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Clamping down on Udta Punjab is not a solution, it is the problem June 7, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Elections, Punjabi, Punjabis, Sikhism , add a comment
Banning Udta Punjab is a political game plan to control damage done by SAD-BJP government. These ten years of SAD-BJP Government in Punjab have been the worst years Punjab has seen post Khalisatan demand days. Drug abuse is the biggest achievement of this Government, and second best is that each of its MLAs are “rumored” to have over Rs 1,000 crores in personal assets. Richest MLAs of almost a bankrupt state, right?
On one side the Badal Family-BJP Government has been most corrupt State Government any Indian state has ever seen and on the other side, Sikhism as a religion has been systematically diluted through free flow of drugs and patronage of Deras and Dera Sants. Sikhs are no longer a majority in the “Sikh state”. Even among those who count themselves as Sikhs, over 50% are opting to go back to caste system, nonacceptance of which is the base line of Sikhism. Yes, base line of Sikhism is not the turban and it was never the turban, turban came much later. Yes, baseline of Khalsa is the turban and has always been. Sikhism is all about simple values and it is not about Kukar-Shukar, Whisky-Shisky and Dope-Shope, which this Government has worked hard to establish. It is about doing good, through every act, all the time. This government in Punjab is the most anti-Sikh government Punjab has ever seen. I would have been happy if it was pro-Punjabi, but this Government is not even that. All its steps are against Punjabi values of being inclusive, this Government is an exclusive club of who you are, whom you know and what is your caste.
IMHO banning Udta Punjab is the best thing which has happened to Punjab. This is going to be a major rallying point and in its banning Badal Government has exposed chink in the armor. I will be glad if AAP structures its campaign around restoring Punjabi/ Sikh pride and lowering corruption considerably. Why would I say AAP and not Congress? Congress remains “it is not an option” for India. They have done enough damage.
Clamping down Udta Punjab is not a solution for SAD-BJP, solution would’ve been to come forward and say, we will change it and this is how we will do that and making sure next nine months saw qualitative and quantitative action. For starters each SAD-BJP MLA can do an Amma act, go ahead and distribute at least Rs 100 Crore worth of freebies from their pocket or by begging central government for being even more kinder to the corrupt state. At Center NDA Government must remove Harsimrat Kaur Badal and disassociate itself from its dynasty/ family agenda. For BJP to support SAD is worse than their going and tying up with Laloo Yadav and Mayawati together.  Center shouldn’t have obliged Badals by clipping wings of Udta Punjab, it should have rather started a movement with Navjot Siddhu leading Save Punjab camps in all constituencies, even if it meant withdrawing support.
People would find a way to watch Udta Punjab, even if they don’t, there would be enough written for word to spread around.

Punjabi Dishes Which No Restaurant Gets Right February 28, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Food, Punjabi , add a comment

My non-Punjabi friends believe that we’ve grown up on a diet of Butter Chicken and Daal Makhni. Breakfast with butter chicken, lunch with butter chicken and dinner with butter chicken. When I tell them that I have never had butter chicken for breakfast in my life and would never have to, they are surprised. They think I am lying when I tell them that these two dishes are not part of my childhood memory, I don’t recall them made in my mother’s kitchen.

As a family we seldom ate out, eating out or getting food from outside were alien concepts.  Despite Butter Chicken being served at all places and Daal Makhni being served as religion of Punjabis, they are no where near my favorite dishes, I consider them much hyped and low on flavors and health. From restaurant to restaurant I look for following dishes Punjabi dishes and am disappointed.

Here are a few Punjabi Dishes which almost no restaurant gets right, anywhere in the world.

  1.  Aaloo Da Prantha
  2. Paneer Di Bhurji
  3. Keema Kaleji
  4. Murga/Kukar Tari Wala (Chicken Curry)
  5. Chaapan (Mutton Chops)
  6. Meat Tari Wala (Mutton Curry)
  7. Vaingan Da Bharta
  8. Suke Aaloo Payaz Karela
  9. Sheera
  10. Methi Aaloo
  11. Taazi Machhi Tari Waali (Fresh water  fish in curry)
  12. Kadi Chawal
  13. Gajrela
  14. Chaulaan Di Kheer
  15. Kaagzi Badaam Da Shorba (Kashmiri Almond Soup)
  16. Mangwalia Chaul (Tomato Rice)
  17. Chitte Choley
  18. Aande Tari Waale (Anda Curry/ Egg Curry)
  19. Kaleji Gurdakappora
  20. Mutteran Wale Chual
  21. Singhara Choolia
  22. Bhain Aaloo


Rabbi Shergill and My Love For Music February 28, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Music, Punjabi, Punjabis , add a comment

Not all Punjabis of my age group love Punjabi music first, when we were growing up, Punjabi music was not considered very hep. Very few of us took time out to understand and play Punjabi songs over and above fashionable English songs. Somehow my love for Punjabi songs resulted in my missing out on English music altogether. I do regret it, but for sure I enjoy my love for Punjabi music and over a period of time the evolved vocab.

Among contemporary Punjabi singers, Rabbi Shergill moves me the most. His music touches my soul and shakes me to think. His own renderings, Bulleshah sung by him and Shiv sung by him are my favorite. The original songs have a flavor and then the MTV unplugged has original remixes done by/ consent of Rabbi.  Like all of my generation our first Punjabi songs were of Aasa Singh Mastana, Mohamed Rafi, Parkash Kaur and Surinder Kaur. Brought up on Indian side of Punjab we almost lost out on contemporary and folk Punjabi developing in Pakistan’s side of Punjab.

Youtube and internet has united Music of Punjab once again, singers like Rabbi Shergill from this side of Punjab and Arif Lohar from Pakistan side of Punjab have removed boundaries completely. Original version of Rabbi’s Bulla Ki Jana Main Kaun is my personal favorite and it is closely followed by Arif Lohar’s Jugni. Tere Bin Menu Sonya is another favorite.   What I like best about about rabbi is effortless singing. When he is singing, you don;t feel that he is playing any drama of any sort, his soul, his body and his words all work in sync and music happens.  I am sure he is not fading away quickly, he would be around for a long time and thanks to YouTube he would continue showing up alongside those who make Punjabi music happening.

Punjabi – A Language With Four Scripts January 6, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Language, Punjabi, Punjabis, Script , add a comment

Yes, Punjabi may be the only language in the world to be written in four scripts, Gurmukhi, Shahmukhi, Devnagri and Roman. Punjabi is a language which is owned and disowned on religious grounds and script preferences also. This indeed is very sad as at the end an old historic language suffers and develops complex around its usage.

Here are some observations, as they are all independent and for ease of  punctuation I am numbering them rather than putting them altogether in one knitted article.

  1. Gurmukhi is Gurmukhi where it is a composite word coined from Guru + Mukh, which means a language which is spoken by the Gurus. Gurmukhi script has similarities with Devnagari Script but both scripts are mutually exclusive and knowing one is not at all knowing the other.
  2. Shahmukhi is a script with two more characters than Urdu and largely readable by all Urdu script readers. Urdu incidentally is one of the few languages which are written in script by the same name. Urdu script is derived from Arabic and Shahmukhi and Urdu are both written from left to right.
  3. Punjabi in Gurmukhi Script is an official language of Sikhs worldwide. The holy book Guru Granth Sahib is written in Gurmukhi and everyone is expected to read it in that script for regular/ daily prayers.
  4. Punjabi in Gurmukhi Script has official language and script status in India, Canada, UK and a few other countries.
  5. Punjabi in Shahmukhi Script has official language and script status in Pakistan.
  6. Punjabi written in Gurmukhi script now has an increasing influence of Hindi words and is slowly becoming a different language than Punjabi – Shahmukhi.
  7. Punjabi written in Shahmukhi is getting more closer to Arabic and Urdu with lot of import words from these two languages.
  8. By and large all Punjabi speakers still manage to understand and appreciate different dialects, but universality of the language is suffering.
  9. Punjabi spoken in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh has now a huge degree of import words from local Hindi dialects. Punjabi in written form in these states is largely in Devnagri Script.
  10. On the internet Roman has become preferred script for Punjabi, slowly it is taking a form of universal script and is progressing well. Even the vocab and the dialect used on internet is getting standardized. On the net Punjabi is by and large sans religion. For instance “Kidaan” has become a kind of default equivalent of “How are you” and “Wadiya” has become an acceptable reply for “fine thank you”.  “Kidaan” has pushed “Key Haal Chaal” to the background and “Wadiya” has pushed “Changa” to the background though both are still used interchangeably.  Some would still prefer to use “Key Haal Chaal” instead of Kidaan as Kidaan is still more associated with Jats and rural Punjabi, but differentiation practitioners are  becoming few and far between.
  11. Punjabi songs in Bollywood and as DJ mixes and rap are playing a major role in rejuvenating Punjabi. No Hindi movie is worth its salt if it doesn’t have one or two Punjabi numbers. Punjabi music groups from UK and Canada are also making huge difference in acceptability of the language.
  12. Delhi is the city leading in universal vocab for Punjabi, probably Delhi is also the city with maximum daily Punjabi language users in the world. The Delhi Punjabi is spiked with English and Hindi but still includes lot of Urdu words irrespective of whether they are imports in Hindi or not. For instance Punjabi like Hindi doesn’t have a word for Divorce, so both languages use Talaak, increasingly Divorce is used in Punjabi over Talaak in spoken genre. There are a few Punjabi words which are getting extinct in Delhi, “thale” is now usually replaced with neeche both meaning down and similarly “Udeeq” has completely lost out to wait for the English usage wait. I am waiting for you in Punjabi would almost always be spoken as “Main teri wait kar rahe haan.”  Neither the speaker nor listener would notice the import word.
  13.   There is a need to adopt a standard script for Punjabi and sooner or later that would be Roman, that adaptation would take Punjabi to even much higher usage.

This is a collection of some random thoughts on this subject and over a period of time I will add more to this.

Rab Rakha of course is becoming a universal/ pan religion Goodbye equivalent. So Rab Rakha!