The land of our Sikh Gurus is no longer what it used be since the times of the Gurus, through the centuries and into the 21st Century. In the name of modernization,the Sikh Nation is losing both their cultural and religious heritage. Gone are the days when the Punjab was known as the land of plenty – close-knit community, chardikala Gursikhs, golden wheat fields, the glowing faces of the Punjabi peasants and their sugar sweet maboli, the sound of tractors filling the soft air, and the nights of bhangra and gidda on the onset of Vaisakhi, the harvest season. The good old days seem to have gone for good, forgotten in the dark corners of our memories. Today, Punjab can no longer be recognised – gone are the gullible Sikh folk, the colourful turbans, the flowing beards, the tractors driven by hefty and strong Sikhs . . . the youth are deserting the land of their Gurus for the land of Dollars and Pounds and giving away their identity in return. Families tend to find themselves ‘entrapped’ in the land of the Five Rivers and seek to forfeit their agricultural might for settling in the cities which offers more promise. In place of the lovely folk music, television stations have opened their bars to corrupt the innocence of the simple Sikh by transmitting images and sounds of vulgar versions of their own folk music while their own claim it as their new heritage.
The peoples of the Punjab have changed – amidst the few of those that still maintain their culture and religious values, the majority can hardly be recognised any longer. What was such a beautiful culture and religion has now been polluted with escalating apostasy, bipran ki reet (castes, fasting, astrology, following fake babas and gurus, inter-marriages, drug and alcohol abuse . . .) and apathy of its heritage and history. The Sikhs freed another faith from the clutches of slavery, now we have been made slaves of the very peoples our Gurus sacrificed their all to set free from tyrants. What a slow death of a beautiful and colourful heritage and the tragedy is that only a handful few care to do anything about it. With images like the one below, it’s sad to note that such aspects are getting confined to what was.
But the struggle to keep our heritage alive is being fought by the awakened, but the real difference will be made by you and I. We need to teach our children and our children’s children on what the heritage was and that it should live on because it was made nor for a single era, but for centuries more to come.
As for now, my heart bleeds for Punjab to see it shred from a beautiful coat of innocent folk dances, maboli, singing fields of wheat and sarson da saag, to a tattered one of apostasy, filthy television channels, vulgar music and filled with vermin that continue to nibble at the roots. O GuruJi . . .