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State of affairs

Punjab’s lovers, including the present ones and the ones who are desperately trying to woo her, should remember that the day textbooks are fairly edited, many of them will not find their names in them, says Khushwant Singh.

chandigarh Updated: Jun 03, 2013 09:28 IST
Khushwant Singh
Khushwant Singh
Hindustan Times

Sirji, Common Singh has come to meet you, said my house help in a hesitating tone. Hesitating, because he knew how much I disliked being woken up from my siesta. And for the commoners, there was no way I could be disturbed.

Ok, usher him in now, I barked, irritated over my sleep being unplugged. Sirji, where have you been? Wasting your time judging Miss India pageants, visiting beer bars, attending weddings and writing nonsense? Did you know that you have been ignoring the state of affairs of Punjab for far too long, said Common Singh.

Shut up, Common Singh and stop accusing me, I said. I don’t have an affair with Punjab that I have to be constantly engaging with it. I too have a life. It is SAD who is dating Punjab at the moment. The affair has already lasted six years and is expected to go on for another 19. Do you even know how much SAD loves Punjab? It has pledged unlimited sewa. And guess what? It wants nothing in return.

Huh! Punjab and its various lovers! sighed Common Singh.

Stop it, Common Singh. You commoners will always talk petty. Are you trying to say that Punjab is this unscrupulous woman who keeps changing her lovers from time to time? But maybe you are right. Her compulsion to cosy up to just about anyone — be it a jathedar, kakaji, giani or a regal — perhaps comes from her insatiable desire to see her people flourish.

She unconditionally puts everything at her lover’s behest, never questioning his motives. But alas, betrayal is what she gets.

Sirji, you seem very sleepy, said Common Singh. You have confused the two issues. I was not asking for gossip about Punjab Kaur’s affairs. I was talking about the state of affairs. Yesterday, I went to buy sand.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when the ‘thekedar’ quoted me the price in kilos. R38 a kilo. I bought a tandoori chicken instead. And Sirji, my son is completing his higher education. Can you suggest one business other than a petrol pump, banquet hall, restaurant, theka or a chemist shop? Does Punjab have in it to let a business grow where the mind flourishes and entrepreneurial juices flow? No, na, Sirji. It is because of this that I am planning to send him to Amreeka. I came to borrow some money since I have spent all my savings on his MBA.

Sorry, Common Singh. As, I am also considering the same option, I have no money to lend you, I replied curtly. Don’t worry, Sirji. It is good that you are thinking like me, especially after what happened yesterday.

Sirji, I went to buy RCC (reinforced cement concrete) pipes and the chaps out there were selling textbooks instead, and discussing a chapter on Sikandar.

The BC (Before Christ) Sikandar or the AD one? I asked. And I hope you didn’t buy the books. I am told the text is foul, crass and misleading. What a blow to Punjab, Common Singh. Sirji, what will happen to Sadda Punjab?

Nothing, I replied. The maximum that will happen is that Sadda Punjab’s very own children will remain uneducated. First to disappear were the teachers, then the infrastructure, and now the books. Let it be clear Common Singh that governments who invest more in religion and less in education are doing a disservice to the state. Religion is a controlling technology whereby education is an enabling technology. Need I say more? I asked.

Yes, said Common Singh.

Ok, hear it out then — Punjab’s lovers, including the present ones and the ones who are desperately trying to woo her, should remember that the day textbooks are fairly edited, many of them will not find their names as the ones who dated Punjab unconditionally.

Hail the diva
Congratulations to Hoshiarpur girl Manveen Singh for being crowned Miss Femina Style Diva, North. Daughter of Nancy Singh and Taran Singh, a leading chartered accountant of the city, the gorgeous Manveen completed her matriculation from the local St Joseph’s Convent School and Class 12 from Lawrence School, Sanawar. Kudos to her for bringing Hoshiarpur on the glamour circuit.

The columnist is a Punjab-based author and journalist. He can be reached at

First Published: Jun 03, 2013 09:24 IST