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OpinionsPunjab Tableau Row: A Political Agenda or Vendetta?

Punjab Tableau Row: A Political Agenda or Vendetta?

Date:

JAG MOHAN THAKEN CHANDIGARH

has always served as a shield against external or internal attacks on India. To forget the sacrifice of the heroes here is to forget Indian history. Here, while the youth had kissed the noose with a smile, the Gurus, who had always given the message of humanity, not only got their heads chopped off but had also gotten their innocent children stuck in the wall so that the religion and honour of the country could be kept intact. Even today the words of the Gurus provide coolness to the mind and give the message of peace and brotherhood. In such a situation, if the Government of India does not see any merit in the tableaux of Punjab for the Republic Day and these tableaux are not even considered worthy of display, then it is not only surprising but also saddening and forces one to think that after all, ‘Why don't we see the qualities worthy of display in our sacrifices and ?' Is this being done due to some special agenda or political discrimination as alleged by Punjab Chief Minister, Bhagwant Singh Mann? Definitely the question will arise.

Punjab government had submitted three ideas viz. Punjab-history of sacrifice and martyrdom, Mai Bhago- the First Lady warrior of Sikhism (women empowerment) and Rich heritage of Punjab.

CM Mann said that these ideas were duly submitted on time with the Union government for their approval, but the union government had ignored the immense contribution of the state by rejecting these ideas.

Slamming the BJP led Union government for rejecting the tableau of state for the Republic Day parade, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann, on December 27, alleged that the ‘power mad' centre government is demeaning and humiliating the enormous sacrifices made by Punjabis in the national freedom struggle.

“This is not for the first time but last year also the BJP led Union government had done the same mischief and by rejecting the tableau this year too, centre has rubbed salt into wounds of the state” said the Chief Minister in an official release on December 27.

Mann alleged that for the last two years, the Modi government has deliberately kept Punjab out of this mega national event. This year also more than 90% states that have been selected for tableaus are being ruled by the BJP, which indicates the ongoing saffronisation of Republic Day and Independence Day by the Modi government.

Criticizing the action of the central government, Shiromani Akali Dal President and former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal, in a tweet on December 28, states, “How can any national event be deemed complete without highlighting the heritage of the great Guru Sahiban, the Sahibzadas and countless heroes and martyrs of freedom struggle like Shaheed-E-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh, Sardar Kartar Singh Sarabha, Sardar Udham Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai? Anyone responsible for this injustice to the land of martyrs deserves to be identified and held accountable.”

He further adds, “I strongly urge Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi to intervene against discrimination against proud, patriotic and valorous Punjab and Punjabis through the exclusion of the state from R-Day parade.”

Punjab State Congress President Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, while questioning the decision of non-inclusion of Punjab Tableaus, tweeted on December 29, “It is highly improbable that Punjab's Tableau has been denied for the 26th January parade. All Tableaus are inspected by a central team & released only if nothing is objectionable. The central govt could have suggested changes if any but outrightly rejecting our Tableau proves that they discriminate against Punjab. This is not in the spirit of COOPERATIVE FEDERALISM.”

 

Why the tableaus not

considered?

The Ministry of on Sunday, December 31, clarified that the tableau proposal of Punjab was considered in the first three rounds of meeting of the expert committee comprising eminent persons in the field of , culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography, etc.

After the third round of meeting, the tableau of Punjab could not be taken forward by the committee for further consideration for not aligning to the broader themes of this year's tableau.

Explaining further an official with the Defence Ministry said, “As states have to be treated equally, it is essential that states should be given the opportunity to display their tableaus as per a formula. Hence, the criticism by these states (Punjab and West Bengal) is baseless.”

To give further chance to the rejected category states, the MoD official divulged, “Moreover, the states and UTs not being selected for the Republic Day Parade are being invited to showcase their tableaux in Bharat Parv at Red Fort, New Delhi, during January 23-31.”

Strongly criticizing the suggestion of MoD to the states that they can showcase their tableaux in Bharat Parv at Red Fort, New Delhi, during January 23-31, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann categorically said that the state government will not send its tableau in the rejected categories list of the Modi led Union government as the martyrs of the country do not need NoC from BJP.

In a statement, the Chief Minister said that the great martyrs including Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Rajguru, Shaheed Sukhdev, Lala Lajpat Rai, Shaheed Udham Singh, Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha, Mai Bhago, Ghadri Baabe and others cannot be kept in rejected category. He said that the union government is trying to belittle their contribution and sacrifice of these heroes by not including their tableaus in the Republic Day parade.  Mann said that this cannot be tolerated as it is the grave insult of these great patriots and national leaders.

How the GOI should have ensured its decision fair and free from biasedness?

Commenting over the issue, a senior Punjab journalist, Jai Singh Chhibber says, “The celebration of 26 January (Republic Day) is a matter of pride for Indians. The Republic Day parade should not be politicized in the name of tableaus. Martyrs do not belong to any party or religion, rather they have given martyrdom for the country. Through tableaus, developments in various fields, progressive works or schemes initiated by the government and where India or the state stands in the modern arena are expressed. Indians are proud of their martyrs. It was because of the martyrs that the country became independent, and the Constitution came into force on 26 January, due to which this day is a day of great pride for Indians. To ascertain that no controversy regarding the tableau arises at any point, the Government of India should have issued guidelines in advance or the states' Rotation should be done so that all the states get a chance to participate in the parade. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann should also have raised this issue with the Government of India instead of holding a hasty press conference regarding the tableau.”

Analysing both ends—MoD decision and criticism by all major political parties of Punjab- Congress, Aam Adami Party and Shiromani Akali Dal, one cannot ascertain up to the mark that the decision is biased, or vendetta based, but it does not sound fully transparent and beyond doubt even, as it has failed to satisfy the questions being raised in the public mind.

To prove unbiasedness and fairness, every decision of the authority should be as transparent as crystal water.

While deciding an issue, the authority should always keep in mind the dictum laid down by Lord Hewart, the then Lord Chief Justice of England, “Justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done.”

 

 

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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