The Book: A Study of the finings of a survey of the border districts of Punjab by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Chandigarh, in the nineteen-eighties, at the height of Sikh militancy, led the Author to seek an understanding of this traumatic development. Those were indeed crucial years for the people of Punjab. The Author has sought the roots of this crisis in the history of Punjab, since the days of the national movement. The result is a comprehensive study of the historical, cultural, political, economic and social experiences of the people of Punjab -the blood-letting of partition, the problems of the social and cultural integration of the people of the two parts of Punjab, repeated changes in the political and administrative boundaries of he state and the problems left behind. He provides a comprehensive and analytical study of the data available from the CRRID study and relates them to the crisis of the nineteen-eighties.
The Author analyses the violence in Punjab in relation to similar happenings in different parts of the country. He believes that such violence, more often than not with secessionist aims, is an expression of the crisis of development. The militant articulation differs from state to state, according to its specific experiences. In their totality they raise issues of regional autonomy within the federal structure of India. The failure to address this vital question, according to the Author, threatens the unity and integrity of the country and provides neighbouring countries opportunities for subversive interventions. In this context the Author has considered in some detail the rarely discussed question of the crucial importance of the strategic location of Punjab for the security of India and particularly of Kashmir. He has drawn specific attention to the role of the people, in such situations, in helping the armed forces, with reference to the experience of the war with Pakistan in 1965.
The book is an exhaustive study with a strong database. The framework is interpretative, which helps an attempt to look at possibilities for solutions to the issues that continue to be ignored even today. The study assumes some significance today in view of recent expressions of growing discontent among some sections of the farming community in Punjab. The book has a foreword by Mr. P.H. Haksar.
About the Author:
Subrata Banerjee: Journalist, diplomat, Author, editor and broadcaster, did his masters in English Literature from Calcutta university. After a brief teaching assignment at Visvabharati, he joined the armed forces. He saw active service with the 14th Army in Burma and in Indo-China (Vietnam). His career in journalism began with his assignment as war correspondent in the army. After the RIN strike, he took a premature release from the army. A spell of 14 years in advertising, marketing and public relation followed, before he returned to journalism as Assistant Editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, which he also edited for a brief period. A government assignment followed in the wake of the liberation war in Bangladesh, first as Director, Information and Public relations, Government of West Bengal and then us Counsellor (Information) with the Indian High Commission at Dhaka. He returned to India to join The Economic Times as its Assistant Editor in New Delhi.
On retirement he joined the Indian Institute of Mass Communication as a professor and designed its Diploma course in Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations. He later joined the centre for research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh, first as Editorial Consultant, then as Editor of the centre's quarterly journal, Man & development, of which he is now Chairman of the Editorial Board. he has been associated with CRRID for 25 years. He broadcast regularly for a number of years; wrote and narrated commentaries for a number advertising documentaries and wrote the script of a national award-winning documentary on Indian Postage Stamps for Films Division.
Subrata Banerjee has authored, Vietnam Struggles for freedom, advertising in Small newspapers, RIN Strike, Bangladesh, Non-Alignment Today, Tryst with Time (Poems); translated the recruit, Post-war Revolt of the Rural Poor in West Bengal; and edited Culture and Communication, Secularism and Indian Polity and Haskar memorial Volumes I, II and III.