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 !