Left Politics in Punjab

Link to the Tribune article. Sunday 2016-September-25

Teja Singh Sutantar & Baba Gurmukh Singh in 1946.


Big communist names from Punjab:

  • Harkishan Singh Surjeet
  • Prof Randhir Singh
  • Satpal Dang
  • Vimla Dang

Non-religious, hence anti-Khalistan.  First-generation communist leadership, including the Ghadris and people such as Sohan Singh Josh, Teja Singh Sutantar, was the product of Sikh politics, the communists’ total divorce from religion became a reason of their failure

Failed to extend its mass appeal beyond the Sikh peasantry.

Green Revolution brought some new challenges which they couldn’t properly identify. This was followed by Sikh militancy, in which Communists lost a large cadre. Another jolt came in the 1980s and ’90s when BSP emerged and Left’s class base shifted to caste politics.

The situation is such that in the last Lok Sabha elections, the Left was even defeated by NOTA. In the last assembly elections they couldn’t save their deposit on even a single assembly seat.

The Naxalite movement influenced lots of ideas and poetry.

  • Avtar Pash
  • Surjit Patar
  • Lal Singh Dil
  • Gursharan Singh theater guy
  • Novelist Gurdial Singh
  • Darshan Khatkar, poet
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A tale of two migrations


Gurdaspur district of Punjab is at the border with Pakistan and has been witness to multiple periods of instability starting with the partition of the country in 1947 and most recently as a new and emerging theatre for the unholy cocktail of drugs and Pakistan sponsored terrorism.

Whenever I travel by road through the Punjab countryside, I’m left in awe of the sprawling agricultural fields – lush green carpets of crops extending into the horizon in a blue-green blissful fusion. But this time was slightly different. I was travelling to Dera Baba Nanak – a sleepy border town on the banks of river Ravi in Gurdaspur district where my paternal family originally belonged.

Gurdaspur was one of the contentious districts and its fate was not known at the time of partition. While nearly 51% of the population was Muslim, eventually 3 of the tehsils were given to India with only…

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Cannabis is a genus of flowering plant that includes three species sativa, indica, and ruderalis.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a preparation of the Cannabis plant

Hashish, or hash, is also an extracted product.

Charas is the name given to a hashish form of cannabis.

Other names:

  • Ganja
  • Bhang
  • Pot
  • Weed
  • Joint

The term hemp is used to name the durable soft fiber from the Cannabis plant stem.



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Opioid drugs work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body. They reduce the sending of pain messages to the brain and reduce feelings of pain.

Some types of opioid drugs include:

  • codeine (only available in generic form)
  • fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
  • hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
  • hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • meperidine (Demerol)
  • methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • morphine (Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, Ora-Morph SR)
  • oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxecta, Roxicodone)
  • oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet)
  • oxycodone and naloxone (Targiniq ER)


This photo shows a seedhead of Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum with white latex.

From Wikipedia: “I took this photo in Den Haag. I cut the seedhead and a white milk dripped out. The next day the white milk was dried brown.”

Afghanistan’s opium poppy production goes into more than 90% of heroin worldwide.

The opium poppy contains up to 50 alkaloids, and the most famous is morphine. Another alkaloid in the latex of poppy is codeine. Codeine has one-seventh the biological activity of morphine, has less physical dependency, hence its use in prescription cough medicine and drops.

In 1898, Heinrich Dreser of Friedrich Bayer and Company introduced acetylated morphine as the “heroic drug”, under the proprietary name ‘Heroin’ (diamorphine). This drug quickly became popular worldwide. The very strong heroin was widely prescribed and could be purchased by mail order. By 1900, there were an estimated 1,000,000 opiate addicts in the United States, often addicted by accident.

So even though it was initially hailed as a nonaddictive morphine substitute, heroin actually was metabolized twice as fast, is four times more potent, yielding a combined effect of both chemicals and a drug with very high physical dependence capacity.

Governments, under pressure, were compelled to introduce laws on dangerous drugs, and responsible companies stopped using and supplying opiates. In the U.S. opium was eventually placed under federal restrictions by the Harrison Act of 1914.

In 1973, research first reported that opiates work with specific receptor sites in the brain, replacing naturally produced opiate peptides in the brain, called enkephalins, endorphins, and dynophins. These chemicals inhibit pain messages from being read by the brain cortex, but endorphins are also euphorics, involved in “runner’s high”. Within weeks of daily use, the body becomes physically dependent on this external supply and stops making its own opiate messages in nerve cells. Withdrawal symptoms are related to this fight to restore body functions, and the body cannot return to pristine condition, while receptors are permanently altered. Withdrawal includes a horrible syndrome of limbic and brain stem problems.

Chitta = Heroin.

Some slang names for heroin are:

  • Smack
  • Junk
  • H
  • Black tar
  • Horse

In Punjab, the most common opioid drug used is heroin (reported by 53%), followed by opium / doda / phukki (reported by 33%). Rest (14%) report using a variety of pharmaceutical opioids.

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AIIMS Report on Drug Use in Punjab

Here is the (summary of) AIIMS Report on Drug Use in Punjab


Main findings:

  1. Number of opioid users is about 8.6 lakh. This is 3.1% of the population, as opposed to the ridiculous 70% thrown around by Rahul Gandhi and random journalists.
  2. Percentage of “youth” (18-35 years old) who are opioid users: 15 percent.
  3. So what in the world was the 70% number? It is approximately the number of opioid users who are in the youth category (18-35 years old).
  4. Money spent on opioids by users: Rs 20 crore per day.

    I hate to spell this out, but all journalists reporting on this issue, remember this: The percentage of drug users who are “youth” is NOT the same thing as the percentage of “youth” who are drug users.


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Causes to care about in life

This snapshot is from the application for the EA global summit 2016. Good list.Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 9.37.32 PM.png


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Section 144 in CrPC


Section 144 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973

144. Power to issue order in urgent cases of nuisance of apprehended danger.

(1) In cases where, in the opinion of a District Magistrate, a Sub-divisional Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate specially empowered by the State Government in this behalf, there is sufficient ground for proceeding under this section and immediate prevention or speedy remedy is desirable, such Magistrate may, by a written order stating the material facts of the case and served in the manner provided by section 134, direct any person to abstain from a certain act or to take certain order with respect to certain property in his possession or under his management, if such Magistrate considers that such direction is likely to prevent, or tends to prevent, obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed, or danger to human life, health or safety, or a disturbance of the public tranquility, or a riot, of an affray.

(2) An order under this section may, in cases of emergency or in cases where the circumstances do not admit of the serving in due time of a notice upon the person against whom the order is directed, be passed ex parte.

(3) An order under this section may be directed to a particular individual, or to persons residing in a particular place or area, or to the public generally when frequenting or visiting a particular place or area.

(4) No order under this section shall remain in force for more than two months from the making thereof: Provided that, if the State Government considers it necessary so to do for preventing danger to human life, health or safety or for preventing a riot or any affray, it may, by notification, direct that an order made by a Magistrate under this section shall remain in force for such further period not exceeding six months from the date on which the order made by the Magistrate would have, but for such order, expired, as it may specify in the said notification.

(5) Any Magistrate may, either on his own motion or on the application of any person aggrieved, rescind or alter any order made under this section, by himself or any Magistrate subordinate to him or by his predecessor-in-office.

(6) The State Government may, either on its own motion or on the application of any person aggrieved, rescind or alter any order made by it under the proviso to sub-section (4).

(7) Where an application under sub- section (5) or sub- section (6) is received, the Magistrate, or the State Government, as the case may be, shall afford to the applicant an early opportunity of appearing before him or it, either in person or by pleader and showing cause against the order; and if the Magistrate or the State Government, as the case may be, rejects the application wholly or in part, he or it shall record in writing the reasons for so doing.

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