Punjabi by nature: Treadmills for big fat rallies | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Punjabi by nature: Treadmills for big fat rallies

On Tuesday, December 15, the whole of Punjab will know whose is bigger. The SAD-BJP’s, Congress’s or AAP’s? And alongside the size these political rallies also stand to expose how small and petty Punjab’s political narrative is getting.

punjab Updated: Dec 13, 2015 18:15 IST
Khushwant Singh
Punjab’s petty politics is gathering steam thanks to big gatherings mostly about ego battles between political parties.
Punjab’s petty politics is gathering steam thanks to big gatherings mostly about ego battles between political parties.(HT Photo)

On Tuesday, December 15, the whole of Punjab will know whose is bigger. The SAD-BJP’s, Congress’s or AAP’s? And alongside the size these political rallies also stand to expose how small and petty Punjab’s political narrative is getting.

One has no qualms about saying that Punjab would hit a new low in politics, as the business of ‘my rally larger than yours’ not only threatens to distance the core issues that Punjab faces but is a reflection of the rising feudal mindset of our polity.

That the very thought of the last idea is freaking us out is an understatement. If you read between the lines, these rallies except working as masseurs for Punjab’s top political leadership’s egos hardly aim to achieve anything else. What else do you make of these rallies to be held on December 15?

If you think these rallies will bring about a course correction or will help bring solutions to Punjab’s problems, please think again. Rather, they are a ploy to divert the attention from the very issues as much as they are an outcome of teenage-like arguments.

Congress calls the Sadbhavana rally at Bathinda small. SAD challenges the Congress to have one as big as theirs. An offended Congress accepts the challenge and says it will test waters in SAD’s very citadel, Bathinda. SAD reacts and announces a rally in Patiala on the same day as the Congress. AAP feeling left out, jumps into the fray.

If all this is not utter nonsense, what else is this silly game of rallies where lakhs of people are transported to a venue to listen to the megalomania and lies of leaders? Not only crores are wasted on fulfilling these absurd ego trips, but people are forced to take a day off work, schools are shut to give space to political leaders to talk about education, fuel worth lakhs is blown up in a jiffy, public transport is diverted and thousands of commuters are inconvenienced.

All of this for what? Perhaps to force people to listen to ‘gups’ and personality bashing.

For example, why would a sitting government need to hold rallies? Shouldn’t its work be speaking for itself rather than the party in power talk about it at rallies or ‘rallas’ as they like to call them?

And what to say about the opposition? One wonders if their rallies end up achieving anything else other than the very predictable government bashing? Has the Congress and AAP brought any new political narrative into political space? Unfortunately, no. Rallies, which mean a mass collection of people to share views or protest, could do well with a definite focus rather than the ‘mine is bigger’ approach. Without proper focus, these rallies are meaningless and just promote ‘vela-panti’ among the masses whereas ‘work is worship’ should be the motto of this declining state.

Keeping this in mind, how about holding rallies which are inspirational, enlightening and educative in nature? How about a rally where education revolution is the central theme? Or even an allwomen gathering to discuss how to harness their potential? It’s a good course correction since our political gatherings are so male-dominated in diction as well as attendance. How about a rally on Punjab’s economic growth and its potential?

Just like big fat Punjabi weddings don’t assure happy marriages, similarly big fat political rallies hardly assure votes. It’s time these political rallies are put on a treadmill not only to be trimmed but for generation of more creative and healthier rally ideas.