The Punjab lives it big. It is as simple as that. From the 754 kilograms of gold atop the Golden temple to the 8 typed of pegs. Very unlike the South where pleasure invariably brings with it guilt, this is a place where people know how to simple have fun. Punjab is unabashedly boisterous. Carved during a brutally pyrrhic victory,the state throughout its existence in new India has been atleast 10 years ahead of other states in terms of socio-economic indicators. In 1966 Punjab split and Haryana and its arose. Together they form the wheat redoubt of Modern India. Chandigarh ,the capital remains to this day the common strand. Chandigarh was a canvas Nehru gifted to Le corbusier and Corbusier ceratinly didnt dissapoint. Famously put Nehru called it "One of the Temples of Modern India". With its refreshing sanity, the city is a much needed respite after Amritsar. Get this-The largest export out of Punjab hasnt been Wheat or Blender's Pride or even its Soldiers. Its been the Culture. The punjabi Culture is an all permeating phenomena. How else would one explain my many instances of hearing Punjabi music and eating Punjabi food in the bylanes of Tiruchirapalli or the lounges of Aizwal. The natural grooviness to their music and the inherent decadence that their food causes is well known. They really are pioneers in every sense. Whether it was the Green Revolution or the craze to go west. In 1984 as Indira Gandhi fell to a hail of bullets by her Sikh bodyguards so did the demise of the Punjabi seccession Movement. And with this final act Punjab was forever seared into India for a common destiny.
On the Flip side Punjab is seriously mired in an Opium fest and acute water shortages after decdes of Breakneck Agricultural growth. When I drove past green fields of rice and wheat it occured to me that Punjab is hitting its peak. From now Agri growth will stagnate or even fall. 26% of the youth are Opium users. Some even call it the paradoxical fruits of widespread prosperity. Unfortunately they are not investing enough in education to carry on the prosperity to the next level resulting in a large class of unemployable youth with only enfields and lassi for company,who then turn to weed for Solace. The other major problem is Water. The drill baby Drill idea is so widespread and short sighted that water levels have crashed and there is an actual risk of desertification in the next 30 years. The state also has to deal with creeping communalism and a widespread exodus of talent to greener pastures.
But despite this sitting on the marble Parikrama of the Harminder sahib I have a premonition that the land of 5 rivers will tide over this crisis and return to its former glory. I would like o raise a Patiala peg to the continued prosperity of this land.