Demystifying Punjabi stereotypes – 2

Read Part 1 – Punjab is a very rich state !


 Punjabi music is all about beats !

Thankfully it is not. What you get to see is Bollywood’s use (use as exploiting something; i say use because Bollywood includes Punjabi songs in a movie to make the album hit not to promote Punjabi music) of Punjabi music. Far away from that adulterated stuff you get to hear there exists some beautiful Punjabi music of so many different genres including dance numbers, sad songs, spiritual poetry and so on.

Break the stereotype, go explore and enjoy some beautiful music. A whole new world awaits you.

Demystifying Punjabi stereotypes – 1

Most of the stuff that non Punjabi’s know about us Punjabis is typical stereotyped stuff shown in Bollywood movies and Punjabi songs. Most of it is some non-sense wrapped around “balle balle” as if dancing is what Punjabi’s do all the time. So thought about doing some posts telling the reality instead of what is being shown on small or big screen. How it actually started was that once I drafted a post explaining that how in Punjab there live people of all religions, not only Sikhs as a lot of non-Punjabi’s seem to think. But this post remained in the draft for months. Then last week a colleague in office was talking about something similar. From there an idea struck me to write about multiple topics related to Punjabi stereotypes. In each post I will try to talk about one topic (or more if they are very closely related). The posts are not going to be very very detailed but would briefly talk about the subject. You can add your criticism/views/corrections of any facts in the comments section. Some of the posts might be ridiculously short but length isn’t really the important thing here. Important is to make the point about some issue that we are seeing around us.

So here we go with the very first post in this series. In this the issue I am going to talk about is:


Punjab is a very rich state


That is what a lot of people outside Punjab think courtesy Punjab’s rich past and what is being shown in movies, songs etc. But the reality is that it used to be rich but it is not anymore. These days economy is in shambles. State is under a debt of Rs 1 lakh crore. There is no money to pay salaries to the Govt. employees and to make both ends meet Govt. properties, lands are being sold. There are hardly any new Govt. jobs. Not much is happening in the name of industrial growth so there are not many jobs in private sector too. Menace of drugs is posing the most serious danger the state has ever seen. According to some reports almost 60-70% or more of the youth is addicted to some kind of drug or alcohol. There are villages where each family has lost one of more of the family members to some kind of drug addiction.

Agriculture has failed. Landlords might be doing fine but farmers with few acres of land can hardly make both ends meet. Many of the small farmers have taken loans to the tune of lakhs from banks and because of poor agricultural growth are not able to pay it back. Not being able to support their families they are taking the suicide route to end their lives. There are many families where the only earning members have committed suicides and the debt ridden families are left to struggle with their lives.


With all this going on one can pretty much understand how rich Punjab these days is !


Read part 2 – Punjabi music is all about beats !

Survival of a language

This topic has been in my mind since long but never got to write about it. And it is not only about Punjabi language. It applies to any of the regional languages. And here we are talking about the people who live away from their native regions.

I have lived in Delhi for six years. There is a sizable Punjabi population in Delhi and Punjabi has got the second language status. But one thing that is very much noticeable is that generally the people you see speaking Punjabi are all above 40 years of age. No one from the newer generation speaks Punjabi. In fact the reality is that can’t really speak even if they want to. Leave few broken sentences that they might be able to construct and speak.

This is about speaking. If we talk about reading and writing the situation is even worse. No one from the new generation would be able to do that because they were not taught Punjabi in schools and at home their parents didn’t communicate with them in Punjabi .

Question here is that in such a scenario how does a language survive ? When you can’t read, write or speak a language how you can identify yourself by that ? Isn’t it the slow death of our regional languages ?


One thing that always gets ignored while talking about India’s independence is the partition of India. It was the largest displacement of people in the 20th century. The state worst affected by this was Punjab. It was divided into two parts and a large displacement of Muslims to Pakistan and Hindus & Sikhs to India started. Result was that an uncontrolled bloodshed followed. The unfortunate thing is that today’s generation hardly understands what exactly happened during those times. Even Punjabis don’t understand what exactly partition meant ? A friend sent me the link to this poem by a young Pakistani poet Afzal Saahir that describes the pain of the people who had to leave their homes and move to a complete new place. They could never forget the pain of leaving the place of their childhood and youth. In the poem Afzal talks about similar emotions.


Also the amazing kaun dushman hai by Ali Sardar Jafri

ghulam tum bhi the yaroon,
ghulam hum bhi thhe

Naha ke khoon mein aayi thi fasle azadi
Maza to tab tha ki milkar ilaaj e jaan karte

khud apne haath se tameer e gulsitan karte

hammare dard mein tum, aur tumhare dard mein ham
shareek hote to jashne aashiyaan karte

Tum aao gulshan e Lahore se chaman bardosh
hum ayen subah Banaras ki roshni lekar
Himalaye ki hawaaon ki taazgi lekar
Aur iske baad ye punchhen kaun dushman hai

(Taken from here)

ik nukte vich gal mukdi e

For the first time, I am trying to translate a poem of Baba Bulleh Shah. Excuse my misinterpretations, if any and please post the correct meanings, if you know 🙂

ik nukte vich gal mukdi e
(nukta – point, idea)

means it all is contained in a single idea/point

fad nukta chod hisaaban nu,

get hold of that idea and forget all your calculations

kar door kufar dian baaban nu
(kufar – disbelief, unbelief in existence of God | baab – miserable state)

leave the miserable state of unbelief in the existence of God

laah dojakh gor azaaban nu,
(dojakh – hell | gor – grave | azaab – suffering, pain)

dont punish yourself with the pain of death and hell

kar door dile dian khwaban nu

get rid of these imaginary fears

gal ese ghar wich dhukdi e

only in such a heart, the truth is gonna enter

ik nukte vich gal mukdi e |

awein matha zamee’n ghasaida,
(matha – forehead)

what is the use of bowing your head (literally – what is the use of rubbing of your head on ground (while praying)) ?

lamma pa mehraab dikhai da
(mehraab – aclove of mosque where the imam stands)

prostrate will be the exact word for this. what is the use of prostrating ?

par kalma lok hasai da,
(kalma – reciting verses from Quran)

by reciting kalmas you are making everyone laugh

dil andar samjh na liyai da

you aren’t actually understanding the meaning…you aren’t absorbing the lession

kadi baat sachi vi lukdi e,

can the truth be ever hidden ?

ik nukte vich gal mukdi e |

kai haaji ban ban aaye ji,
(haaji – one who does the pilgrimage of Mecca)

many have returned from the pilgrimage of Mecca

gal neele jaame paye ji
(jaama – dress, attire)

wearing beautiful blue dresses

haj vech take lai khaye ji,
(taka – a currency)

they profit from the merit earned by doing the Hajj

bhala eh gal keehnu bhaye ji

who can admire such a behaviour ?

kadi baat sachi vi lukdi e,
ik nukte vich gal mukdi e |

ik jungle behri’n jande ni,
(behri’n – i think it means sea)

some retire to the forests

ik daana roz lai khande ni

restrict their meals to a grain

besamjh wajood thakande ni,
(besamjh – foolish | wajood – body,existence | thakande – tiring)

means in all their foolishness of these acts, they are merely exhausting their body

ghar aawan ho ke maande ni
(maande – mande, in bad shape)

and they return to their homes in a bad shape

awein chillian vich jind mukdi e,
(chilla – praying for 40 days)

they life is sucked by useless fasts and prayers

ik nukte vich gal mukdi e |

far murshad aabad khudai ho,
(murshad – teacher | aabad – devotee, one who prays)

hold fast to your teacher (the one who guides you) say your prayers to the God (who has created everything)

vich masti beparwahi ho
(masti – emotions of enjoyment of connection with the master | beparwah – carefree)

enjoy the state of being lost in the magic of “his” name

bekhahash benawai ho,
(bekhahah – not having “materialistic” desires | benawai – indifferent)

 without any materialistic desire, indifferent to the world

vich dil de khoob safai ho

keep your heart fully clean

Bullah baat sachi kado rukdi e,

Bullah ! can the truth be stopped ?

ik nukte vich gal mukdi e

References: (Page 9 & 10)

& a number of dictionaries 🙂

ਇਕ ਨੁਕਤੇ ਵਿਚ ਗੱਲ ਮੁਕਦੀ ਏ

ਫੜ ਨੁਕਤਾ ਛੋੜ ਹਿਸਾਬਾਂ ਨੂੰ
ਕਰ ਦੂਰ ਕੁਫ਼ਰ ਦਿਆਂ ਬਾਬਾਂ ਨੂੰ
ਲਾਹ ਦੋਜਖ ਗੋਰ ਅਜ਼ਾਬਾਂ ਨੂੰ
ਕਰ ਸਾਫ਼ ਦਿਲੇ ਦਿਆਂ ਖਾਬਾਂ ਨੂੰ
ਗੱਲ ਇਸੇ ਘਰ ਵਿਚ ਢੁਕਦੀ ਏ
ਇਕ ਨੁਕਤੇ ਵਿਚ ਗੱਲ ਮੁਕਦੀ ਏ
ਐਵੇਂ ਮੱਥਾ ਜ਼ਮੀ(ਨ) ਘਸਾਈ ਦਾ
ਲੰਮਾ ਪਾ ਮਹਿਰਾਬ ਦਿਖਾਈ ਦਾ
ਪੜ ਕਲਮਾ ਲੋਕ ਹਸਾਈ ਦਾ
ਦਿਲ ਅੰਦਰ ਸਮਝ ਨਾ ਲਿਆਈ ਦਾ
ਕਦੀ ਬਾਤ ਸੱਚੀ ਵੀ ਲੁਕਦੀ ਏ
ਇਕ ਨੁਕਤੇ ਵਿਚ ਗੱਲ ਮੁਕਦੀ ਏ
ਕਈ ਹਾਜੀ ਬਣ ਬਣ ਆਏ ਜੀ
ਗਲ ਨੀਲੇ ਜਾਮੇ ਪਾਏ ਜੀ
ਹੱਜ ਵੇਚ ਟੱਕੇ ਲੈ ਖਾਏ ਜੀ
ਭਲਾ ਇਹ ਗਲ ਕੀਹਨੂੰ ਭਾਏ ਜੀ
ਕਦੀ ਬਾਤ ਸੱਚੀ ਵੀ ਲੁਕਦੀ ਏ
ਇਕ ਨੁਕਤੇ ਵਿਚ ਗੱਲ ਮੁਕਦੀ ਏ
ਇਕ ਜੰਗਲ ਬਹਿਰੀਂ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਨੀ
ਇਕ ਦਾਣਾ ਰੋਜ਼ ਲੈ ਖਾਂਦੇ ਨੀ
ਬੇਸਮਝ ਵਜੂਦ ਥ੍ਕਾਂਦੇ ਨੀ
ਘਰ ਹੋਵਣ ਹੋ ਕੇ ਮਾਂਦੇ ਨੀ
ਐਵੇਂ ਚਿਲਿਆਂ ਵਿਚ ਜਿੰਦ ਮੁੱਕਦੀ ਏ
ਫੜ ਮੁਰਸ਼ਦ ਆਬਦ ਖੁਦਾਈ ਹੋ
ਵਿੱਚ ਮਸਤੀ ਬੇ ਪਰਵਾਹੀ ਹੋ
ਬੇਖਾਹਸ਼ ਬੇਨਵਾਈ ਹੋ
ਵਿੱਚ ਦਿਲ ਦੇ ਖੂਬ ਸਫਾਈ ਹੋ
ਬੁੱਲ੍ਹਾ ਬਾਤ ਸੱਚੀ ਕਦੋਂ ਰੁੱਕਦੀ ਏ
ਇਕ ਨੁਕਤੇ ਵਿਚ ਗੱਲ ਮੁਕਦੀ ਏ

Here are few of the renditions by the legends:

eh tere pyar de pattar

A wonderful ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh Zirvi.

eh tere pyar de pattar
main awein saambh rakhe ne

eh tere pyar de pattar
jo hun tak saambh rakhe ne
na hun eh tumbde mainu
na hai ehna ch nigh koi
kadi veraan chup raatan ch
je kar khol v behna
na dil tadpaun hun mera
te na hi karan diljoi
eh tere pyar de pattar
main awein saambh rakhe ne

mohabbat v shalaga v
hallasheri v ehna wich
ate tokan nahore v
gile v te dilase v
eh apne aap wich dunia c
aasha te niraasha di
eh madra de pyale san
eh san vikhia de kaase v
eh tere pyar de pattar
main awein saambh rakhe ne

bahut bechain kita c
kadi mainu udeekan ne
kadi din raat is dil nu
kiha cha c kiha dar c
jiwei rab ton koi
sukh da suneha lai k aaunda hai
ehna sadka kadi
ik daakia mera payambar c
eh tere pyar de pattar
main awein saambh rakhe ne

ai par ehna nu hun takkdan
tan dil nu kuch nahi hunda
kehar eh hai samajda haan
k gal oh c nadaani di
aate shayad tu v jeekar
ehna nu pad k hun vekhein
tan hass ke aakh deve
bhul c uthdi jawani di
beshak zindagi dian peeran ton
kadd ke laamb rakhe ne
eh tere pyar de purze
main fir v saambh rakhe ne

Ladki Punjabi hai

After I came out of Punjab, I was met with a new caste(caste or what ?)-describing-terminology “ladka/ladki Punjabi hai”. No such thing was there in Punjab. It was Jatt/Ramgarhia…in Sikhs, Pandit/Baniya/Khatri… in Hindus and so on. It was after coming to Delhi that i heard about this new thing that ladka/ladki Punjabi hai. What annoys me the most is that everybody living in Punjab is a Punjabi so what this classification is ? For me, to best of my knowledge being Punjabi means you/your ancestors belong to Punjab. Let it be a Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Christian or anyone else. So what does this definition mean ? Can someone shed some light ?

Update: To clear the confusion, if any, I don’t want to highlight any caste or anything like that. Just wanted to know what exactly people mean by this ?

tu mud mud mohabbat da izhaar na kar

tu mud mud mohabbat da izhaar na kar
asin tan dewaane haan, tu pyar na kar

tu devenga shaavan oh todange patte
k rahian te bahuta v itbaar na kar

asin tainu audan ch hanjuan na(al) sinjia
tu sanu tan shaavan ton inkaar na kar

oh dinda hai mainu hyati de supne
te kehnda hai saahan te itbaar na kar

khizawan ch karda e shaavan de waade
gareeban na(al) haase mere yaar na kar
(khiza=autumn, patjhad)


tere mud aaun di dil nu aje b aas baki hai

Sukhwinder Amrit

tere mud aaun di dil nu aje b aas baki hai
k mere dard de tan te eho hi libaas baki hai

jadon hasdi haan hanjhu shalak aaunde ne subhavik hi
mere ehsaas de tan te same di laash baaki hai

eh meri akh da athar, kahani da hai ik akhar
te meri hiqq de wich dard da itihaas baki hai

tere seene ch thaathan maarda daria mohabbat da
mere seene ch kai tapde thalan di pyas baki hai

je pathar ho gia seena tan taithon seh nahi hona
k aa v ja, mohabbat da aje ehsaas baki hai

Aman posted this poetry on his blog and provided the English translation. I am producing the same here. All the credit for this goes to Aman.

I still have hopes that you would come back,
On my injured body of sadness,that’s the only wardrobe left!

When I smile, tears flow somehow on their own,
The body of my feelings is engraved with the shades of death!

Here is a drop from my eye, and each is telling a story,
And in my heart, an entire saga of sadness and pain is hidden!

In your heart, its an ocean of love flowing ,
But in my heart, there is thirst of so many deserts!

If I shall become a stone, it would be unbearable for you,
Please come back as  there is still love in my heart!

kavita nahi tu pyar te poori kitaab likh

A very very happy new year to all the readers. In the form of first post in 2009, here goes a wonderful & inspirational  poem by Sukhwinder Amrit:

kavita nahi tun pyar te poori kitaab likh
kaale swaal sun te chitte jawab likh

tu nafartan da tarzuma kar de khaloos wich
te kandian nu katt ke khidia gulab likh

likhde ne kuch k lok bas sooli saleeb hi
par tu harek rukh nu gaundi rabab likh

jo husan de sang tadpia sehra ohi likhin
jo ishq de sang wilkia ohi chanab likh

ai khuda tu har ik pyas nu tripti ch badal de
tapde thalan di hiq te nadian da aab likh

ethe harek khaab hi dhukhda main vekhia
maarothalan te na koi fullan da khaab likh