We had the money, the resources to enable them instead we worked hard towards disabling them. Once Punjabi’s were known for working hard, living life of dignity and loving their families but that is no longer the case. Today Punjab is riddled with huge unemployment rates, crippling drug problems and the country’s highest girl feticides rate. As much as we like to blame the Indian government for all the issues Punjab is facing, I can’t help but feel we are also responsible. Did we lay the foundation and the Indian Government take advantage of the situation? Are we somehow responsible for the unemployment, drug problems and the loss of love between families?
Did we disable our families from wanting to work by sending them money, with no strings attached? When NRI’s first began earning in other countries, their first concern was sending money home. Originally the money was used to pay off loans occurred over the years and the loans taken out to get out of the country. But once the loans were paid off, NRIs did not shift focus onto fixing up their own living conditions. They kept sending money back home to buy more land, to build a bigger house, to buy a car and etc. The family back home got use to receiving the luxuries without having to earn them. Now the first generation knew the struggle it took to receive those luxuries and was appreciative but the second generation that never had to struggle for anything in life, felt it was their birth right. All of sudden almost all jobs felt unfit for those that were used to getting everything without working. NRIs disabled our youth when it comes to working and caused the beginning of Punjab’s unemployment problems.
If unemployment was not bad enough, it brought a drug problem with it. The youth had no desire to work but had a desire to prove themselves cooler than all their friends. So when they were introduced to drugs, they could afford it using money sent by NRIs but they had no reason not to try them. It became a competition how could find the better drugs, do the better drugs, get the better high between the rich and the spoiled. While the rich competed, the poor looked for outlet for their pain. The pain that comes from knowing that no matter how hard I work, someone will have better stuff then me without even trying. Their pain found the outlet in drugs they could afford and sometimes drugs they couldn’t afford. The addiction got so out of hand, families began cutting their kids off and the youth became desperate. Desperate youth began committing first petty crimes and then major crimes to get their hands on the drugs without which they could no longer imagine their lives.
Families began to fall apart because they did not know how to cope with the wide spread drug epidemic. On one hand their families falling apart on the other NRIs visiting and having to cater to them to keep them happy, so they would keep giving the money that they could no longer operate without. The stress created tremendous amount of tension that began ripping families apart. Everyone knew there were problems but no one said a word. The NRIs could not see how the families back home could be so upset, since they gave them so much; to them the families were just ungrateful. The families back home didn’t know how to tell their NRI family members their true struggles. Struggles that involved spending more than the earned and then getting into debt because they were too dependent on money being sent home by NRIs. About the youth going in the wrong path and people not understanding, blaming them, for everything and still not being able to help their children. All these problems but not being able to talk about it, find a solution because we are all created in this fake perfect world that was made used NRI money. We created the problems that drove our families apart.
And then the Indian government took advantage of the situation, to worsen the condition of Punjab. To break it because it is the home of the Sikhs and the Indian Government has never liked Sikhs. But we are strong people, Punjabis don’t get defeated; we fight. That fight in us, gives us the strength to admit that the NRI’s money caused as much damage as it did good. It gives us the strength to try and fix our mistakes. We can still send money home but we have to make sure it is spent to strength our families, not break them from inside out. The money needs to be spent creating jobs, fighting drugs and saving our daughters. Our time needs to be spent not fighting but connecting with Guru Granth Sahib Ji, so there will never be a need to fight anymore and we can finally have peace.
So, let’s stop focusing on the Indian government; what they did to create the problem and what they didn’t do to solve it. Let’s focus on us; what we did and what we can do to solve our own problems. Let’s stop waiting till it is too late.