‘Keerru’ by Fauzia Rafique reviewed by Rashid Javed Ahmed

Translated from Punjabi

Keerru : Punjabi novel

Novelist : Fauzia Rafique

Review : Rashid Javed Ahmed

It was by mere chance that I got to read this unique Punjabi novelette, thanks to Author Ayesha Aslam. Before this I had read Fauzia Rafique Jee’s poetry and I had published her Urdu poem ‘Zindagi thee / it was life’ in my magazine. I knew Fauzia Rafique Jee with reference to her work with Pakistan television Lahore where in better times my Punjabi and Urdu plays were also presented. I came to know of her earlier novel ‘Skeena’, and I have made a request to Sanjh Publication’s Amjad Saleem Minhas, Skeena’s publisher, for a copy. I will definitely read it if I get it.

Keerru is the story of Mohammad Hussain Keerru who is accused of blasphemy, he first escapes to Karachi from Lahore and then leaves for Canada. In Canada, he sees many colors of life and he adapts. Keerru’s mother arrives from Pakistan. She tells her story from the 1947 partition of the Punjab, what happened to her then, and how being a Christian she had to live in a Muslim cultural environment. She brings the novel to the next level by relating her story and talking about her marriage with Keerru’s father.   

In this novella every character tells us about their life themselves, and in this way Fauzia Rafique Jee has presented this story in a beautiful manner. There are five characters in the novelette: Keerru, Haleema, Naila, Isabella and Daljit. The story revolves around these people who have come out of their own countries to settle in Canada. The story of these characters creates a naked image of the class injustices and societal contradictions rampant in the Indian Subcontinent.

Haleema is the main character of this novelette, and her full name is Haleema Alice Bibi. Working as a servant in rich people’s homes, poor family’s daughter Haleema who never got the opportunity to go to school, is actually the most aware character of all. Haleema is a woman belonging to the lowest tier of her society and despite facing the various difficulties that life had subjected her to, and in spite of all the pain, hardship and sorrow, she still is able to have a sane mind. She is a personification of the highest values of humanity. Through Haleema’s character, Fauzia Jee has weaved all kinds of exploitation and injustice- whether religious or societal- so artfully that it has become its class identity. This is such a character created by the novelist that becomes the precursor for the whole body of thought behind the novella. Haleema and other people like her, die working day and night physically and mentally trying to sustain the systems of their lives. In this society, some people, some very few people try to support them but even they keep them out of their class. Living like insects, they believe that this is their fate and to change it or to come out of it is not in their power.

The second big character of the novelette is Haleema’s son Keerru. Saving his life from religious extremists, somehow, he arrives in Canada, and after working menial jobs for many years, he becomes the owner of a garments company. He has brought his mother over too who now lives with him and she takes good care of him and his friends. People often ask her the reasons why she named her son ‘keerru’, but to hear her answer, you’ll have to read the novelette because what will be the benefit in writing everything here. But I will definitely say one thing that Keerru’s character is a strange character who hates the reality of his inner self, there can’t be a bigger torture than this. I believe the name Keerru is given to him not by Haleema but by Fauzia Rafique herself, and what an amazing choice. Other than praising the beauty of the Punjabi language used, much admiration for using this name.

I will not talk about the rest of the characters because that would mean revealing most of the story, neither am I giving any ‘basic theme’ but the characters Fauzia Rafiq jee has created are full of life and they have distinct characteristics of their own. Through these characters, the readers come to know of the pain of exploitation of women and then the description of a charater’s rebellion as a way to come out of it. Repression of women has many forms and one of those is coercion and violence from man or husband, and many writers have spoken about it in their writings but what is a plus point with Fauzia Jee is that she did not make it into a slogan but through the story she has shown that the strength to be free of repression is also within women’s selves. Similarly, you will see the tall walls of social apartheid and casteism in the novelette.

I am not a critic but a reader of Punjabi and Urdu literature, and I have much appreciation for Fauzia Jee’s characterization. Five characters tell their stories in the language of ordinary people, sometimes they go in their pasts, then return to the present but the continuity of the story is never broken. The environment is described so well that the reader feels himself to be present there and everything passes in front of his eyes like a film.

About Keerru and Daljit’s relationship, Fauzia Jee has mentioned Shah Hussain and Madhu Lal, Bulleh Shah and Shah Inayat. Some people may object to it but I am in agreement with Fauzia Jee on this pointer.

I am very happy to have read Fauzia Jee’s novelette.     

Read Punjabi original at Penslips Magazine

View it on YouTube

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A must read for all lovers of Punjabi literature – ‘Keerru’ by Fauzia Rafique


‘Keerru’ is a tenderly woven story of love, acceptance, and understanding across religions, class, nationalities, and generations. Like her previous novel, Skeena, Fauzia tells a human story that is social and political without trying to be. This is a must read for all lovers of Punjabi literature, South Asian diasporic literatures, and LGBTQ+ literatures.’

Randeep Purewall
Surrey, BC

Winner of Ali Arshad Mir Award 2020
Novella ‘Keerru’ by Fauzia Rafique
Available in Punjabi and Urdu
smashwords.com/books/view/1029555
smashwords.com/books/view/1012167
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Fauzia Rafique gets Ali Arshad Mir Award for novella ‘Keerru’

Amjad Salim Minhas, the Publisher of ‘Keerru’, received
the award from Farooq Nadeem in Lahore

Fauzia Rafique’s novella ‘Keerru’
(Sanjh Publications, Lahore 2019)
has received Ali Arshad Mir Award 2020
for the best in Punjabi Literature (prose).
Presented at the 12th Mir Punjabi Mela
organized by Professor Ali Arshad Mir Foundation
and Punjab Arts Council
at Lahore’s Open air Theatre
on December 26-27, 2020.

When i saw Hassan Junaid Arshad’s Facebook message informing me that ‘Keerru‘ has won Ali Arshad Mir Award, i was amazed because it is a tough book to recommend.* Anyone can enjoy reading ‘Keerru’ but in order to recommend it the readers/jurors must be free of prejudices related to not just class, caste and patriarchy but also of religion and sexuality. I know that this is a tall order, but ‘Keerru’ aka the Little Big Book, does it effortlessly in just over a hundred pages. My compliments to the decision makers of this award for choosing it.

This is the complete list of award winners. Congratulations to my peers for excellence in each area.
Fauzia Rafique (Literature, prose)
Dr. Saeed Bhutta (Research)
Hameed Razi (Translation)
Asim Padhiar (Poetry, nazm)
Zafar Awan (Poetry, ghazal)
Abdul Karim Qudsi (Children, poetry)
Dr. Fazeelat Bano (Children, prose)
Mahboob Sarmad (Faith-based, poetry)
Aleem Shakeel was posthumously awarded Ali Arshad Mir Service Award for his contributions to Punjabi literature.

My thanks to jurors, organizers and participants of the 12th Mir Punjabi Mela 2020.

It is delightful that at the end of 2019, both my hometowns, Surrey and Lahore, honored me by recognizing my work; earlier, I had received the City of Surrey’s Arts and Heritage Literary Arts Award.

This is a hopeful beginning for 2021. Happy New Year to us all!

*That is also the reason why I value the reviews of ‘Keerru’ by Qaisar Abbas, Ramsha Ashraf, and Sara Kazmi. Thank you.

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
Author of Skeena, The Adventures of SahebaN: Biography of a Relentless Warrior, and Holier Than Life
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Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature – 2013 to 2020

In 2013 when Dhahan Prize was in the process of being established in Vancouver, I saw it as a progressive and uplifting force for Punjabi literature and language. It was a happy occasion for me when Anne Murphy (University of British Columbia, Asian Studies) and Barj Dhahan (Canada India Education Society), the two initiators, accepted my definition of ‘Punjabi’ to then include Shahmukhi writers, representing 60% of the World’s Punjabis, to be eligible for the Prize. I facilitated it by providing contacts in the Pakistani Punjab, and by serving on the inaugral advisory committee in Vancouver. My appreciation to Barj, Anne, Harinder Dhahan, and many others for their accomplishments and contributions in pulling it together. Indeed it is the only literary award that offers meaningful monetary reward to fiction writers of both Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi scripts residing in Pakistan, India and the Diaspora- a beautiful placement for community building in our literary landscape!

In seven years, however, that vision, that hope, has been consistently eroded by the political and social interests guiding Dhahan Prize, and now, the project has become more of a conservative push that further debilitates our literary environments with money and undue influence leading to the formation of cliques (‘narrow exclusive circles’, mw) in both India and Pakistan. It seems that the prize structure follows regressive systemic values where personal likes/dislikes and clan-based interests guide literary decisions. It is interesting, for example, that in seven years, not a single Shahmukhi writer, or a woman writing in either script, was allowed to win the main prize.

I also know that Dhahan Prize is not the only one employing discriminatory values and structures to get desired results, that all literary prizes, more so the big ones, operate on similar basis. For example, we see here in Canada and the USA that most big prizes are awarded to straight middle class white men, protecting the systemic values of racism, sexism, class privilege and homophobia. That it may take years of lobbying, bribes, favors and/or public pressure for someone to win a Sitara-e-Imtiaz in Pakistan or a Sahitya Akademi Award in India, and, that the more ‘outstanding’ talent may never get either. That the Nobel is only awarded when it serves the political interests of the so called ‘Western’ governments. Periodically and as needed, exceptions are made to save the credibility of a program, to increase its profits or to enhance its influence.

Knowing this, why did i expect this prize to be any different? The unique possibility with Dhahan Prize is its physical location where it does not have to work with or through the bureaucracy or the politics of either of the governments of the Punujab. They are independent of the social, religious and financial constraints and limitations of both India and Pakistan. In so being, the Dhahan Prize is in the very best position to build non-discriminatory, non-prejudicial, democratic structures that can spearhead the nurturement of leading-edge literature in Punjabi; to provide a pathway for authors tackling themes tabooed by prevalent South Asian value systems, and to support authors coming from historically disadvantaged groups. But would they or can they do it? I hope that the Dhahan Prize recognizes this as the unique opportunity it is, and resolve to do different and better instead of adding more of the same to an already toxic mix.

I was distraught last year to find that in their media releases and events, the Dhahan Prize stage was repeatedly handed over to an English language fiction writer of Punjabi origin- in the presence of three (of their own) award winning authors. It made me feel disrespected as a Punjabi writer, and in my small way, i responded by changing the emphasis of their media release by choosing another photo and rearranging the text in my event information post on Uddari, and, by participating in the discussion in one of the events. I wonder if, like many others in our community, the organizers also are inwardly ashamed of Punjabi writers writing in Punjabi.

Earlier this year, when i was submitting my novella Keerru to Dhahan Prize, i asked Maqsood Saqib (Pancham and Suchet Kitab Ghar) who had published his second short story collection, if he had submitted it. His first collection, containing the story ‘Pappu’, is a tone-setter for the narrative of modern short fiction in Shahmukhi. He hadn’t; i asked him why not, and he said something like: ‘literature is not written to win prizes’, and i said, yes indeed it’s not but if a book is already written and there’s a prize then why not submit it. He did not agree. This points to another discomfort. If authors are asked to submit to the prize themselves, not only that it sets up a relationship of ‘patronage’ with the prize but it also means that works by authors such as Saqib, and now myself, will stay out of Dhahan Prize’s lists. I don’t know how in the long run, this ongoing process of ommission will serve Punjabi literature, language or culture.

This is sad, and at this rate, within the first decade of its existence, Dhahan Prize will become well known for generously rewarding mediocrity and opportunism in Punjabi literature- instead of encouraging excellence and ingenuity.

Earlier this month, my novella ‘Keerru’ was shortlisted for Dhahan Prize but I hesitate to accept it as a compliment or to take it as a credit. My work does not need to be endorsed by compromised juries working through processes marred by favoritism and personal career agendas. I would rather continue with my walk.

Photo by Hafsah Durrani

Fauzia Rafique
Surrey BC
October 18, 2020

Novella ‘Keerru’

Gurmukhi ebook

Shahmukhi : Sanjh Publications, Lahore

Urdu ebook

Novel ‘Skeena’

Shahmukhi, Gurmukhi and English Editions
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Gurmukhi edition of Fauzia Rafique’s new novel ‘KEERRU’ now available

B&W photo by Danyal Rasheed, inset painting by Shahid Mirza
cover design by Mariam Zohra d.

From the Author of Skeena- a ‘little big’ book

ebook
ISBN 9780463342541

Available Everywhere
USA & the World: US$4.50
Canada: CA$4.50
India: INR101.00
Pakistan: PKR101.00

Instant Downloads
smashwords.com/books/view/1012167

‘The story of broken families, lovers, immigrants.
Five people come together in Surrey BC to
form powerful connections with each other, and
to tell a story that has rarely been told.’

Purple Poppy Press 2020, Vancouver, Canada

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Shahmukhi edition
Paperback
ISBN 978-969-593-315-2
PKR300.00
Sanjh Publications 2019, Lahore Pakistan
sanjhpk@yahoo.com
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2019 Dhahan Prize Awards Ceremony – Vancouver November 2nd

‘Kon’ Who, novelette by Mudassar Bashir

Saturday November 2, 2019
Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, University of British Columbia
Doors open at 6:00, ceremony begins at 7:00
Followed by a catered reception
Download PDF Poster

 

First prize : Jatinder Singh Haans
(Aloona Tola, Punjab, India), short story collection, title in translation ‘Jyona satch, Baqi Jhoot’ Living is Truth, All Else is a Lie.
Finalist, Shahmukhi : Mudassar Bashir
(Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan), novelette, ‘KonWho.
Finalist, Gurmukhi : Gurdev Singh
(Rupana, Punjab, India), short story collection, title in translation ‘Aam Khaas’ Ordinary Extraordinary‘.

‘In 2014, the Dhahan Prize took flight, and in 2019 we return to recognize the achievements of Punjabi writers at our 6th annual event. For work in the Punjabi scripts of Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi, this prize recognizes one outstanding writer with a $25,000 award, as well as two finalists with awards of $10,000. Forging meaningful relationships with writers, community organizations and educational institutions in Pakistan, India and the diaspora, the Dhahan Prize is the world’s signature prize for Punjabi literary works.’

The Keynote Speaker is Balli Kaur Jaswal, an award-winning author of four novels, including ‘Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows’.

Tickets can be purchased at
https://dhahanprize2019awardsceremony.eventbrite.com

More information
The Dhahan Prize
1058–2560 Shell Road
Richmond, BC V6X 0B8 Canada
contact@dhahanprize.com
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Being Punjabi – Fauzia Rafique Collection at the Museum of Surrey

My stuff gets a wholesome exposure at the Museum of Surrey’s community curated exhibition titled ‘Being Punjabi: Unfolding the Surrey Story’ (October 2 – February 23). The above showcase includes the original poster released by Sanjh Publications in Lahore at the launch of Punjabi Shahmukhi edition of Skeena in 2007, a flyer that lists Lahore Press Club as the venue for Skeena’s first launch that was disallowed by the Club’s administration a day ahead of the event, the complete audio of Skeena in Punjabi recorded in my voice by Lahore Chitrkar in 2007 that has never been released, and a letter-size poster of Skeena’s 2011 English edition by Surrey Libraries.

Among the installations showcasing different items from sixteen local Punjabis, the above are some things i like and use. The item on the top left is a wall hanger i made for my son when he was younger. It uses very desi Punjabi feeta trimming from a worn out set of pillow covers my mother gave me, leftover green susi cloth from Sindh, a patch of black with red and white embroidery from an Indian skirt i bought from India Bazar in Toronto’s East end, and, it uses ceramic and glass beads from Lahore, Toronto and Vancouver.

A passage from Skeena, in English and Punjabi Gurmukhi.

‘The first Punjabis came to Canada in 1897. Today Surrey is home to over 100,000 Punjabis. This exhibit presents a selection of local Punjabi voices using written word, audio recordings, video, artifacts, art and images. Being Punjabi is the first exhibition in Canada to highlight Surrey’s Punjabi community, showcasing stories of both struggle and success. It is meant to begin a conversation.’ surrey.ca/culture-recreation

Fauzia Rafique
October 6, 2019
Photos by Hafsah Durrani

Uddari Weblog operates on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
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Gurmukhi edition of novel ‘Skeena’ now available in India and Canada

Sangam Publications, Patiala 2019

Novel ‘Skeena’ by Fauzia Rafique has been published in Gurmukhi by Sangam Publications in Patiala, India, and it is now available at India Bookworld in Surrey’s Payal Centre. Script conversion from Shahmukhi to Gurmukhi has been performed by Harbans Singh Dhiman.

ISBN 978-93-5231-317-4
India Bookworld, $15
604-593-5967
info@indiabookworld.ca
Sangam Publications, India
sangam541@gmail.com
01764-501934

Punjabi novel ‘Skeena’ was first published in Shahmukhi by Sanjh Publications in 2007 in Lahore, where to date, it is Pakistan’s most sold Punjabi novel. Its English edition and a limited Gurmukhi edition came out in 2011 with Libros Libertad in White Rock. The Shahmukhi to Gurmukhi conversion and editing was done by poet/author/translator Surjeet Kalsey in consultation with Fauzia Rafique. The novel has also been recognized as one of the ‘100 Must Read Books by Punjabi Authors’ in ‘Legacies of the Homeland’ (Notion Press, Chennai 2018).

Visit Skeena web page
novelskeena.wordpress.com
Read reviews on ‘Skeena’
novelskeena.wordpress.com/reviews

Uddari Weblog operates on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
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Welcome Author/Publisher Parveen Malik to Vancouver – Dhahan Prize 2018 Events

This year, as part of the celebrations of Dhahan Prize for Punjabi literature, Pakistan’s renowned author, poet and publisher Parveen Malik will be visiting Vancouver. ‘Parveen Malik is a writer of fiction, teleplays and radio programs; a known literary personality on radio and TV; and, a highly respected publisher of Urdu and Punjabi literary books.’ More about Parveen is here: parveen-malik-punjabi-maanboli-writer

Parveen will participate in ‘Afternoon with Winners and Finalists’ on Sunday October 21st at Crossroads United Church in Surrey.
View the details in the poster below.

The main Dhahan Prize 2018 Awards Ceremony will take place on:
Saturday October 20th
6:00 PM – 9:30 PM, at:
Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre
UBC, 6163 University Blvd
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
More information:
eventbrite.com/e/dhahan-prize-2018-awards-ceremony

Uddari congratulates the 2018 Dhahan Prize winners:
Baldev Singh Sadaknama for ‘Sooraj Dee Akh’ (Sun’s Eye), historical fiction.
Nasir Baloch for ‘Jootha Sacha Koi Na’ (Anything Goes), short story collection.
Harpreet Sekha for ‘Prism’, short story collection.
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‘Legacies of the Homeland – 100 Must-Read Books by Punjabi Authors’ – Paramjeet Singh

Legacies of the Homeland
ISBN: 978-1-64249-423-5
Paperback
28-03-2018
Order it at the link below:
notionpress.com

‘Legacies of the Homeland’ is a pleasant new resource that introduces Punjabi literature to the English reader by listing the top one hundred books in autobiography, novel, poetry, plays and short story collections. The selection process required that each book be also available in English, and this has kept many worthy authors from being a part of it yet one can get a strong and clear picture of the body of literature that this book represents.

Paramjeet Singh

As is apparent from the title, the collection’s primary aim is to engage the diaspora, and it does that very well. Author and Editor Paramjeet Singh has developed a much-needed and timely resource for a growing Punjabi readership and for the ever increasing number of authors, teachers, researchers, art lovers and students of Punjabi language and literature in the diaspora. As well, it strengthens the stream started by Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature that began to offer each year a substantial award to Punjabi fiction writers regardless of their geographic locations, belief systems and favored scripts. Both serve the Homeland by asserting the Diaspora, both assert the Diaspora in serving the Homeland, and both attempt to bring the two together.

These are forceful interventions, it is possible that there be some negative outcomes or reactions to them but in large part all such projects provide a strong uplift to Punjabi language, literature, art and culture at the local and global level as they must by nature defy narrow constraints of nationality, religion, gender, race, and even the barriers of scripts and languages. In that, it is our hope that we can nurture an atmosphere of open-mindedness, discussion and interaction among different communities of Punjabis to enjoy all benefits that these robust processes may yield.

I am honored that ‘Legacies of the Homeland’ counts my first novel ‘Skeena’ as one of the top 100 must-read Punjabi books.

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
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Thinkfest Promotes ‘gutter literature’ in Punjabi

Thinkfest 2018 chose to promote a sub-standard work on the life of Punjabi author, radio artist and arts activist Nasreen Anjum Bhatti. There was an intense demonstration of solidarity with the late author by people who were there to protest against this choice.

Nasreen Anjum Bhatti reads from her first collection of poetry ‘Neel Karayaan Neelkan’.

The aware Punjabi writers and artists have described the story as ‘yellow journalism’, ‘tabloid literature’, and, of course, ‘gutter literature’.

The text proceeds to carry out ‘character assassination of progressive Punjabi writers such as Nasreen Anjum Bhatti, Shaista Habib, Zubair Rana and Fauzia Rafique’, and it does so in a misogynistic, homophobic and degrading manner. The story is penned by Nain Sukh aka Khalid Mahmood in his book called ‘ayi buray de wa’. The so-called story is a collection of inaccuracies where there are as much as FIVE factual mistakes in FOUR lines of text- about one of the writers attacked who, incidentally, is still alive to point them out.

Uddari fully supports Naeem Sadhu, Lahore’s Feminist Collective, and other individuals and organizations that are getting together to stop this attempt to legitimize yellow journalism as literature, and to resist this onslaught of conservative patriarchal mindset that demeans and degrades women, lesbians, gay men and religious minorities.

Down with the erstwhile ‘friends’ who are promoting and supporting this abusive and filthy text, and who are insisting that it should be accepted as Punjabi literature.

Fauzia Rafique
https://gandholi.wordpress.com/
frafique@gmail.com

Also view
‘Nasreen Anjum Bhatti Ke Leeye – For Nasreen Anjum Bhatti’ a poem by Amna Buttar
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Dhahan Prize 2017 Awards Ceremony – November 4 – UBC Vancouver

Pargat Singh Satoj won this year’s Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature for his novel Khabar Ik Pind Di (News From A Village), with Co-finalist Ali Anwar Ahmad for his short story collection Tand Tand Maili Chaadar (Filthy Chador (Sheet)) and Nachhattar Singh Brar for his novel Kaagzi Viaah (Paper Marriage).

As well, this year, DhahaN prize has begun Youth Awards for short stories written by grade 11 & 12 students of British Columbia. Stories are submitted in Punjabi and translated into English in order to build ‘bridges between communities and cultures.’

Post-ceremony reception with winning authors
Saturday, November 4, 2017
7:00 PM – 11:00 PM PDT
Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, UBC
6163 University Blvd.
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

More information about the event
eventbrite.com/e/dhahan-prize-2017-awards-ceremony
Visit Dhahan Prize website
dhahanprize.com/news

Contact The Dhahan Prize
1058–2560 Shell Road
Richmond, BC V6X 0B8, Canada
+1 604 831 6831
contact@dhahanprize.com
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A Tribute to Poet Gurcharan Rampuri

Gurcharan Rampuri is a Vancouver based Punjabi writer who has published over thirteen collections of poems, won over twenty literary awards from India, Canada, Denmark and USA; and his poetry books have been translated in Urdu, English and Hindi. He was one of the five poets in the ‘Anthology of Modern Punjabi Poetry‘ published in Russian from Moscow in 1957, and his poems were featured in Green Snow, an anthology of Asian poets in Canada. The Circle of Illusion: Poems by Gurcharan Rampuri (2011, translated by Amritjit Singh & Judy Ray), is Rampuri’s latest publication.

Born in Rampur in the Indian Panjab, Rampuri began writing in 1944, and he had published three collections of poems (Kirnan Da Ahlanan 1963, Qaul Qarar 1960, Kamkan Di Khushbo 1953) before coming to Canada in 1964.

Rampuri settled in Vancouver, and in the next two decades played a crucial role in encouraging Punjabi literary groups, programs and events. In 1972, he published Anhee Gali and Kanchni, two books in one volume. His other titles include Qatalgah (1985), Agnaar (1993), Aj Ton Aaranbh Tak (2001) and Dohavali (2004). Two CDs of his poems titled Nadi Naad were released in 2005.

Among his many awards are: Punjabi Sahit Academy, Chandigarh, India in 1982; Life Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Punjabi Language, Literature and Culture from Vancouver’s Punjabi Lekhak Manch in 2007, and Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Achievement Award for Contribution to Punjabi Literature in 2009.

More is here
punjabikalma.com/user/gurcharnrampuri
Contact Rampuri
gurcharan@shaw.ca

Photo by Amarjit Chandan

The history of Punjabi language and literature is incomplete without Gurcharan Rampuri; Uddari is honored to have him on our Punjabi Writers page.

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Dhahan Prize 2016 Awards Gala – Vancouver – October 29/16

uddari-dhahan-2016

Join us in celebrating excellence in Punjabi literature.

DATE AND TIME
Sat, October 29, 2016
6:30 PM – 10:00 PM PDT
LOCATION
Museum of Anthropology
6393 Northwest Marine Drive
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

In 2014, the Dhahan Prize took flight, and in 2016 we return to recognize the achievements of Punjabi writers at our 3rd annual event with keynote speaker, Giller Prize winner, M G Vassanji.
For work in the Punjabi scripts of Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi, this prize recognizes one outstanding writer with a $25,000 award, as well as two finalists with awards of $5,000. Forging meaningful relationships with writers, community organizations and educational institutions in Pakistan, India and the diaspora, the Dhahan Prize is the world’s signature prize for Punjabi literary works.

This year’s winning book, Kaale Varke (Dark Pages), is a collection of short stories about the lived experience of immigrant Punjabis in North America by Jarnail Singh. The title story of the book probes the links between the colonization of India, and the suffering of abuse and violence of the Canadian indigenous communities via the residential school system. Through a dialogue between an Indo Canadian counsellor and an indigenous man, who is a residential school survivor, the deep impacts of their experiences are explored.

Co-finalist, Tassi Dharti (Thirsty Land) by Zahid Hassan, is a gripping representation of existential concerns of the valiant people of the undivided Punjab, known as Bar, and their hardy struggles in the context of evolving social and political environment during the colonial period and beyond.

Our other finalist, Us Pal (That Moment) by Simran Dhaliwal, is a collection of short stories that deal with the rapidly fraying social and cultural fabric of contemporary Punjab. These short narratives provide fresh insight into the complexity of moral struggles and emotional relations of the common people.

Please join us for an evening of celebration in a glorious venue; enjoy the pre & post ceremony reception and also a stroll through the Museum’s multitude of exhibits.

We hope you can make and look forward to seeing you.

dhahanprize.com
eventbrite.com
facebook.com/DhahanPrize
..

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Author Jarnail Singh Sekha Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Uddari congratulates Jarnail Singh Sekha on winning the life-time achievement award in this year’s Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program at UBC.

Jarnail Singh Sekha new

Jarnail Singh Sekha is a BC-based author and teacher who has been actively involved in community building efforts in both the areas of literature and education. Yet his most valuable contributions are his novels and other writings.

Sekha’s first book was a collection of short stories titled ‘Udaasay Bol’ that was published in India in 1992. Four years later, his first novel ‘Dunia Kaisi Hoi’ came out, and it became part of postgraduate curriculum at Gurunanak University; the book is now running its fourth edition. Since then he has published ‘Bhagorra’ in 2003, another novel that has enjoyed three editions so far, with a Hindi edition in 2004. Sekha’s other titles include ‘Apna Apna Surg’ (stories, 2003), ‘Dullay de Baar Tak’ (travelogue 2005. Urdu edition ‘Vancouver se Lyalpur’ in 2009), ‘Vigocha’ (novel, 2009, 2 editions. Hindi edition ‘Pighalti Yaadein’ in 2016), ‘Cheteyan de Chilman’ (memoir, 2013), ‘Be-Gaanay’ (novel, 2014).

Sekha has edited various Punjabi books, and most recently, he has script-converted and edited the Gurmukhi edition of Professor Ashiq Raheel’s novel ‘Navekla Sooraj’.

In India, Sekha worked as Punjabi language teacher where he took a leading role in encouraging school administrations and communities to build and/or to re-furbish existing school buildings. He was an active member of government teachers union, and served as its president. After retirement, Sekha became a member of the local panchayat, and helped establish a veterinary hospital, a grain market and other public facilities. He also added a three-roomed section, called the Sajjan Block, in a school to commemorate his grandfather.

He is a founding member of Likhari Sabha Mogha, and has worked with Kaindri Lekhak Sabha and Punjabi Sahit Academy Ludhiyana, in India. In Vancouver, he is with Punjabi Lekhak Manch where he has served in various positions of responsibility. Sekha is also a founder and director of BC Punjabi Cultural Foundation that began in 2003 to present in BC a yearly Punjabi book festival in partnership with Chetna Parkashan.

Jarnail Singh is now working on another novel, and on the second part of his memoir.

Contact Jarnail Singh Sekha
 jsekha@hotmail.com

Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program 2016, The Eighth Annual Celebration of Punjabi Presented by the Department of Asian Studies, UBC. UBC Asian Centre, 1871 West Mall. March 16-17, 2016.

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