Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Ekta Club :The new Fight in Punjab

One is getting to hear of a new fight.Women from the under-castes are getting organised.No longer shall they take it any more both for being a woman or lower caste.They are up in arms and the wrongs of history need to be righted.Punjab is waking up to stirrings of anger and revolt.The established order must take notice.That is what we hear.
  It is good that

Abroo (ਆਬਰੂ) has given space and voice to a new breed of free-thinking women from the lower castes.Clearly, this is a new voice and has very brave people fighting for justice.I would imagine that many in the other parts of India, than Punjab would be interested to know of why the "Balle Balle"
 people are not what the Bollywood people would have us believe.They would be happy reading about the struggles that go unheard like many others of the unsung and disenfranchised.They would like to know of Guru Nanak,Guru Gobind Singh and how the latter went on to conceive, design and create a new religion based on equality and universal humanitarian values.
And why in the not-so-recent past of over three decades you had a Bhindrawale, Sant Longawal,Operation Bluestar and Black Thunder,
the killing of Mrs Gandhi, Congress and the riots of 1982 in which many Sikhs lost their innocent lives for nothing.

The story is somewhere in the intersections of the recognition of the Sikhs and Gurmukhi,the Akali Politics, Green Revolution, the Sikh Diaspora,the uneven economic development and the skewed capitalist growth process,the increased inequities and the steady withering away of the flimsy religious thread of bonding which was increasingly found tenuous what with the glaring social tensions and conflicts on ground.The lower castes like churas, chamars, dhobi, telis were being increasingly segregated and denied equal rights leading to the growth and mushrooming of a different kind of Gurudwara and sects like Ravi Dasis, Nirankaris,Radho Swamis .These religious sects were moving in with a new political ideology providing psychological succor and shelter:a sigh for the oppressed.
The trickling benefits of education and some employment through the so-called democratic politics had given a certain strength, organisation and hope to this  conglomeration of different castes that actually survived despite the noble and visionary thoughts of Guru Nanak to make it disappear.The failure of any kind of land reforms and the aggregation of all land principally with the higher castes or the powerful (in this case the Jat Sikhs and their appendages) made the alienation of the lower castes both of the Sikhs and the Hindus irreparable.Into this melting pot one sees the utter despicable and corrupt politics of the Sikh Gurudwaras and the SGPC simmer a bad broth to say the least..It is also the greed for the largesse of religious funds ,to misappropriate , is also what got the Akalis and the upper caste Sikhs into a kind of unholy alliance . That the Congress had failed the Sikhs made the field ripe for a Kanshi Ram to form the BSP and for a while enjoy the ride on an elephant of success  until Mayawati was rudely surprised by the results of the elections against her in April 2014.BJP continues to fish in troubled waters and is looking to steer its own ship all by itself, though these be early days.

The Jat Sikh feudal landlords seem to have managed to unify the lesser rich or poor of their caste temporarily against the Dalits to polarise and hijack a struggle which is actually that of the powerful and rich against the weak and poor into a casteist,sectarian fight..One may recall and also do well to remember some historical failures like the Gulabi Gang of Bundelkhand who did good for the ostracised women until the temptations of some silver and fame seduced the leaders away.Many and most Trade Union movements fizzled out or sabotaged by similar compromises made by its leaders for money and success at the cost of the miserable workers.I hope Abroo (ਆਬਰੂ)remains firm on its stated purpose, helps organise and increase its support base across Punjab and the "Ekta Club" not to end up tragically as a good story for fakes like us to cheer and burp with satisfaction after many pegs have slipped in to our well honed bellies.That the Business-Standard wrote this article gives me an uncomfortable feel( my instinctive distrust of popular media) that the Congress is trying to move into a space that it left quite sometime back ,deny AAP any and become the the new Face and name of BSP.It is obviously a new turf war being fought with caste and religion in the foreground.   http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/probe-castebased-segregation-in-gurdwaras-panel-tells-punjab-dgp/article5422572.ece.What the media ,mass organisations and NGO's do as an alternative would determine the future of an equitable and democratic struggle.I have deliberately, not mentioned the activism of the left for they no longer seem to be on the political landscape in Punjab except to appear in some unknown and unattended  seminars and TV Talk Shows and forcing the rank and file to seek some refuge and success in the Aam Aadmi Party.(sic)

It is fitting therefore that the story of the Ekta Club is being written.And will heroes make history ? Are they changing now what was only being understood up until now?An Intiative that is but a drop, perhaps.But , surely gives the weary much needed hope .

Read on......


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