Punjab doesn’t need a manifesto, but a paradigm shift. This is a statement for which one is willing to stick the neck out. It doesn’t mean that the neck has to be chopped off, but the point is, however pious political parties may want their manifestos to sound, they are simply cacophony.
If they were anything other than that, Punjab surely would have been a ‘balle balle’ state by now. Not its present lacklustre, huffing and puffing condition that it finds itself over successive years. Its present is tense, its youth restless, a majority unemployed with nothing to look forward to except sell a kila and fly abroad. Such is the urge to go to a foreign land that if embassies were to grant visas to all Punjabis, Punjab’s roads would become desolate.
Manifestos and roadmaps
Manifestos or published verbal declaration of the intentions and motives of political parties are lying many a heap in the narrative of Punjab’s political space. They are simply freebies or marketing tools to achieve power than any roadmaps for progress, thus making paradigm, which literally means a way of looking at things, a more operative word.
Punjab has suffered enough because of an inadequate paradigm or maybe the lack of it. This has been my argument throughout, that only sincerity will take it forward and not Gappi manifestos. Aah kardangey! oh kardangey!
British historian Philip Mason in his book ‘The Men Who Ruled India’ writes that a man must not be judged by his worst but by his best. He should not even be judged by his best but by his aims. Yes, you get the aim right you will surely hit the target. Manifestos will stop mattering when politicos will start working towards making Punjab prosperous rather than running it like Raj.
Everything will fall in place. Political parties will not have to lie or make false promises that they make on those sheets of paper. For instance, if the passion for education is in the DNA of its leader, can any government authority dare to shut schools for political rallies? If secularism is not the political party’s spirit, how much ever it might tweet about secularism; hate and intolerance are bound to creep into the country’s narrative.
Progress is key word
On the contrary, if the political narrative treats everyone equally, immaterial of party affiliation, can any district administrator dare discriminate people on the basis of the turban colour? “Kalkaji thuanu nahi pata loggan daa,” is the usual line I get each time I state this point, but that’s exactly what I mean. Get the ideal right and people will respond positively. “No, it’s you who don’t understand people since you only understand votes.”
Create an environment where progress is the key word, you will be surprised what people can achieve. Offer them growth, positivity, entrepreneurship, zeal, and inspiration and see them soar. However, if you only offer a sullen, religious and political, disruptive, sop-oriented manifesto, they are bound to underperform.
This paradigm versus manifesto argument is my personal view, and obviously not gospel truth, as many have benefited from it too. It is open for discussion among academics and politicians to either accept or reject this premise. Punjab is a land of vibrant, hardworking and enterprising people. It has a legacy that whenever it has got the paradigm right, they can ‘chak dey’ anyone.