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.

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The Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program – Vancouver March 16-17

The-Harjit-Kaur-Sidhu-Memorial-Program-2016‘Lumber being air dried’ (1910), Vancouver Public Library Acc. No. 14264.

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

March 16, 7-9 PM, UBC Asian Centre Auditorium
Reception with snacks at 6:30
Talk on the Ghadar movement by Sunit Singh (University of Chicago)
Award presentation to student winners in a Punjabi-language essay contest
Honour BC-based Punjabi-language author Jarnail Singh Sekha with a life-time achievement award
View performances in Punjabi by students in Punjabi 200 and films by students from ASIA 475, ‘Documenting Punjabi Canada’.

March 17, 4 PM, Room 604, UBC Asian Centre
Talk by Sunit Singh ‘Western Clarion: Canadian Socialists and Indian Migration to British Columbia’, exploring the connections between members of the Punjabi Canadian community and the Canadian Left.

For more information
asia.ubc.ca under “events”
blogs.ubc.ca/punjabisikhstudies under ‘annual event’

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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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The Best Selling Punjabi Novel: Skeena

skeena-punjabi-cover

I am delighted to share with you the news that my first novel Skeena has become ‘the most-sold Punjabi novel’ of all times in Pakistan. In an email message, Publisher Amjad Salim Minhas said that ‘Sakina is the most sold Punjabi novel Sanjh has ever published; it is also the most sold Punjabi novel in Pakistan’.

This best-selling Shahmukhi Punjabi edition was published in 2007, and it was the most-launched book in Pakistan with events held in nine cities, each in partnership with local writers and literary organisations. This also made it the ‘most reviewed Punjabi book‘; and, the only novel that brought the movement for Punjabi language rights to the fore at each of its launching events.

It is interesting to note that Author Anthony Dalton’s 2011 predictions about Skeena’s English edition are sl–ow–ly but surely coming to pass in Punjabi, though we still have to see how the Gurmukhi edition does in the Indian Punjab where Skeena has never been published or marketed.

My gratitude to the readers, reviewers, peers; the publisher, editor, all members of the production team; and, the funders and supporters of Skeena’s Shahmukhi Punjabi edition for this profound and rewarding experience.

Thank you.

Fauzia
gandholi.wordpress.com
novelskeena.wordpress.com

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Call for Submissions: 2016 Dhahan Prize For Punjabi Literature Jan 12 – March 15

Dhahan Logo in all scripts

Vancouver, BC (January 12, 2016) – Submissions are now open for the Dhahan Prize, the world’s signature prize in Punjabi literature. Authors who have published novels or short story collections in 2015 in either of the Punjabi scripts, Gurmukhi or Shamukhi, are invited to submit their works for the $25,000 CDN first prize. Two second prizes of $5,000 CDN will also be awarded.

Submissions will be accepted between
January 12 – March 15, 2016
Submissions can be made by the author between
January 12 – March 15, 2016
Guidelines and eligibility terms
dhahanprize.com/2016-submissions
Submissions should be made both electronically and in hard copy. Submit electronic version at
dhahanprize.com
Deliver two hard copies of the printed book to
Canada-India Education Society
Unit 1058—2560, Shell Road, Richmond, BC V6X 0B8 Canada

Based in Vancouver, Canada, The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature was established in 2013 to recognize excellence in Punjabi literature, and to inspire the creation of Punjabi writing across borders. The prize is awarded at the international level each year to three books of fiction in Punjabi written in either of the two scripts, Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi.

The Dhahan Prize celebrates the rich culture and transnational heritage of Punjabi language and literature by awarding a yearly prize for excellence in Punjabi fiction. The Prize mission is to inspire the creation of Punjabi literature across borders, bridging Punjabi communities around the world and promoting Punjabi literature on a global scale. The prize was founded by Barj and Rita Dhahan, with support from family, friends, and the University of British Columbia (UBC). The Prize is awarded annually by the Canada India Education Society (CIES).

For more information, visit
dhahanprize.com
Or join the conversation
On Twitter or Facebook
For Media Interviews
Manpreet Dhillon
604-374-3274
contact@dhahanprize.com
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DHAHAN PRIZE 2015: Darshan Singh – Harjeet Atwal – Nain Sukh

Dhahan Logo in all scripts

Congratulations to authors Darshan Singh, Harjeet Atwal and Nain Sukh for winning this year’s Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize.

Prize ~ $25,000
Lota (Novel) by Darshan Singh
Second Prize ~ $5,000: Gurmukhi script
Mor Udaari (Novel) by Harjeet Atwal
Second Prize ~ $5,000: Shahmukhi script
Madho Lal Hussain – Lahore Di Vel (Novel) by Nain Sukh

Barj S. Dhahan, the Initiator of the Prize, said that this literary award ‘both opens doors for aspiring Punjabi writers and plays an important role in the preservation and expansion of the Punjabi language and its literature.’

The prizes will be celebrated at these events:

Dhahan Prize Awards Gala
A celebration of this year’s recipients and a keynote by Shauna Singh Baldwin
October 24, 2015 6:30pm
Surrey City Hall
Tickets $20
Facebook: facebook.com/events
Tickets: dhahanprize2015.eventbrite.com
Dhahan Prize Gala Invite 2015

Dhahan Prize Reading
With this year’s authors
October 25, 2015 1:30pm
Waterfront Theatre
Free event, RSVP required
Facebook: facebook.com/events
Reservations: dhahanprizereading2015.eventbrite.com
Dhahan Prize Gala Reading

More information
dhahanprize.com

Previous winners are Khali Khoohaan di Katha by Avtar Singh Billing (Gurmukhi script), Ik Raat da Samunder by Jasbir Bhullar (Gurmukhi script), and Kabutar, Banaire te Galian by Zubair Ahmed (Shahmukhi script).

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Poet Irfan Malik in Town

irfan-malik
Boston-based South Asian American poet and the organizer of South Asian American Theatre (SAATH) at Harvard University, Irfan Malik is visiting Vancouver from September 12 to 26 with his new collection of Punjabi poetry ‘Dooji Aurat’.

He will be presenting and participating in various events around town including the following, where his participation is made possible by some wonderful people such as our very own Ajmer Rode, Harinder Dhahan, Chin Mukherjee, Sukhwant Hundal, Anne Murphy, Carol Shillibeer, Barj Dhahan, Dr. Saif Khalid, Mohan Gill and Manpreet Dhillon.

Sept 13, 1-4pm
Punjabi Lekhak Manch
Newton Library, 13795 70 Avenue at King George Blvd, Surrey

Sept 14, 6-8pm
Hogan’s Alley Reading Series
Hogan’s Alley Cafe, 789 Gore Avenue, Vancouver

Sept 15, 6:30pm
Punjabi Poetry Evening
George Mackie Library, 112 St/84 Avenue, Delta

Sept 17, 1-3pm
Punjabi Seniors’ Group
Sunset Community Centre, Main/52, Vancouver

Sept 20, 


2pm
SANSAD-CPPC Public Forum
‘Pakistan-India Peace: People’s Need vs State Interest’
Room 120, 
Surrey Centre Library, 10350 University Drive, Surrey

Sept 21, 3:30-5pm
UBC Punjabi Class
UBC Campus, Vancouver (non-public)

Sept 21, 6-8pm
Poetry Wars
100 Braid Street Studios, New Westminster

Sept 25, 5:30-8:30
Surrey Muse
Room 418, City Centre Library, Surrey

To contact Irfan while he’s here, send him an email at
malikirf@gmail.com

Surrey Muse event details
SM-9-25-2015

Irfan Malik is the Featured Poet at this gathering. He will be presenting with Author Maureen Butler, Poet/Performer RC Weslowsky and Author Katherine Wagner. The event is hosted by poet/Performer Mariam Zohra.

Event is sponsored by
Dhahan Prize For Punjabi Literature
Dhahan Logo in all scriptsand
Surrey Muse & Uddari Weblog

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Booha Bandd Karainde’ay . ‘About To Shut The Door’ by Mahmood Awan

A poem in Punjabi and English

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Tainday Naa Di Roz ChambaylRi
Mainday Sukkay Seenay Jaagdi
Tainday Suraj Naal SvailRay
Tainday VehRay KhaiRday VailRay
Nit Holi Holi Kholday
Maindaty SahwaaN Wajji TaakRi

Taindi Neeli Saavi Chunni’aaN
Aa Door Samundar Runni’aaN
Tainday SahwaaN Paani GaiRyaa
Din Aokha AaN SahayRya

Maindi Raat Udaas AkailRi
Mainda Bistar Painday Torda
MaiN Sutta Hor day Hor da

Mainday Pindday Andar Bhaonde’ay
Mainday KhaabaaN day wich Ronde’ay
Nee Boha Bandd Karainde’ay
Mainu ThoRa Hor Udeek
..

بُوہا بند کریندیٔے
محمود اعوان

تینڈے ناں دی روز چنبیلڑی
مینڈے سُکّے سینے جاگدی
تینڈے سورج نال سویلڑے
تینڈے ویڑھے کھیڈدے ویلڑے
نِت ہولی ہولی کھولدے
مینڈے ساہواں وجّی تاکڑی
تینڈی نیلی ساوی چُنیاں
تینڈے ہوٹھیں کِھڑدی چمیاں
آ دور سمندر رُنیاں
تینڈے ساہواں پانی گیڑیا
دِن اوکھا آن سہیڑیا
مینڈی رات اداس اکیلڑی
مینڈا بستر پَینڈے ٹوردا
میں سُتا ہور دے ہور دا
مینڈے پِنڈے اندر بَھوندیٔے
مینڈے خاباں دے وچ روندیٔے
نی بُوہا بند کریندیٔے
مینوں تھوڑا ہور اُڈیک
..


About to Shut the Door
Mahmood Awan

Jasmine of your name each day
awakens in my dry chest
morning rises with your sun
times playing in your back yard
slowly open
my breath-shut window
your blue green scarves
kisses blooming on your lips
Longing to reach across oceans
breath-pulled water of your eyes
begets a tough day
my night sad, alone
distance-tracking bed
transforms me in my sleep
the woman whirling in my body
weeping in my dreams
who is about to shut the door
wait for me a bit more!

Translation: Fauzia Rafique
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‘New Genres Needed In Punjabi’ by Roop Dhillon

Punjabi Literature has a strong tradition of Sufi poetry and free thought. Over the years many literary movements have been established especially by the progressive writers. However that was almost a century ago, and in many ways the literary landscape seems to have stagnated in Realism and never moved on. This is certainly the case in Eastern Punjab. I cannot speak with any conviction about Western Punjab.

Eastern Punjab has hit a malaise where it refuses to leave the confines of realism and the literary novel, almost to the point where it considers other forms as cheap vulgar entertainment. But in this hypercomputer age this perspective is in danger of making its literary oeuvre unappealing to the modern reader and thus losing the few readers of Punjabi that exist.

In fiction and types of fiction, Punjabi lags behind the rest of the continent let alone the world. Many people are confused for example by my sci-fi stories, thinking them to be a strange thing. In fact this genre has been around for centuries in the west and even for at least 100 years in languages such as Bengali and Japanese. I have labelled this genre Vachitarvaad and definitely encourage Punjabis to try their hand at it. Other genres I see missing from Punjabi appear to be Magic Realism, Crime Fiction and Feminist Fiction. I think it is about time we writing in Punjabi catch up and give our readers more choice, and a whole spectrum of fiction so that it can compete with Cinema, TV and Computers; all modern things that may pose a threat to the habit of reading.

I also think that to achieve this, writers both from Lahnda and Charhda Punjab need to help one another. One way could be through agreeing which of the two scripts is better placed for usage or perhaps print books in both Shahmukhi and Gurmukhi. Another way, especially for Punjabi writers who live abroad, is to set up an independent publishing house or imprint that caters for Punjabi only (maybe aimed at those who live here in the west), and circumnavigates the vile practice of charging the author which exists in our native countries. All these are thoughts and ideas and it would be great to see what people think.

Over the coming weeks, I am likely to post in further detail what I know and think about these topics.

Vachitarvaad is one area I hope Punjabi writers will explore, and also other genres that may or may not have been mentioned here.

Contact Roop
rupinderpal@btinternet.com
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Mahmood Awan – Author

Welcome Mahmood Awan
as Author/Contributor
at Uddari Weblog!

m-awan

Mahmood Awan is a Poet, Essayist and Translator. His published works include Raat Samundar Khed (Let’s Play with the Night Sea; 2002) and Veeni Likhia Din (A Day etched on her wrist; 2012).

Veeni Likhia Din received Masud Khaddarposh Award for the best Poetry book of the year 2012, Baba Guru Nanak Award (2012) and MehkaaN Adbi Award (2012).

Born in 1977 in Padhrar (Khushab; Pakistan), Mahmood is an Electrical Engineer who has been involved with the Punjabi language and literary movement since his student days at Engineering University Lahore [1995-2000]. He moved to Dublin (Ireland) in 2007 due to his professional commitments and lives there with his family.

He also writes for Pakistan’s leading English daily ‘The News’ about Punjabi Themes, Identity and Literature. His Author page at The News can be accessed at:
http://tns.thenews.com.pk/writers/mahmood-awan/

His books can be read online at apnaorg.com at the following links
http://www.apnaorg.com/books/shahmukhi/veenee-likhya-din/book.php?fldr=book
http://www.apnaorg.com/books/shahmukhi/raat-samundar-khade/book.php?fldr=book

Mahmood can be reached at:
mahmoodah@gmail.com
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First annual Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature – 2014 Winners

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First Prize of $25,000: Khali Khoohaan di Katha
Novel by Avtar Singh Billing (Gurmukhi script)
Runner Up Prize of $5,000: Kbooter, Bnairy te Galian
Short stories by Zubair Ahmed (Shahmukhi script)
Runner Up Prize of $5,000: Ik Raat da Samunder
Short stories by Jasbir Bhullar (Gurmukhi script)

Congratulations!
Avtar, Zubair and Jasbir
!
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Press Release
$25,000 CDN First Prize
celebrates the rich culture and
transnational heritage of Punjabi literature

Vancouver, BC (September 22, 2014) – After receiving over 70 eligible entries from 5 countries around the world, the
winner of the $25,000 CDN Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature is Avtar Singh Billing’s novel, Khali Khoohaan di
Katha (The Story of Empty Wells).

Based in Vancouver, Canada, The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature aims to inspire the creation of Punjabi literature
across borders, bridging Punjabi communities around the world, and promoting Punjabi literature on a global scale.
The Dhahan Prize awards $25,000 CDN annually to one “best book in fiction” published in either of the two Punjabi
scripts, Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi. Two runner-up prizes of $5,000 CDN are also awarded, with the provision that both
scripts are represented among the three winners. The Dhahan Prize is awarded by Canada India Education Society
(CIES) in partnership with the Department of Asian Studies in the Faculty of Arts at University of British Columbia
(UBC). The prize is funded by an endowment from Barj and Rita Dhahan, and family and friends.

The winners of the inaugural Dhahan Prize in Punjabi Literature are:
First Prize of $25,000: Khali Khoohaan di Katha (Novel) by Avtar Singh Billing (Gurmukhi script)
Runner Up Prize of $5,000: Ik Raat da Samunder (Short stories) by Jasbir Bhullar (Gurmukhi script)
Runner Up Prize of $5,000: Kbooter, Bnairy te Galian (Short stories) by Zubair Ahmed (Shahmukhi script)

“I feel happy and lucky to be the first author to win the prestigious, inaugural Dhahan Prize in Punjabi Literature,” said
Avtar Singh Billing, author of Khali Khoohan di Katha. “[Canada India Education Society] and the University of British
Columbia have really created history by establishing such a unique, international award for Punjabi fiction. I feel proud
that the Punjabi literary world found my sixth novel worthy of this honour.”

Punjabi literature has a long and rich literary heritage and is produced around the world. Barj S. Dhahan, co-founder of
CIES states, “Punjabi has been a Canadian language for 115 years and it is exciting that this prize is uniquely a Canadian
undertaking.”

The Prize Advisory Committee has been central to developing an independent and impartial jury of senior writers and
scholars to adjudicate the prize. Professor Anne Murphy, chair of the prize advisory committee explains, “We have three
juries: one to choose Shahmukhi books, one for Gurmukhi books, and one Central Jury that determines the winner. There is no overlap among the juries and the names of members are not disclosed until after adjudication is complete. It is crucial that we always maintain a strong and fair process.”

Visit the English version of the website here:
www.dhahanprize.com
Shahumkhi and Gurmukhi content will be added later.

Download Press Releases
English
SEPT 22 2014 Dhahan Prize Winners
Gurumukhi
September 22 2014 – Dhahan Prize Winners
Shahmukhi
September 22 2014 – Dhahan Prize Winners
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Don’t Cry For Punjabi

tragedy

 

Written by Randeep Singh

We hear about the “loss” of Punjabi, the “tragedy” of how Punjabi is not taught in schools in West Punjab, of how Punjabi youth speak only Urdu, Hindi or English in Lahore or Chandigarh. “Imagine the sound of Punjabi and the rich cultural heritage it boasts,” writes Affan Chaudhary, “lost forever.”[1]

If there’s a tragedy, it’s the idea that the demise of Punjabi has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more one believes it, the less likely one will do anything to reverse it and the less likely that anything will change in any positive respect, least of all the feelings of doom and gloom.

I am not denying Punjabi faces challenges, but the circumstances suggest a more balanced view on the question.

First, Punjabi is neither an “endangered” nor a “vulnerable” language.[2] While it may not enjoy national or official status like Hindi, Urdu or French, neither is Punjabi an endangered or vulnerable language like Basque, Corsican or Gaelic all with less than one million speakers.

Punjabi is in fact one of the world’s most spoken languages with its number of speakers ranging from 80 to 110 million.[3] The total number of Punjabi speakers moreover has been increasing, not decreasing, since 1951.[4]

Second, rather than compare Punjabi to Urdu and Hindi, it would make more sense to compare Punjabi to languages like Gujarati, Pashto and Telugu with which its shares a similar legal and official status. What does the experience of these languages have in common with Punjabi? What initiatives have such languages taken in promoting awareness and education in one’s mother tongue in ways which can help Punjabi?

Third, few languages have proved so culturally vibrant in India, Pakistan and in the diaspora as Punjabi. Punjabi has historically dominated the film and music industry in Pakistan thanks to icons like Noor Jehan. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan raised the profile of Punjabi poetry through his musical performances. And Punjabi MC’s bhangra/dance track “Mundiyan To Bachke Rahin” topped charts in the UK, Italy and Germany and crossed over into hip-hop collaborations with Jay-Z and Timbaland.

We could add the growing popularity of Punjabi through Sufi Rock, Coke Studio and Bollywood. The point is that any discussion on Punjabi needs to count its achievements and opportunities along with its setbacks.

So don’t cry for Punjabi just yet.

[1] Affan Chaudhary, “I Speak Punjabi but My Kids Might Not,” in Express Tribune (March 16, 2012): International Tribune: :://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/10622/i-speak-punjabi-but-my-kids-might-not/

[2] UNESCO defines an endangered language as one which children no longer the language as a mother tongue in the home; and a vulnerable language as one which is spoken by most children but whose use is restricted to certain domains like the home.

[3] Ethnologue lists Western Punjabi (Lahnda) and its various dialects as the 11th most spoken language with 82.6 million speakers with an additional 28 million speakers of Eastern Punjabi. The Swedish language million speakers, the Swedish language encyclopedia, Nationalencyklopedin (2007) lists Punjabi as the 10th most spoken language in the world with 102 million speakers.

[4] http://www.statpak.gov.pk/depts/pco/index.html

 

An Evening with Saeen Zahoor

Sain_Zahoor_14_leugk_Pak101(dot)com

Written by Randeep Singh

On May 31, 2014, Pakistani Sufi singer Saeen Zahoor performed at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre, sending the audience into trance, dance and inspiring reverence throughout.

The evening brought together local Indian and Pakistani performers, organizers and audience members. Indo-Pakistani band Naqsh IPB opened the evening with their blend of modern Sufi, rock, classical and filmi musical stylings. Through clashing drums, pulsating guitar riffs and the soaring vocals of Daksh Kubba, Naqsh warmed up the crowd for Saeen.

He entered in his long black kurta embroidered in yellow, ghungroo bells jingling around his ankles, carrying his colourfully decorated ektaara (one-string instrument). “I am not an artist,” he began, “I am a dervish who recites the name of His Master.”

Saeen didn’t just sing: he performed in every sense of the word. The spirit of Bulleh Shah poured through Saeen, his songs, his dance, his story-telling. His two hours on the stage was a musical theatre on the life and poetry of Bulleh Shah.

IMG346
After declaring his devotion to Bulleh Shah in “Ni Mai Kamli Haan” (‘Crazy I Am!’), Saeen sang “Aukhen Painde Lambiyaan Raavan” (‘Hard and Long are the Paths’), of how Bulleh Shah journeyed for miles in search of his teacher. On meeting his teacher, Shah Inayat, Bulleh Shah asks: “how does one find God.” Shah Inayat, planting spring onions, replies: “what do you want to find God for? Just uproot this from here and plant it there.”

Saeen then broke out ecstatically into “Nachna Painda Ae” (‘Dance One Must’) swirling on the stage in his ghunghroo bells just as Bulleh Shah had once for Shah Inayat.

Saeen also sang on Bulleh Shah’s rebukes to legalistic Muslim clerics in “Bas Kare O Yaara Ilm” (‘Enough of Learning, My Friend’). Saeen tells us, Bulleh Shah gave up the shariah for the way of Love just as Heer refused to marry another man according to the shariah because she had been wedded spiritually to her Beloved. On love’s path, Saeen sings “let’s go Bulleh to that place where everyone is blind” in “Chal Bulleha Uthe Chale.”

From his stepping onto the stage, the audience became disciples of Saeen. He sang with abandon, he whirled with frenzy and he ended the night to the boom of the dhol drum bringing the audience to its feet. The air was filled with passion, energy and devotion. People went up to the stage and paid their respects by touching their heads to the stage or folding their hands in reverence: the theatre became a Sufi shrine, a dargah.

Above all, Saeen ensured Bulleh Shah will live on as a shared heritage. His spirit and art were the spirit of love and unity. Says Saeen: “humanity is to love one another.”

Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize – Launch Vancouver Oct 8/13

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
The Golden Jubilee Room
(Irving K Barber Learning Centre)
UBC, 1961 East Mall
Free & open to the public
Poetry Readings in Punjabi/English
Fauzia Rafique and Ajmer Rode
DIPLP – Prize Program – Vancouver Launch

The Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize has been founded to celebrate the rich history and living present of Punjabi language and literature, around the globe. A cash prize of $25,000 CDN will be awarded annually to one ‘best book’ in either Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi. Two runner-up prizes of $5,000 CDN will be awarded, one for each script. Winners will be honored at an annual Gala, held in Vancouver in its inaugural year and at alternative host cities around the world subsequently.

The Prize will be awarded by Canada India Education Society (CIES) in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC). CIES has an over twenty-year history of success in leading educational, community development, healthcare and job creation projects in India. Guided by a strong interest in Punjab, the Society partners in this venture with the Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts at UBC, which is home to one of the largest and longest standing Punjabi language programs outside of South Asia. The aim of this partnership is to highlight the literature of a rich and passionate language that can speak not only to Punjabis around the world, but to all.

The success of the Scotiabank Giller prizes in fostering recognition of Canadian literature encouraged the formation of the Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize. The Dhahan Prize will expose a neglected cultural product to a new market – the global Punjabi population – and draw attention to transnational cultural production that crosses borders and community boundaries. It will not only directly benefit writers and inspire new writing in the language, but also bring new attention to writing in Punjabi in general, within a broader community. The Prize will entice new readership and ideally, the translation of works from Punjabi into English. It will also bring crucial material support to writers already active in the field.

Punjabi literature speaks in a language we can all understand; this Prize will give us a chance to hear it.

India Launch
November 11th, Evening
J.W. Marriott Chandigarh
Plot no: 6, Sector 35-B, Dakshin Marg · Chandigarh, 1600 35 India
The Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize
will be awarded on an annual basis to honor
the finest literary works produced each year in the Punjabi language.
Please RSVP by November 6th to info@cies.ca

Pakistan Launch
November 14th, Evening
Hospitality Inn Lahore
(Formerly Holiday Inn Lahore)
25-26 Egerton Road Lahore 54000
The Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize
will be awarded on an annual basis to honor
the finest literary works produced each year in the Punjabi language.
Please RSVP by November 10th to info@cies.ca

DIPLP – Prize Brochure
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