Sat Sri Akal,
I’m writing this open letter after a lot of discussion with almost all strata of Punjab. It is with great sorrow and disappointment that I have to remind you of how bad things are. Please understand that this letter is not politically motivated and I have no affiliation to either SAD or any other party, so save your efforts of dubbing it as ‘political anger’ against you. I am writing this letter because I am pained to see Punjab in a condition that can be termed as ‘Sad’ and ‘Unfortunate’.
I would like to keep the letter short and would like to highlight five points that you as a chief minister of the state should have known and acted upon with your own wisdom. Even though I don’t expect you to pay any attention to this letter, but this is something that will be voice of every punjabi in days to come and it will be hard for you to push it under the carpet.
I would like to take your kind attention to the five points that you seem to sleep over daily. These are not only concerning as a Sikh but also as a person with any sort of governance skills. I don’t doubt your governance skills but the way you have conducted yourself has made everyone think that royalty was mere coincidence for you by virtue of birth.
Without wasting any further time, I will start with my concerns that you don’t talk about at all.
1. Christian Missionaries and Rampant Conversions in Punjab.
One has to be absolutely blind to not notice what is happening in Punjab and one has to be absolutely stupid to believe that it is happening without State’s knowledge. I’m appalled at the lethargy of your administration to put an end to the Joshua Project that is eating Sikhism. While there are no doubts about your Sikhi credentials as contested in some circles, I do give you the benefit of doubt that you are a practising Sikh and hence own the responsibility of not only Punjab state but Panth as a whole for issues plaguing Sikhism. It is unfortunate to know that the biggest church is being set up in Punjab and Sikhs are converting at rapid rate to Christianity. It is not only state failure but also failure of a Royal whose ancestors once were looked upon as saviours of Sikhi post 1947. I’m in no position to suggest you the measures for countering it but if you would like to understand it better, the fact is simple that your bureaucracy is complicit in heavy corruption and is sold out to Christian Missionaries on ground. They take advantage of ‘needs’ and ‘financial requirements’ of Sikhs in Punjab to convert them. While it can be debated once that conversions are voluntary, but if you look at grass roots, you are found at fault because of lack of reach to people. I request you to table ‘Anti Conversion’ bill in Punjab to save the land of Gurus.
2. UAPA convictions.
It is no news that UAPA amendment is heavily challenged for its constitutionality and hence its use should be minimised, but the data suggests that UAPA is used to curb dissent in Punjab. I am not sure what you are trying to achieve by putting young innocent boys behind bars and ruining their careers to save yours, you have to understand that no matter what you Project to Delhi to save your chair, you have to remain authentic as well. Your authenticity is contested and debated when you openly dare people to speak against you. I am no one to educate you on what is going inside the Punjab jails at the moment for you and your installed DGP knows it very well. I request you to stop playing with Sikh sentiments.
3. Drugs and Alcohol
I am not a punjabi, I come from Kashmir and if you have ever been to Kashmir you will notice that there are just two alcohol shops in Kashmir. We have been under massive restrictions to counter terrorism and still haven’t begged centre to open up alcohol shops to revive economy like you did. The point being, If a society like Kashmir can be heavily opposed to menace of alcohol drug abuse I find no reason why Punjab which is land of Guru Sahibaan is used as drug basket. Again just to note, I am not blaming your govt for this because it is a golden hen gifted to you by previous regimes and your duty is to keep it alive. I understand the details of finance & intricacies of state budgets but it would be worth taking an example from Gujarat. This will be massive service that you can do to Sikhs and Punjabis. You might even end up as one of the greatest Sikhs to have lived in Punjab in spite of your Congress acts.
4. Poor Agricultural Policies.
Agricultural policies in Punjab are a scam and there is no doubt that you have poor understanding of the reality of agriculture. Your hollow promises to peasants of Punjab are not only insulting but also lack credibility in any wise argument. You have to understand that peasants are not ‘begging’ and no one is asking for ‘save me from loan debt’, please stop using these age old tactics of showing that you care. Farmers are looking for subsidised rates, better rates at Mandi, better yielding seeds, better land and crop investment, better equipment at lower rates. Please stop acting surprised when you see farmers selling off their lands to random people for building colleges.
5. Communal Tensions.
I have to give it to Congress regimes for being good in creating communal tensions in Punjab. No I am not referring to one or two incidents of sacrilege of Holy Guru Garanth Sahib Ji. I’m referring to the overall environment of fear that your Sarkar has created by putting Sikhs against Hindus. Your congressman is celebrating birthday of Jagdish Tytler while you act sleepy on the issue. When will you act? When he is beaten up by Sikhs so that you can book them under UAPA on pretext of being Khalistani activists?
If this letter reaches out to you, I would like you to consider with clear head about the direction in which Punjab is heading and what you are doing as a chief minister.
A Kashmiri Sikh.