Friday, December 18, 2020


Punjab – land of five rivers, first partitioned and then trifurcated, at present is a land of practically two rivers. Not delving too much on the historical usage of the terms – currently this side of Sutlej is called Malwa, that side of Beas is Majha and in between the two is Doaba.

My father is Malwayi. My mother is Majhail. Doaba is their home for nearly five decades - we siblings are thus Doabiye.

End October, as Punjab is busy protesting on roads and railway tracks, and harvesting paddy, I ask ma – ‘Majhewale patryian te baithe, malwe wale toll pumpa te. Eh doabiye kuch karange?’ ‘Those in Majha are sitting on tracks, those in Malwa are sitting at tolls, Reliance filling stations. Will the doabiyas do anything?’  

‘Ehna nu te bas kam te paise di ag lagi. ’ ‘They are running after more - more work, more money.’ ‘eh ni nikalde cheti.’ They won’t come out easily.  

Of the three regions – Doaba was the first to change (some say develop) with incoming NRI money. Of the three regions – Doabiye are the closest to the urban middle class. They don’t get out of their comfort zone easily.

Walking through the township of tractor-trolleys at Singhu border I notice names from the Doaba region – Kapurthala, Jalandhar, even a banner of a union for farmers from Doaba. I walk to a group of youngsters standing next to one such trolley - full of posters highlighting Godi Media. They are from a village close to Jalandhar.

‘Doabiye bada time laake nikle?’ ‘Doabiye took a lot of time to come out,’ I ask them after a few minutes of conversation.

‘Haanji bhaji. Doabiye nikalan nu time launde. But ek vaar nikal pain, fer sab nu pichche chad dinde. Fer ni mud de.’ ‘Yes brother. Doabiye take time to get started. But once they come, they stand at the front. They don’t turn back then.’

When I called home this morning, there was an announcement on the village gurudwara speakers in the background. I asked Ma what they were saying.

‘Reliance da boycott karan di announcement hai. Sab apne jio number band karwayo.’ ‘Its an announcement to boycott Reliance. Everyone has to stop using Jio numbers.’

Doaba took its time. But it is in the middle of the battle now – with full vigor. It is in the middle of the movement now – with full participation.

Majha Malwa Doaba stand together.

Communities at loggerheads for decades - Trifurcated Punjab - stand together.

Groups at conflict with each other for decades– Trader Farmer Laborer - stand together.

There is hope now –  for a country currently on a fast-track to hate and division – there is hope that India might still stand together.


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....