Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
Outlook.com
Opinion

Joy, And The River Of Sorrow

Rural Punjab retains its spirit and inventiveness; the Sutlej is another story

Joy, And The River Of Sorrow
Illustration by Sorit
Joy, And The River Of Sorrow
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

At the end of May, I undertook a joyride in the districts of Amritsar, Ferozepur, Muktsar, Faridkot and Tarn Taran, on both sides of the Sutlej. It was a chance to see and learn—a rare thing these days. The hot, dry summer had set in; the wheat had been harvested, the straw was being piled into big heaps and plastered over with mud—a makeshift igloo. Cattlefeed for the year. There was a vibrancy—as only in Punjab—even in the mid-day sun. It also happened to be a Sunday. We drove through Tarn Taran, past my village, and on to Harike, the great Bhakra barrage, at the confluence of the Beas and the Sutlej. This drive through the heart of Punjab had been some time coming and I was hungry for visual satiation. My companions, Tarn Taran-Goindwal farmers, added spice.

I found clutches of happy Sikhs by the roadside, eager to offer sustenance to passersby. A roadside shamiana had something cooking and young men were hailing down and urging people to partake. I asked, “Is it a special Guru purab?”—the Sikh calendar affords plenty of opportunity to celebrate all year around. “No,” they said, “this happens every Sunday.” Why? It’s a tradition in Tarn Taran. Villagers, feeling generous after the harvest, cook a meal for people by the roadside. Those who are fed are welcome to leave a contribution if they should so feel, but no one is explicitly asked.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.