Trying to Create a New Path Between Chitta-Neela

I have shared my views on Manpreet Badal and the PPP in the past. I still stand by my analysis, but as the election draws nearer, the youth of Punjab are making their voices heard.

Recently Manpreet Badal has been visiting the US this month and gaining more and more popularity among the non-voting NRPs (Non-Resident Punjabis), but if this show of support can be capitalized in Punjab is yet to be seen. His campaign has had a few major hiccups recently, with supporters suchas Rajya Sabha member, Varinder Singh Bajwa, being re-wooed by Punjab’s greatest snake-oil seller, Parkash Badal. This loss comes soon after Manpreet had lost the support of his former “right-hand man”, Charanjeet Brar. It has been a long few weeks.

Still amongst a large number of Punjabi youth, they are still showing their support and hope, through creating videos on youtube to help galvanize the youth.

Here is one such example, a parody of rapper Wiz Khalif’a’s celebration of his native Pittsburgh – Black and Yellow. Here the artists – Sugar Cane Records and Jogi – ask who to vote for – Chitta (the color associated with the Congress Party) or Neela (the color associated with the Akali Dal). Both are thieves, the difference only the color.

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One need not look far for a critique of the (in effect) two-party system in Punjab. It isn’t too much different than the criticisms we hear in the US.


As I wrote before:

While the agenda of the party seems to some positive policies, it is reformist, not revolutionary. This is not a Kesri revolution, but rather a basanti reform. So again, in todays situation in Punjab, while I would consider voting for Manpreet as a protest against both the Congress and the fiefdom of Parkash Badal, it would not be because I am excited about true changes and reforms.[link]

There seems to be a palpable anger amongst the youth of the Punjab. Speaking to family members and friends, frustration is rising. Our poet-TLH reader, wrote:

The most disheartening of them all is the collapse of the government education system, the law and order and unemployment resulting in growing hopelessness amongst an entire generation of the youth — our real investment in Punjabs future. The only choices available to them appear to be to drown themselves or depart; drown in the unholy and infamous sixth river of drug abuse which by the way is the only river flowing fully, or depart from Punjab to migrate elsewhere, anywhere out of Punjab for that matter.[link]

Manpreet Badal is speaking the rhetoric to address these exact issues. In a recent blog, he wrote:

Youngsters of Punjab, let us begin our struggle to bring our Punjab on top again. Let us ensure that our boys are not killed in boats in Malta, beaten in Australia or embarrassed in London, simply because we cant provide them opportunities here. Let us ensure that our hard working girls get a chance to work in the sunrise sectors of biotech, IT and telecom. Let us ensure that the legendary Punjabi entrepreneurial spirit, which has scripted success stories all over the world, is given the full chance to succeed in its home as well. Let us ensure that we lead Indias agriculture production in quality and not only in quantity. Let us ensure that we cast off this albatross of being the most indebted state in India, because, we the people of Punjab have always given and never begged!

Despite, these calls, you can feel the youth anger boiling, even in Punjabi music today. The revival of the Panth’s heroes from the most recent struggle should be read as a form of protest. The events of the post-1984 have been entering the vocabulary of artists, T-shirt makers, and even song-writers with a vengeance.

Here is one such example, produced for India’s so-called “Independence Day” (actually, a ‘transfer of power’ from the British elite to the Anglophile Indian elite).

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Manpreet Badal is aware of this. In that same post, he concludes with:

Here I must add a caveat. Often the youthful angst can be channelised into destructive purposes by evil elements. I request you to steer clear of any sort of jingoism or intolerance.

Punjab cannot afford any internal discord. All of you, who were born in Punjab and also who have chosen to make Punjab your home have to work together. The anger, which you harbour right now, has to be channelised for upliftment of this beloved state of ours and not for its destruction!

The elections will see if Manpreet can actually channel this youth energy. As I have state, I am less convinced and a bit skeptical. If historic trends are to be trusted, then 2012 will see a Congress Party victory. If there is widespread corrupti0n and fraud (which there will be) and the general perception is widespread anger, then there may be complete disillusion with the current political set-up and organizing opportunities for new leadership.

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6 Responses to “Trying to Create a New Path Between Chitta-Neela”

  1. Politician – It's a two party system! You have to vote for one of us!
    Man – He's right, this is a two-party system.
    Man 2 – Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate.
    Politician – Go ahead, throw your vote away.

    Let's hope PPP is even half as capable of achieving what it says it will. A strong showing and they could surprise everyone.

    P.S. £10 for the first person who can tell me what that dialogue is from.

  2. Blighty Singh says:

    You know I was discussing politics in Punjab with her indoors just the other day. We were both analysing what was wrong and what was needed to fix the problem. We both came to the conclusion that the problem was that there just wasn't enough Badals in power. "if only"….we said to each other…."If only even more Badals had even more power things would be ever so lovely".
    I'm glad this new Badal has started a new party. I'm glad that the people of Punjab realise that the secret to rooting out nepotism and corruption in Punjabi politics is not to find the best candidates……but to find yet another person from the same Badal family. You can never have enough Badals. There's always room for one more.

  3. justasingh says:

    Jodha, may I know what do you mean by Kesri revolution?