When it’s election time, the opponents wear invisible boxing gloves and box, badger and bruise each other on every issue. Like little squabbling children, they cannot agree on anything. Canada, facing the elections this year shows the same pattern. But for one issue, the gloves are off.
And that is the strength of the Punjabi community in Canada. The Liberals, Conservatives, the NDP and others all chant an ‘aye’ on how strongly the Punjabi community will affect the outcome of the elections.
The partition of India in 1947 segregated land, hearts and politics. History displaced Punjabis in a cruel way. In today’s world, the Punjabis are having the last laugh. Having choked the UK, the US, Canada, they’re eyeing Australia and NZ with a vengeance. Fair enough! As a community if you have the courage to explore newer lands for better opportunities, so be it.
Every white land they have conquered the rulers have had to acknowledge their presence. Every sensible government will have to. Of all our foreign sojourns, ‘Kanaada’ remains the love of our life. It’s no surprise that after the Chinese, we’re the immigrants in largest numbers. And every time a NRI from Canada is in his village in Punjab, he ignites hope in thousand Punjabi hearts. Even though some Conservatives may wrinkle up their noses at this exodus, everyone knows that this coming of immigrants sends the cash registers doing ‘balle balle’.
Trudeau’s wardrobe aimed at appeasement of Punjabis
You don’t have to be a political pundit to connect Mr Justin Trudeau doing the ‘bhangra’ moves translating into pretty dance moves for his party. In spite of a political snub during his visit to India, he was a smiling picture at the Taj Mahal , the Harmandar Sahib in his newly replenished wardrobe of kurta pyjamas, because he knew that this was important for the Punjabis, particularly the Sikhs back home.
I think among all the communities in Canada, Punjabis add the most colour wherever we go. And noise too. So our ‘apna Punjab’s’ spring up in Brampton and Surrey, where the time stands still. Its Punjabi conversation, Punjabi suits, Punjabi food and the Punjabi boisterousness. It’s the ultimate dream. You’re in Canada, but still in Punjab. Earning in dollars and dancing to the tune of “Ni laake 3 peg balliye Painde bhangre Gaddi Di Diggi khol ke….”
New-age Punjabi – Chic, urbane, skilled
There’s a new Punjabi round the block too. The chic, the urbane, the educated: who is skilled, who is highly verbal and who knows that as an immigrant he is not to be pitied or scorned. He’s here as an asset to the country. He knows that when you have barbeque, you bring in chicken, fish or marshmallows. The paranthas, chholey and paneer can be had at home.
In all this, the Punjabi students coming to study here and never going back of course remains the most popular sport of the Punjabis. The Punjabi student is like a participant in the “Survivor” series, where he knows that after mortgaging his lands, his parent’s future, he has to win this battle of earning Canadian dollars.
So, ladies and gentlemen, here’s all the strange mixes in the Punjabis, their eccentricities, their strengths, their tenacity, living in Canada with their dreams. Is the increase in their population logically leading to an increase in their importance in the Canadian political spectrum?
Yes, I would say. Sometimes a little but strong gust of wind is sufficient to knock a big tree off. We, Punjabis are that. We may not be deal breakers, but we are part of the swing that could set the pendulum rolling.
So in the coming elections, the leaders better learn to get their “bhangra” steps right. This way, they could be dancing all the way to the Parliament. So Mr JustinTrudeau and Mr Andrew Scheer, interested in a Punjabi dancing numbers playlist?