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Visited India Part - II: A Journey back to Roots

Los Angeles/Apr 02, 2024 Singh

While travelling from New Delhi to Punjab by road through Haryana at the end of January, I was very impressed with the lush green fields of wheat. The wheat crop in both Haryana and Punjab is a major crop. Travelling through different villages in Punjab during my stay there reinforced the beauty of these green fields. The wheat and rice/paddy crops are the lifeline for the farmers of both states. During my stay in Punjab for the next few weeks, I enjoyed watching the wheat crop gradually grow. Every farming family prayed for nice weather till the harvesting is done. Any inclement weather can seriously impact the fruits of labour of the hard-working farmers.
                              Along the way, I noticed that now people in general are more concerned about their environment than before. This awareness is very encouraging. Appearance/reappearance of different varieties of birds in the state are a reflection of this awareness. I spent a lot of time at our farmhouse. It was a pleasure to see a lot more flora and fauna around. In  order to keep myself fully informed of the current events, soon after my arrival in my hometown, I began to subscribe to two of Punjab’s major newspapers- The Tribune in English and Daily Ajit in Punjabi. Both newspapers are very popular in Punjab. This enabled me to keep myself fully informed about the political developments in Punjab in particular and India in general. For world events and Canadian news, I would often access the Google and other sources of information.
                              So far as politics is concerned India is a fascinating country. During my stay in Punjab, I thoroughly enjoyed the political intrigues being played by leaders of different political parties. Shiromani Aali Dal leader Sukhbir Badal was urging Punjabis to “save” Punjab. Bhagwant Mann’s AAP was busy in gaining people’s confidence. The Congress leadership in Punjab was in disarray. BJP had great difficulty in putting a foothold in Punjab due to its dealings with the farmers during the previous and current Kisan mochras. Amongst all of this, the Election Commission of India declared the dates for a federal election beginning in April and concluding on June 1. The results will be announced on June 4.
This declaration of election dates has resulted in a furious race amongst all political parties  to select suitable candidates to contest the election. Consequently, during the past few weeks there has been a stampede amongst politicians to switch from one political party to the other to get nominations. Politicians in India in general and Punjab in particular are setting new records in switching from one political party to the other in order to get nominations. The pace is so fast that they deserve to be included in the  Guiness Book of Records for switching political parties. Any way, it is going to be a remarkably interesting election campaign for all of these political parties. At the end of January, my wife, I    and some close friends decided to visit Nankana Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib and a few other Gurdwaras in Pakistan.
                              Consequently, before leaving for India we had obtained visas to visit Pakistan After spending about a month in Punjab, we left for the Wagah border on February 28. My wife Baldev and I had visited Pakistan before in 2006. As such, we could see the improvements all around as soon as we entered the Indian side at the border. The facility has been vastly improved. It is very visitor friendly. Once the immigration and customs formalities on the Indian side were over, we were greeted by the Pakistani officials to do the same. Soon, we were on our way to Lahore.
(to be continued)

Balwant Sanghera
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist. He has just returned from a trip to India and Pakistan)