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Mansi Kaur and Tejpal Virk: Punjab Haryana Ekta Zindabad
The relationship between Punjab and Haryana is often portrayed as that of two brothers who split and still do not get along
Mansi Kaur and Tejpal Virk
March 16, 2021 | 3.5 min. read
The relationship between Punjab and Haryana is often portrayed as that of two brothers who split and still do not get along. However, since November 26, 2020, the day the Kissan Ekta Morcha reached the borders of Delhi, this narrative has completely changed.
The first rally held in Toronto, Canada in solidarity with the Morcha was executed with full support from various Indian communities, notably, the Haryanvi student group.
As organizers of this rally, we realized how important it was to maintain collaboration between Punjabis and Haryanvis; after all, they were at the forefront of the Morcha in Delhi. After pushing for an initial meeting with the Haryanvi student leaders, who were quite hesitant, we were concerned about the outcome.
Much to our surprise and liking, the meeting went a lot smoother than expected. We spoke of cultural similarities and how our ancestors toiled in the fields to build what we all enjoy today. In echoing the same beliefs of everyone back home, we put aside all religious differences and agreed—pehla dharam kissani.
Looking at our history, the relationship between Punjab and Haryana runs very deep.
Sikhs have allied with Hindu Jats in the past to fight against Mughal and Afghan rulers. These two states were once a part of a united Punjab after the partition of India in 1947, up until 1966 where the grand state was again split into Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh following the Punjabi Suba Movement. During this movement, mistrust among different religious groups, primarily Sikhs and Hindus, led to unjust distribution claims and violence.
These apprehensions only grew with time, consistently being used by politicians to maintain division and conflict in the area. The Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal and water distribution is the primary area of concern that has continued since the 1966 partition. While the people of Punjab and Haryana both claim unfair treatment, the stakes of many politicians alike ensure the conditions remain as-is for their own interests.
However, the age of information has changed this situation for the better. The double-faced game of politics is not as effective with everything now being in the palm of our hands. Social media helps challenge and change the narrative of propaganda spread by the central government through the national media.
The Kissan Ekta Morcha started in Punjab through months of sit-ins and protests all over the state. It reached the Shambhu border between Rajpura and Ambala, where the Punjabi youth pushed through barricades to reach Haryana and then marched towards Delhi. Then, history was made as Haryana fully supported their Punjabi brethren in getting past barriers put forward by the BJP government. The same war over the SYL canal was put aside as farmers from both states came together to share all they had with farmers and their livelihoods.
Though Punjab took the lead in raising its voice against the new bills and mobilizing its protests, Haryana came forth with unconditional support. Citizens had one destination: Delhi.
Immense support has been seen across the villages of Haryana, which adjoin the Tikri and Singhu borders, as many locals bring in supplies and rations for the protestors. The increase in Haryanvis in the protest has brought a communal unity, the opposite of what history has shown. Punjab and Haryana have rekindled the relationship of vadda-shotta bai in this short period.
Following the Republic Day Tractor Parade, the Morcha was fragmented for a brief period. On January 26, youth reached the Red Fort and were in return met with bullets, lathi charges, and tear gas. The unions and sangat of Punjab split on this issue, wherein some youth and union leaders were being projected as perpetrators and villains, and conspiracies of possible collusion with the BJP government began circulating.
This all changed when Chaudhary Rakesh Tikait, BKU leader from Western UP intervened and prevented the police takeover of the Ghazipur site. Tikait, one of the leaders of Hindu Jats, turned the wave and effectively rallied his community in Haryana and UP to join the fight. His continued statements of unity and solidarity with Sikhs have gone a long way in saving the movement’s momentum.
This union between Sikhs and the Hindu Jats is formed once again to be the backbone of the Kissan Ekta Morcha.
Kissan Majdoor Ekta Zindabad!
Mansi Kaur, based out of Brampton, Canada, currently works within the IT sector. You can find her on Twitter at @mansikaur_.
Tejpal Virk is a business-owner based in Toronto, with a BA in Political Science from UofT. You can find him on Twitter at @tejpalvirk96.
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