Are Punjabis stupid? Of course, Punjabis this side of the border are if you look at their worldview. What they do with their worldview spectacularly exposes them as the dumbly self-destructive creatures this earth has ever been burdened with. They would be buried deep underground like toxic waste in the not-too-distant future in the cultural sense at least. Examples are galore of their being self-destructive wrapped in foil of vacuousness. They are stupid; they have at least 6,000-year-old urban history which is the glory of the ancient world but bane of their life. They hate to associate with their past. So much so that they have happily ejected it out of their collective memory. The past is treated as if it has no organic connection with the present, as if the so-called consciously shaped or ill-baked present is born of the present.
Harappa and the civilisation it epitomises are little more than desolate mounds that need to be flattened; they are a source of embarrassment as they are a testament to the existence of aliens who lived differently and worshipped differently. Excavated ruins are for heaps of mud, not breathing history. It would be interesting to juxtapose Punjabi with Egyptians. Punjabis share their faith with the Egyptians but are their polar opposites. The former are ashamed of their history while the latter proudly own it stressing the continuity of human evolution. Just days after the great hullabaloo about the arrival of second millennium subsided in the Western world, the Egyptians put up an ad in the Western newspapers that said: “Come to our Seventh Millennium”. Their faith, different from pharaoh era’s, did not deter them to celebrate their remarkable civilisation which is an important part of the world heritage.
Punjabis are stupid; they loathe their mother language. The greatest protector of human achievement and civilisation is language. Whatever is done in other fields of human activities eventually lands up in language. It is in language that every activity, manual and cerebral, is arrested and codified making it sharable across space and time. And there is nothing the Punjabis hate more than their language that has roots as old as their society. They find it below their dignity to speak their own language which in its present form has 1,000-year-old recorded literary tradition. This process of alienation accelerated during the British colonial occupation of the Punjab in the mid-19th century.
Two alien languages, English and Urdu, were imposed from above for political considerations and so-called administrative convenience as all the gora officers and their clerical and menial staff came from the Gangetic region and were comfortable with English, Hindi and Urdu.
The saner voices of some enlightened officers who emphasised the introduction of people’s language in educational institutions went unheeded. The political considerations were underpinned by the fear of rise of Punjabi identity as is evident from the correspondence now available. The language in the education linked with the prospects of jobs exacerbated the situation. So now Punjabis in order to be what they are not and to be not what they are have become masters in deception; they wear language as a disguise. The disguise has immensely damaged their cerebrum and cognitive ability. Some fools still believe that language is merely a tool of communication. Their comparison with Jews/Israelis would show them what they are, philistines. Jews wandered for thousands of years across foreign lands. After such a long span when they came back to their original homeland, they revived Hebrew, their historical language that is receptacle of their faith, culture and history. They revived what they had almost lost due to their being scattered on the face of the earth. Here Punjabis have been on their land all the time but happily almost lost their language. They have jettisoned it as if it was rotten cultural flotsam and jetsam.
Punjabis are stupid. They are majority in the present-day Pakistan which is home to diverse ethnic, linguistic and cultural groups in its different regions. They have a heavy presence in the state institutions as they dominate civil and military bureaucracy, judiciary and landed gentry, the triumvirate that rules the country. Despite their clout they have so far failed abysmally to evolve a system that is fair and thus acceptable to other nationalities. They have become so thick-skinned that they cannot realise the anger and resentment their political foolhardiness causes among other peoples of the country with whom they are bound in unbreakable historical ties due to their geographical location. One needs a historical perspective very briefly though to understand the malady Punjabis suffer from. In simple words, its roots lie in ideology. Religion was the basis of emergence of Pakistan. An ideology had to invented as a uniting link between diverse peoples whose overwhelming majority was Muslims.
The core component of the ideology was thought to be the elements that separated Muslims in the new country from the rest of Indians especially Hindus. This self-induced compulsion led to the murdering of history; a very long stretch of history was non-Muslim i.e. Hindu and Buddhist which, the ruling clique thought, could not be reconciled with the Muslim past of its territories which started in the eighth century and got strong footing in the wake of the 11th century Turk invasions. Thus there had to be a rupture with it. It was dubbed as infidel that had to be shunned.
In the Pakistan Movement two languages played key role; English for the upper crust and Urdu for the lower. Urdu was the language of Uttar Pradesh Muslim gentry, the engine of the Muslim separate movement. It also had presence in the Punjab due to its colonial imposition. So Urdu was made, wrongly of course, synonymous with faith. Its imposition as a national language was flatly rejected by Bengalis which eventually led to its separation as an independent state of Bangladesh.
Punjabis still try to use this stick as a means of national cohesion that triggers a process of alienation. As to the Punjabi dominance in the state structure, they are crassly opportunistic in economic and political spheres. They are not content with the slice of pie they already have. They want almost the whole pie on the faith-based pretext of equal opportunities for all. And creating conditions for equal opportunities for all is a trick the Punjabi elite uses to its advantage. Such an ideologically inspired myopic strategy may win the battle but lose the war. —
Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2023