November 9 of 1991, the day almighty lord chose to sprout the seedling of my very existence. While geographically, cartographic co-ordinates of 30.20°N 74.95°E were chosen. Few years of evolution taught me that I was being nurtured by Bathinda, one of the oldest cities in Punjab, the Heart of Malwa region.
Let’s get rolling with a brief preface of my city. As World Wide Web suggests, Bathinda is one of the oldest cities and located in North Western Punjab. Breasted with Quila Mubarak in gusty city rush, feeding the city with its historical fables, the holy touch of Dasham Pita Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and of course, the capture of Razia Sulatana.
Being the cotton belt of Punjab, the City of Lakes boasts power sufficiency with a 440 MW thermal plant feeding lower Punjab. The city nowadays has an unprecedented lead in the field of education. The historical niche and merchant of culture and old traditions of golden Punjab. Some few biggest and few first ventures in the city make it a place anybody would call an ‘Ideal city’.
The access to formal education in the city made me what I am today. Having been born and brought up in the same city and being surrounded by peers of the same region never made me realize the need to reckon upon my city. Nor an appraisal neither a regret. Often people learn most what they experience and it was during my bachelors near Chandigarh that I was amongst peers from different demographics. The Malwai clans were easily befriended, Brars, Dhaliwals, Goyals, Bansals and Sandhus being some of them. The people of same genres often tend to intercept signals and a pendu is easily recognized from a coterie.
When we describe a person as a villager, he surely would be compared with someone from a city. Here I describe the people from rest of Punjab, whether from village or city, would consider themselves better then people hailing from Bathinda and the adjoining region. My first experience of this slur was very painful and yes, aggressive. The “badnaam area” tag was amplified by few mockeries of the way we spoke because of how the words varied from those spoken in their region. At the end of the day, it was like, rest of Punjab versus the few Bathindians. But slowly and steadily things got better with plenty of explanations and factual proofs appending the myths about the city.
Once my friend told me a tale of what image Bathinda held in the minds of people. His father used to apprise his labor at fields to work harder or else they would be deported to the land of Bathinda. My heart shattered when we bunch had to look for an independent flat in Chandigarh, the PB03 and 0164 were looked by an eye of contempt. Sadly, all these facts that once made me looked up at Almighty for having chosen those co-ordinates for me.
First time in my life, I began to, unfortunately, hate my mother city.
As person’s brain matures on, it starts to reflect upon the factors that actually make a fact. What were the reasons that made city of one of the holy takhts of Sikhs, so unpopular and infamous amongst the masses? Despite being notable in field of education, being able to feed the region with food and power and being capable of being compared to any other city of Punjab, the city always lacked the respect it long deserved – respect and a sense of equanimity.
Well with deep contemplation, here’s the happy ending.
The city in some past decades has been involved in gang wars and lots innumerable land mafia. The bloody wars and the default harsh accent have intensified the scenario. But those things aren’t prevalent these days. The desipuna and theth nature has made the people from this region noticeable. The loud and clear attitude makes the people unpredictable.
The city has evolved from being city of sand dunes to city of lakes. Well, not just lakes but much more. Slowly and steadily, the city is progressing towards zenith, simultaneously rooted to its rich culture. The recent boost up by the regencies has helped Bathinda to pace up in terms of infrastructure. Many capital ventures in the city have made city brimming with amenities, thus attracting the crowds from adjoining villages for higher education.
Despite all that Bathinda stores in its pockets, it proudly stands and smiles at each and every comment passed on to it or its people. The margins are drawn by humans. We were planted as a single entity, one Punjab, one India. What if the waters are different? We often condemn the fact of racism with our communities in foreign countries. But a question to each one of you. Are we united? Are we mitigated enough against any external power that might handle our mindsets? Are we humble enough to let people live the way they want, not the way they can live like.
Same thing goes for various unnecessary disparities and unwanted groups developing in various parts of India.
Let’s be sensible because there are several other issues other than if brother is called 22 ji or paaji. (1956)