A Trip Through Cancer Belt of Punjab- By Taran Dhillon, Panjab University
Flag: Punjab Travels: Muktsar-Malout-Lambi-Faridkot-Bathinda
As a student, while living at campus residence, every opportunity to visit home or a friend’s home is like a jackpot. Recently, I travelled though Muktsar-Malout-Lambi-Faridkot-Bathinda area while on a tour to attend a wedding at my friend Dharma’s village. My travel was quite comfy in spite of being very hot summer season, thanks to the Volvo Air-conditioned Bus that made the drive easier. I would recommend this bus, however sometimes they put out stool in the middle isle to create more seating, obviously to sell more tickets. Overall, not a bad deal to escape the scorching heat of Malwa region, I would say.
If I were to put my Malwa tour into one sentence- It was emotional, eye opener and a huge learning experience. Entire trip was full of mixed emotions as I received tremendous love and got to enjoy the fun filled occasion of wedding along with family and close friends. At the same time, I couldn’t spare myself from the hints of bitterness of the harsh realities of the region. Accessibility of clean water in the region is one of the major issues people face. There’s one or more cancer patient in every home. It was ironic to meet a handsome long bearded, happy spirited man dressed in white kurta-pajama, who I couldn’t have imagined was on his way to get cancer treatment from PGI, Chandigarh, and a catheter pipe was leaking from beneath his clothes.
Then, I visited the native village of Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Badal. The village is flourishing with institutes and solid infrastructure and accessibility of a stadium, civil hospital, Government nursing Institute, Verka Milk Plant and so much more for a single village. I wasn’t surprised for it being the village of a five time Chief Minister in a row. It’s rather impressing!
Another one of my experiences was learning the adversities faced by refuges from who moved to India during India-Pakistan Partition, I know this subject has been talked and spoken about over and over, but those who suffered migration, never recovered from it. Their stories are still living!
Below are some shots from the days I spent in the big chunk of Malwa region.