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OP-Ed: AAP’s Punjab success – by Avtar Singh

May 26, 2014 | By

It is Punjab again. The state which sacrificed most to secure the independence of India is regularly in the labour pains of real change. After the crushing assaults from Indian state it is bouncing back again and again to show its guts and strength. The aspiration of real rule is not dying down in Punjab despite the political and social terrorism unleashed by the ruling elite.

The recent success story of Aam Adami Party in the state is the true representation of the aspirations of people of Punjab. By halting the tsunami of Modi which swept all the regional political forces in country, Punjab stood truly to its roots and ideology. The virtually unheard party in Punjab some time before, won 25% of popular vote and struck the chord of people’s mood in right place. It has won 4 parliament seats from 13 announcing it to be a force not to be ignored easily in the future political discourse of the state. Two of its candidates won with a margin of 2 lakhs (Bhagwant Maan) and 1.7 lakh (Professor Sadhu Singh) votes.

Aam Aadmi PartyWhile political analysts are viewing AAP’s success in political terms but in our views it has ideological aspects as well. In political terms we can say that it has rejected Sukhbir Badal’s model of money, muscle, repression and humiliation of political dissent.

The ideological aspect of AAP’s success in Punjab is the real urge of Sikhs to rule this part of the country. Punjab has never accepted the model of democracy which lacks the Sikh ethos and ideals. It has a long history of unprecedent and popular uprisings. Punjab never bowed to any military or political repression. The teachings of Gurbani and the sacrifices made by Sikhs to protect the dignity of motherland are still fresh and deep rooted in Sikh psyche. Professor Harjeshwar Pal Singh has truly summed up the historically aspect of these kind of uprisings. In one of his article he said, ‘Historically such spontaneous popular mass upsurges are not infrequent in Punjab. Banda Bahadur led mass insurrection in the period 1708-17, the rising of Punjab during the Rowlett Act and Jallianwala bagh episodes, followed by the Akali agitation for Gurudwara reform in the 1920s, the militancy inspired 1989 electoral insurgency which decimated conventional Akali’s and Congress are some of the examples of these popular rebellions. These upsurges are generally in reaction to extreme repression by arrogant rulers -despotic, colonial, and democratic during periods of intense crisis in the respective societies.’

Last 3 decades of Punjab’s history are representing the unease of Sikhs with the Indian democratic model. The peaceful Dharam Yudh Morcha, the attack on Golden Temple and Sikh militancy are the true examples of political uprising against the extreme repression by arrogant rulers. Although Sikh militancy has been crushed by military force yet the roots of rebel are not dying down. The urge to rule and to establish a political system based on ‘Hane hane patshahi’( Rule by everyone) is still vibrant in Sikh masses. Lack of ideology in politics is not acceptable to the Sikhs. Now both Akali Dal and Congress has become exact replica of each other. There is no ideological difference in both main parties. Sikh political model which is deep rooted in the majority community is not being represented or respected by main stream parties.

That is why Punjab has bounced back time and again after severe state and political terrorism. There is a political cold war going on in Punjab. Ruling elite is trying to impose its will on Punjabis but masses are repelling these efforts in one way or the other. Whether it is in the form of religious congregations, nagar kirtans, kirtan darbars or in political field exercising their right of vote, Punjabis especially Sikhs are voicing their concerns in a very polite and civilized manner. It is their art of resistance. The first ever instance of defiance by Sikh masses was the Khalsa March held in April 1994. It was the time when there was total silence in Punjab due to the terror unleashed by Indian state. The Khalsa march was the first ever effort by Sikhs to repel the state terrorism and to fill the sense of dignity in Sikhs. Sikhs flocked from every corner of the state to overcome the psychological war of terror.

From that day Indian state and Punjab are logging heads to superimpose itself on each other.

Whether it is the movement against the death penalty of Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, the support for Bhai Gurbaksh Singh or now the unprecedented upsurge of Aam Adami Party, Punjabis are regularly trying to establish the rule propagated by Guru sahibs. This is unending story of psychological warfare.

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