Punjab and Punjabiyat are me, they are in all of us, even in those who aren’t born here. That’s how deep-rooted our culture is. Everyone talks of the state’s food and culture, however, for me, it is the simplicity and warmth of the people that make it distinct. Having spent my childhood here, I consider my duty to do my bit to preserve what we are known for.
The younger generation must realise the power of vote. The right people in power can make or break a state. The onus is on us to vote for who we believe are committed to the larger good of Punjab. But, that doesn’t stop us from doing what we can. We need to take the legacy of Punjabiyat forward at all costs and not let evils like drugs seep in.
Unfortunately, we Punjabis are fast distancing ourselves from the ethos and culture we are known for. We can be modern, yet Punjabi to the core. We need better education, especially in villages. We need to be the change and can’t keep waiting for things to change on their own. The idea of adopting a village to bring about positive changes there is close to my heart.
My disappointments with the present-day Punjab might not be too many, but we need to pull up our socks and speed up the process of progress. My state has been known for its earthiness, but it’s time to balance it with the right amount of urban attitude. The infrastructure needs to be improved. Andhra Pradesh, in my opinion, has been a major trendsetter on this front. We need to do something big to shun the image of ‘Udta Punjab’. We must be a model state. My dream is to see each of us becoming the harbinger of development, a state where every youth can get the employment in the field of his or her choice. Unemployment, in my opinion, is directly linked to the scourge of drugs. I want to make Punjab a model state that others would want to emulate.
(As told to Aneesha Bedi)