Contents - Punjab: Marginal and Central (Issue 34)
Posts from the ‘Issue 1/ Beyond Mumbai, 2012’ Category
By Karthik Venkatesh
The small state of Punjab that one sees on the map belies its importance to the nation and, indeed, the image the nation carries of Punjab. Punjab’s larger-than-life image is under threat like never before. Hostage to several problems, it is in need of an informed way out of its current imbroglio. These essays perhaps contain in them the kernel of a possible way ahead.
By Amandeep Sandhu
I asked myself: what if Gurmeher was not a martyr’s daughter. What if she were an ordinary Punjabi Sikh girl? The answer is obvious: the same right-wing would have called her a Khalistan supporter. The Sikh community would have been demonized once again like in the 1980s. The nation would have again denied Punjab its geography, its history, its role as a gateway to India. It seems that to talk of peace in this would-be-youngest nation of the world is a crime. The nation’s hormones are bursting and Pakistan is the perfect enemy. It celebrates the 56-inch chest of its supreme leader.
By Chaman Lal
After partition, the Punjab University went through traumatic times, particularly in the Indian part of Punjab – East Punjab. It was agreed at the time of partition that examinations would be conducted by the University of the Punjab, Lahore on both sides. For this purpose, the Registrar (Examination) of the University, Madan Gopal Singh, who was in India at the time of partition, travelled to Lahore from Shimla, leaving a note for eminent artist Krishan Khanna’s father – ‘See you when I get back, that is, if I get back.’ He was murdered by his own personal assistant in his own office in the university!
By Anirudh Kala
A farmer from Punjab walking on the wide avenues of Chandigarh sticks out as much as a sore thumb as he would in Europe. While farmers feel quite at home, even jaunty in their tractor-trolleys in all other cities of the state, Chandigarh does not even allow tractors in. The central government-controlled administration there runs a tight ship and is particularly wary of villagers from Punjab reaching in ones and twos and then once in a while coalescing into a protest against their state leaders who live there.
By Sangeet Toor
The nostalgia is also more about how a Punjabi man’s object of desire used to be a woman with anklets, drawing water from a well, seducing (perhaps, we don’t know for sure) him with giddha. The nostalgia is about how missing out on such jewelry and her absence from the wells (broadly, the social set-up. Alas! She works in Europe and America now.) does not help his sexual desires these days. Since his sexual desires are not catered to in the same way as they used to be, the culprit is the language, English.
By Sakoon N Singh
Jugni, the ubiquitous everywoman of Punjabi lore, refuses to die down. The eponymous protagonist of the Jugni folk song continues to be reinvented in every epoch. She is not content being a signpost in the past and hovers instead over the skies of today’s Punjab, swooping effortlessly down on towns and villages whenever something consequential happens. Jugni is perennially arriving, like the distant Punjabi relative, whom you have not seen in a while but is sure to land up bag and baggage on the most consequential days: weddings and funerals.
By Yogesh Snehi
Any academic discussion on the sacred shrines in Punjab revolves around the centrality of gurdwara spaces in the rural and urban landscapes of contemporary Punjab. This is despite the fact that Punjab was a major recipient of critical discourses of Buddhism, Nathpanth, and Sufism before the evolution of Sikhism in Mughal India. The vivisection of the province post-partition has led to consolidation of religious boundaries, a process that had its roots in the movement for reform in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century India.
By Randeep Maddoke
Randeep suggests that the market drives the contemporary visual language of photography. The individualistic, commoditized image is being propelled to the forefront. He is looking to stay away from the contemporary style of image-making and wants to try out new possibilities.