An afternoon dedicated to the treasure of Punjabi literature: The Tribune India

Tribune press service

Amritsar, March 28

It was an afternoon of insightful exploration of Punjabi literature, its relevance and status in the contemporary context as eminent literary figures shared a common stage at Majha House. The Prabha Khaitan Foundation, in association with Majha House, organized a one-day meeting between Punjabi Yuva Sammelan and Sahit Sabhyachaar on Sunday.

Opened by Punjabi poet Surjit Patar, the gathering hosted several sessions and discussions on Punjabi literature and allowed young and aspiring Punjabi writers to share their work with a mixed audience. Patar, while talking about the lack of holistic environment in present-day Punjab for his youth, said, “It is a tragedy that the present environment, be it cultural, socio-economic and otherwise, is not youth hospital. This is the reason why we have a large number of young people migrating to foreign lands for better prospects. If this continues, without stakeholders coming up with a solution, there will be no guardians of our cultural and literary heritage.

Patar also shared his perspective on the indifference ghazal received in literary circles, when he was an aspiring poet. “Ghazal has always been seen as a less respectful counterpart to nazm. Indeed, the ghazal does not follow a single theme or even a pattern like the nazm, which is about a single topic. So when I started writing ghazals, I tried to bring consistency to it, which later became popular,” he said.

Patar’s ghazals and poetry were also recited later in the afternoon. A hugely popular poet of the Punjabi language among young and old, Patar also explained how in poetic writing it was important to keep the spotlight on the verse and the one who writes it, which is often the case.

In another session, on Punjabiyat ethics, where conservation expert Gurmeet Sangha Rai, Gurupdesh Singh and literary experts Jasbir Singh and Harvinder Singh Bhandal, it was discussed how Punjabis have always been a community rebel.

“We have always been a mixed and secular society, with a caste system that infiltrated it quite late. By nature, the Punjabis were known to be rebellious, a martial race, a fact which the British also realized and as a result many Sikhs were inducted into the armed forces,” Gurupdesh Singh said.

Later in the day, poetry recitals and a story-reading session also took place. In a captivating story-reading session, Ghar Wapsi by Rabindranath Tagore, A portrait of a Lady by Khushwant Singh, SadhDey Zakhm by Jaswant Singh Kamal and Satranga by Gulzar were read.

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