Chuddiwala Chisti (Fazilka District,Punjab), May 25 : Radio Pakistan's attempts to spread rumours about disharmony prevailing in Eastern Punjab and in other parts of India, have been out rightly rejected by residents of the state, and more specifically by inhabitants of Chuddiwala Chisti village in Punjab's Fazilka District.
Situated near the Indo-Pakistan border in Ferozepur district, this village was witness to the horrors of India's partition in 1947 and the heat of India's three wars with Pakistan.
Though isolated and undeveloped, Chuddiwala Chisti takes enormous pride in promoting unity and brotherhood among all castes and among people with of different religious persuasion.
Radio Pakistan's Punjabi Darbar programme claim that disharmony prevails among the people of Punjab hurt the villagers sentiments.
Sampuran Singh, 70, said: "I witnessed the bloodshed during the days of Partition. But even after so many decades, we live in harmony and unity. So, Pakistan should discourage this sort of misinformation, which misleads people on either side of the border."
Mukhtayar Singh, the headman of the village, has also expressed his unhappiness over Radio Pakistan's false propaganda against India, and makes it his business to expose this misinformation from loudspeakers installed inside the local gurudwara.
"Radio Pakistan first attracts its listeners with a recital of the Gurbani. We also listen to it and feel blissful, but when the Punjabi Darbar programme starts passing misinformation about our own country, it hurts a lot," said Mukhtayar.
Villagers of all castes and creeds live in harmony. They go to gurudwaras, temples and mosques to offer prayers. So where is the question of disharmony existing? He adds.
The residents of Chuddhiwala Chisti are quite determined not to allow Radio Pakistan's malicious propaganda to have an impact on their minds.
For centuries, Punjab has generated stories of harmony, bravery, spirit, and self-reliance, and last but not least entrepreneurship.
Annual events like the rural Olympics in Kila Raipur in Ludhiana District stand testimony to these characteristics.
Every year for the past 73 years, this recreational meeting allows farmers and other rural folk to showcase the spirit and desire to preserve 'Punjabiat', the feeling of being proud to be a Punjabi, and promoting traditions of communal c-existence.
Where can there be disharmony when over 4,000 participants and a million odd spectators, including foreigners, join up for a couple of weeks of sport and shared bonhomie. What stands out year after year is the mettle shown. Modernity may have made its impact, but traditions of valour, resilience and Punjabiat have not been dislodged.
Muslim-Sikh relations in the rural Punjab have been ideal throughout history. Both communities before the advent of the British, lived in Punjab, had their own places of worship and formal educational institutions.
Both taught their religious heritage to the next generation, and maintained their communal identity in the Punjab. They were Sikhs and Muslims when they were in gurdwaras and mosques, but outside these religious places, they project themselves as brothers and Punjabis.
Both communities live a friendly life in rural Punjab on the basis of inter-dependence and co-existence. Economic activities require them to cooperate for mutual benefit, and they are convinced that this the key to a peaceful and stable life.
It is a known historical fact that Sikhs have been socially and religiously close to Hindus, but this not prevented the Muslims in the state from breaking bread with other communities in the region.
There may have been plunder, loot and killing in 1947, but sixty years on, the rural folk are content to live in harmony, forgetting a past of horror and mayhem.