South Asian Communities Un-Represented in Vancouver’s Arts and Policy Council

City of Vancouver Arts and Policy Council, appointed. Guess what – no professional South Asian Arts represented. Kind of funny given the robust arts and culture experience that has emerged from this particular demographic. I thought I would paste the info below as backgrounder.

As a Surrey resident I will make this one observation – since moving to Surrey, I have been invited/included in many arts and culture conversations and that encouragement has been by both professional arts and culture staff and members of the community; which is contrary to my experience in either my former addresses in Vancouver or Burnaby.

So what gives on this process? Was it that invitations were sent and some were not interested in volunteering for free, or was it a long standing arts and cultural milieu playing gatekeepers?

Backgrounder
The 15-member council was chosen from 199 applicants, and is comprised of representatives from performing arts, visual arts, literary arts, and from emerging talent as well as established artists. The council was established with feedback from the community, including 150 community members at two public workshops and 544 surveys that were created using the feedback from public workshops.

http://vancouver.ca/your-government/arts-and-culture-policy-council.aspx

From a Facebook note
By Phinder Dulai
http://www.facebook.com/phinder.dulai
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Remembering a legend – A tribute to Mehdi Hassan‏

A voice that ruled the hearts of South Asians for nearly half a century; a voice in which Lata Mangeshkar said she had found Bhagwan, continues on but the singer is no more with us.

The Shanshah-e-Ghazal Mehdi Hassan (1927-2012) passed away June 13 at 84.

To pay tribute to this great legend, the Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC) and Naad Foundation are hosting an event. Program details are as under:

When: Sunday 17th June at 2:00 pm
Where: Naad Center for performing and visual arts
Unit No: 109, 12414- 82 Ave, Surrey BC.

Rest in Peace Mehdi Hassan Khan Sahab – you’re no longer with us but we will always remember you!

RSVP
Amarjeet Singh 778-883-2627
Shahzad Nazir Khan 604-613-0735

Photo from Mirza Ghalib group on Facebook.
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Surrey Muse Reading/Presentation – Surrey BC Nov 25/11

Surrey Muse is having it’s first reading and presentation meeting this Friday. A new interdisciplinary group, it’s objectives include presenting creative work of artists, writers, poets, musicians, singers, dramatists, actors, photographers and painters from diverse cultural communities of Surrey; and, to bring in similar representation from other cities.

The first meeting of Surrey Muse features an out-of-town established Guest Author, a highly regarded Surrey-based poet, and a young local playwright representing three different locations, expressions and achievements. Discussion and Open Mic follows.

Support Surrey Muse with your presence, ideas and thoughts.
Contact: surrey.muse@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Surrey-Muse/
Web Page: http://surreymuse.wordpress.com/

Surrey Muse first meeting
5:30 – 7:30 PM
Room 418
City Centre branch
Surrey Public Library
Phone: (604) 598-7420
(Surrey Central skytrain)

Guest Author: Susan Crean
Featured Poet: Manolis
Featured Playwright: Sana Janjua
Host: Valerie B.-Taylor

Open Mic
Refreshments

Free event
Donations welcome

Download PDF Poster

Contact: surrey.muse@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Surrey-Muse/
Web Page: http://surreymuse.wordpress.com/

Next meeting: Friday, January 27, 2012

Poster designed by Mariam Zohra-Durrani
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‘From Struggles to Success’ – Women’s Empowerment: Surrey Nov 4-6/11

‘From Struggles to Success’
The Empowerment of South Asian Women through the Written & Spoken Word
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
November 4-6, 2011

Kwantlen Polytechnic University, will host a 3 day event, from Nov 4 to Nov 6, focusing on the empowerment of women within the South Asian Canadian community. The purpose of this event is twofold:
1) To challenge the stereotype that ‘all’ South Asian women are subjugated and oppressed
2) To acknowledge that many South Asian women still face great inequity and need to overcome a greater number of obstacles in their lives than women from other ethnic communities.

All events, except for the academic seminar, will be bilingual (English and Punjabi). The events are as follows:
1) An Academic seminar
2) Women’s panel (testimonies of successful South Asian women and their personal struggles; including poet Sukhwinder Amrit and actresses Sunita Dhir and Rama Vij
3) A Punjabi student skit competition (issues dealing with women)
4) A play dealing with the link between honour and daughters

All events are free of cost, but we highly encourage RSVPs so that adequate arrangements may be made for refreshments. Free tickets are available at the door at Bell Centre for the Performing Arts in Surrey, but may be obtained beforehand by contacting:
Ranbir Johal:
ranbir.johal@kwantlen.ca(778) 834-9520
Parvinder Dhariwal:
parvinder.dhariwal@kwantlen.ca (778) 834-8798

AGENDA

Friday, November 4
Afternoon Session: Academic Seminar 1:00-4:00

12:30 Registration/Refreshments
1:00 Anne Lavack
VP Academic and Provost Welcome to Kwantlen
1:05 Ranbir Johal, Kwantlen, Opening Remarks
1:10 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Hartej Gill ,
Department of Education, UBC
HerStory: Women and Education
1:30 Dr. Mohammed Idris,
Punjabi University, Patiala
Muslim Women and Modernity: A Case Study of Educational and Social Status of Muslim Women in the Punjab (1857-1947 A.D.)
1:50 Almas Zakiuddin
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
In the Name of Honour: Understanding Sexual Violence against Muslim Women
2:10 Dr. Anne Murphy
University of British Columbia
A different history: Telling the story of Sikh women
2:30 Dr. Sunita Dhir
Punjabi University, Patiala The Role of Women in Theatre
2:50 Ranbir Johal
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Theatre as a tool for the Education and Empowerment of Women
3:10 Dr. Balbir Gurm
Kwantlen Polytechnic University Question/Answer
Future Planning/Projects
3:55 Closing Remarks`

Friday, November 4
Evening Session : Women’s Panel 6:00-9:00

6:00 Welcome Anne M. Lavack, Ph.D.
Provost & Vice-President, Academic
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
6:10 Introductions Tarannum Thind
6:20 Power Point Presentation of Biographies Parvinder Dhariwal
6:40 Personal Testimonial 1 Rama Vij, Actress
7:00 Personal Testimonial 2 Sukhwinder Amrit, Poet
7:20 Personal Testimonial 3 Dr. SunitaDhir, Actress
7:40 Question/Answer Tarannum Thind
8:40 Closing Remarks Parvinder Dhariwal
8:55 Refreshments/Mingle

Saturday, November 5
Punjabi Student skit competition 1:00-3:00

12:30 Registration Opens Student Volunteers
1:00 Welcome Ranbir Johal
1:05 Opening Remarks Tarannum Thind
1:15 Opening Song Puneet Singh
1:20 Skit 1: Kwantlen Polytechnic University TBA
1:30 Skit 2: Princess Margaret Secondary TBA
1:40 Skit 3: Kwantlen Polytechnic University TBA
1:50 Skit 4: Princess Margaret Secondary TBA
2:00 Skit 5: Kwantlen Polytechnic University TBA
2:10 Skit 6: Princess Margaret Secondary TBA
2:20 Skit 7: TBA TBA
2:30 Skit 8: TBA TBA
2:40 Refreshments/Judges Deliberate TBA
2:55 Award Presentations Judges
3:00 Closing Remarks Parvinder Dhariwal

Sunday, November 6
Evening of Entertainment 6:00 – 9:00

6:00 Opening Remarks Tarannum Thind
6:05 Welcome Anne M. Lavack, Ph.D.
Provost & Vice-President, Academic
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
6:10 Monologue Sana Janjua
6:25 Skit 1 Nandita Gaind
6:30 Freeze Frame Audience
6:40 Skit 2 Parabjot Sekha
6:45 Freeze Frame Audience
6:50 Poetry Sukhwinder Amrit
7:00 Question/Answer? Audience
7:15 Jeeta Bhaan Punjabi Beat Theatre Troupe
8:30 Question/Answer Panel Cast/Director/Writer
9:00 Closing Remarks Tarannum Thind
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‘Canadian establishment legitimizes bigotry by coddling Khalistan supporters’ by Gurpreet Singh

April 30, 2011

There has been a hullabaloo over the endorsement of Wai Young, a Conservative candidate in Vancouver South, by Ripudaman Singh Malik, a Sikh millionaire who was acquitted in the high-profile Air India trial.

This controversy is narrowly focused on just a few individuals, whereas the Canadian establishment needs to look hard at itself for systematically pandering to Sikh separatists active in the country since early 1980s.

Ever since the federal election was announced, candidates of all major political parties in Canada—Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats—have tried to reach out one way or another to Sikh separatists.

Malik’s endorsement of Young, in particular, has generated lot of heat because there is an ongoing criminal investigation into the 1985 Air India bombings that left 331 people dead.

The crime was blamed on Sikh extremists who were seeking revenge for the ugly events of 1984—the Indian Army storming the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikhs in Amritsar, to flush out religious fundamentalists, as well as the anti-Sikh pogrom that followed the assassination of then-Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards.

Malik was charged along with Ajaib Singh Bagri and Inderjit Singh Reyat in the Air India conspiracy. Both Malik and Bagri were acquitted in B.C. Supreme Court in 2005, but Reyat was convicted of manslaughter. He is the only person found guilty in the Air India case.

Malik confirmed to me that his group had decided to endorse Young in Vancouver South against the Liberal incumbent, Ujjal Dosanjh, who is a vocal critic of Sikh extremists. A meeting was held at the Khalsa School that is run by the Satnam Education Trust founded by Malik, where it was resolved to support Young. Dosanjh’s campaign filed a complaint with Election Canada alleging a violation of rules.

Malik also told me that his group has resolved to support Sukh Dhaliwal, a Liberal candidate in Newton-North Delta. On being asked about the political inconsistency in supporting a Conservative in one riding and a Liberal in another, he said that parents of the students at his school were not happy with Dosanjh, who many feel is creating divisions among the Sikhs.

Notably, Dhaliwal was honoured last year by supporters of Khalistan, an imaginary Sikh homeland, at the Vaisakhi parade in Surrey. That’s because he raised the issue of the 1984 anti-Sikh violence in Parliament.

Dhaliwal went to accept the honour despite the fact that one of the organizers of parade was alleged to have uttered veiled threats against Dosanjh. As a result of this controversy, most politicians stayed away from the organizers’ main dais of the parade.

Yet Dhaliwal went to the podium to accept the honour. It is for this reason that some moderates that earlier supported Dhaliwal are now supporting Jinny Sims, his NDP opponent in Newton-North Delta. Malik, who did not speak to the English-language media, told me that he is being subjected to “unfair media trial” by the mainstream press, despite being acquitted.

But Young and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have never acknowledged that Malik is now a free bird. Rather, they tried to distance themselves from Malik and maintain that Young was not aware of his background.

This sounds implausible. The Conservatives, who ordered a full Air India public inquiry, cannot be so ignorant about characters like Malik. Even though he has been acquitted, perceptions about his alleged involvement in the Air India plot refuse to die. Air India victims’ families are particularly annoyed.

However, judging by other related developments, it would be unreasonable to target only Malik and Young. Dosanjh’s own party leader, Michael Ignatieff, gave interview to Sukhminder Singh Hansra, a Sikh journalist in Toronto, who had once allegedly tried to justify a 1985 physical attack on Dosanjh by fundamentalists.

Dosanjh himself visited the Dashmesh Darbar Sikh temple in Surrey that openly supports Khalistan after becoming the premier of B.C. in 2000.

This is the same temple that organizes annual Vaisakhi parade in Surrey, where pictures of the slain Khalistani militants are displayed.

Not to be left behind, even Sims, the NDP candidate in Newton-North Delta, also visited Dashmesh Darbar. The moderates who are supporting her had no clear answer as to why she also seeks support from separatists—and in which way she is different from Dhaliwal.

Indo-Canadian politicians need to know that supporters of Khalistan—who were seeking a theocratic state—assassinated Darshan Singh Canadian, a communist leader, in 1986.

He was in the forefront of the struggle for right to vote when he lived in Canada before moving back to Punjab. It was people like him who helped get Indians the vote in Canada in 1947 and today, the Canadian parliament has nine MPs from the Indo-Canadian community.

Canadian was killed for his opposition to religious fundamentalism. By rubbing shoulders with people who subscribe to the ideology of his killers, Indo-Canadian politicians are demonstrating a particularly ungrateful attitude toward the contributions of Canadian.

Politicians can always get away with this by saying that they need ethnic votes. But how can anyone explain the presence of a Canadian Forces vehicle in the Surrey Vaisakhi parade this year or the participation of mounted RCMP officials a few years ago at the same event?

The Canadian Forces are engaged in a war against terrorism in Afghanistan that shares border with Pakistan, where Khalistani extremists were trained. By joining supporters of Khalistan, the Canadian Forces are not only sending conflicting signals, but also legitimizing their cause.

It cannot be denied that Canada and the U.S. gave Sikh separatists enough room to grow. The roots of the problem lie in the Cold War era when India and the Soviets were in one camp, while Pakistan and the U.S. were on the opposite side.

That Cold War-era mentality has changed to some degree after 9/11 and India has emerged as a big economic power. But the political system in Canada still accepts the influence of Sikh separatists. Bigotry in any form should not be encouraged. If Canadian politicians can resist pressure from white supremacists, why can’t they stand up against rogue elements of another country?

Apparently, Canadian politicians who see Quebec separatists as Untouchables have no problem courting separatists of another country.

From Georgia Straight
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‘Skeena سکینہ’ a review by Sadhu Binning

The following review was delivered by BC Author Sadhu Binning at the launch of the two Punjabi (Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi) editions of ‘Skeena’ on April 9 in Surrey, British Columbia.

The original Gurumukhi version of the review will be published in the upcoming issue of Vancouver-based Punjabi magazine ‘Watan’.

View Sadhu in YouTube video

فوزیہ رفیق دا ناول سکینہ سوچ نوں ہلونا دین والا اک بے حد شکتی شالی اتے پڑھنیوگ ناول ہے۔

ایہہ ناول پہلاں ٢٠٠٧ وچ لاہور توں شاہمکھی وچ چھپیا سی تے ہن ایہہ سرے توں گورمکھی وچ اڈاری بکس ولوں تے وینکوور توں لبروز لبریٹڈ پبلشنگ ولوں انگریزی وچ چھاپیا گیا ہے۔

فوزیہ رفیق سرے کنیڈا رہ رہی پاکستانی پچھوکڑ دی لیکھکا ہے جو انگریزی اتے پنجابی دوواں زباناں وچ لکھدی اے۔ آپنے اگانھ ودھو خیالاں نوں عملی جامہ پہناؤن والی فوزیہ منکھی حقاں لئی ہون والیاں سرگرمیاں دا ہمیشہ حصہ ہندی اے۔

ناول سکینہ پڑھدیاں پاٹھک ایہہ محسوس کرنو نہیں رہ سکدا کہ ایس دی لیکھکا آپنے سماج دے لوکاں بارے ہی ڈونگھی تے ہمدردی والی جانکاری ہی نہیں رکھدی اس دے نال اوہ سماج دیاں آرتھک، سیاسی تے دھارمک ستھتیاں نوں وی وگیانک اتے الوچناتمک نظریے توں دیکھن دی گنبھیر جانکاری وی رکھدی ہے۔ تے اس دے نال ہی مہتوپورن گل ایہہ ہے کہ اوس نوں ساہتک کلا دی وی پوری سمجھ ہے۔

ناول دی ہیروئین سکینہ جاگیردار پریوار دی کڑی ہے جو انسکھاویں حالات وچ رہندی ہوئی وی اوہناں نال پوری طرحاں سمجھوتہ نہیں کردی۔ پر اوہ کوئی بہادر جاں انقلابی کڑی نہیں سگوں اک عام انسان ہے جو اک ساوی پدھری زندگی جین دی چاہوان ہے۔ اوہ بچپن وچ ڈاکٹر جاں ادھیاپکا بنن دے سپنے دیکھدی ہے۔ پر سماج دیاں قدراں قیمتاں اجہیاں ہن کہ اوس نوں آپنی من مرضی دی آرام دی زندگی حاصل نہیں ہندی۔

ناول دا پہلا حصہ جس وچ پاکستانی پنجابی سماج دے جاگیرداری ڈھانچے اندر جاگیردار تے اوس دے کارندیاں دیاں جیونیاں اتے اک دوجے نال ادان پردان نوں درسایا گیا ہے، بہت ہی روچک ہے۔ فوزیہ نے دھرم تے جاگیرو قدراں قیمتاں وچ جکڑے پنجابی سماج دی بہت صحیح تصویر پیش کیتی ہے۔ جاگیرداری سماج اندر زمیناں دے مالک اتے اوہناں دے کارندیاں دے آپسی رشتے بہت بریکی نال چترے ہن۔ ایہہ سبھ کجھ پہلاں اسیں اک ست سال دی ننھی کڑی دیاں نظراں راہیں دیکھدے ہاں۔ ناول شروع وچ ہی پاٹھک نوں پوری طرح آپنے نال تور لیندا ہے اتے اگے جانن دی کھچ اخیر تک قائم رہندی ہے۔

ناول نوں چار حصیاں وچ ونڈیا گیا ہے۔ پہلا جدوں ست سال دی سکینہ آپنی ماں اتے بھرا نال پنڈ رہندی ہے۔ پھیر لاہور، ٹورانٹو تے سرے۔ ایہناں وکھ وکھ تھاواں تے سمیاں وچ سکینہ نوں وکھریاں وکھریاں ستھتیاں وچوں گزرنا پیندہ ہے۔ اسیں پہلاں سکینہ نوں پنڈ دے حالات وچ دیکھدے ہاں، پھیر اک کالج دی ودیارتھن تے ہاکی دی کھڈارن وجوں، پھیر پنڈ گھر دی قید وچ تے پھیر ٹورانٹو اتے سرے وچ۔ اوس دی اک عام انسان وانگ جین دی خواہش نوں ہر پڑاء تے دھارمک، پروارک، سیاسی تے سماجک بندشاں روک لاؤندیاں ہن۔ سکینہ آپنی سہیلی رفو وانگ بہادر جاں انقلابی نہیں۔ پر حالتاں نال سمجھوتہ نہ کرن دی جاں کجھ حد تک ہی سمجھوتہ کرن دی کوشش اوس نوں وکھریاں وکھریاں حالتاں وچ پاؤندی ہے تے کڈھدی ہے۔ گھردیاں دی مرضی انوسار نہ جین بدلے اوس نوں لاہور توں پنڈ لجا کے گھر وچ ہی قید کر دتا جاندا ہے۔ پھیر ٹرانٹو آپنے مرد احتشام تے اوہدی ماں دا اوہ لما سماں تشدد سہندی ہے۔ اس سبھ کاسے دے باوجود اوس وچ جین دی خاہش نہیں مردی اتے اوہنوں جد وی موقع ملدا ہے اوہ آپنے آلے دوآلے لگیاں واڑاں نوں توڑنا چاہندی ہے، کجھ وکھرا کرنا چاہندی ہے۔ تے ہولی ہولی اوہ اس وچ کامیاب وی ہندی ہے۔

وگیانک جاں مارکسی نظریے انوسار ایہہ منیاں جاندا ہے کہ انسان دے جیون تے سبھ توں ودھ اثر باہرلے حالات پاؤندے ہن۔ کوئی وی انسان نہ چنگا جمدا ہے تے نہ ماڑا۔ جیون وچ انسان جو وی بندا ہے اوہ اوس دے سماج دی اپج ہندا ہے۔ جویں جمن ویلے بھاشا بول سکن دی یوگتا اوس وچ ہندی ہے نہ کہ کوئی وشیش بھاشا اتے اوہ جس وی پروار وچ جمدا ہے اوتھے بولی جاندی بولی ہی سکھدا ہے، ایسے طرح اوہ جنہاں حالتاں وچ پیدا ہندا اتے رہندا ہے اوہناں انوسار ہی اوس دا جیون ڈھلدا ہے۔ جے حالات بدل جان تاں وکاتی وچ وی بدل سکن دی سمبھاونا ہندی ہے۔ اس وگینک نظریعے نوں ایہہ ناول پوری طرح صحیح سدھ کردا ہے۔ ادہرن وجوں، گامو جہڑا جاگیرو ڈھانچے اندر آپنیاں غلامی والیاں حالتاں دا ماریا آپنی گھر والی جینو نوں ماردا کٹدا ہے تے پھیر بدلہ لین لئی ایو دا خون کر دیندا ہے، جدوں اوس نوں وکھریاں حالتاں وچ جین دا موقع ملدا ہے تاں اوہ اک ودھیا انسان بن جاندا ہے۔ ایسے طرح جینو ہے۔ اوہنوں پنڈ دے جیون توں شہر آ کے وسن دا موقع ملدا ہے اتے اوس دا جیون وی بدل جاندا ہے جے اوہ پنڈ ہی رہندی تاں اوس وچ ایہہ تبدیلی آؤن دی سمبھاونا نہیں سی۔ سکینہ اس دی وڈی مثال ہے۔ کینیڈا وچ ملدے موقعیاں کارن ہن اوہ کسے ہور دی متھاج نہیں۔ اس طرح کہانی دے انت والی سکینہ اک وکھری عورت ہے، خود کماؤن والی، آپنے پیراں تے کھڑی۔ جیہدی زندگی ہن کافی حد تک اوہدے آپنے قبضے وچ ہے۔ سکینہ نے اینیاں اوکھیاں ستھتیاں وچ وی بڑا لما چوڑا پینڈا تہہ کیتا ہے۔ ایہہ ٹھیک ہے کہ ناول دا اخیرلا کانڈ میری کوئی تاریخ نہیں وچ سکینہ آپنے گھر دی قید وچوں بھجن تے خودکشی بارے سوچ رہی جاپدی ہے۔ سنبھو ہے کہ مینوںمجھن وچ غلطی لگی ہووے، پر مینوں ناول دی کہانی دا انت اوتھے جاپدا اے جتھے اس توں پہلے کانڈ دا اخیرلا ادھا واک ہے جدوں سکینہ کہندی ہے کہ “مینوں آپدے آپ وچ زور اٹھدا جاپدا اے”۔ مینوں لگا کہ اینیاں بھیانک ستھتیاں دے باوجود سکینہ وچ جین دی خواہش تے طاقت پوری قائم ہے۔

سکینہ وچ کہانی صرف پاتراں جاں اوناں دے آپسی رشتیاں دوآلے ہی نہیں گھمدی اس وچ سمیں تے ستھان دیاں گھٹناواں تے سیاست نوں وی باخوبی چتریا گیا ہے۔ اصل وچ تاں ایہہ ناول صحیح ارتھاں وچ اک سیاسی تے انقلابی ناول ہے۔ جس وچ عورت دی آپنی ہستی واسطے جدوجہد بہت ہی کلاتمک طریقے نال درسائی گئی ہے۔ پہلے حصے وچ ہند پاک دی ١٩٧١ والی لڑائی دا ذکر اس ہنر نال کیتا گیا ہے کہ پتہ ہی نہیں چلدا کہ سانوں دوناں ملکاں دی لڑائی بارے دسیا جا رہا ہے۔ ایسے طرح امریکہ وچ ہوئے نوں گیاراں دے اتوادی حملے دا ذکر وی پاتراں دے جیون دا اس طرح حصہ بنایا ہے کہ ایہہ کسے طرح وی غیر سبھاوک نہیں لگدا۔ اس سمیں اک پاسے سکینہ دے آپنے جیون وچ وڈیاں گھٹناواں واپردیاں ہن۔ اوس نوں پتہ لگدا ہے کہ اوس دا اقبال اصل وچ اوس دے پنڈ والا گامو ایں۔ تے پھیر اقبال تے مہنگا سنگھ دا قتل۔ ایہناں گھٹناواں دے نال ہی نوں گیاراں دی گھٹنا اتے سکینہ نوں وی اتوادی سمجھیا جا رہیا ہے۔ ایہہ سبھ کجھ اس ناول نوں اک بہت دلچسپ رچنا بناؤندا ہے تے نال ہی گنبھیر مسئلے ابھارن والی لکھت وی۔

ناول وچ ہور وی بہت کچھ ہے جیہڑا اس نوں اک وڈی رچنا بناؤندا ہے۔ اداہرن وجوں اس وچ پیش کیتا سملنگتا دا ملا۔ جتھے کنیڈین سماج وچ ایہہ ہن عام جانی جاندی گل ہے پر پنجابی بھائیچارے وچ اس دا روپ اتے اس ول لوکاں دا نظریہ وکھرا ہے، کافی حد تک نانہ پکھی ہے وشیش کرکے دھارمک لوکاں وچ۔ فوزیہ جی نے بہت ہی ودھیا طریقے نال پاکستانی بھائیچارے وچ اس دا روپ ساڈے ساہمنے لیاندا ہے اتے جس طریقے نال کنیڈین لزبین جوڑے جوئنی تے میگی نوں پیش کیتا ہے اوہ ساڈے مناں وچ ایہناں لئی ستکار پیدا کردا ہے اتے اس طرح ایہہ اس ول ساڈے نظریعے نوں اک ہاں پکھی نظریعے وچ بدلن دی یوگتا رکھدا ہے۔ ایہہ آپنے آپ دے وچ اک وڈی تے حوصلے والی گل اے۔

ایسے طرح اس ناول وچ دھارمک آگواں دی کوجھی اصلیت نوں وی مولوی دے پاتر راہیں اتے ہور بہت تھانویں وکھرے وکھرے روپاں وچ پیش کیتا گیا ہے۔ اجیہا کرکے فوزیہ نے سماج دے اس کوہڑ نوں ساڈے ساہمنے لیاندا ہے۔ ایہہ وی کوئی گھٹ جرأت والی گل نہیں۔

ناول دی پاتر اساری اتے اس وچ ورتی بولی بہت پربھاوشالی ہن۔ ناول دا بہتا حصہ پاتراں دے سنواد راہیں درسایا گیا ہے۔ ایہناں پاتراں دی بولی پنجابی پاٹھک نوں آپنی مٹھاس دے جادو نال کیل لیندی ہے۔ میں ایہہ ناول کجھ سال پہلاں شاہمکھی وچ پڑھیا سی۔ ہن اس گورمکھی لپی وچ پڑھن دا وکھرا سواد آیا ہے۔ پر گورمکھی والی چھاپ وچ کجھ گنبھیر سمسیاواں وی ہن۔ کجھ شبدجوڑ غلط جاپدے نیں تے لپی دے انتر کارن کجھ شبد اتے واک سمجھن وچ مشکل آؤندی ہے۔

اخیر وچ میں فوزیہ جی نوں ایہہ ناول لکھن دی تے نال ہی ہن اس نوں گورمکھی تے انگریزی وچ چھپواؤن واسطے بہت بہت ودھائی دیندا ہاں۔ سکینہ دے اس ناول نال ساڈا پنجابی ساہت ہور امیر ہویا ہے۔ میں محسوس کردا ہاں کہ پنجابی بولی تے ساہت نال ناتا رکھن والے لوکاں ولوں فوزیہ جی ہوراں دی اس رچنا لئی دھنواد کرنا چاہیدا ہے۔ ہن ایہہ رچنا انگریزی تے پنجابی دیاں دوواں لپیاں وچ اپلبدھ ہے تے امید ہے پاٹھک اس ناول نوں چاء نال پڑھن گے۔ ناول پراپت کرن لئی فوزیہ رفیق نال uddari@live.ca تے سنپرک کیتا جا سکدا ہے۔

- سادھو بننگ
اپریل ٩، ٢٠١١؛ سرے، بی سی

Converted from Gurumukhi by Sajid Nadeem Choudhry

Sadhu Binning

Sadhu, a bilingual author, has lived in the Vancouver area since migrating to Canada in 1967. He has published more than fifteen books of poetry, fiction, plays, translations and research. His works have been included in more than thirty-five anthologies both in Punjabi and English. He edited a literary Punjabi monthly ‘Watno Dur’, and now co-edits a quarterly, ‘Watan’.
He is a founding member of Vancouver Sath, a theatre collective, Ankur and various other literary and cultural organizations. He sat on the BC Arts Board from 1993 to 1995. He is a central figure in the Punjabi arts community and was named one of the top 100 South Asians making a difference in BC.
Twenty years ago, he founded Punjabi Language Education Association and has been actively promoting Punjabi language in educational
institutions in BC. ( sadhu.binning@gmail.com )

More reviews and updates at Skeena Blog

Buy Skeena online in English, Gurumukhi or Shahmukhi

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Light a candle to say ‘NO’ to extremism this Sunday

In remembrance of Salman Taseer and thousands of others who died due to religious intolerance.

And to honor those who were victims of hideous religion-based persecution in Pakistan.

Light a candle to say ‘NO’ to all kinds of extremism

Live and let live!

Please join in for a Candle light vigil for peace, social justice and equal rights for all religious and ethnic communities in Pakistan.

Date: Sunday, 30th January 2011
Time: 4.00 pm (sharp)
Venue: Holland Park, (King George Blvd & Old Yale Rd), Surrey, BC

Candles will be supplied. Just bring in match box/lighter, your family, friends and yourself.

For more info please contact
Dr. Saif Khalid at 778-987-0813
OR
Amal Rana at 604-764-6257

Organized by
Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC), Vancouver chapter.

Please Join us for peace this Sunday.
In solidarity,
Shahzad Nazir Khan

Download PDF Poster
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Punjabi MaaNboli and the Punjabis-3

Punjabi Literature Conferences

In the past couple of months, two national conferences on Punjabi literature have been announced in Canada, one to be held in Toronto in the Summer of 2009 and the other in Ottawa on the 16th tomorrow. I received information for both but could not get much out since the organizers had sent circulars in Gurumukhi alone.

First, it reminds me of my own inability to read Gurumukhi script, and prompts me to finish learning it in haste to overcome this ‘diversity barrier‘ of being a Punjabi. Second, and at the same time, it gives me the realization that this is not all that needs to happen to develop Punjabi language and literature in Canada.

Literary conferences are a great way of bringing people together to share new work, discuss issues faced by literary communities, and to reach consensus where needed. I am positive that the two conferences scheduled in Toronto and Ottawa plan to, and will, do that.

However, just as i have to keep impressing upon some White Canadians that the term ‘Canadian’ does not stand only for a ‘White Canadian’ person; so, i need to keep suggesting to some Punjabi event organizers to not use the term ‘Punjabi Literature’ to mean  ‘Punjabi Gurumukhi Literature’ or ‘Punjabi Literature in Gurumukhi script'; and, to not use the word ‘Punjabis’ only for ‘Sikh Punjabis’ or for ‘Punjabis of Sikh family origin’.

I do that not just because i am a non-Sikh Punjabi and can not read or write Gurumukhi but also because 60% of Punjabis the world over are NOT of Sikh orientation, and most of the published Punjabi literature is NOT written in Gurumukhi. Indeed, the first Punjabi literary work was written in Shahmukhi or Persio-Arabic script by a Muslim Punjabi named Baba Farid (1173-1265).

My suggestion to organizers of literary and cultural events would be to do either of the following:

- For Punjabi literature conferences that are catering only to Punjabis of Sikh orientation, please write ‘Gurumukhi Punjabi Literature’ instead of just ‘Punjabi Literature’.

- To claim that an event is dealing with ‘Punjabi literature’, a fair representation of Punjabi literary works in Gurumukhi, Shahmukhi and Devnagri must take place. The same holds true for representation of Punjabi authors of Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh orientation; and, of corresponding communities and issues.

Before i finish, there are lighter things to discuss since the two conferences are generating some activity in areas where Punjabi literary communities have flourished; and, that includes Surrey and Vancouver, the (Lovely) Lower Mainland.

Here, i want to tell you The Story of Four Friends, three of whom are on a committee delegated with the task of deciding who is/was going to present papers on various issues of literary importance for one of the two conferences. The Three members of the committee met, and decided to send three papers to the conference from BC, and then proceeded to elect themselves as the three presenters.

The story does not finish here even when it is a powerful end.

The Fourth friend objected to it, and in return, was awarded with a fourth paper and another space for presentation at the conference.

I have objections to the process where presenters were ‘agreed upon’ and papers were ‘allocated’ by a three-member committee to its own three members. In other words, the three decision makers who were to send three representatives of BC Punjabi literary communities to a conference in Eastern Canada, ended up electing each other for representation by awarding the three papers to themselves. On top of that, the objections raised by the Fourth friend were not based on the critique of the process but spoke to the exclusion of an individual and another denominator; and so, was readily satisfied and silenced upon receiving the hand out.

My problems are with the process and not the people. In my view, all the four people well deserve to be at the conference to present their work and views but not in this way. Next time, please get others to nominate you or at least resist being the sole membership of a self-nominating decision-making committee.

As well, the first three and the fourth presenter all write in Gurumukhi, and all hail from Punjabi Sikh community. This in itself would be misleading for the participants of the conference in the East as it gives the impression that there are no Shahmukhi or Devnagri Punjabi writers in BC or that there are no Muslim, Hindu or Christian Punjabi writers in BC. My four friends are well aware that that is not the case.

If the purpose of the two conferences is to develop Punjabi language and literature than the conferences must be way more inclusive in representation than they are now or have been in the past.

In this, there are reasons other than the development of Punjabi language and literature that may help us to become inclusive. It is inevitable that public funds are accessed to organize national and international literary and cultural events, and because of it, the organizers and decision makers of such events must take responsibility to represent in diversity the communities they undertake to represent; and, to not view and define Punjabi communities in Canada from the standpoint of personal or single-group interests.

There is hope that the Punjabi Literature Conference in Ottawa tomorrow will address these issues of diversity in Punjabi language and literature; and, will decide upon a policy of outreach to and inclusion of Punjabi writers of all scripts, gender, abilities; and, of diverse religious, social and economic backgrounds.

I must also stress that such discrepancies are found in all communities where a section has more power or influence in relation to others. There are similar scenarios in Punjabi Muslim communities in Pakistan where such events are organized without assuring rightful representation, for example, of women, gay people, writers in rural areas, and non-Muslim Punjabi writers.

Also, living in Surrey (12.67% South Asians) for the past decade, i can not help notice the activities of organizations such as Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SIWC). Over 25% of Surrey’s ‘visible minority’ population is South Asian (Punjabi Sikh majority) yet the representation of Punjabi and South Asian writers in the SIWC has been none or negligible. See the presenting authors’ list for the SIWC 2008.

Now view one of the strongest reasons for this non-representation:

SiWC-team-photo

Surrey International Writers Conference (SIWC) sports an all ‘white’ organizing team in a multicultural city (46.1 ‘VM’), and year after year, produces a conference promoting English language writers of Anglo-Saxon origin while using public funds endowed to it by Surrey Board of Education through its Continuing Education program.

I wonder if the decision makers at Surrey Board of Education are aware of Surrey demographics, and if the mandate of the Board does include equality of representation when allocating public funds for literary and cultural development of the people of Surrey.

Also, the SIWC Team may not be aware of literary groups and organizations of Surrey Punjabi writers that are operating here for over thirty years, and of the fact that Surrey South Asian communities do have published authors in them.

If my expectations are unrealistic, the situation needs clarification from the SIWC, Continuing Education program and Surrey Board of Education.

Failing all else, my usual suggestion would be to at least change the name if not the essence of the Conference. Instead of just ‘Surrey International Writers’ Conference’ (SIWC), it could be ‘Surrey International White Writers’ Conference’ (SIWWC) or ‘Surrey International White English Writers Conference’ (SIWEWC).

I will not worry about the increased length of the proposed names and their abbreviations as to my estimation, it may not require much additional Continuing Education funding to implement a name change.

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‘As of 2006, the population of surrey is 394,976, a 13.6 percent increase from the 2001 population. The foreign-born population is 150,235, constituting 30.28 percent of the city’s population. Visible minorities number 181,005 or 46.1 percent of the population, while Aboriginals constitute 1.9 percent of the population. [2]

‘As of 2006, visible minority groups in Surrey are as follows[3]:

• 27.5% South Asian

• 5.1% Chinese

• 4.2% Filipino

• 2.4% Southeast Asian

• 2.0% Korean

• 1.3% Black

• 1.1% Multiple Visible Minority

• 1.0% Latin American

• 0.5% Japanese

• 0.5% Arab

• 0.5% West Asian

• 0.2% Other Visible Minority’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrey,_British_Columbia

‘Newton has the largest population of all the city’s town centers, as well as the most ethnically diverse population; over half of the population is considered visible minority (predominantly Sikh)[1]. According to the 2001 census, the population of Newton was 91,595.’

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton_Town_Centre

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Punjabi MaaNboli and the Punjabis-1

The PLEA Event: Need for Capacity Building

Celebrations for the 7th Mother Language Day included an event organized by Punjab Language Education Association (PLEA) in Surrey last month that presented a community panel discussion and a speech/song contest for young Punjabis.

It was a prideful pleasure for me to hear children and teens deliver speeches, recite poems and sing songs in Punjabi. Aman Taggar’s power-point presentation was insightful where he supported the use of term ‘MaaNboli’ to represent other dialects and languages of the Punjab. However, for me, the most important aspect of the event was the initiation of discussion here in BC on issues faced by Punjabi Canadians from Pakistan.

The PLEA has been serving (cultural) Sikh Punjabi Canadians from India in the Greater Vancouver area for fifteen years, now it responds to the changing needs of Punjabis by acknowledging (cultural) Muslim Punjabi Canadians. The two communities together represent over 90% of all Punjabis, and democratic progressive people on both sides continue to struggle hard to remove barriers to the development of Punjabi MaaNboli and our cultures. In that, we continue to be snared by the interests of the imperialists in the geographic location of the Punjab, the divisive policies of the federal/provincial governments of India and Pakistan, and the violence of our respective extreme ‘right wing’ political formations.

Punjabi communities in Canada are susceptible to the impact of these determinants. We often carry the same prejudices about each other, and indeed about others, in our mainstream cultures here as we do back in India and Pakistan. To overlook, if not mis-represent, each other in our histories, curriculum, classrooms, discussions, is one such impact. An example of it confronted me early last year in the form of UBC’s two-day Conference on Modern Punjabi Literature where Punjabi literature written in Shahmukhi was neither represented nor acknowledged at any level. My post Modern Punjabi Literature at UBC: A glass half full!, and then, ‘Sanjh’ A New Punjabi Literary Magazine point to such omissions.

Canada is home to 800,000 Punjabis, making Punjabi the Fourth ‘most spoken’ language in the country (0.8%) after English (67.1%), French (21.5%) and Chinese (2.6%). Vancouver Lower Mainland and Metro Toronto account for the majority of Punjabis with Surrey (Newton) being the most dense. In all these areas, Punjabi communities from Pakistan have also been growing, and signs of it are apparent in various cultural and political activities organized in the past few months in Surrey by Fraser Valley Peace Council and Bazm-e-Amno-Adab.

The five members of the ‘Pakistani Panel’, as we called ourselves, gave brief personal views on the issues faced by Pakistani Punjabis in Canada. Please click over and see the discussion in the official report of the PLEA event. Here, i want to reiterate my recommendations. The suggestion was for the PLEA and other educational and cultural organizations to implement capacity building in existing programs and services by including, for example, literature written in Shahmukhi and its writers in the discourse on Punjabi literature; to expand existing Punjabi language courses to offer them in both Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi where students may go on to specialize in one script.

Capacity building is an important step forward for the development of Punjabi MaaNboli languages in BC. So far, my appreciation goes to Sadhu Binning and Anne Murphy at UBC for being responsive on this issue, and by making attempts to be inclusive and wholesome in their efforts to develop Punjabi.

While looking for stats on Punjabi, i found this:
‘As of 2006, the population of surrey is 394,976, a 13.6 percent increase from the 2001 population. The foreign-born population is 150,235, constituting 30.28 percent of the city’s population. Visible minorities number 181,005 or 46.1 percent of the population, while Aboriginals constitute 1.9 percent of the population.’ (Wikipedia)

I am not sure how rejoiced i can be at our ever growing numbers in Surrey while the numbers of native peoples, who ‘owned’ Fraser Valley, are persistent in going down.

References
Celebrates International Mother Language Day
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton_Town_Centre
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrey,_British_Columbia
Modern Punjabi Literature at UBC: A glass half full!
‘Sanjh’ A New Punjabi Literary Magazine
Official report of the PLEA event
http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/analysis/language/allophone_cma.cfm

Obama Celebrations and Balls

A seminar in Surrey January 31/09 on the Liberation Struggle of Palestine was slow to catch on but as it did, it jelled into a warm and vibrant hub of information on Palestinian liberation, Zionism, US imperialism, Israeli war crimes, and international Palestinian solidarity movements.

palestain-031-lge

Organized by Fraser Valley Peace Council, the seminar was presented by Hannah Kawas (Canada Palestine Association), Derrick O’Keefe (StopWar.ca), Sid Shnaid (Independent Jewish Voices), Chris Shelton (World Peace Forum Society), and Nazir Rizvi (Peace Activist).

palestain-043-lge

Sana Janjua’s spirited rendition of a selection of Mahmoud Darwish’s “Madeeh al-Thill al-‘Aaly”: ‘In Priase of the High Shadow’ (published at the end of this post) was utterly moving as was Shahzad Nazir Khan’s introduction to the event.

It was a heartfelt attempt by local peace activists to help re-gain the lost momentum of a powerful international Palestine solidarity movement. The time between the end of December 2008 and the beginning of January 2009 was marked both by the height of Israeli state violence against Palestinians in Gaza, and the resolve of the people around the world for peace and retribution. Peace-loving Jews and Israeli citizens were at the forefront of the movement, and it appeared as if the will of the people was about to yield some results.

Instead, it became silent after the weekend of the Eleventh. On January 15, a leading South Asian activist in UK roared in frustration: ‘I am pretty pissed off there is no national mobilsation this weekend, i think the momentum will suffer as a result.. I am also pissed off that StWC coalition have not called for the protests either at the israeli embassy, or for a national day of action in terms of disruption to shops and businesses etc that deal with israel.’

The news headings changed overnight to congratulatory messages from calling for an end to Israeli state violence in Gaza; the move to boycott Israeli goods/services and to picket Israeli consulates/embassies was halted; and, all necessary strings were pulled to achieve this dead end.

It is unfortunate that Obama inauguration had to serve as the global distraction to knock the wind out of the Palestine solidarity movement right when the action was mounting to force a peaceful resolution of some kind. Instead, the international politicians, media and corporations annihilated the gains of the movement by becoming engrossed in the newness of the new President of the United States.

It is a matter of great pride and inspiration for democracy-loving Black people of the United States of America, and for democracy-loving people of all colors everywhere in the World that the elections in the United States have delivered the White House to a Black Democrat family. The mirth of these inaugural balls is marred by the continued inaction on Gaza, and by US drone attacks on Pakistan where civilian death toll is rising each day.

Yesterday, hope was not with Obama but with the protesters at the picket outside US Consulate in Vancouver, and at the Candlelight Vigil at Robson Square. Today, hope still resides:

Here

pic4

Here

And Here.

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Excerpts from ‘Madeeh Al-Thill Al-‘Aly’
In Priase of the High Shadow
By Mahmoud Darwish

It is for you to be, or not to be,
It is for you to create, or not to create.
All existential questions, behind your shadow, are a farce,
And the universe is your small notebook, and you are its creator.
So write in it the paradise of genesis,
Or do not write it,
You, you are the question.
What do you want?
As you march from a legend, to a legend?
A flag?
What good have flags ever done?
Have they ever protected a city from the shrapnel of a bomb?
What do you want?
A newspaper?
Would the papers ever hatch a bird, or weave a grain?
What do you want?
Police?
Do the police know where the small earth will get impregnated from the coming winds?
What do you want?
Sovereignty over ashes?
While you are the master of our soul; the master of our ever-changing existence?
So leave,
For the place is not yours, nor are the garbage thrones.
You are the freedom of creation,
You are the creator of the roads,
And you are the anti-thesis of this era.
And leave,
Poor, like a prayer,
Barefoot, like a river in the path of rocks,
And delayed, like a clove

You, you are the question.
So leave to yourself,
For you are larger than people’s countries,
Larger than the space of the guillotine.
So leave to yourself,
Resigned to the wisdom of your heart,
Shrugging off the big cities, and the drawn sky,
And building an earth under your hand’s palm — a tent, an idea, or a grain.
So head to Golgotha,
And climb with me,
To return to the homeless soul its beginning.
What do you want?
For you are the master of our soul,
The master of our ever-changing existence.
You are the master of the ember,
The master of the flame.
How large the revolution,
How narrow the journey,
How grand the idea,
How small the state!

Peace, Justice for Palestine!
BOYCOTT Chapters !ndigo
Cut the Ties with Israeli Apartheid
boycottapartheid@gmail.com

BC Liquor stores sell products created in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Arab and Syrian land.
DON’T DRINK WITH APARTHEID – Boycott Israeli Wines
Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver

‘Apartheid: From South Africa to Israel': Ronnie Kasrils (ANC)
Sunday, March 8/09, 7PM
Vancouver Public Library, Alice Mackay Room
Canada-Palestine Support Network

Honouring Poet Sadhu Binning

Sadhu Binning, Vancouver 2008

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Poet Sadhu Binning, Vancouver 2008

Profile at www.writersunion.ca


UBC Conference A seminar in honor of Sadhu Binning
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I met Sadhu Binning in one of the earlier festivals of Desh Pardesh (1988-2001) in Toronto at the end of 1980s. Desh Pardesh was an inspiring coalition of cultural organizations and individuals spearheaded by the gay South Asians of Khush, and later, the members of South Asian Visual Arts Collective (SAVAC); its impact on South Asian cultural communities in Canada and US is deep and unmistakable.

Next, i saw Sadhu in Surrey in 2005 when Dr. Manjur Ejaz (www.wichaar.com) was visiting from Washington to comemorate Dr. Prem Prakash Singh. Yet after all this time, there was no feeling of discontinuity; and that in part, is the healing experience of coming across Sadhu Binning or his poems.

It is rare to meet a person who appears to be serenely unified in this disjointed world as he uses his soft but firm poetic voice in Punjabi Canadian literature.

It is difficult to find a Punjabi poet in the West who has expressed the pain and loss resulting from the experience of migration, and has then gone on to deliver the pleasant possibility of an evolved integration.

It is impossible to find a poetic voice that sustains its nuances when crossing the boundaries of one language while housed into the other.

This one poem says it all:

No More Watnu Dur

A Punjabi/English poem by Sadhu Binning

letters that I wrote

to my family

to my friends

in the last one century

were all written

from a foreign land

to the motherland

but the letter that I just wrote

about the news of my father’s death

is written

from my country to another country

I wrote:

My father left his home a long time ago

he lived with the dream of

one day returning to his fields

to spend the last of his days in peace

now along with his body

all his dreams are melted into this land

I have dropped his ashes

in icy river water

he has become part of this soil

From Binning’s Punjabi/English poetry collection ‘No More Watno Dur’ (No More Away From Home), published 1995 by TSAR Publications in Toronto.

Considering Binning’s contributions to the development of Punjabi language and literature in Canada, the University of British Columbia (UBC) has organized a two-day conference (April 26-27, Vancouver 2008) on Punjabi literature to honour Sadhu Binning. From the line-up, it seems like an exciting event; thanks to Anne Murphy, a fellow faculty member of Sadhu at the UBC.

Fauzia Rafiq

‘No More Watno Dur’ by Sadhu Binning

1. Royalty Rights in Punjabi Publishing

I had the opportunity to publish my novel Skeena in Punjabi (Sanjh Publications, Lahore 2007) last year, and while it was one of the most creative and inspiring experiences for me, it did include, and still does, confrontations with my peers around royalty rights and promotional strategies.

All the wonderful things began happening with Ijaz Syed in California who after reading the English manuscript of Skeena, recommended it to a publisher in Lahore; who in turn, offered to publish it in Punjabi and invited me to come to Lahore to translate it. This was a wonderful opportunity for me, and Ijaz Syed again stepped up by bringing me over to California where i enjoyed his hospitality and that of his family and friends. I am most grateful for the time and attention i received there from Nusrat Syed, Sarmad Syed, Vidhu Singh, Sanjeev Mahajan, Shaista Parveen, Salma, Cesar Love, Nidhi Singh and Rob Mod. Later, Ijaz, Sanjeev and Shaista were prevailed upon to buy me a one-way ticket to Lahore.

This also meant a chance for me to live in Lahore for a meaningful length of time in 2006 after having left it for Canada in 1986.

This was a dream situation for me also because Skeena is a character and story rooted in Pakistani Punjab, that then reaches out into the Punjabi communities of Toronto and Surrey. The very diversity of our communities had shackled the English manuscript with sentences upon sentences of Punjabi while the living culture of Muslim characters had laiden it with shots of Arabic. This was pointed out by most of its readers, and by Editor Michele Sherstan in Vancouver who had worked with me on Skeena in 2004. At that time, I knew that the novel had to be re-expressed in Punjabi before the English can ever be published; yet i had been away for so long that many sounds and words shivered below the surface of my mind as i looked for the courage to draw them out in the open again.

It will be an understatement to say that i am grateful to Skeena’s Punjabi Editor Zubair Ahmed for giving me the courage, the skills and the environment to rewrite Skeena in Punjabi. Zubair is a rare friend who cares for me and my work, and challenges me to do better. He spent countless hours of volunteer work to edit more than three hundred manuscript pages of Skeena as he supported me to shape my voice in Punjabi. Zubair also provided a comfortable and creative environment at Kitab Trinjan, a Punjabi bookstore on Temple Road that he manages on permanent part time voluntary basis for over a decade now. I was also happy to know Trinjan’s only full time employee Ghulam Haider; as well, Zubair introduced me to some most wonderful people there including his wife Samina, and Amjad Salim of Sanjh Publications who later published Skeena in Punjabi.

The publisher who had originally offered to publish Skeena was excited about the submission of the Punjabi manuscript, and we were beginning to discuss production and promotion when i realized that nothing had been mentioned about royalties yet. After a while, i asked the publisher as to how much royalty i was going to get; the question set off a wave of double headed culture shock hitting both the publisher and the writer. The publisher nearly fell off of his chair, so to speak, telling me that the top most Punjabi authors in Lahore pay the production cost to get their books published, where I, a mere writer of unpublished novels, am asking for royalty when my book is being published for free. Across from him, my eyes were popping out of my forehead because years of living in Canada had made me unprepared to deal with a situation where a small or medium level literary publisher was apparently operating for many years without recognizing an author’s right to royalty.

That culture shock helped me to figure out that royalty is NOT one of the rights accepted by Punjabi publishers or writers. So, this was the beginning of many inspiring discussions and fiery confrontations on royalty rights, book promotion strategies and maaNboli language issues in Lahore and other cities. I am aware that fighting for royalty rights for Punjabi writers/creators, and generating a debate on this issue by pushing it on the Net is not going to make me popular in Punjabi literary circles on either side of the border. Still, i will continue to share my ideas and experiences in Uddari Weblog because i think that the non-recognition of royalty rights is central to the ailments of Punjabi publishing industry.

Before i end this post, let me put your mind to rest: Yes, Sanjh did accept, and respect, my royalty rights.

Fauzia Rafiq
2. Royalties for Punjabi Language Authors
3. Author Royalties Down to Definitions in the Punjab

Royalties and Copyrights