This Punjab village is crime-free, sans liquor shop

This Punjab village is crime-free, sans liquor shop

The canopy of a huge pipal tree in this  village in border state  of Punjab soaks much of the sweltering heat, and tempers too, as ageing turbaned men flaunting their free flowing salt-peppered beard attempt to iron out contentious issues.

The only thing that’s assured at the end of this long consuming exercise is an amicable settlement. That’s the least guaranteed. That’s why this pipal tree and the village have become symbols of brotherhood and peace in the area.

Welcome to Gajjan Wala Singh village in Faridkot district of Punjab. This is,
perhaps, the lone village in the state where no crime has taken place at least in the last three decades.

The police records testify this fact. It was way back in early seventies when a case of murder was registered against people of this village by the police, villagers faintly recall. Since then, they say, there have been no incide­nts of crime in the village. It’s a model
village perhaps insulated from incidents of theft, burglary, kidnapping, murder or for that matter any heinous crime.

The nearest police station in Kotkapura is about 5 km away. But that’s a distance seldom traveled by villagers. Not that the men-in-khakhi don’t visit this village, just that whenever they do its more of a goodwill gesture to know if all’s well.

The incumbent village sarpanch Karamjit Kaur is a woman. She’s left with about a year-and-a-half term to serve the village. Her spouse, Surinder Singh, just like many other “husbands of sarpanches”, plays a no less significant part in
village matters.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Singh said they’ve inherited a crime-free legacy from their forefathers. “This village did witness sporadic incidents of crime decades ago. But all that only made us grow in our belief to make this village crime free. We’ve done it and the village headmen resolve all disputes,” he added.

Since 1994, Karamjit Kaur says, all  village elections have been through
consensus. “It has been 20 years since the village voted for the headman. It’s all
amicably decided democratically through consensus,” she said.

Politics divides and breeds contempt, she adds, insisting that her village’s
phenomenal realisation and efforts to  ensure a crime-free society can be a well propagated lesson for others to follow.

Not that disputes, especially over land and property, don’t happen. But villagers here prefer the panchayat route rather than the nearest police station. The village has no liquor vend. It’s got a registered sports club where youth spend much of their time. There’s a gym as well, Singh stresses.

He proudly goes on to highlight what is perhaps a staple ingredient with every other household in Punjab. “We have several families in the village who have relatives in the US and Canada. They keep visiting us and pat us for our rare feat,” Singh said. The village isn’t one of the big sized densely populated villages. Just over a hundred families in the village share this impeccable bond of harmonious co-existence.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)