Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Most of the land owning native Punjabi households employ few helping hands. A help for work in fields, a help for taking care of cattle, a help for taking care of cattle dung and upkeep of cattle space, a help for house cleaning, etc. As the average age of family members in a household decreases, the number and types of helps increase. Older generation still keeps itself busy in manual work and hence acts as a help for young ones. Young ones need more help in today’s Punjab.

Like most of the houses in this village house no. 1 also employs few helps. One of them is
Mukhiya. From Bihar.

He has been in Punjab for nearly two decades. Came here for the first time as a teen and has been working the fields in and around this village ever since. In this period he visited his native place few times, got married at a young age and brought his wife to Punjab as well. They have three children now – a girl of 14 and two boys of 12 and 9. These children - born in Punjab, their lungs full of Punjab’s air ever since, their feet used to Punjab’s soil like a touch of mother, speaking Punjabi as fluently as any other native Punjabi child, at home here more than their parent’s native place in Bihar – still appear a Bayia to the native Punjabis.

Bhayia – Brother. Punjabi alphabet misses the soft ‘bh’ sound. Somewhere between a ‘Bayia’ & a ‘Payia’ lies the Punjabi version.

Bayia – a word meant to represent the most honorable of bonds, a brother’s – is a symbol and a sound of inequality and discrimination for these children.

(written for blog action day October 2014. #BAD2014, #Inequality, Blog Action Day)

No comments:


Sukhdev Singh is milking a buffalo when I call him. We are speaking after a long gap. His voice carries the same cheerful energy I remember....