original headline. Please read here … 

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The article in Punjab Today condemning Shekhar Gupta’s lies has evinced greater interest in the Diaspora. Recently Punjabi Radio USA interviewed me and we discussed how media mis-represents Panjab. In fact, even more than that how Panjab has been steadily mis-represented. Thank you Harvinder, Gurjaspal, and Arvinder. Chardi Kala.

Please listen here … 


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Canadian Prime Minister had barely finished a successful meeting with Panjab Chief Minister when another controversy erupted: a past offender Jaspal Atwal showed up at Trudeau’s dinner previous, his pictures with Sophie Trudeau and Amarjit Sohi splashed in newspapers. He had a dinner invite to the Canadian High Commission. Canada rescinded the invite.

This is why it is so hard to arrive any simplistic, black and white understanding of Panjab, Sikhs, Khalistan. As I said in the earlier interview – Panjab remains a landmine. By themselves the pictures are not conclusive, but the questions are:

a) How did Atwal land a dinner invite with Trudeau?

b) How did the Indian government allow Atwal entry?

Could this controversy have been avoided? YES. YES. YES. Especially at such a sensitive time, by all parties: Atwal himself by not coming, not going around getting photographed, MP Sarai by not recommending Atwal, Canadian High Commission by doing due diligence, Canadian PMO by not inviting Atwal. Now, of course, they have rescinded the invitation. Again, too little, too late. I do believe that after conviction, imprisonment, and release people should be allowed to merge with society with dignity. After all, we must not be prisoners of our past. But that is the razor’s edge of liberal politics: has Atwal adequately distanced himself from Khalistan? Has Atwal committed himself to peace? I do not know.

However, through all this I noticed one man, former Liberal and Premier of British Columbia Ujjal Dosanjh, play a role on social media: he was blaming Khalistan, Trudeau and over-liberal politics. I have a few questions for him.

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Punjab Today impact: the recent Punjab Today article calling out the Indian media’s half-baked truths which were set to jeopardise the meetings between Punjab CM and Canadian Prime Minister elicited interest of the Ferndale, Washington based KRPI Radio 1550 AM.

Harjit Singh Gill talks to Amandeep Sandhu. It is 32.57 minutes. It is in Punjabi. Please listen here …

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Thank you Punjab To for picking my morning post on how sadly the Shekhar Gupta run The Print and even other Indian media channels seek to discredit duly elected members of the Canadian Parliament upon their visit to India.

Sadly, much of media reports complex situations – especially when it comes to Panjab, Sikhs, Khalistan – in a black and white manner. With an overdrive of Indian nationalism. It hasn’t helped anyone and even after a quarter century of guns going silent Panjab remains trapped in this question of Khalistan. My fear is an old one – the half-baked truths lead to rhetoric, jingoism, suspicion, antagonism which keep Panjab entangled and hamper our search for ways to heal.

Please read here …

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MediaVigil – Pathos of Padmaavat!

   Posted by: aman   in Other, Translation

Last summer I was in Munich and went to see the The Pinakothek der Moderne, the modern art museum. It was here I found a whole room dedicated to Nazi Art. The accompanying write up talked about how the Nazi’s had tried to build their own culture of art at variance with the trends in the world at that time. They banned Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, and encouraged their own set of artists.

It reminded me of how the ISIS destroyed the ancient archaeological sites at Palmyra, Aleppo in Syria. How it destroyed Mosul, Nimrud, Nineveh in Iraq. How the Taliban destroyed the Bahamian Buddhas. How the rebels torched the library at Timbuktu. It reminded me of how the right wing everywhere destroys legacies but does not build new ones. It is the same with Nazi artists, they perished from memory.

Yesterday, on the eve of the Hindi movie Padmaavat release, I made a post on FaceBook. Please see …

Dear friend, excellent writer, sensitive Abhishek Srivastava translated it into Hindi. Please see …

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Punjab Today: What is the Problem with AAP?

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Friends, I wrote this post a few days back and dear Kanwar Manjit who runs Punjab Today picked it up. Perhaps I am very late to say this about AAP but I came to the understanding only recently. You all know I am slow.

Please read here …

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A new generation tells Panjab’s stories

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Friends, more than a year back, an artist came home to discuss Panjab. Especially the years of militancy. He was studying in the Netherlands and was conceptualising a project related to his early memories of the reign of terror (1978-1993). We spoke a lot including about how his uncle was picked up by militants for ransom and how a dear friend of mine’s sister is named after his aunt. Since then he has remained in touch. Just that we could not meet. Even when I was in Europe this year or when he was in Delhi a few weeks back and had performed at JNU.

Yesterday, Vinutha Mallya, now a journalist from Pune contacted me to discuss those years. She said it was for a piece they were writing on the work of a young artist. I asked if the artist was Abhishek Thapar. She said yes and I was happy to support him.

‘My Home is at the Intersection’ opens at TIFA Working Studios, Sadhu Vaswani Circle, Pune on December 22 – 23, 7 pm. CALL: 9623444433.

Pune friends, please attend, please spread the word.

The piece is below. I find it heartening that a new generation is taking interest in Panjab and pushing it beyond what has been our defence and safety net for decades: mitti pa, sannu ki – bury it, what is it to me?

It is not that Panjab does not want to tell its stories, it is that Panjab’s stories are too overwhelming to be told. Every effort counts. Must say it is the same with the world at large. It really has to be nudged to listen. Panjab remains a shadow area tied up in the larger perception that these are just Balle Balle happy go lucky people.

Please read here …

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Kerala Receives Son-in-Law

   Posted by: aman   in Other, Punjab

Friends, this Tuesday I was humbled to speak at the annual Prof. R Narendra Prasad memorial lecture at the School of Letters, MG University, Kottayam, Kerala. Thank you Saji Mathew for the invitation. In keeping with Prasad Sir’s lifetime work in theatre and films, I named my talk: Panjab – a tragic hero on the stage of Indian nationalism.

The talk was covered in local newspapers.

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Punjab Today: The danger of renaming a college

   Posted by: aman   in Other, Punjab

Friends, I put up a Facebook post on the right wing move to rename the Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia college in Delhi. A news and views website I refer to often, run by Kanwar Manjit Singh, decided to choose it for the website.

Thank you. Please see here…


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