Punjabi by nature: Will the original Punjabi Pride please stand up

  • Khushwant Singh
  • Updated: Feb 07, 2016 12:24 IST
Khushwant Singh lists a few ways to hack back into the original software of the proverbial Punjabi Pride. (Illustrations by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT)

“Jathedar ji, you are very powerful. You can pass through a toll booth without paying toll,” said Common Singh to Jathedar VIP Singh. “Mittran da naam chalda,” replied the Jathedar, twirling his moustache with utmost pride. “Any work, dassi,” said Jathedar VIP Singh, who took pride in achievements which can’t exactly be described as examples of Punjabi Pride.

Yes, the proverbial Punjabi Pride is fast turning into a lost virtue; falling prey to stuff as mundane and lowly as crossing a red light, calling a migrant ‘Bhaiya’ or hitting one’s wife after a few pegs – ‘Tainu pata nahi the main kaun ha!’

With such things turning into new symbols of Punjabi Pride, it’s time to hire a cracker of a hacker and restore the original Punjabi Pride software. Pardon me for thinking of an ethical hacker rather than the Sarkar because governments over the years, I think, have lost their ethics. Rather, instead of coming out with newer and updated versions of Punjabi Pride, they are responsible for corrupting the sacrosanct original Punjabi software.

The dictionary defines ‘pride’ as 1) a feeling of your achievement or the achievements of your family or 2) true respect that you feel for yourself. Now, try applying the second meaning to Jathedar VIP Singh. If he feels respect for himself after what he does, brain screws of his kind seriously need clt +alt +delete.

But why blame VIP Singh alone? All the ABCDs of Punjab seem to have been struck by this dangerous ‘Faulty Pride Virus’, which a simple test can ascertain. Moreover, it can be performed in front of a mirror or while pondering over a cuppa. Avoid trying it over scotch, though.

I can vouch that 99% of us Punjabis will be forced to roll down that ‘mooch’ the moment we put ourselves through this simple test. When was the last time you bent your spine in front of a politician? Can’t be long ago, even though you didn’t need to. You require that spine to stand up more often than bend. For example, did you take a position against the idea of aborting your girl child? No? Or did you as a doctor, for a few hundred rupees, abort that girl child? If yes, it’s time to reboot your system and prioritise what makes you proud of yourself. Your action or the luxurious car that stands in your porch.

Once you are done with this question, ask the mirror this, ‘Am I a sycophant? Badey ko salaam and gardener ko gaali?’ Yes, this is the all new Punjabi character. Our pride lies in our ability to abuse the weak instead of standing up for the downtrodden.

Now, let me give you a sense of how we have changed the benchmark of Punjab Pride even in professional and work ethics. If you are a government employee, just ask yourself. Yes, you know what I am saying and are ashamed to confront yourself. The pride of a ‘sarkari’ boss crumples the moment your rudeness, nepotism, corruption stare back at you. This simple realisation, however, has the power to restore the original software.

To the religious preachers, I ask are you proud of your preachings? Ask yourself how much have you diluted the religions that you preach to suit your selfish needs. Rather than freeing people from dogma and elevating them spiritually, your connivance with politicians have rendered people slaves to religion. The list of questions is endless but the remedy is the same. FYI, I also undertook the test, and honestly didn’t do very well. I’m trying to find ways to hack back to my original pride. Are you?

Email the writer at singhkhushwant@hotmail.com

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