Friends, my piece on Punjab as a border state in Cafe Dissensus. Thank you Karthik Venkatesh, Cafe team and all contributors.
Based on travels on the Punjab border in the aftermath of the ‘surgical strike’ post the September Uri attack, the piece seeks to depict Punjab’s indigenous nationalism. The nationalism of lives, homes, crops, fields and faith which remains at great variance from the jingoistic version peddled by national media, especially TV, and the Sangh.
Please read …
Tags: border, Café Dissensus, Gurmeher, Panjab University, Punjab, Students for Society, surgical strike, Uri
Friends, this year the annual The Hindu Literature for Life festival invited me to speak on my current non-fiction project on Punjab. The talk was titled Punjab – The Unknown Narrative. Big shout out to Ms Prasanna Ramaswamy who invited me and Prema Revathi who hosted the talk.
Please see …
Tags: Lit for Life, Prema Revathi, Punjab, The Hindu
Friends, here are my views on the Punjab elections as discussed with Vicky Nanjappa Februray 3 morning.
Note: a minor correction: not Haryana but one or two cities or nearby villages.
Please read …
Tags: AAP, Congress, Elections 2017, Punjab, SAD
Friends, when I came to Punjab to observe the elections I was surprised. Aam Aadmi Party which we all saw bungling over the last year and half seemed to have regained lost ground and is very much in contention.
Here is a story from a few days on the AAP trail.
Please read …
Tags: AAP, Elections 2017, Punjab
India does find it hard to understand Punjab. That is why I like it when journalists travel and come back and seek to understand issues by talking to who they think are experts. At least, there is an attempt. Recently the Hindustan Times team travelled and asked me for my comments on their experiences. Now I am no expert but as a learner I am able to figure out a few things which I suppose can help them.
For example, the word agency. It is used everywhere in Punjab when the matter of politics comes up. Politics comes up everywhere, anyway. ‘The word agencies originates in the 80s and reveals deep-rooted mistrust in shadowy government officials and outsiders. It signifies death, disappearances and unclaimed bodies.’
This was an article on sacrilege that rocked Punjab in October/November 2015.
Please read …
Tags: Bargadi, Punjab, Rail-roko, sacrilege, SAD
Friends, this time when Lakshmi Karunakaran travelled with me to Punjab she saw things that even I was blinded to because of my gender and caste and class privilege. Things that shame me and keep Punjab violently feudal.
We know Punjab is hurting. We also hope elections will bring a change to Punjab. No, they won’t. Unless, Punjab seriously mends its deepest faultlines: land and caste.
My piece in The Caravan Magazine. Thank you Surabhi Kanga. I strongly believe our education is no use if it does not help us examine and correct ourselves. The Dalits of Punjab too march to emancipate themselves, like Dalits around the nation. The time has come!
Please read … please support.
Tags: Balad Kalan, Benra, Dalit, Jhaloor, Land, Panchayat Land, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Punjab, Sangrur, ZPSC
Friends, on November 26, at 10 AM, I will speak at the Taipei Biennale on the topic: ‘The Writer as a Memory Maker’.
I will talk about the bloody birth of our nation in the wake of the greatest migration in human history which left 1 million dead and 14 million displaced. Yet, how as a nation we seem to be condemned to never learn from history. How our gestures of public history – museums – are shaped. How our discourses are built on excluding narratives of caste, gender, tribals, and minorities. How chasing the dystopia of material development, through corporate capitalism, we are ignoring the core strengths of our diverse nation. What then is our future? All these with special focus on Punjab. I will also discuss the draft novel I wrote in Germany – The Memory Maker – which is currently, justly, gestating.
I will share the video when available. Please read …
Tags: India, Memory, Migration, Pakistan, Partition, Punjab, Taipei Biennale, The Memory Maker
It is a measure of some satisfaction that even after years of its release readers and scholars are engaging with ‘Roll of Honour’. Here is Manjinder Kaur Wratch’s scholarly article on the book in Muse India’s latest issue. Very thoroughly she draws out the larger context of the book and presents it very well.
‘As a writer of testimonial fiction and non-fiction, Sandhu lays bare the Punjab crises in a nuanced manner, and fittingly problematises it from a non-partisan viewpoint.’
Thank you! Please read …
Tags: 1984, Manjinder Kaur Wratch, Muse India, Punjab, Roll of Honour
Friends, over the last decade Punjab has been much maligned over the drugs issue. The issue has become a huge plank for political campaigns, police bullying, addicts being marginalised, and the system collapsing.
Yet, it needed a good doctor to pin-point the issue and suggest a course of treatment which is stupendous in its simplicity. That is exactly what Dr Dharamvira Dv Gandhi is suggesting: change the way we look at drugs, amend the draconian NDPS Act, 1985, to lay out which are ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ drugs, decriminalise the addict.
He is proposing the amendment in the Winter Session of the Parliament, starting November 17. I really hope the Bill goes through. This is a much needed change on our own ‘war of drugs’ and stands to make political parties accountable for their rhetoric.
I understand, given our mindsets, this could cause a furore but let us discuss, debate, make informed choices, instead of staying apathetic and suddenly turning around and blaming the system. The incidence of drugs is a symptom of systemic collapse. We are the system.
Please read …
Tags: Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, drugs, NDPS Act, Punjab, The Caravan
Friends, in the end of March I got Sukant Deepak’s call when I was driving to Barnala. He said he wanted to talk with me. I was very curious because India Today had never spoken to me. A few days later, Jasdeep Singh and I were on his Bullet mapping the dry SYL canal when we found ourselves in Ambala. We met Sukant.
The interview tilts towards the immediate because I am mid-project but then that is how it is: ‘On the surface, it might be about faultlines, but deep down, all the miles accumulated are a hunt for identity and sense of being.’
Please read here …
Tags: identity, India Today, Jasdeep Singh, madness, Punjab, Sukant Deepak