Punjab Inching Towards Complete Disaster

Punjab’s crisis is getting deeper and deeper to a point that it seems to be headed for an almost complete disaster. This crisis is multi faceted as it has ecological, social, cultural, ethical, academic and economic aspects. I feel that for this sad state of affairs if we have to choose one group which is responsible more than the other groups, then it has to be Punjabi intellectuals. Some people may have a great difficulty in accepting this concept. They may choose politicians, business, religious people, unscrupulous travel agents or drug dealers for this role. I agree that all of those have played their role and contributed to the present crisis.

By Dr. Sawraj Singh

Punjab’s crisis is getting deeper and deeper to a point that it seems to be headed for an almost complete disaster. This crisis is multi faceted as it has ecological, social, cultural, ethical, academic and economic aspects. I feel that for this sad state of affairs if we have to choose one group which is responsible more than the other groups, then it has to be Punjabi intellectuals. Some people may have a great difficulty in accepting this concept. They may choose politicians, business, religious people, unscrupulous travel agents or drug dealers for this role. I agree that all of those have played their role and contributed to the present crisis. However, I still insist that Punjabi intellectuals should take the most blame.

Punjabi intellectuals have almost completely failed to analyze the causes or the severity of the crisis. Some of them, even today, continue to uphold the Green Revolution as well as immigration. Both of these are the main culprits for the crisis. My formula is that the Green Revolution has done 50% damage and immigration is doing the other 50% damage. Together they are pushing Punjab toward complete disaster. Instead of exposing the damage done by these two phenomena, many of our intellectuals are glorifying these. Instead of leading our people, many of our intellectuals are misleading them. Many Punjabi intellectuals have still not grasped the severity of the crisis Punjab and the Punjabis are facing.

As the result of the Green Revolution, Punjab is facing an impending ecological disaster. Some people think that to produce one kilogram of rice Punjab has to provide about 1500 liters of water. This is taking a terrible toll on the ground water which is becoming about three meters deeper every year. The day does not seem too far off when Punjab will become a desert. This is not the only risk Punjab is facing. High levels of Arsenic were found in Punjab’s water for the first time. High levels of Fluoride and Nitrates have been found before in some areas. High levels of Fluoride can cause diseases like Fluorosis and high levels of Nitrates can cause diseases like methemoglobinemia. High levels of Nitrates, is supposed to be related to the use of chemical fertilizers. High levels of Arsenic may cause cancer and skin diseases.

Immigration of the educated youth from Punjab has reached a level which can only be called a Massive Brain Drain. About 400,000 students took the ISLETS test last year. The disastrous long term effects of this massive brain drain will start becoming apparent shortly. However, some very adverse effects on our educational system have already become apparent. In many universities and colleges where there used to be very tough competition for getting admitted, now many seats are lying vacant. This is bound to bring standard of education down.

Only a very small percentage of these students who are supposedly migrating for higher education will actually get a decent education. Most of them will end up taking menial jobs which require very low level of education. The worst thing is that many, who come from decent families, are taking life of crime such as joining gangs, becoming drug pushers, engaging in human trafficking and becoming prostitutes. This is seen more in Canada which is the biggest destination for the Punjabi youth.

Punjabi intellectuals have not only failed to reveal these dark realities but have presented an unreal picture of Canada glorifying it to the level of Heaven on Earth. They were equally guilty of glorifying the Green Revolution which has now turned out to be an ecological disaster.

History will never forgive these so called intellectuals for the heinous crime against Punjab and the Punjabis. We can still hope that a few genuine and concerned Punjabi intellectuals will rise to the occasion and warn people of the impending disaster so that Punjab and the Punjabis can still be saved.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at sawrajsingh@hotmail.com.

Be the first to comment on "Punjab Inching Towards Complete Disaster"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*