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The Legacy of Militancy in Punjab

Nominated | Book Awards 2021 |

The Legacy of Militancy in Punjab

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man—heraclitus militancy convulsed Punjab from roughly 1984 to 1994.

Full Title: The Legacy of Militancy in Punjab: Long Road to ‘Normalcy’

Author: Inderjit Singh Jaijee AND, Dona Suri
Publisher: 

Award Category: 
About the Book: 

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man—heraclitus militancy convulsed Punjab from roughly 1984 to 1994. Afterwards, politicians, government salespersons and assorted intellectuals declared that ‘khalistan’ was gone and the State was ‘returning to normalcy’ as though the state would suddenly find itself in some pleasant place of bygone era. But that is far from the truth. In reality, when the gunfire ceased, 10 years of turmoil left lasting scars and chronic afflictions. Reduced accountability warped administrative and executive ‘culture’ and threat perception coloured the attitude of the judiciary for years. Victimization at the hands of both police and insurgents created risk-averse citizens who prioritized personal safety above all, while policies pertaining to state debt and industry impacted economic development. This book recounts the no-holds-barred struggle to suppress militancy that morphed into an unrestricted abuse of power. It details how militancy affected the credibility of the judiciary, why trials dragged on for 25 years, how militancy influenced the popular culture and how the youth are still responding to conditions in today’s Punjab. Excerpt: ‘normalcy’ is a comforting word; it conveys the idea that problems are solved and good times are back. But anyone who has lived through, or read about, post-war conditions anywhere in the world—germany, Japan, Spain, Serbia, Ireland, Iraq, Nicaragua, anywhere—knows that the absence of gunfire is just that and nothing more.


About the Author: 

Inderjit Singh Jaijee is well known in Punjab for his work to ensure education for rural children as well as for his advocacy of civil rights and human rights. Dona Suri has been a newspaper editor for 35 years and has worked in India Today, The Tribune, Indian Express and The Hindustan Times


Excerpt: 

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man—heraclitus militancy convulsed Punjab from roughly 1984 to 1994. Afterwards, politicians, government salespersons and assorted intellectuals declared that ‘khalistan’ was gone and the State was ‘returning to normalcy’ as though the state would suddenly find itself in some pleasant place of bygone era. But that is far from the truth. In reality, when the gunfire ceased, 10 years of turmoil left lasting scars and chronic afflictions. Reduced accountability warped administrative and executive ‘culture’ and threat perception coloured the attitude of the judiciary for years. Victimization at the hands of both police and insurgents created risk-averse citizens who prioritized personal safety above all, while policies pertaining to state debt and industry impacted economic development. This book recounts the no-holds-barred struggle to suppress militancy that morphed into an unrestricted abuse of power. It details how militancy affected the credibility of the judiciary, why trials dragged on for 25 years, how militancy influenced the popular culture and how the youth are still responding to conditions in today’s PUNJAB.


Review: 

Exciting writing buttressed by new documentation and presentation makes this an essential book for general as well as scholarly readers. Punjab, militancy, political and judicial behaviour are expertly provided in a straight and provocative manner. (Paul Wallace, Political Scientist and Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri)

This is a thoughtful compendium of misdemeanours of the Indian state suffered by civil society in the wake of more than a decade of militancy and supposedly justified by it. Juxtaposed to plentiful official propaganda, the book is a grim reminder of what has actually happened, and is a timely warning that we should continually check our defences. Dona Suri has brought a neatness and a conversational touch which in no way lessens the anger and sadness that you will feel. (J. P. S. Uberoi, Formerly Professor of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics)

A superb sum up of our times written with wit and loving detachment. (Rajwinder Singh Bains, Senior Advocate, Punjab and Haryana Court and veteran human rights activist)


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