About three weeks, while channel surfing, I chanced upon the movie "Pinjar" showing on World Movies. The movie Pinjar is about the ordeal of a young Punjabi girl, Puro (Urmila Matondkar), in pre-partition Punjab. And I bet I have never seen a movie that has haunted me, touched me and affected me as much as this one.
Despite being a movie that unsettles the audience, it is a must watch for all those who want to know the ordeals the Punjabis went through during the partition era.
When I spoke to my parents about the movie, they also told me tales about the partition that they had heard as kids and the problems their families faced after they migrated to India. Neeti told me similar stories from her side of the family. And it's not just our families that have stories to tell - almost every Punjabi family has some or the other painful story on the partition.
It is even hard to imagine the hell Punjabis went through in 1947. And after decades of patience, hard work and a never say die attitude, they came out of it as winners. Who could have imagined that the relatively infertile part of Punjab would be turned into India's wheat and bread basket? Or the belt from Amritsar to Delhi would be turned into a belt of unparalleled prosperity?
Our grandparents came here to independent India after losing everything in Pakistan with nothing more to lose but with a will to survive and succeed. And that will prevailed.
So coming to the Punjabi attitude that made it happen - of working hard, playing hard and of living life kingsize. This attitude has been unmatched in the rest of India - the rest of India which was unaffected by miseries of partition.
Often we get to hear of malicious comments on the ostentatious nature of Delhiites (read Punjus), but have we ever got to the bottom of what makes the Punjus of today what they are? Have we ever heard any Punju say that they don't accept any outsider in Punjabi majority areas of the North? Never till date, and never in the future - I can bet my reputation on that. Despite being proud as a community, the Punjabis have always seen themselves as Indians first - look at the contribution of the Punjabi community to the Indian armed forces.
My hypothesis is that all Indians secretly admire the attitude of the Punjus and aspire to be like them. The proof of this lies in Bollywood - almost 90% of all Bollywood movies show a Punju background, bringing out all the giggles from the audiences. Why? Because it sells. Why do these movies sell? Because Indians aspire to have an attitude like the Punjus.... Admit it or not!
But as they say 90% of the iceberg is below the water, this ostentatious Punju attitude is only on the surface. Deep below, there is a warm heart, waiting accept all with open arms and a deep sense of pain for all our Puros, who were left behind and snatched away from our forefathers in Pakistan.
I salute the Punju attitude and would love to be reborn as a Proud Punjabi!!!!!!!