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PUNJAB: The Poverty of Plenty

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Archived_Member16, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    PUNJAB: The Poverty of Plenty
    BY VIJAY SIMHA
    PHOTOGRAPHS BY SHAILENDRA PANDEY
    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=175 align=right><TBODY><TR><TD width=165><TABLE style="BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid" border=0 cellPadding=0 width=165 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle></TD></TR><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc>Bird of brass An increasingly common sight in Punjab: commoners jostle for space with the ultra rich</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    THE 25 crore man stepped in like a thief, eyes wary, searching for a sign that he must run. Jagbeer Singh. Farmer. Bus conductor. Father. Heroin smuggler. Jailbird. Nobody. After months of being a recluse, Jagbeer, one-time shining hope for friends and family, emerged into a Punjab he didn’t like. When he was caught with 25 kilos of heroin in 1997, worth Rs. 25 crore in the international market, Jagbeer became an instant celeb: his was the biggest heroin haul then. “They used to come to see what a Rs. 25 crore man looked like,” he says. Now, when he’s out after 12 years, only two kinds are interested. The sleuths, who come every fortnight to see if Jagbeer has anything to snitch on, and the peddlers, waiting to see if he is game for another shot. “I stay in and wonder how it happened to me. When I went into jail, there were a dozen drug offenders. When I was released, there were 65. There are a thousand peddlers in Punjab today,” he says. He doesn’t know it yet, but experts have begun to put an expiry date on Punjab, once the sentinel state of India. And it’s not just drugs that’s doing it.

    I AM TOO scared,” says Jagbeer. He has a high pitched voice, a curiously feminine touch. He is about six feet tall, and sports a beard and short hair, both of which he colours black. We are in a resort on the outskirts of Amritsar where a marriage party is on, loud and expensive. No one knows him there. It’s the only place he’ll talk. “My father died when I was two. He didn’t wake up one day after he drank too much the previous night. When I was 16, I began to farm. My brother-in-law used to drive a mini bus. I joined him as conductor. Slowly, I began to drive as well. I used to take the bus to Jithaul, a village near Amritsar. There were smugglers in that village who used to travel in my vehicle. I became friends with one of them. For five years we were good friends. Then, in 1995, he asked me to go with him to pick up gold.

    “We carried dollars worth 2 crore and went to Samba in Jammu. Our Pakistani counterparts were to give us the gold there. We reached the spot and the lights went on. The Border Security Force (BSF) had trapped us. There was an informer among us who didn’t want me getting close to the boss. I had to help my friend with money for bail. I sold my bus and got him the money. He said he would repay me. One day in 1997, he asked me to go with a vehicle. He said just go and take your share of the money. It was a Tata Sierra and there were 25 kilos of heroin in it. I got greedy. I needed money and I thought I’ll get my due. When a Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) team stopped me at Ajmer, I was shocked. They knew who I was and what I was carrying. I was sentenced to 12 years. I lost respect. Even an addict is pardoned but not a peddler. When they released me, I didn’t know what to do. When I returned home, I found my daughter had got married in my absence. I am now caught between the police and the drug runners. My past is my present and my future. I can’t be anyone else,” says Singh. He leaves the room, a man with no esteem.

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=250 align=left><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE style="BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid" border=0 cellPadding=0 width=250 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc>In Punjab today, almost every conversation has a mention of someone ruined by alcohol and drug abuse. Because, everything Punjab does, it overdoes</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    In Punjab today, almost every conversation has a mention of someone ruined by alcohol and drug abuse. In schools, hotels, malls, business deals, farms, industries, police stations, hospitals and homes. There are also concerns that the yield from the farms is dropping; there are concerns that industry is moving out of the state; and there are concerns that the Khalistan demand might be revived. All of them are adding to a general sense of alarm that catastrophe is on the way. Principally because everything Punjab does, it overdoes.

    In 2009-2010, they drank nearly 29 crore bottles of Punjab Made Liquor (PML), Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and beer. This is apart from illicit brew, liquor brought by foreigners, defence sales, and stuff brought in from other states. Punjab has about 2.5 crore people, which equates to around 10 bottles of 750 ml liquor per person a year. From this, take away the children, the old, the ailing, and the followers of various sects who are required to be teetotallers. The consumption of liquor then rises dramatically for the drinking population.

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=157 align=right><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE style="BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid" border=0 cellPadding=0 width=157 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>[​IMG]</TD></TR><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc>Future tense Alcohol and drug abuse have wreaked havoc on families, especially kids</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    Even this is loose change compared to narcotic and psychotropic substances. In 2010 so far, the Special Operations Cell has seized 80 kilos of heroin and smack, 14 kilos of opium, two quintals of poppy husk, and, in a first, 18 kilos of methamphetamine. This is apart from the seizures of the BSF, DRI, Customs, and the Punjab Police. For perspective, the normal rate of seizures is about five to 10 percent of the stuff in transit. In addition, there are thousands of chemists and pharmacies that sell pills at two to three times the official price without prescription. In all, that is a staggering amount of booze and drugs in Punjab. The result: a dramatic increase in admissions into drug and alcohol rehabs.

    “We have found drug addicts from the age of 13. Forty percent are below 50 years, 15 percent are above 50 years and half are women. For all of them, Punjab has only 89 de-addiction centres, of which only 23 are recognised. I would say that 75 percent of Punjab’s youth are addicted to drugs. If this continues, the story of Punjab will end by 2030,” says Ranvinder Singh Sandhu, Professor of Sociology in Guru Nanak Dev University. Sandhu has written the only official study of addiction in Punjab, Drug Addiction in Punjab: A Sociological Study. The 2009 publication was such a hit with officials starved of information on addiction in Punjab that it went into reprint.

    ALMOST ALL the heroin comes from Punjab’s border with Pakistan. It is a fascinating process. There is a border fence on the Indian side, about a kilometre and a half from the villages, which cuts through farms owned by Indians. This means that portions of Indian farms are across the border, up to 500 metres into Pakistan. After this is zero point, from where the Pakistani side begins. The BSF, which mans the fenced border, issues permits to Indian farmers and their labourers to cross over and work on their farmlands on the other side. This is allowed from 10 am to 4 pm Curfew begins at 6 p.m. This means no one is allowed near the fence after that. There are BSF posts every 500 metres. The guards have powerful binoculars with night vision. They also carry INSAS rifles. The fence is electrified at 6 pm every day. The lights also come on, so powerful that the whole place is dazzling. You can see an ant crawl in the blazing lights. Theoretically, it should be impossible for anything to be dumped over.

    It’s close to 5 pm in Ratoke village in Tarn Taran district. There are only two more villages after this between India and Pakistan. In an hour, curfew would be in place at the border. In one of the homes in the village, a man is preparing fodder for cattle. The home belongs to a heroin smuggler who has just returned after serving 12 years in prison, like Jagbeer. His son was caught with heroin separately and he too has served time. It’s the best place to understand how it works. This is the version of a drug courier. “The chain starts when a drug kingpin in Delhi calls his counterpart in Pakistan and orders a drop. The Pakistani smuggler calls his couriers in Pakistani villages near the border. These couriers call their Indian counterparts and give them the place and time for the drop. This is possible because the Indian couriers have Pakistani SIM cards, which work near the border. This also means that Indian security agencies can’t trace the calls because they are on Pakistani networks.

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width="100%" align=center><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE style="BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid" border=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" align=center><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>[​IMG]</TD><TD align=middle>[​IMG]</TD></TR><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc>Dose of death An addict gets his fix by the roadside in Amritsar</TD><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc>Tools down A textile unit in Gurdaspur, one of the many that have shut down in the state</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    “Delivery is at night. The heroin comes in packets of a kilo each. A 40-kilo consignment will have 40 packets, and so on. The packets are mostly hurled over the fence by men with strong arms. They land in the farms on the Indian side, from where they are picked up. At times they are slid across in plastic pipes, which are assembled near the border and can be up to a kilometre long. Or, they make their way through the places where there’s a waterway and no fencing is possible. Two packets would have markings, which indicate they also contain mobile phones with SIM cards inside. They are marked 1 and 2, for two cell phones. The first Indian courier who picks up the consignment near the border switches on the first mobile phone after he has gone 5 km into Punjab. He gets a call giving him directions on where to go. They’ll ask you to go from one spot to another until they are satisfied you are not being trailed.

    “Sometimes we have to travel 20 km or more before the heroin and the mobile phone are collected. The second courier, who collects the consignment from the first courier, then switches on the second mobile phone. He gets a call asking him to deliver the consignment in either Delhi or Mumbai. The stuff reaches Delhi by 11 am the next day. It is easier during winter because of the heavy fog. Big consignments are delivered in winter. Prices are fixed ahead. The first courier gets Rs 20,000 per kilo of heroin. Forty kilos would mean Rs.8 lakh. This is divided among the number of men employed by the first courier to collect the whole consignment. Counterfeit currency is sent the same way.”

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=157 align=right><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE style="BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid" border=0 cellPadding=0 width=157 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>[​IMG]</TD></TR><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc>Laboured farms Most farm labours get painkillers and pills as part of their daily wage</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    This is the principal activity at the border in Punjab. Most border villages are swarming with sleuths from various agencies like RAW, IB, Punjab Police or BSF. Yet, it goes on. Some sleuths estimate that 350 packets of heroin reach Punjab every day. It makes Punjab one of the busiest drug transit points on earth. Sleuths say every village at the border has at least two couriers, who each employ about a dozen men or so. There are 245 villages in Punjab near the border. So, there are about a thousand men who have at some point smuggled heroin into India from Punjab.

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=250 align=left><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE style="BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid" border=0 cellPadding=0 width=250 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc>There is virtually a process of de-industrialisation happening. There were 127 textile processing units in Amritsar in 1990. Now, there are only 20</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    But despite the boom in the drug trade, it is still not the core activity of Punjab. The state lives in its fields and that’s where the next concern is coming from. Punjab has 1.5 percent of India’s area, producing almost 25 percent of India’s wheat and close to 15 percent rice. Almost all of Punjab is cultivable. Everything is so green here that it’s like a blessing. So what do the farmers do? They plant rice and wheat, and rice and wheat. The moment they are done with wheat, they get on to rice. This creates a monoculture, planting the same thing and eroding soil quality. “There’s nothing new going in, so the soil has problems. The water table has also gone down because of this,” says Manjit Singh Kang, Vice- Chancellor of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana. “They are burning seven kilos of nitrogen, a kilo of phosphorus and 11 kilos of potash for a tonne of paddy. They are burning Rs. 200 crore from their pockets. This causes asthma and other pollutionrelated health problems.”

    Yield is also dropping. In 2000-2001, 45 quintals of wheat was produced per hectare. In 2005-2006, this was down to 40 quintals. It could drop further this year. Then, there’s the urge to feel good. Some estimates say Punjab has 12 lakh tubewells, where six lakh are enough. Most of them use high power pumps, which keep drawing water from the ground. There’s such a huge wastage of water and electricity in Punjab that the government is being forced to consider curbs on the use of tubewells and free power to farmers. In many farms, the water pumped out is used to bathe livestock. On top of this, is the mania for tractors. There are nearly four lakh tractors in Punjab, almost five times the required number. Many small farmers buy expensive tractors on loans and are then unable to clear the debt. In this year’s kisan mela at the PAU, farmers converged on brand new machines worth 16 lakh though none of them probably needed them. There’s only 1,000 hours of work for a tractor in a year in Punjab. This, experts say, can easily be done by renting tractors instead of buying them.

    ALL OF this may have contributed to two lakh farmers leaving farming in Punjab over the past few years. While this is in keeping with the international trend where many are leaving farming, in Punjab there’s no thought on how to deal with it. Land holdings are reducing progressively as the land gets divided within families. There is also a huge concern on the massive use of pesticides, which began with the first Green Revolution. Punjab uses the maximum amount of pesticides in the country and it’s got to a stage where it is more like an addiction. More and more chemicals are needed to produce the same amount of grain.
    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=157 align=right><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE style="BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid" border=0 cellPadding=0 width=157 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>[​IMG]</TD></TR><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc>Blind vigil A soldier at his post on the border with Pakistan in the Khemkaran sector</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    Such is the amount of pesticide in the groundwater that it is believed to be the principal cause of cancer in the Bhatinda belt. Hundreds of cases of cancer occur here, including even Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s wife, who has just returned after treatment from the US. While Badal’s wife is able to get decent treatment, the rest of the villagers catch the Jammu Tawi Express between Jammu and Jaipur, which leaves Bhatinda at 9.30 pm every day. So many people take this train for cancer treatment in Bikaner that the train is called the ‘Cancer Train’ in Punjab. Every village in the Bhatinda belt has scores of cancer patients, in some cases several in a family. Cancer deaths are common too.

    Those who escape cancer are down with Hepatitis C. There are scores in the villages of Punjab, again with little access to medical care. Organic farming, touted as an alternative to chemical farming, is in its infancy here. Estimates say that all the manure in Punjab can only meet 30 percent of the demand for fertiliser. This is not bad to start with, but there is huge resistance among the farmers to make the shift. This is the backdrop in which talk of a second Green Revolution has begun. “Green revolutions don’t come when you say they should. Nobody has defined a second Green Revolution. We are looking for something we don’t know anything about. India produces 234 million tonnes of food grain. We will need more than 400 million tonnes in 2050 when we will be the No. 1 in population. That would be a Green Revolution, nothing else,” says Kang.

    WHILE THIS is the case with agriculture, industry in Punjab too is in trouble. There is virtually a process of de-industrialisation happening. For instance, there were 127 textile processing units in Amritsar in 1990. There are now only 20. Ludhiana, the industrial hub of Punjab, is in the process of shifting small-scale industries out of city limits. This has resulted in a sealing drive similar to the one in Delhi some time ago. Large-scale units have held on, mainly Hero in the cycle industry and Oswal in the woollens sector. But industry in the rest of Punjab is shifting out. Says Amarjit Singh, President of the Corduroy Manufacturers Association of India: “First, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have a tax holiday and several subsidies. Punjab is like dry roti. They are like bread and butter. I don’t need a passport to cross over. Those who can, have gone.

    Second, Punjab has acute shortage of electricity. There will be no shortage of power in Himachal for the next 50 years. Third, the infrastructure is poor in Punjab. The roads are bad and pollution clearance is extremely difficult. Fourth, land prices are exorbitant in Punjab. Why should anyone waste money on it?”

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width="100%" align=center><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE style="BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid" border=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" align=center><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>[​IMG]</TD></TR><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc>Killing fieldssA drug courier walks up to 20 km before delivering his consignment, which could weigh as much as 40 kilos</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    So, the decline in agriculture and industry has a clear cause and effect equation. In agriculture, there is an attitude issue and it is beginning to hurt. The Punjab farmer overspends on pesticide, tubewells and tractors, and overdraws on water. He is in a hurry and hurts the soil and environment in the process. In industry, there is an issue of investment and profit so they are moving to better options in neighbouring states. The larger industry is able to hold on but the medium and smaller units have moved on. These are reversible trends. It’s the dependence on alcohol and drugs though that is the killer.

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width=250 align=left><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE style="BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid" border=0 cellPadding=0 width=250 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc>Another concern is the use of pesticides. Punjab uses the maximum amount of pesticides in India and it’s got to a stage where it is more like an addiction</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    It has taken years of indulgence for Punjab to reach a crisis situation in alcohol dependence. It’s taken far fewer years for drug abuse. This is mainly because the rich have too much money and nothing to do. Many have sold land in villages to cash in on the land boom. The poor in any case have nothing to do because there are far fewer jobs. So the rich do IMFL and heroin. The poor do PML, pills and poppy husk. It’s such a given that farm owners buy strips of painkillers as part of the deal with the labour. In many cases, farm labour settles for Rs. 200 a day and two strips of pills. And it’s all part of the great gregarious Punjabi. They have convinced themselves that they are tough and funloving. So, it’s not a problem. This is what worries Ravneet Singh Bittoo, president of the Punjab Youth Congress and Lok Sabha member. Bittoo came through a tough election process, the first initiated by Rahul Gandhi in the Youth Congress. He is the grandson of Beant Singh, who was assassinated in office.

    “Part of the problem is that this is the new war. In future, armies will not fight, so this could be Pakistan’s gameplan to weaken Punjab. Then, our system is totally corrupt. They do nothing though they see that every village has at least two chemists though there is no hospital for miles. Half a village leaves for the US and the other half has earned money through sale of land. They get into drugs. It’s so serious that Rahul Gandhi has asked us not to ask people for votes and reach every home instead. He has asked us to drop everything and get on the drug front. I believe a whole race is under threat going by the levels of impotence caused by drugs. We may have lost this generation but I am intent on saving the next one. We want an end to indiscriminate medical shops. We want villages where no one below 35 dies. We want to socially boycott drug dealers. We want the elders to sit in protest outside pharmacies. We want to put the names of peddlers on the walls. If we do this, we may still save Punjab. Else, I think Punjab won’t reach the year 2050,” says Bittoo.

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=5 width="100%" align=center><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE style="BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 1px solid" border=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" align=center><TBODY><TR><TD align=middle>[​IMG]</TD><TD align=middle>[​IMG]</TD></TR><TR><TD style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 5px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" class=normantext bgColor=#cccccc colSpan=2>Sick state Rampant use of pesticides has contaminated the groundwater in the state, resulting in an alarming rise in cancer (left) and Hepatitis C (right) among farmers</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    THIS VOLATILE mix is putting life into a section of people who’ve largely been dormant for 20 years or so, the militants who fought in the Khalistan movement. Simranjit Singh Mann is busy canvassing for Khalistan in a series of public engagements. His party, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), hopes to win some seats in the next Assembly poll 18 months away. “We have been left holding the baby. Others who were with us, like Parkash Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh, have joined more profitable parties like the Akali Dal (Badal) and the Congress. We will not rest until we get Khalistan, but this time I am fighting a peaceful and democratic battle,” says Mann. Sandeep Kaur, widow of slain Babbar Khalsa International terrorist Dharam Singh Kashtiwal, keeps the memory of Operation Bluestar alive in a trust she runs in Amritsar. “Our wounds are still raw,” she says, “how can we be at peace?”

    Concerns are more immediate in a small school in one of Punjab’s more notorious colonies, Maqboolpura in Amritsar, a wasteland of families ravaged by drugs and alcohol. Parvjot, a precocious four-year-old, is conversing with Sarbjeet Gill, a teacher. The conversation is easily the most important in Parvjot’s life. Her admission into school depends on what she says. Suddenly she turns to the teacher. “Would you like a drink? My grandmother makes liquor at home. Many people drink it every night and give money,” she says. It was 9.30 am and Sarbjeet wasn’t thinking of a drink. She looked at Parvjot and asked: “Would you take money from me also?” The reply was instant. “No. For you, we’d give it free.”

    PHOTOS: PRABHJOT SINGH GILL

    Link:
    http://www.tehelka.com/story_main47.asp?filename=Ne021010Cover_story.asp#
     

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  3. dalbirk

    dalbirk
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    A real eye opener & a very true article depicting Punjab of today . The idealists should forget Khalistan for the time & try getting Punjab out of this mess otherwise Punjab will be a land of alcohalic men ( if it is not now ) & will be ruled by Bhaiyas ( Poorbias from UP , Bihar ) who are very hardworking & not that addicted except to Gutkha , Tobbacco . they have taken over almost 100% of labour intensive jobs & businesses like vegetable farming , construction industry any type of industry in Punjab is virtually dependent on the migrants while the Punjabi labour is having the best of times cannot have enough of merry making while everything is in abundance .
     
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  4. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    I think the above article is the answer to questions posted by various people That why do we need Religion What is the use of 5 ks in 21st century,People should be given Choice
    freedom ,liberation.etc.Punjab the place of known for finest of people is now known for drug addicts or one who wants to leave country at any cost.Human mind is always more prone to be attracted to evil rather than good if given choice.
     
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  5. vijay walia

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    I read this in recent issue of Tehelka. I as a senior Punjabi , am very concerned of the situation. We the ordinary citizens are helpless. All social , religious platforms have been swallowed by greedy, short sighted, oblivious of the fate of future generations. You check managements of Devi Talab Mandir, SGPC, Ram Lila committees, Red cross societies. All full of worthless greedy progenies of politicians. Even if we don t elect them, i mean do not vote, someone of them will lord over us. The political leadership of Punjab for the last about 30 years has ruined the state. Today it is one of the worst performing states of India. See national GDP IS 8,of Punjab is 4 and of Bihar is 11. We are below the national average in many , if not most, parameters of development. Check state wise development indicators of health , education, infrastructure, unemployment ( the politicians and their families are of course fully employed).
    I will be thankful to you if you start a discussion of your site on this problem and its solution.
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    Welcome vijay walia ji

    Like you I am a reader of TEHELKA and find so much to think about in their pages. I am not a citizen of India, and that limits me somewhat in how much I can post from TEHELKA without seeming as if I have an agenda to criticize India, so that hampers me.

    But I think that you have taken the first and essential step in addressing your concerns above. The first is to be informed. The second is not to spare yourself from looking at the unacceptable facts. The third is to share your knowledge with other people. The fourth is to encourage them to become informed and to inform others. You have done all this. It seems perhaps like nothing against the problems you face. But these are steps that need to be taken in a democracy. They can't be skipped. Every other activist effort starts with these steps.

    I encourage you to post articles from TEHELKA for the benefit of the audience that SPN can reach. Thanks.
     
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  7. anilbhardwaj

    anilbhardwaj
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    WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH,
    govt. policies are fully responsible for this. My rich & healthy PUNJAB drowning in drugs and alcohol. The rare drugs are easily available in punjab. The govt want to silent the voices through alcohol & drugs raised for rights of punjab. Sikh's(punjabi) are now minority in their own state.
    anil bhardwaj:khanda3:
     
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  8. ac_marshall

    ac_marshall
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    Sat Sri Akal
    Unfortunately, most of us tend to forget these real issues when elections come. We get brainwashed by a few words containing sweet venom, caste and all other hate politics played by our so called leaders (Netas). Neither Congress nor BJP is fit to uplift Indian Common Men. Let us put serious efforts in identifying meritorious, honest and dedicated candidates and send them to legislature to eliminate the evils that have surrounded us. The question is "Who will bell the Cat?" The answer is "We All will bell the Cat". No democracy can be successful till people participate seriously and get actively involved for the good cause.

    We also have to strive hard to change the education system in India to make it more efficient and skill oriented. Lack of skills is a major cause of unemployment which in turn leads to poverty and a breeding ground for anti-social activities. As an immediate remedial action, we can voluntarily teach some poor youngsters and children what we know. For example, some of us are engineers. We can teach a poor youngster the principles of motor vehicles in a simple manner such that they can make a living by repairing or servicing vehicles. Similarly, an electrical engineer can teach how to carry out wiring, how to service electrical motors used in farm equipments, etc.

    In the interest of human race:
    AC Marshall
     
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  9. vijay walia

    vijay walia
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    Actually it is not for suppressing the dissenting voices. The group of rulers are just the dealers of all these vices. They do not bother for their Punjab, not even for their cities, not for their own progeny. The short sited followers of the rulers are aiming at personal gains. If we analyse our political activists, they fare no better than those found in Bihar, Jharkhand, UP .
    I wish to be optimistic. Just wish to be. But can not be oblivious to the realities of my own society. Anyway, I am doing my bit for the society at large. I drive satisfaction in serving the mentally challenged ones of our society. For detail, pls. visit
    www.jssashakiran.org
    I work for the helpless silvers of our society, work for eye donation, body donation, blood donation etc.
    That keeps my spirits up. I listen to SHABADS of Waheguru in these pursuits.
    vijay walia
     
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  10. ik-jivan

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    Gurfateh ji,
    I also understand that the government is controlling the sugar mills and many harvests spoil without ever being processed, thus no income is gained from crop investment. This also is a means of driving Punjabi landlords into poverty and off the land they own.

    Poverty-> depression-> hopelessness-> faithlessness-> drugs-> crime. This is what is happening. Is it an agenda? I think so. Can we do anything? I think so. I have been exposed to the sad and desperate state of a rural family in Punjab with some members here and now I am commited to bringing those with the best chance of migrating out of India with their legal agreement to work and study here and return to India to invest and support those Sikhs who are being oppressed. We need hostels in the west and a funding strategy that will not let immigrants from the Punjab fall through the cracks and into a life of crime in the west. Moral rehabilitation is needed to put a stop to the scams that have been devised out of desperation to escape the crisis in India.

    Here are some links to info on what has resulted when we, here, have not been attentive to the plight of those in Punjab.

    NRI organized crime In NRI Community in BC
    http://www.nriinternet.com/NRI_Murdered/CANADA/BC/Gang_Killing/2_BC_NRI1991-%202004_Ganf_Murders%20.htm
    Canadians Against Immigration Fraud ("CAIF")
    http://www.nriinternet.com/Associations/Canada/A_Z/C/CANADIANS_AGAINST_IMMIGRATION_%20FRAUD/2009/_Minister_to_Court.htm
    STOP Marriage Fraud
    http://www.nriinternet.com/Marriages/index.htm

    Sat Sri Akal,
    t
     
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  11. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Poverty could be one of the reason for taking drugs or doing crime But One could hardly Say that it the main reason O/W Why people in Europe or america indudge in crime or take drugs.The main reason for doing crime is Desires or humans Which they cannot control.
    People of Punjab are running out of Punjab because they want high standard of living like people get in UK,canada or USA and this type of living standard is not possible in country like India.
     
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  12. findingmyway

    findingmyway
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    Actually if you have lots of money and the good connections, quality of life can be better in india. For one you don't have to do all your own housework icecreamkudi
     
  13. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Well from middle class to rich all can afford servants yet it is the people of India that are dieing to move out India not the other way out.So many NRI's
    can easily come and live in India but they prefer to live in the developed countries.This clearly shows where quality of life is good.
     
  14. findingmyway

    findingmyway
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    There is a growing NRI and foreign population in India. My sister is one of them, in Delhi.

    http://www.littleindia.com/news/140/ARTICLE/1474/2005-02-05.html

    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td class="tdarticle" style="padding: 0px 10px 10px;" width="100%">Growing numbers of Europeans and Americans are moving to India for work and are falling in love with the culture, or the weather, or the food, or someone.
    </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tdarticle" style="padding: 0px 10px 10px;" width="100%"> By:
    Sabith Khan

    </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tdarticle" style="padding: 0px 10px 10px; font-size: 11px; line-height: 1.5; font-family: georgia;" width="100%"> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: georgia;"> India is awash in brain drain again.
    Only this time, the current is flowing in reverse.

    <table style="margin-bottom: 3px; margin-left: 9px;" align="right" bgcolor="#e8e8e8" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="10%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>
    </td></tr> <tr> <td>Petra Klerkx, a senior graphics designer from Holland, with partner Ramesh: 'Kal' in Hindi means yesterday and also tomorrow, so you see it doesn't make sense."</td></tr></tbody></table>
    For the past five decades, India's best and brightest were lured by the glamour of the West. Today, growing numbers of Europeans and Americans seem to be enchanted by India. Many of them are discovering heady professional opportunities in the country's booming information technology sector. Some have fallen in love with the culture, others with the weather, yet others with the food and in some cases with someone here.​
    McArthur Mille, language trainer from Canada, currently living in Bangalore, says, "I was interested in working here, as there was an opportunity available. I just jumped at it. What brought me here was the kind of work that I could do here."
    Sheila O'Hara first came to India as a tourist while still in college. Now she works with Microsoft as a language and culture trainer. "I did not specifically ask to come here, but since India is an interesting place to work in if you are in the IT industry, I just took the plunge," she says. "There is a technology boom taking place. Certain parts of India are developing quickly, and it is interesting to notice all these changes at such close quarters."
    By far the biggest draw for recent expatriates is the information technology industry, but they are also sprinkled in the hospitality and media industries. Bangalore's reputation as a technology hub has made it the destination of choice for recent expatriates. Presently, an estimated 10,000-12,000 foreigners live or work in Bangalore.
    "About 6,000 - 7,000 foreigners get their residential permits each year from our office," says Jagadeesh Prasad, of the Foreigners Registration Office, Office of the Commissioner of Police, Bangalore. "This number has been on the increase each year, with a large number of students, professionals and businessmen coming in."

    <table style="margin-bottom: 3px; margin-right: 9px;" align="left" bgcolor="#e8e8e8" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="10%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>[​IMG] </td></tr> <tr> <td>Dr. Jean Letschert Ascharyacharya,who has lived in India for 40 years, says: "Bangalore is trying to be an international megalopolis. A place, which was recently called the Garden city, a calm place, is now being showcased as something else."</td></tr></tbody></table>Of the expatriates in Bangalore, some 2,500 are students pursuing professional education or internships from a wide assortment of countries, such as Iran, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Germany, France, etc. Prasad estimates the number of employment seekers at about 500 in 2004. "While students stay on if they find good jobs, the professionals work here and some make it their home. Some of them leave after a year or two. This makes it hard to put a finger on the exact number of expatriates living in Bangalore from a long time," says Prasad. Nationwide, between 20,000 to 30,000 expatriates are believed to be working in India. That's a fraction of the 100,000 foreigners working in China, and even more in Hong Kong and Singapore, the Asian destinations of choice for expatriates.
    However, the appeal of India continues to grow.
    Many foreigners working in India are on assignment with multinational companies from their headquarters, such as South Korea's M.B. Lee, who is vice-president of marketing at Samsung India, which also has several other South Koreans in senior management positions in its India division. Likewise, Bob Hoekstra, a Dutch national, is chief executive of Philips Software.
    But increasingly, Indian companies are also turning to foreign leadership. The chief executive officer and managing director of Ranbaxy, Brian W. Tempest, is British and Raymond Bickson, managing director and chief executive officer of Taj Hotels, is American.
    But the greatest surge in expatriate workers is occurring among mid level professionals, especially in the technology sector. Last year, CNN reported that Monster.com India listed 3,000 foreigners seeking work in India. Delhi-based Technovate eSolutions, a BPO in the travel space, boasts that nearly 10 percent of its 700 employees are drawn from all over Europe. The leading Indian software companies Infosys and Wipro both employ hundreds of foreigners.

    <table style="margin-bottom: 3px; margin-left: 9px;" align="right" bgcolor="#e8e8e8" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="10%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>[​IMG] </td></tr> <tr> <td>Julie Hughes: "It can get quite frustrating at times"</td></tr></tbody></table>
    "While many foreign born professionals come to India to work, I have also seen a lot of People of Indian Origin (PIOs') coming back in the recent past to live here. We get their proposals each year and this number is also quite substantial as they come back with their spouses and their children," says Prasad. He is hreferring not to returning NRIs, but rather foreign born Indians or Indians who have since acquired the citizenship of another country.

    Banaglore's charm ​
    "When the many expatriates came in the early nineties, Bangalore was far more attractive and peaceful, and this could have influenced their decision to stay on here" says Sashi Sivramkrishna, who recently produced a documentary on the "Expatriates in Bangalore."
    While most expatriates in Bangalore draw salaries equivalent to their Indian counterparts in the profession, some, especially in the BPO segment, command higher compensation due to their international exposure and language proficiency.
    Banaglore's expatriate community has a wide cross section of people, from CEOs of multinational corporations to recent graduates. Some of them can afford very affluent lifestyles, comparable to or even better than that in their home countries. Others lead relatively Indian middle class lives or even struggle. "While many expatriates get drawn towards the local culture, and mingle with the locals, at the same time, a few remain aloof and as a 'gated community' hardly mingle with Indians," says Sivramkrishna.

    <table style="margin-bottom: 3px; margin-right: 9px;" align="left" bgcolor="#e8e8e8" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="10%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>[​IMG] </td></tr> <tr> <td>Ivan Moura:"The day I came here, I felt at home with the large expatriate community ready to help me out with anything I wanted,"</td></tr></tbody></table>"The expatriates are spread all over Bangalore, except for the older areas, such as Gandhinagar, Malleswaram etc. and many live in the central Bangalore areas. One may find them in Richmond Town, M.G. Road and surrounding areas," adds Sivramkrishna.

    Potpourri in the making Petra Klerkx, a senior graphics designer from Holland, says "The life here is fast and busy. There is much happening on the streets, so much of unpredictability. In Holland, what you expect, you get, which is not true here. Here life is very different. Here people do not have a sense of time. I would say time does not exist. 'Kal' in Hindi means yesterday and also tomorrow, so you see it doesn't make sense (laughs)."
    For the past four years, Klerkx has lived in Bangalore for nine months, spending the remaining three months every year in Holland.
    For some expatriates, like Dr. Jean Letschert Ascharyacharya, artist, philosopher and writer, the journey to India has been deeply spiritual. With a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and an understanding of Indian culture that is so deep as to even embarrass the locals, Ascharyacharya is not a typical westerner. He has lived in India for almost 40 years now, painting and undertaking social work among the under privileged and villagers.
    Ascharyacharya first came to India way in the 1970s. "I often feel I am a crowd, that there are many people inside me. Generally speaking, I am an artist and close friends tell me I am a renaissance artist. I am a philosopher and have a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and as a person have always tried to have a large spectrum of interests. I have been trying to find the links that interconnect the various bodies of knowledge and this has been my life search."

    <table style="margin-bottom: 3px; margin-left: 9px;" align="right" bgcolor="#e8e8e8" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="10%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>[​IMG] </td></tr> <tr> <td>Nenad ZuzaOne of my friends started the gallery (Masters International), and he wanted help. So I am here helping him," </td></tr></tbody></table>Undoubtedly that cultural pull is strong among the expatriates settled in India. "I call this home and my country home too, and keep in touch with people there. I would like to be a person who calls two places home and vacillate between two places and positions. I also write and would prefer to write in Dutch. I am writing poetry and working on a novel," says Martiene Meijer, a Dutch national, who is involved with the Jung Centre.
    Nenad Zuza, a Serbian national who came to Bangalore five years ago, has also lived in Mysore. The 32-year-old, who fought in the Serbian war and has seen life and death at close quarters, is in Bangalore promoting European art. "Many things brought me to India. I am spiritually inclined, so that brought me here. The ancient Vedic texts and particularly the Gita brought me here. I had many friends here and in time I thought of moving here. One of my friends started the gallery (Masters International), and he wanted help. So I am here helping him," he says.
    Anne Julie has lived in Bangalore for a year now and has an equivalent of masters in French language. She teaches French at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). "I wanted to experience something different from the European and American culture, so I chose India as a destination for work and in fact India is a fashionable place to go to," she says. Half her friends have been to India and Indian movies and clothes are a rage in France.
    "I think there is a change taking place in India both in the cultural as well as the social context and I want to witness it first hand; that is another reason why I am here," she says.
    Growing opportunities
    "Working with the Indians has been a rewarding experience," says Eric Rousseau, director of Alliance Francaise, Bangalore. "The sense of family is very much present here even in the workplace."
    "In France, the individual is supreme even in the work place, but it is totally different here; as the organization comes first," says Julie, who teaches French at Alliance Francaise.
    Manoj Padmanabhan, Bangalore branch manager of Naukri.com, India's premier job portal, says that many of the foreigners who apply for jobs on their website do so through relatives or friends. "We have received about 70 resumes in the last six months for placements in Bangalore," he says. While most applications are for the IT sectors, there are also enquiries for posts of trainers, translators etc. With 1,500 tech companies, Bangalore is clearly the leader in attracting foreigners.
    The opportunities for foreigners to find work in India, and Bangalore in particular, are growing. There is a need for foreign language trainers and also executives. Salaries are often competitive with those in their home countries and the experience of having worked in India is increasingly looked at favorably on resumes, says a head-hunter.
    "The job applicants from overseas are looking out for salaries which are comparable to what they would earn in their home country," says Padmanabhan. The added incentive of working in India is the international exposure they get. "With multi-national corporations re-locating their operations to India, most of the expatriates want to experience greater diversity and challenges at work, hence want to come here."
    Bangalore ranks highly among the expatriate community. Several expatriates interviewed expressed a marked preference for Bangalore, mainly because of the large expatriate community here and also because of its weather, which does not get extremely hot or cold. Other cities of choice include Pune, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
    The foreigners feel that metropolitan cities like Bangalore and Mumbai are more hospitable to them. "The day I came here, I felt at home with the large expatriate community ready to help me out with anything I wanted," says Ivan Moura, a Swiss national pursuing his post-doctoral work at the Indian Institute of Science. "I did feel a bit intimidated by the looks of people on the streets of Malleswaram and other traditional areas where my white skin drew a lot of attention. Other than that, there has been no real culture shock."

    <table style="margin-bottom: 3px; margin-right: 9px;" align="left" bgcolor="#e8e8e8" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="10%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>[​IMG] </td></tr></tbody></table>Most expatriates enjoy the unhurried pace of work here. "There are many things which are not in control here, like power, or time. If I get caught in a traffic jam, I am invariably late for my appointment. People seem to accept this," says Moura. "There is no hurry to finish things and move on as in Europe." "I have had a long holiday in Bangalore from the time I have come" says Moura. "The people here are good, and the work happens at its own pace. There is no sense of hurrying as in Europe or USA, and I feel very comfortable here." He says he would love to stay on if he finds a suitable job. "There is no reason why I will not make Bangalore my home. The weather is great, the people are friendly and added to this, I feel very good living here. If I am able to find a partner, I would love to settle down here."

    McArthur says, "We work with a work force which is 95 percent Indian and there are certain Indian attitudes at work. The people here are more than qualified to do what they are doing. I think the people here have accepted us well, as we bring with us an awareness and specific moors of the culture. It is better for them than reading a book or browsing the net to know about American accent or culture."
    The hassles
    The bureaucratic hassles are the biggest gripe among expatriates. "I had to struggle for five days at the Foreigners Registration office to get my permit," says an expatriate who asked not be identified. "It makes us feel we are not welcome here."
    There are also the occasional cultural conflicts. Julie Hughes, who teaches French at Alliance Francaise says, "It gets quite difficult at times. For example, when I am having a party at 11 in the night and my landlord comes and makes a big hue and cry about it. It is frustrating that they do not understand. Otherwise, living and working with Indians is quite easy." she says
    O'Hara's biggest criticism is noise. "When you are at home, trying to do something by yourself, there is so much noise. I have also found it difficult to handle the cultural differences, for example - a lot of Indians do not communicate clearly. They are not able to say no, when all they want to say is no."
    Sussane Letzel, a German student pursuing an internship with St. Johns Medical Hospital, in Bangalore says she is most saddened by the inequalities prevalent in India. "The work here in the medical field is very different, as not every patient is treated equally. Those with the power to buy medical care can, others are let do die. This is what saddens me most."
    The public apathy toward the poor was toughest on Rousseau as well. "I see people dying on the street and others not caring a damn about it. This is the greatest shock for me," he says.
    Long time expatriate residents, such as Ascharyacharya, rue the increasing Westernization of India, especially the traffic and flyovers, which are increasingly dominating the city. "Bangalore is no India, and is becoming a monster in a sense. The mythological monster in all the fairytales - it is the idea of the freak, which has gone astray from a natural project. Something like Frankenstein.
    "Bangalore is trying to be an international megalopolis. A place, which was recently called the Garden city, a calm place, is now being showcased as something else. There is a shift in paradigm, which is the opposite of the possible identity, which could have been. It is rushing towards low culture and superficiality. There is greater intelligentsia in Kerala. Bengal, Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta have an intellectual aura about them. Bangalore could have had that, but the city has lost the opportunity."
    The great Indian experience
    Nevertheless most expatriates say they are enjoying life in India. Letzel gushes about her Indian experience, "I may stay back if I get a job. My stay is for four months after which I plan to visit Germany for a brief period and then decide about my future."
    "It was my first time in India and I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. Bangalore is not India at all. It could pass off as any city of Europe for the diversity that it has. Yesterday I called my mother and told her that there is no reason for me to come back to Germany, and she was quite surprised, but she would let me be."
    Rousseau says, "It is fashionable to visit India among the people of France. We are aware of the socio-economic changes taking place here and this brought me to Bangalore to see them first hand."
    He adds, "One thing that I notice about the expatriate population in Bangalore is that all of them are happy to be here. The people of Bangalore are open and do not mind if we ask too many questions." He estimates the population of French expatriates in Bangalore at over 300.
    Klerkx says, "Since I have been in Bangalore for a long time, people treat me as one of them. They are accommodating. Once the first barrier is broken; then things fall into place. My skin color doesn't really matter to people now."
    O' Hara says, "The acceptance by people is slow but also warm." Indeed, "I find England weirder each time I go home."
    The Indian experience is also transforming for many expatriates. McArthur says India has forced him to become assertive as a person as it is necessary for life in the country. "I feel it is making me a hard person, so I worry that when I go back, people may feel I have become a cold person."
    "I do not consider myself very nationalistic when I lived in Canada, but I realized how much we base our identity on where you come from. I do miss my family and friends back home," McArthur says.
    So would they recommend India to friends back home.
    "Definitely not!" retorts Meijer. "I wouldn't want to part with my discovery. They must discover the treasure that India is for themselves." Alas, her little secret is increasingly dribbling out.
    </td></tr></tbody></table>
    </td></tr></tbody></table>
     
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  15. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Jasleen

    This is happening on very small scale mainly where there is shortage of technichal experienced people.On the other hand Large number of Indians could go to any extent For a visa of developed country.My brother and all his friend have just joined IT industry and all of them are dieing to get oppurtunity to work abroad.My brother says that he will come back but I told him the people who goes out hardly come back.The only thing that will come is your cheques of Dollars
     
  16. vijay walia

    vijay walia
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    there can be isolated cases of people coming in to India. 99% are willing to go out to developing countries, even to Phillipines, Mylasia, Kenya, etc.swor:happymunda:dfight
     
  17. gurbanicd

    gurbanicd
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    dear all

    we all must continue continue to discuss and take action at whatever level or whatever way from lowest to highest from min to maximum.A collective effort is required

    we should spread this thread to all people who can make adifference.
     
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  18. davinderdhanjal

    davinderdhanjal United Kingdom
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    Very informative and opened my eyes to 'the rape of Punjab'.
    I guess it confirms that we have lost direction - I can also see similarities in personal life that like Punjab whenever I do something I do it to extreme - it must be punjabi trait!
    It is necessary to highlight the 'good punjabis' like Sant Balbir Singh Seechawal and find out what the difference is between him and the perpitrators of 'the mass that is going into drugs'?
    We also must see our individual shortfalls which will help in understanding the general punjabi trend. I know we are not a comunist state but Mao Tse Tung in China warned all that they must get off the opium drug and other drug addictions and if they did not they were executed! May be we want to find the democratic version of that action.
     
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  19. vijay walia

    vijay walia
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    Yes , Sant Seechewal, otherwise a college drop out is the star of Punjab. There are many at local levels who are doing a lot . But they are unheard of. I am from Hoshiarpur. I find some in Hoshiarpur doing wonderful jobs for our society. Dr. Ashok Sood, of student book bank is running this book bank for th e last 33 years. He is MBBS and practicing. He scrificed his career to great extent for the book bank. This bank is lending academic books up to post graduate level, including engineering classes to more than 1300 deserving students every year. Likewise there is Ram Charit Manas society running mortuary van free of cost, a dispensary with MBBS DOCTOR, and Hospice in Hoshiarpur. There was Baba Harbans Singh . There is Guru Nanak Mission Hospital at Jalandhar, well known in the area. All these are never on public mind. But mostly we Punjabis are finished with a bottle of wine, if in Doaba. And with drugs if in Malwa. On the whole we are dooming society. A larger share of blame lies on our politicians of all hues. Politicians are to be care takers of the coming generations. But ours have ruined us.We have a past . But the present compares very poorly with other states of India even.:blinkingkaur:
     
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  20. davinderdhanjal

    davinderdhanjal United Kingdom
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    Dear Vijay_walia,
    I am overjoyed with your response and it is people like you who are our light.
    I will look into these saintly people. They are very strong people and I am not sure where they draw their strength from, may be Nanaks? But that is what we need now and not camouflage their efforts with sermons from 'corroupt granthis'.
    I believe, we, all the thinking followers of the Gurus' teachings need to encourage the Soods, Manas, those influenced by Harbans Singh to reach the masses - by so doing I hope people will remove their blinkers and throw away the 'cancerous influence' of the politicans.
    A voice is required to harmonise the efforts of these 'refreshing blood' to sound in the hearts of all Nanak's Sikhs.
     
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