Monday, January 30, 2012


Today January 30 is the election day in Punjab for the Punjab Legislative Assembly. It is just a co-incidence that India observes January 30 as the Martyres Day, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. My son Rupesh was also born on this day in 1978 in Beijing ( then Peking) in China. Ever since I came back to Jalandhar about 6 months before, the political dust was being raised by the all concerned and the political mercury was on the peak inspite of a cold winter. On suggestions from here and there, I seriously considered to jump in the fray and join public life as my second innings after my retirement from the IFS. But I could not find myself suitable for the job in which both money and muscle play an important role. I do not have these important ingrediantes to be in electoral politics in India. Nevertheless, I followed the political developments and more so the ongoing elections in Punjab with keen interest. I was in Delhi/Gurgaon last week and came back to Jalandhar only yesterday night to excercise my vote in the Jalandhar Cantonement constituency. We, with my wife Vidya, voted at the Government Primary School in Khurla Kingra. I was excited as we could participate in the election process, which is very vital for a democracy, after a long gap ( I voted in the 1977 Lok Sabha election in New Delhi) due to my postings abroad in the Indian Embassies. Let me share with you some of the impressions which I could make about the elections in Punjab.
* Family oriented politics ( Bhai-Bhatija wad) is getting strength in politics which is not good for a democracy. It is true of the Akalis and of the Congress.
* Money and Muscle tend to play a role in electroal politics which unfortunate and is a negation of democracy.
* Spiritual/religious deras tend to play an important role in politics which is not good for the health of the democratic system and the society at large. All the parties and the political players, without exception, associate themselves with these deras, willingly or otherwise.
* Youth participation in politics seems to be gaining strength which is good.
* Elections are less noisy, due to code of conduct introduced by the Election Commission, which is good.
* Election process is getting streamlined and better. We did not have Voter Cards as yet but the Voter Slips with Photos delivered at home by the official machinery made the excercise easy and we could cast our vote without any hassle.
In addition to these broad observations, I would like to make a focussed one. Punjab has the highest number of dalit population, around 30%. In some of the constituencies, the number of dalit votes is around 35-40%. It goes without saying that dalit candidates would make it to the Assembly from the reserved constuencies. But why canot they make it from the general ones ?Why the dalits have not been nominated by any party from the general constituencies. While we need to consider these questions, it will not be out of place to mention that in the coming years in Punjab the dalit question will be a live one. The dalit assertion, and rightly so, is on the rise. But let me add in haste that dalits themselves are to blame if there are not getting their right space and share in Punjab. Dalits are a divided lot. The dalit deras are short sighted. Instead of bringing them together and getting them united, these deras are playing a negative role, knowingly or otherwise. The dalit intelligentia shall understand this and do something to rectify the situation.
The redeeming feature of the democracy at work was that the elections were smooth inspite of many negative aspects like booze and cash playing its role. The polling booth where we went to cast our booth was well managed. The voters in the quoue were orderly and reticent. Let us wait for the results on March 6 and hope that the next Government takes it seat and serve the masses and to the value of democracy.

Friday, January 27, 2012


On my retirement in December 2010, We came back to India and moved into our flat at the IFS Apartments in Gurgaon in January 2011. My native place is Jalandhar and I personally felt like going back to my roots and settle down in Jalandhar. Owing to some hesitation by my wife Vidya, we took sometime to decide. Nevertheless, we acquired a small flat at the Silver Residency Apartments near the TV Tower on Nakodar Road in Jalandhar in February, 2011 itself. It was the correct option rather than undergoing the labour and trouble of building a house and also because of security considerations as we tend to be flexible in our movements to Gurgaon or abroad as and when desired. Finally, I could convince Vidya and we decided to move to Jalandhar in July. Though the flat was ready to enter yet it was to be furnished as per our needs. It took sometime as I found that it was not easy even if one is able or willing to spend money. It was frustrating to begin with but by October/November, we were settled in our new flat. It is customary to have a HOUSE-WARMING ( Greha Pravesh) Ceremony and we also decided have a simple ceremony in this regard. We got little late in this regard due to some logistical considerations. Mahesh ( son of my brother Kishan) was getting married in the first week of January 2012. The family was to get together for the purpose including my son Naresh and his family who live in Stockholm ( Sweden).
Accordingly, the Greha Pravesh was done on January 8, 2012 with the Path ( recital) of SUKHMANI SAHEB and the SABAD KIRTAN. It is a customary and accepted norm to do so on such occasions. The path of Sukhmani Saheb is meant to invoke the blessings of the Almighty WAHEGURU, in terms of the Sikh rites, to pray for happiness and peace in the new house. The Path and the Kirtan was followed by Langar ( community kitchen - frugal lunch). All our immediate family members and relations and friends from the society were invited. I think it is a good tradition to announce the new residence and get social. Since I am new, after a long time abroad, in Jalandhar, my brothers Kishan helped in arranging the Langar and Pammi in putting together the Path and Kirtan.
It was a happy occasion and a good family re-union to start on a good note in the New Year.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

PUNJAB ELECTIONS – FRIENDLY SUPPORT to Some of the Candidates – 2


I wrote yesterday about Hardev Kaur of Jalandhar Cantonment constituency. Today I write about another young friend Pawan Tinu in the fray from Adampur constituency on the SAD ticket. I support and endorse the candidature of Pawan Tinu, a resident of Khurla Kingra in Jalandhar where I have also taken up my residence at the Silver Residency Apartments. It was good of him that on learning that I have come back to Jalandhar after my retirement he paid us a courtesy visit at our small flat about two months before. I found him spirited and keen, as always, to serve the community as best as he could do.

Pawan Tinu is a young and educated face of the community. From his college days in the 70s, Pawan remained at the fore front for the community causes as a grass root worker. He was a close confidant of Babu Kanshi Ram and Behan Maywati when he started his political and public career as the Sarpanch of Khurla Kingra. I am told by my brother Paramjit that Pawan is a good orator and is a thinking public figure. He could make his name by associating himself fully with the public and their needs. Pawan contested a few unsuccessful elections on the BSP bandwagon but parted company with BSP due to policy differences. The SAD gladly embraced him as he was a popular leader of his own standing. The SAD-BJP government even accommodated him and made him the Chairman of the Punjab SC & ST Finance & Land Development Corporation. He did good work in the Corporation particularly for financing the needy students to pursue higher education. I wrote about this in my blog on this and recognized Pawan’s contribution in this regard.

Ironically, Pawan Tinu is pitted against two of his erstwhile colleagues in the BSP. One of them seems to be keen and young but is a novice as far as I can make out. The other is an old horse but appears to be a spent force. He seems to be concerned only with himself. The community requires a good representative. I think Pawan Tinu fits the bill. We shall support him. I wish Pawan Tinu all the best

Monday, January 16, 2012



I am in Jalandhar, my home town. For the first time, after my retirement from IFS a year before, I am keenly watching the elections. One thing has impressed me that the elections now are well organized and do not raise much dust and noise. It is a credit to the Indian democracy. I am registered as a voter in the Jalandhar Cantonment constituency and would exercise my vote after a long gap. I did so in 1977 in which Indira Gandhi lost and for the first time at the Centre a non Congress government was formed under the leadership of Morarji Desai. I have had the opportunity to see these developments first hand as I was posted in the PMO in a junior capacity, close to the seat of power.

Today, I am writing as apolitical person to support and encourage some of the candidates in the fray as I like. Some of them know me personally and some not. It is just to give a right perspective to the general public with a view to get deserving candidates elected in these days of increasing money and muscle factor in the elections. One such candidate is HARDEV KAUR who is contesting from the Jalandhar Cantonment constituency on the BSP bandwagon. I would like to support her not on the basis of her party affiliation ( both Hardev Kaur and her husband Prem Shant are committed members of the BSP and were close to Babu Kanshi Ram) but for her personal integrity and also her social and family values. Prem Shant and Hardev Kaur are my family friends. I have had the chance to know them well. Keeping with the roots, Hardev is totally integrated with the society and community. Her father in law Shri Tara Chand was a staunch Ambedkarite. He and the family were fully involved in the community activity and politics of the time under the banner of the Republican Party. I am reminded of an anecdote in a lighter vein. The election symbol of the Republican Party was also an Elephant as it is of BSP now. Tara Chand brother Maghar Ram had migrated to the UK. The name of his wife was Aatti who was staying back home in Jalandhar. Some of the activists around Tara Chand coined an interesting and focused slogan “मघर कह गिया आत्ती नु; वोट पौन्ना हाथी नु !” ( Before going to the UK, Maghar told his wife Aatti to vote for the elephant). It was the kind of involvement, Hardev’s family had with the community. Now coming to the crux that why I support Hardev;s candidature. She is a simple lady with integrity. Vote for her will be a vote for the enlightened section of the women folk and in turn would add to the cause of women empowerment. As we say that charity begins at home, the service also begins at home, to my mind. Hardev kaur has done that service well and skillfully. Prem was a junior civil servant to begin with. He rose to become an officer in the Excise and Taxation Department of the Government of Punjab. Prem Shant is a successful man. It is said that every successful man has a women behind. That woman was Hardev Kaur. Their two daughters are professionally qualified practicing doctors with MD degrees to their credit. Their husbands are MDs too and are highly placed professionals. One of daughter of Hardev and Prem is highly educated with MA & B.Ed ( if my off the cuff information is correct) and her husband is occupying a coveted position of a Judge in one of the districts of Punjab. Sushil Sheemar, son of Hardev and Prem, is a highly placed senior officer of the ITS of 1991 batch. His wife nick named Lovely ( I don’t recall her real name) is a dignified lady again belonging to the judiciary and adorning the seat of a Session Judge in Hoshiarpur. It is not difficult to see that how much effort and involvement Hardev had put in to bring their children and family to such a high pedestal. I think she can do the same in her new avatar as a politician and elected representative of the people. We must give a chance to such dedicated people belonging to the roots for the public good.

Hardev Kaur may not be having the requisite financial and logistical sources to be match to her opponents. She may also not be having a sound support of her Party as compared to the others in the fray. But Hardev’s personal credentials are much high and clear to deserve to an elected representative of the people. I wish Hardev all the very best.