Why amritsar has got it so wrong?

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 - 6:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

My origins are in Amritsar and I know a thing or two about the kind of people we are. We are so gullible; so easily swayed by the here and now and so fond of food that we almost always bring peril upon ourselves. For us the immediacy of Giani's lassi or for that matter the chicken from Surjeet is far more critical than examining the manner in which our lives can really change. Amritsar is the seat of the Golden Temple and nowhere is there an uglier scene than outside the Golden Temple because successive Governments have made promises only to never keep them.

On my part, I hate every political party but I believe in some individuals who have made politics and as a consequence, public life, their goal. Arun Jaitley is one of them. He doesn't need to be in politics in order to exude power or make money. As one of India's finest and most trusted lawyers, he already had that. He has no point to prove as far as contesting elections are concerned. Remember he was President oft he ABVP and went to jail for 18 months during the Emergency whilst some of the so-called great leaders of today were either unborn or untested. He has no reason to prove himself as a political strategist because he has done that time and again. He contested the Lok Sabha and that too from Amritsar because his origins too are in Amritsar and he genuinely believed (believes) that he could have made a difference. And he would have. Only if Amritsar had voted wisely and not in the mauju form that they are so used to.

Typically, in our country we have reduced Parliamentary Elections to those that are municipal in terms of issues being addressed. And then again, what were the issues that Captain Amarinder Singh, his opponent addressed? Not one. I was there so I know. Not one issue on which he either had a considered opinion or for that matter a perspective. Jailtley made the mistake of thinking the people of Amritrsar to be exactly that: thinking. He didn't realise that we are after all a people who live from meal to meal and as long as we get our peg-sheg we are fine. We as a people have been so neglected and fooled around with, that we can't differentiate between what's good for us and what's not which is why the state of Amritsar is so pitiable. There is no industry to speak of, the kids are disillusioned to say the least and all we revel in, is our glorious food. But is that enough? Will all of this actually help Amritsar?

I have know Arun Jaitley for the last two decades and I can say this unequivocally, there is not another man I know in politics whose integrity is so high and purpose of life so clear. And I am not saying this because he is a friend. I am saying this because good people are hard to find in India's polity and when we get them, we in Amritsar look a gift horse in the mouth. I believe Jailtey has only lost an election. But Amristar has lost a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity something we needn't have but then again if we are going to be so obsessed by Kuchas and Kachoris, where is the time to think of the future of our children. So I guess Amritsar will remain the food capital and with Amarinder's addition might also become a Patiala Peg attraction but nothing more, nothing less.

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