Punjabi Monthly magazine PANCHAM becomes a Quarterly publication


Quarterly Pancham, Jan-Feb-March 2020
Eds. Faiza Raa’na & Maqsood Saqib

Lahore’s longstanding literary Punjabi magazine, Pancham, makes a smart move to become a quarterly after a prolonged struggle to be a self-reliant monthly publication. This may allow for a larger selection and even richer literary content.

Pancham publishes poetry, fiction, literary criticism and non fiction. Edited and published by renowned authors Faiza Raa’na and Maqsood Saqib, it has been recognized as being the best literary Punjabi magazine in both the East and the West Punjab.

Published in the Shahmukhi script since 1998, Pancham is a continuation of Maan Boli, a magazine that was brought out from Lahore by some of the same team leaders and members that had continued publishing from 1986 to 1997. For more, connect with the Pancham community on Facebook:
Pancham Sulaikh SaNg (Punjabi Literary Group)

Yearly Subscriptions
Pakistan RS1000
India RS1000
International US$20

To subscribe, contact Maqsood Saqib at
+92 306 1679936
suchet2001@yahoo.com
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Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

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Call For Submissions: Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize – March 15/14

For months, i have watched with apprehension and excitement the development of Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize, and now after its launch(es) i am happy to report that it is indeed a giant(!) leap(!) forward for Punjabi literature. Not just because the prize money is substantial at $25,000 (all scripts, and with two runner-ups of $5,000, one each for Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi), but also because it is one of the few initiatives that recognizes Punjabi in it’s totality and so claims the history and development of its literature across scripts, national/ethnic boundaries, and religious divides.

Submission Guidelines
Date January 15 – March 1 (online), with hard-copies due by March 15.
Format PDF version and a Printed Copy
Genre Fiction – novels, novellas, short story collections
Edition Original first editions only. Reprints or translations are not eligible.
Publishing Date During 2013
Books Published by ‘recognized’ and ‘independent’ publishers only. No self-published books.

Download Call for Submissions
English
Gurumukhi
Shahmukhi
(Note revised date: Jan 15 – March 1 (online), with hard-copies due by March 15)

Uddari fully supports this wonderful initiative as it is one of the fruits of our labour. Dhahan Prize is so valuable because it recognizes:
. Punjabi writers anywhere in the World. In South Asia and outside.
. Punjabi literature in both its major scripts, Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi.
. Importance of fiction, long and short, in the development of a literature.
. Rights of Punjabi writers by offering them the first yearly living wage.

The Prize will for sure get some serious attention from Punjabi writers around the world where only a few can or have depended on their creative writing for a living. I am talking about those stubborn people who insisted on writing in Punjabi when their world was pushing it aside and saying that there’s no future in writing in Punjabi; the people who were told by non-royalties-paying Punjabi publishers that their work is not good enough for money; and, that not many wanted to read them anyway.

Dhahan Prize will create a surge in the readership of Punjabi books because writers are the very first readers of books.

At Uddari Weblog, we are in a celebratory mode because Dhahan Prize strengthens many of our goals and objectives.

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
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Related posts on Uddari
Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize – Launch Vancouver Oct 8/13
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‘YaaN koi oho jeha – یاں کوئی اوہو جیہا ‘ by Zubair Ahmad

A Punjabi poem by Zubair Ahmad.

Din khali se
sarrkeiN vug geya
dau tin var murr ke takeya
ik adh vaar khyal peya
yaaN taaN se oho
yaaN koi oho jeha
..

دِن خالی سی
سڑکیں وگ گیا
دو تن وار مُڑ کے تکیا
اک ادّھ وار خیال پیا
یاں تاں سی اوہو
یاں کوئی اوہو جیہا

زبیر احمد
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From Zubair Ahmad’s new collection of poems ‘Sadd’ (Call), Sanjh Publications, Lahore 2012

Contact Zubair
kitab.trinjan@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/zubair.ahmad.73
https://www.facebook.com/groups/KitabTrinjan/?fref=ts

uddariblog@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Uddari-Weblog/333586816691660
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Punjabi monthly magazine Pancham now available online

Update: please view this post for updated information about Pancham:
Punjabi Monthly magazine moves to Quarterly publication

Lahore’s literary Punjabi monthly magazine ‘Pancham’ is now available to read online. Edited by Faiza and Maqsood Saqib, ‘Pancham’ publishes poetry, fiction, literary criticism and non fiction. The publication is a continuation, in spirit, of the fine traditions of monthly ‘Maanboli’.

Led by Maqsood Saqib, the team that produces monthly Pancham and publishes Punjabi books from Suchet Kitab Ghar, has also created two pages on Facebook that are initiating robust discussions on aspects of Punjabi literature.
Pancham Sulaikh SaNg
http://www.facebook.com/groups/187000121364896/
Fareed Rang
http://www.facebook.com/groups/312103068831819/

More on Maqsood Saqib
https://uddari.wordpress.com/2009/04/26/brilliante-punjab-offering-to-a-writer-an-editor-and-a-reader/

Pancham at Uddari Publishers’ page: https://uddari.wordpress.com/punjabi-authors-publishers/#PANCHAM

Contact Pancham
Street Address
11 Sharaf Mansion, 16 Queens Road
Chauk Ganga Ram
Lahore, Pakistan
Website
http://puncham.com/
Phone
(+92) 42 36308265
Email
info@puncham.com
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Vancouver’s Punjabi Lekhak Manch on novel Skeena

It is a privilege and an honour for me that Punjabi Lekhak Manch chose to hold a discussion on ‘Skeena’, that the feedback on the novel was most wonderful; and because discussion on Skeena was combined with the publishing issues facing Punjabi writers in Canada.

In Pakistan, the launches of Skeena in each of the nine cities referenced topics such as the status of Punjabi in Pakistan and West Punjab, rights of Punjabi authors, and support for Punjabi publishers. Valuable connections were created or refreshed between authors, publishers, distributors and booksellers.

In Vancouver Lower Mainland, the discussions on the Gurumukhi edition of Skeena are linked with the status of Punjabi Canadian writers, their rights as authors, and the ways to get a better deal from East Punjabi publishers.

There was a high turnout in speakers, and it was overwhelming for me to see that Skeena had generated a passionate response in each and every reader.

I am most honored also because each reader is a writer, critic, editor, publisher, teacher, journalist, cultural activist or a community leader.

Here’s the report:

Skeena: Prideful addition to Punjabi Literature – Punjabi Lekhak Manch
Regarding Skeena

Novel Skeena was hailed as a unique, artistic and prideful contribution to Punjabi literature by the members of Punjabi Lekhak Manch, one of the oldest BC Punjabi writers group.

Ten people shared their views about Skeena including both the coordinators of the Manch while four members took part in the discussion about Punjabi publishing. The meeting was held at Newton Library in Surrey on July 10, 2011.

The discussion was initiated by Sukhvant Hundal who had earlier requested the Manch to give time to Skeena.

Sukhvant Hundal said he values Skeena because of the many unique aspects of it. Unlike most other novels, Skeena depicts patriarchy in the class context. It acknowledges the oppression of Skeena’s own family whereas most other novels typically highlight the oppression of the ‘other’ family. The novel also artfully reveals the layers and layers of violence in our social systems. As well, Hundal was moved by the depiction throughout the novel of ‘sanjh’ or ‘togetherness’ of women across class, ethnicity and religion. ‘The storytelling is picturesque,’ remarked Hundal ‘once begun, the novel is hard to put down.’

Sadhu Binning said that Skeena is a work of such depth that more discussions need to take place on it. He said ‘I am happy and proud’ to have this unique novel in Punjabi literature where the style of writing is such that it seems the story is the reader’s own life, and the events are happening to him or her. The novel also shows the values of the jagirdari system through its effects and impacts on people rather than through socio-political speeches. The literary style of expression allows the readers to form their own conclusions about various aspects, characters and situations. Sadhu also appreciates that Skeena faces all kinds of difficulties in her life yet her desire to live remains strong. ‘Skeena is a prideful addition to Punjabi literature’, he said.

Sadhu asked Fauzia to speak about her experience with Punjabi publishers in Pakistan with reference to the Punjabi Shahmukhi edition of Skeena (Sanjh Publications, Lahore 2007).

Randeep Purewall said he liked the novel for many reasons but would limit himself to the mention of just two. First, the ways in which the novel references themes related to First Nations in the Canadian context from the very beginning; and second, the novel’s illustrations of people having different sexual orientations such as the two lesbian couples, in both its social contexts. He said that it is rare to find Punjabi or South Asian literature that integrates such themes into its projected social environments.

Amrik Duhra said that he enjoyed reading the novel, and was especially taken by its usage of different Punjabi dialects, and of the beauty of its language and expression.

Inderjit Kaur Sidhu said that she had just found a copy of the English edition of Skeena lying on the table, and when she opened it, she came across the following passage:
‘This is my third house arrest. First at my parent’s, second at my in-laws, and third in my own home. Seven months. Nine years. One week. Punishment, compromise, investigation.’
She said, ‘For sure, I will buy it and read it’.

Surinder Kaur Sahota said that she enjoyed reading the novel because of the beauty of its language and expression. The story deals with family values, social systems, and the hold of religious ideologies. She said, it is constructed from many ‘fictions’, events that cannot be true. Surinder gave two three examples of such untrue things including the one where Skeena is shown assaulted by an ‘educated doctor husband’. ‘But…’ she said, ‘I was most shocked to find that Iqbal Singh was Gamu’. Surinder said she was irritated by the spelling mistakes in the Gurumukhi edition of Skeena.

Ranbir Jauhal said that she also was not as happy with the fourth section as she was with the rest of the novel. As well, she said, she wanted the novel to be a lot longer but it finished too fast. Responding to comments made by Surinder she said that one of the things she most appreciates about ‘Skeena’ is in the ways it bursts various societal myths, like the myth that wife assault only occurs in ‘un-educated lower class’ families and that middle class ‘educated’ men do not assault/abuse their wives. She also affirmed Randeep’s observations about the integration in the novel of various taboo subjects such as sexual orientation.

Jarnail Singh Sekha, Co-Coordinator, said that he likes the name of the novel. The language is beautiful, characters have depth, and the story wins the reader’s heart where the reader does not want to put the novel away until it’s finished. There are however, conversion problems with the script, and they should have been taken care of before the publication of the Gurumukhi edition. He said that he has read Skeena in both Shahmukhi and Gurumukhi scripts, and Shahmukhi flows wonderfully well but Gurumukhi stalls time and again. Also, in the fourth section, the novel stoops to a low-level filmi plot when Iqbal Singh is revealed as Gamu. ‘In my opinion’ remarked Sekha, ‘Iqbal should have stayed Iqbal.’

Jarnail Singh Artist, Co-Coordinator, said that Skeena is a window into the cultural milieu of Pakistan and the status of Muslim women. He enjoyed the novel, but tends to agree with Mr. Sekha that at the end there is filmi-style plotting. ‘Nothing is added to the novel by turning Iqbal Singh into Gamu.’ Also, he said, the lesbian issues have been touched but in a superfluous manner since the lesbian characters do not move the plot. Artist affirmed that script conversion problems are irritating for the Gurumukhi reader.

Surinder Kaur Brar said she just loved the novel. The author’s ability to express delicate feelings, concepts and situations is amazing. The language and style of writing is beautiful. It has strong subject matter but then every novel has subject matter but not every novelist can fulfil it or do justice to it. The depiction of reality is subtle and realistic even ‘natural’. ‘I like everything in it, if you ask me, i can not find anything wrong with it. Skeena is a great addition to Punjabi literature’.

Fauzia Rafique thanked Punjabi Lekhak Manch and its members for giving this special time to Skeena, for reading the novel, and for sharing valuable insights. She also thanked Sukhvant Hundal for requesting the Manch to discuss Skeena. She said, she will take the feedback on Gurumukhi conversion issues to the publisher, Libros Libertad, so that the next print run is free of typos.

As suggested by Sadhu Binning, Fauzia shared her experience of publishing Skeena in Punjabi Shahmukhi script from Lahore in 2007. She said that like East Punjab, West Punjab also has three main publishing houses, out of which one had asked her in 2006 to convert Skeena into Shahmukhi. Once the manuscript was ready, the publisher was discussing printing details but no mention was made of any royalties for the author. Fauzia said, she had to withdraw Skeena, and then offer it one by one, to the other two publishers. Amjad Salim of Sanjh Publications came through; he signed a royalty agreement with the author, invested their own money, and published not the standard 200-350 books but 750 (hardbound= 500, Paperback=250). Sanjh also acquired funding from South Asia Partnership (SAP) to launch the novel in nine cities in Pakistan. With that, ‘Skeena may be the best-selling novel in modern Punjabi literature,’ Fauzia said.

The situation of Punjabi publishing is such where in most cases, she said, authors fund the publishing of their own books or they have to buy-back a large portion of the print-run; plus they have to do their own promotion without much support from the publisher. This situation necessitates that the Punjabi Canadian writers find better solutions for the publication of their works. The formation of a Punjabi writers cooperative to publish, promote and distribute the writings of Punjabi Canadian authors is one way to go.

She said, at this time, author royalties and rights are less a matter of money and more a matter of principle. There is not much money in publishing of literature in any language and especially not in the publishing of Punjabi literature, but it ‘torments me’ she said, to find that when a Punjabi book is published, each and every contributor is paid BUT the author. In addition, the author is powerless and held at bay by the publisher with ‘Punjabi books don’t sell’ oxymoron. Nothing sells without promotion and distribution, she said.

Satish Gulati of Chetna Parkashan, visiting Canada from Ludhiana India, outlined the many problems faced by Punjabi publishers. He said that it requires consistency and dedication to continue to publish Punjabi books, and it is a difficult path to tread. He explained the process of book publishing and selling, and outlined the many barriers to its success.

The discussion brought out the need to further brainstorm on the different aspects of Punjabi publishing to make it a more beneficial and respectful experience for Punjabi Canadian authors.

Nedeem Parmar, Treasurer of the Manch, was of the opinion that there is no need to discuss this subject as Chetna Parkashan is doing a wonderful job in serving the publishing needs of Punjabi Canadian authors.

Fauzia, however, has made a request to the Manch to make some time to hold discussions on different aspects of Punjabi publishing as it impacts Punjabi Canadian authors.

Punjabi Lekhak Manch was established over 35 years back. The first meeting was attended, among others, by its initiators Surjeet Kalsey, Gurcharan Rampuri and Ajmer Rode.

The meeting was attended by Jarnail Singh Sekha, Jarnail Singh Artist, Sushil Kaur, Surinderpal Kaur Brar, Kirpal Kaur, Gurcharan Singh Gill, Inderjit Singh Dhami, Krishan Bhanot, Khushhal Singh Gloti, Pritpal Singh Sandhu, Fauzia Rafique, Hrjit Daudhria, Joginder Shamsher, Barjinder K. Dhillon, Hari Singh Tatla, Narinder Baia, Jagdev S. Dhillon, Pavinder Dhariwal, Harjinder Singh Cheema, Inderjit Kaur Sidhu, Shahzad Nazir Khan, Nirmal Kaur Gill, Jasbir Kaur Maan, Satish Gulati, Nedeem Parmar, Davinder Punia, Gian Singh Kotli, Ranbir Jauhal, Sukhvant Hundal, Sadhu Binning, Randip Purewal, Amrik Duhra, Surinder K. Sahota.
(Note: The list may not be comprehensive.)

Punjabi Lekhak Manch meets every second Sunday from 1-4 PM at Surrey’s Newton Library. Contact Punjabi Lekhak Manch: lekhakmanch11@gmail.com

This report uses valuable input from Jarnail Singh Artist, Parvinder Dhariwal, Jarnail Singh Sekha and Randeep Purewall.

Buy Skeena:
http://www.libroslibertad.ca/book.php?id=42

Report first published at http://novelskeena.wordpress.com/.
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End of an era: Dr. Darshan Gill passes away

Renowned scholar and secular journalist Dr. Darshan Gill passes away

Dr. Darshan Gill, a progressive and secular Punjabi writer who opposed religious fundamentalism in Vancouver lost his battle with cancer and passed away at Surrey Memorial Hospital on June 10, 2011.

Gill was the former editor of Canada Darpan, a Punjabi biweekly that gave a voice to moderates who were condemning extremism within the Sikh community during 1980s.

He founded Canada Darpan on November 1, 1982. This date was deliberately picked as it coincided with the anniversary of the founding of Gadar, a newspaper launched by secular Indian revolutionaries who fought against British imperialism.

He was a native of historical village Dhudike in Punjab. Dhudike was known as a village of Gadarites. Dr. Gill, who came from a progressive background had worked at Nawan Zamana, a leftist newspaper published in Punjab, India, before he immigrated to Canada in 1972.

After his arrival in this country, he was employed at sawmills in the B.C. Interior. He moved to Vancouver in 1982.

His newspaper was critical of Sikh fundamentalism and published articles written by prominent moderates, including Ujjal Dosanjh, who went on to become B.C.’s premier and a Liberal MP. Dosanjh was physically attacked for his liberal views in February 1985. During that era, Gill received threatening calls asking him to stop running Dosanjh’s articles. Undeterred, Gill continued to publish them. He also testified in a trial against suspects in the Dosanjh beating case.

The fundamentalists also tried to dissuade people from reading his newspaper; often copies of Canada Darpan were stolen and destroyed during those days. He narrowly escaped a physical assault when he went to attend a function at a Sikh temple in New Westminster. In 1987, his Surrey home was attacked with a firebomb, but nothing untoward happened to him.

In 1989, he sold Canada Darpan due to financial challenges.

Gill also hosted Sahitnama, a literary program on Radio India every Sunday. He has edited 20 books and translated three books from English into Punjabi. The Punjab government granted Gill a literary award for his contribution to Punjabi literature abroad.

Sixty eight year old Gill lived in Surrey with his wife, Charanjit Kaur and three children.

He was first diagnosed with cancer in 2007. Although his right kidney had been removed, he remained healthy until last summer. But the cancer had since invaded his right lung.

Gill remained in high spirits while struggling with cancer. “I will always be opposed to fundamentalism till the end of my life,” he said in one of his last interviews.

His funeral will be held at Five River Funeral Home, River Road, Delta at 12:30 pm on June 18. Later special prayers will be held at the Ross Street Sikh Temple, Vancouver at 3 pm.

Gurpreet Singh
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‘Revealing the Invisible Heritage of Panjab’, Panjab Digital Library

Appeal for Support

‘What if you could give a book to the entire world? Well, now you can when you Adopt a Book for digitization through the Panjab Digital Library. Your simple, generous gift comes with the promise that a piece of history will be globally available forever.

About Panjab Digital Library (PDL)
‘We continue to preserve Panjab’s heritage for future generations. Today you can view one million pages free at www.PanjabDigitalLibrary.org. To date, PDL has digitally preserved more than five million pages of manuscripts, books, newspapers, magazines and photographs.

‘But we can’t keep it up without you, our supporters around the world. Will you join with others today who are dedicated to preserving the stories and truths of Panjab? Individual donations in support of our work is the best way to help in protecting the data for perpetuity.

‘You can also support PDL’s work through a direct donation to the organization. You will be amazed at how far even a few dollars today could go toward ensuring the strength of PDL’s work in 2011!

‘Your one US dollar ($1) helps us locate, digitize, publish online and preserve 4 pages

Archives Digitized
Kurukshetra University
Panjab Languages Department
Government Museum Chandigarh
Shiromani Gurduara Parbandhak Committee
Delhi Sikh Gurduara Management Committee

Let us preserve what remains

‘Panjab Digital Library was recognized as the “Best E-Content in Culture & Heritage”
of South Asia – 2010

‘All donations are tax-deductible in the US and Canada where Sikh Research Institute is accepting them on behalf of PDL.’

Panjab Digital Library
#867, Sector 64, SAS Nagar
Panjab – 160065
info@panjabdigilib.org
South Asia: +91-981-411-3047
North America: +1-210-704-7096
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Parveen Malik: Punjabi MaaNboli Writer

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.

Parveen has published two collections of short fiction titled ‘Ke JanaN MaiN Kaun’ and ‘Nikkay Nikkay Dukhh’, an Urdu novel ‘Aadhi Aurat’, and a translation in Urdu titled ‘Siseskatay Log’. At this time, her autobiography is being serialized by Monthly Swer, and her travelogue by Quarterly Punjabi Adab in Lahore.

Parveen wrote a literary column titled ‘Punjab Rut’ for Lahore Radio that continued on from 1988 to 1998. During this time, she wrote a seriel ‘Dukh Sukh Saaday’, and many other plays and programs for Pakistan Radio.

From 1983 to now, she has written numerous screenplays for Pakistan Television including ‘LameyaN VaaTaN’, ‘Ke JanaN MaiN Kon’, ‘Junj’, and ‘Nikkay Nikkay Dukh’. She also initiated and anchored a literary discussion program called ‘Likhari’ for Lahore TV.

Parveen was born in District Attock where she completed her school and college before coming to Lahore to study Journalism. Her first job assignments were with Daily Azad and Weekly Nusrat. She also worked as Chief Editor with Urdu Monthly Mahe Nau and Monthly Pak Jamhoriat. Later, she moved on to serve as Deputy Director of the Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and then Secretary of Punjabi Adabi Board.

Parveen began Sarang Publications in 1995 to provide a select list of Urdu and Punjabi literary titles. Earlier, she had published monthly magazine Palak from 1983 to 1985.

Following is a list of Parveen’s awards and distinctions:
– PTV Award 1998, for her play ‘Nikkay Nikkay Dukh’
– Award from Punjabi Adabi Society for writing, screenwriting and radio compering
– Masood Khadarposh Award for her book ‘Nikkay Nikkay Dukh’
– Baba Fareed Award for her writings and other creative works for radio

Contact Parveen Malik at maliknoumana@gmail.com

Information provided by Nouman Malik

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
frafique@gmail.com

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‘Kitab Trinjan’ a poem by Zubair Ahmed

(To comemorate the end of Kitab Trinjan)

Lungh geyaN shamaN yaar deyaN
Yaad surahi bhhar bhhar rakhh lae
Din beetay khali paun bharae
Adh-bhulay nooN poora ker lae
Bunh bunh rakhh lae sawgundh gallaN de
Ghul ghul jo dhooN hoi
PauRiyoN leh gaye
Andar dub lae aas naroi
MuTheiN purtdi hawaeiN nup lae
MuR muR kai oh chaitay kerna
Jis na hona jo na hoi
Buss aj raat ruj vuss lae
Unt fana jo hoi

Author Zubair Ahmed made Kitab Trinjan possible through his dedication and volunteer work. View more here

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Lahore’s First Punjabi Bookstore Deemed Shut

Kitab Trinjan (KT), the first dedicated shop of Punjabi books in Lahore, is due to close end of this month.

Kitab Trinjan was established in 1997 to encourage the publishing and dissemination of Shahmukhi Punjabi literature in a situation where Punjabi books were shunned away by the ‘regular’ bookshops that were happy instead to sell the more ‘lucrative/prestigious’ Urdu and English books. With regard to the privilege enjoyed by English and Urdu at the regular book shops, however, the situation in 2009 remains more or less the same.

In the last 12 years, thanks to the continuous and ongoing volunteer work of Zubair Ahmed Jan, Kitab Trinjan has sold more than 1,200,000 (12 Lakh) Punjabi books; bought 7,71,635 books from other publishers; published works created by modern Punjabi writers under various imprints; but most of all, has built a cultural community unique to itself. This community is built by extending regular interaction, support and contribution to literary communities of the Punjab, Panjab and the Diaspora. Zubair’s ongoing support to Sangat Shah Hussain in Lahore, to the online Punjabi news and cultural digest Wichaar.com, to the largest online archive of Punjabi Gurumukhi/Shahmukhi literature Apnaorg, to the only Punjabi literary quarterly magazine that prints simultaneously in Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi Temahi Sanjh, for example, has strengthened the respective organizations and cultural communities.

I had the opportunity to visit Kitab Trinjan in its very first year when Activist Zafaryab Ahmed told me in Islamabad about it, and later introduced me to Author Zubair Ahmed who was instrumental in establishing, and then managing it. Later, i went to the shop, a 1.4-roomed top floor of a depleted inner city building in Lahore, though inside, it was the most inspiring place to be. In fact, that was the first time that i had actually seen hundreds of Shahmukhi Punjabi titles in one place. It created a feeling of wonderment where i was enchanted also by the fact that the development of Punjabi literature was not in the hands of policymakers of Pakistan but us, the writers and readers of Punjabi.

Here is a 1998 photo of Kitab Trinjan from the outside, taken by Amarjit Chandan, a long time supporter of KT.

Kitab Trinjan. Lahore..1999. Pic Amarjit Chandan(2)

Detail, Kitab Trinjan by Amarjit Chandan, 1998

In 2006 and 2007, i found Kitab Trinjan in a newer, bigger and brighter place. It was doubtless the most well-organized and well-managed book shop of the three Punjabi book sellers on and around Mozang Chowk since Zubair had help from KT’s only paid worker, Ghulam Haider who worked as a full time sales associate.

The following are the reasons given for the closure of Kitab Trinjan: That there were no Punjabi book stores in 1997 and now there are two more that are operating as full time businesses; That there is duplication of services between Suchet Kitab Ghar and Kitab Trinjan; That KT is limited by its voluntary nature; and, that Zubair Ahmad, the Volunteer Manager of KT, wants to focus on his creative work.

The above reasons do not jell with me as they defy all logic; and in that, it seems that this decision is taken for the benefit of less than half a dozen people instead of the benefit of even those 6,896,000 Punjabis who were living in the city of Lahore just after Kitab Trinjan first opened its doors. In the 1998 Census, the total population of Lahore was counted as 6.8 Million, however, later estimates indicate that the population of Lahore was 10 million in 2006.

My problem is as follows:
The first reason encourages us to believe, in defiance of all demographic considerations, that perhaps there are no Punjabi speakers in the additional 3.2 Million people that were counted as living in Lahore in 2006; that may be there is no increase in the city population since 2006; or if the population increased it did no sprout any new buyers of Punjabi books; that there are no new students of Punjabi language; and, certainly no new lovers of Punjabi literature. Else, the simple fact of population increase would have been enough to justify the continued existence of, at least, these three Punjabi book stores. In other words, such reasoning suggests that 3 BOOK STORES are too many for 6 to 8 MILLION Punjabi speakers of Lahore.

The second reason perpetuates confusion as it meddles with the roles of Suchet Kitab Ghar a Publisher of books and magazines who operates as a distributor/retailer to support its primary role as a Publisher; and Kitab Trinjan, a Bookseller/Distributor who has published books only on occasion.

The third and the fourth reasons are issues that can easily be resolved by Zubair himself if given the chance. Having an outlet for Punjabi books at his home in one of the suburbs of Lahore will eliminate the daily hardship, and leave more time for creative work.

I also do not share the ‘expatriate’s politically correct’ statement forwarded by my friend and another long time supporter of KT, Ijaz Syed, in his response to the closure of Lahore’s first Punjabi book shop.
‘My heartiest felicitations to the Central Committee members for taking this timely decision! Kitab Trinjan played its historical pioneering role in the publication and distribution of punjabi books at a time when this service was most needed. In my view, along with other Central Committee friends, a lot of credit for maintaining and managing Kitab Trinjan for these twelve long years rightly goes to Zubair Jan. Of course, none of this would have happened without Najam Sahab‘s benevolent presence.’

In accordance with the ‘enlightened expatriate’s politically correct guide’, a non-critical acceptance and appreciation of this decision has duly been tendered by Ijaz, else, why would he call it a ‘timely decision’? Is it really the requirement of this time to close one of the three (progressive) Punjabi book centers in Lahore?
Na!
I think it’s time to relocate this one, and open the fourth.
Tell you why.
When Kitab Trinjan was selling an average of 1 lakh books per year, Suchet Kitab Ghar and Sanjh Publications were also registering sales, I am willing to bet on it! So, if in the last 12 years, all three have shown an increase in sales, i don’t see why Kitab Trinjan needs to shut. Also, if the establishment of a sales/distribution center by Suchet Kitab Ghar (and Sanjh) did not have a negative impact on Kitab Trinjan, why now, Kitab Trinjan needs to be eliminated in the interest of one or both?

Maqsood Saqib of Pancham/Suchet and Amjad Salim of Sanjh Publications have, for different reasons, earned my un-wavering respect and love as people and professionals; and, i fully support the work of both. The same, may be more so, is true for Zubair Ahmad of Kitab Trinjan.

In other words, Bawa Jees te Bawi Jees, please do not be presenting Lahore in such narrow terms. The City and its people need and deserve all three of these wonderful spaces to develop Punjabi literature; and still, a few more. Not less!

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
frafique@gmail.com

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Brilliante Punjab: Offering to a writer, an editor, and a reader!

This offering of appreciation is made to three individuals who have nurtured Punjabi with creative excellence for many years; and, in different ways, all three have inspired content at Uddari Weblog during its first year.

Likhari Amarjit Chandan
Sodhi Maqsood Saqib
PaRihar Bharat Bhushan

As we all have a bit of a likhari, a sodhi and a paRihar in us, it is height of pleasantness to find individuals who are brilliant in any one area. All three have a luminous aura of work that has enriched Punjabi literature and literary communities in South Asia and Abroad.

Indeed, our writer is also an activist and a photographer; the editor, a publisher and fiction writer; and the reader, a blogger and web publisher.

Amarjit Chandan
amarjit-chandan-self-portrait-london-1989
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Amarjit Chandan may be only one of the eight contributors and authors of Uddari Weblog but his presence is way more than his number share. Here are the top three.

Chandan made this most amazing contribution of over fifty portraits of Punjabi and South Asian writers, artists and poets to Uddari Art: Amarjit Chandan, a photographer’s profile

And, the second, by sending original photos of over a dozen great inspiring women, he hurried the creation of ‘Great women of Punjabi origin‘ in the very first month of Uddari. Photos included activists Gulab Kaur, Kewal Kaur, Tahira Mazhar Ali Khan, Vimla Dang and Sophia Duleep Singh.

Its only befitting than to begin the second year of Uddari with Amarjit Chandan being the first author to be added to Punjabi MaaNboli Writers Page next month. Till then, view:
Chandan’s website
And
Search results for ‘amarjit chandan’ at Uddari Weblog

Maqsood Saqib
saqib-4
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Maqsood Saqib belongs to the breed of editors (and publishers) who will always prioritize quality over for example, a pressing dateline or social and monetary concerns. Though this breed may be rare in Punjabi literary journalism and at that, disappearing fast, Maqsood Saqib continues to gain strength with his ongoing output of high quality Punjabi literature in the form of books and magazines.

Saqib works out of a second floor office on a busy intersection in Lahore. The editing, production, retail and management of both Suchet Kitab Ghar and Monthly Pancham takes place in an equivalent of a two bedroom apartment with no balcony.

In 2007, i had the pleasure one time of entering that office and finding Maqsood Saqib not in his usual chair at the entrance behind a table and four guest chairs, but sitting in a fully furnished bed that had made an unexpected appearance in the middle of the production room.

The area designated here as ‘the middle of the production room’ is a 9’/12′ space erstwhile being used to get to the washroom in the right corner, to the kitchen counter straight ahead, the safe room in the left corner, photocopying and printing machines by the right wall, and the desktop publishing station by the left. Let me not forget however, that this exact area also works as a drawng room for staff and guests.

There, sitting upright in his sick bed with feverish red eyes, our editor/publisher was guiding the production of monthly Pancham from the tent of his comforter.

The second endearing episode relates to the camera ready Shahmukhi copy of my poem ‘Social self de loR’ (Need for a Social Self) that i had been asked to come and proofread for a 2006 issue of Pancham. There were a couple of typos, sure, and i handed it back to him. But… he said, this does not make much sense ‘performer dae leeRiaN andar vekhan vaal da pinda? (‘In the guise of a performer, the body of a spectator’). I said, yes, ‘vekhan vaal’ from Urdu ‘tmaashbeen’; he said, sure but ‘vekhan vaal da pinda?’

It was not until he actually held an imaginary solitary strand of hair above the table in front of me that i saw the mistake. The verse read as ‘viewing the body of a hair’ instead of ‘the body of the spectator’… It was hilarious to me but without affording a smile, he wrote it down: ‘vekhan-vaal’ as one word instead of ‘vekhan vaal’ as two.

I wonder if any other editor of Punjabi literature would have found, and then corrected, this ‘vaal-brobar’ mistake that was big enough to condemn a poem to an unintended hole of hilarity.

Here is some information on Maqsood Saqib’s work:
Another image in Uddari Photo Album

Bharat Bhushan
bhushan
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The first person who bought a book at Punjabi Books turned out to be none other than the Blogger at paash.wordpress.com who is determined to preserve everything written by Paash and about Paash. Bhushan believes that ‘the tragedy of Punjabi literature and culture has been that we have not done enough to preserve our history’.

Residing in UK, Bhushan bought the Shahmukhi edition of collected works of Paash titled ‘Paash, Sari Shairi’, edited by Maqsood Saqib and published by Suchet Kitab Ghar. Bhushan considers himself to be a ‘voracious reader of literature, especially Punjabi poetry’. He is a Paash enthusiast, and shares with us his motivation to collect materials about him:

‘I noticed from so many blogs in Hindi and Punjabi that there are some excerpts from Paash poems, and people are asking for more information about Paash poetry in Punjabi, Hindi, English and other languages, and more about his life and times. So I thought why not collect all of his poetry and other writings, the stories behind his writings, his life and times, his photographs, and academic research on his poetry, all at one place– a sort of reference point whereby it would be easier for others to access all this information. Hence my Paash blog.’
Bharat Bhushan

Brilliante Weblog Award is heartfelt appreciation of this community to Amarjit Chandan, Maqsood Saqib and Bharat Bhushan (i wonder about it too! Bhushan Jee, is this your real name?).

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
frafique@gmail.com

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Most viewed Uddari posts 2008-2009

April 2008 – April 2009

In April 2008, Uddari Weblog was viewed over 600 times, by March 2009 the number had risen to 5000 views with the totals reaching 41000

Top Posts

Photo Album: Foto Mandli 2,361 views

Great Women of Punjabi Origin:
Punjab deyaN ManniaN PerwanniaN ZnaniaN
1,931 views

Punjabi Poems: NazmaN 1,758 views

Cultural Events: Rehtal Mehfli Varqa 1,670 views

Punjabi MaNboli Writers: Punjabi MaNboli Likhari 1,444 views

Punjabi MaNboli Publishers: Punjabi Maanboli Chhapay1,202 views

‘Sanjh’ A New Punjabi Literary Magazine 897 views

Slumbering Over Islamic Unity 887 views

All-Time Favorites
April 2008 – April 2009

Autobiography of the Great Dada Amir Haider Khan (1904-1986)

1. Royalty Rights in Punjabi Publishing

2. Royalties for Punjabi Language Authors

Modern Punjabi Literature at UBC: A glass half full!

Amarjit Chandan’s Poem being Carved in Stone in Oxfordshire

3. Author Royalties Down to Definitions in the Punjab

Post Retirement Positions for Musharraf

Bhagat Singh Shaheed Statue

Kishwar Naheed to Ahmad Faraz

‘Identity Card’ by Mahmoud Darwish in Punjabi

Lost and (Not) Found: Teen Idol Afzal Sahir

Kikli 13 July

THE SHOCK OF RECOGNITION: Looking at Hamerquist’s ‘Fascism and Anti-Fascism’ by J. Sakai

Yaar da Ditta Haar by Fauzia Rafiq

‘Porn Creation’ by Fauzia Rafiq

Most popular posts on Uddari pages

Sixty Years of Unflinching Beauty, 1948-2008

Kishwar Naheed: A Great Woman from the Punjab

Sophia Duleep Singh: A Great Punjabi Woman

Recent Raves
‘No Heer please, we’re Sikhs!’

Punjabi MaaNboli and the Punjabis-1

Fauzia Rafique
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frafique@gmail.com

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Uddari gets (a piece of) the ‘Brilliante Weblog Award’!

Surfing the Net last week, i came upon this:
Uddari –  Fauzia Rafiq and other prolific writers collaborate to blog about contemporary Punjabi Literature, art, events and  movements .’
That led me up to this:
Now its my turn to follow the rules of Brilliante Awards by passing it on to the 5 bloggers i admire:’
And down to this:
Folk Punjabi– Deepinder puts nice effort to blog about folk Punjabi boliaan. Punjabi Haiku–  Amarjit Sathi has started a new wave in Punjabi haiku writing, works  of new writers and translation of Haiku from around the world is posted here.  RoopScoop – for doing wonderful job by starting a blog like unchahi on female foeticide. Lafjan da Pul – Deep Jagdeep wants to bridge the divide by making it easy for people who write in Gurmukhi and provide a platform for everything that is Punjabi.’

View it all at Jasdeep’s ‘Parchanve’ blog

By recognizing the contributions of others, Jasdeep is showing us the how-tos of community building. I am delighted to be a part of it also because its Passing The Love, and because Brilliante is grassroots community-based non-monetary initiative that is flexible and versatile, and can not be hogged by anyone.
So, here, Uddari gets a Fifth of The Brilliante Weblog Award
And
Passes it on to:
A Writer of Punjabi poetry and prose who has inspired many posts at Uddari and Uddari Art, and has initiated the Archives Section at Punjabi Books.
(An easy guess for most of us at Uddari)
An Editor of Punjabi books and magazines who delivers literary excellence in each book or magazine he edits and publishes.
(A bit tough, perhaps)
and
A Compulsive Reader of Punjabi poetry who bought online the first Punjabi book at Punjabi Books, and so unknowingly, has become the FIRST READER FOREVER (FRF) or PEHLA PUNJABI PARHIYAR.

The three lucky names are hidden in the 10 pages of Uddari Weblog, and whoever finds them by April 11, 2009 the day of Uddari’s first birthday, will be awarded… a BRILLIANTE, of course.

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
frafique@gmail.com

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‘Call for Submissions’ Page at Uddari

I am happy to introduce the new ‘Call for Submissions’ page at Uddari for Punjabi MaaNboli writers and publishers, artists and producers, readers and viewers to encourage development and presentation of our creative work/s.

As well, now in 2009, there are enough Punjabi Maanboli magazines, newspapers and literary journals around the world to populate this page. Even in the incomplete but growing List of Punjabi MaaNboli Magazines, we have 15 ongoing publications listed for Canada, India, Pakistan, United States and UK.

We begin with three journals of note, each with its own strengths. Monthly Pancham from Lahore is known to Shahmukhi readers for its literary and editorial excellence, Quarterly Sanjh from Lahore/Ludhiana is unique in publishing the magazine in both Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi, and Monthly Sanvad from Toronto combines Punjabi literature and popular Canadian Punjabi culture in Gurumukhi.

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
frafique@gmail.com

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Congratulations Ms. Kaki: Afzal Sahir (Lost and) Found!

Our heartfelt congratulations to you Ms. Kaki, for helping us find our lost Punjabi Poet and FM 103 Radio Host Afzal Saahir in Lahore.

We had sent a message on the email address that you had supplied on Thursday Oct 16, to which we received a reply from Afzal Saher Himself on Wednesday Nov 12.

However, the message had to go through certain identification processes, and some took longer than anticipated. Our volunteer Judges were to find answers to three questions, and if the decision was too close to call, a Fourth Final question had to be answered as well:
1. Does the respondent praise the representative of Uddari at the outset?
2. Does the respondent, after doing that, enter into a prolonged monologue about himself?
3. Does the respondent send a new image of himself?
And then the Fourth Final…
4. Does the respondent send more than one image of himself?

Following are the findings submitted by the Judges:
1. Indeed, he does.
‘Tere jehi nighi, mithi tey roshan rooh ghat ghat e a duniya vich’

2. Indeed.
Unquotable due to space constraints.

3. Indeed! And FANS!
Here It Is!
afzal-saahir

Since the decision was unanimous there was no need to invoke the Fourth Final (but if you are curious, just click here: JUST CLICK HERE).

So, as you can see, this is not what took long. It was the acquisition and deliverance of the Award itself. Immediately upon receiving a reply from Afzal Saahir, we had called the executive offices of Sanjh Publications in Lahore to inquire about his collection of poetry. To our dismay, the person at the other end first refused knowledge of any such author or title, and then on our insistence, did further research into the matter and came back with this message from the publisher: ‘O Jee, aggae punj saal langh gae nain, punj duss hor lungh jan gae’.

I am afraid, Ms. kaki, that what seemed so easy to acquire, actually did not exist!

My suggestion to you would be to never lose hope, and toward this end, i present this new Kaafi poem from Afzal Saahir.

Mein JaaNoo AnjaaN
By Afzal Saahir
BaBa Nanank Ji noon BheNt

Mein jaaNoo anjaaN Ve Loka,
Mein jaaNoo anjaaN

Dharat ghRoli sir te chaaeym,
peraaN heth asmaan
ve loka..Mein jaaNoo anjaaN

Saaray denh di kaar usaari,
raateeN keetam dhaaN.
ve loka…Mein jaanoo anjaaN.

Mans, pakhi, rukh, dhor sbhohi,
jooNo jooN samaaN.
ve loka…Mein jaanoo anjaaN.

ApNi aap sehaaN bina hey,
kooRo kooR gyaan.
ve loka..Mein jaaNoo anjaaN

Kull khudaai, Jo hey, OH hey,
meri JIND Nishaan.
ve loka..Mein jaaNoo anjaaN

Mere saah de Shoh daryaaiN,
maut kare ashnaan.
ve loka..Mein jaaNoo anjaaN

Na Allah, Na Raam kahaaNi,
Qudrat vich dheyaan.
ve loka..Mein jaaNoo anjaaN

Dharat ghRoli sir te chaaeym,
peraaN heth asmaan
ve loka..Mein jaanoo anjaaN.

Fauzia Rafique
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frafique@gmail.com

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