The Fourth Annual Celebration of Punjabi at UBC – Van April 3/12

The Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program

The fourth annual
Celebration of Punjabi
at the University of British Columbia

Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh (Colby College)
5:30-6:30 Lecture; 5-8 Full program (see below)

With urgent economic and political problems confronting us, why think about poetry? Is this not a sheer waste of time? Should we be following Plato, who wanted to banish poets from his republic? Or is the opposite true? Could our disregard for poetry be the cause of our hegemonic structures and brutal violence?

Professor Kaur Singh shares her translation of lyrical voices from the soil of undivided Punjab. How do Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim poets motivate us to make sense of our 21st century reality? What insights do the Punjabi poets provide on issues of gender, race, class, and religion? How can their sacred and secular expressions serve as a connective ligament for our divided world?

Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh is the Crawford Family Professor at Colby College in Maine, USA. Her interests focus on poetics and feminist issues. Nikky Singh has published extensively in the field of Sikhism, including Sikhism: An Introduction (IB Tauris, 2011) and Birth of the Khalsa (SUNY, 2005), The Feminine Principle in the Sikh Vision of the Transcendent (Cambridge University Press, 1993) and The Name of My Beloved: Verses of the Sikh Gurus (Harper Collins and Penguin). She has lectured widely in North America, England, France, India, and Singapore,and appeared on television and radio in America, Canada, and India. She was born in India, and received her BA in Philosophy and Religion from Wellesley College, her MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD from Temple University.

This program has been established in loving memory of Harjit Kaur Sidhu (nee Gill), devoted wife, mother, and strong advocate for education, Punjabi culture and language, and women’s issues. Every year, the program features a keynote address by a distinguished scholar, awards for local writers and student-contest winners, and student performances. This year, an award will be given for the most significant Punjabi-language book by a BC author from 2009-2011. Announcement of the Book Award recipient will be made just prior to the event.

Full program schedule
5 p.m Light reception
5:30 p.m. Lecture, followed by short break
6:45 p.m. Awards for student essay contest winners and honor to local Punjabi writer
7 p.m. Punjabi 200 student performances

Tuesday April 3, 2012
UBC Asian Centre Auditorium
1871 West Mall, UBC Vancouver
5 – 8 p.m.

For more information, see under “events.”


Call for Submissions: Best Book Award for BC’s Punjabi Writers

Press Release
December 3, 2011 (English version: December 23, 2011)

For BC’s Punjabi Writers

In 2009, the Department of Asian Studies of the University of British Columbia established an annual award honoring a B.C.-based Punjabi-language writer, in honor of Punjabi-Canadian educator and mother, Harjit Kaur Sidhu, on behalf of her family.

According to this tradition, in alternating years a Punjabi writer is honored for his or her lifetime achievement and contribution to the field of Punjabi letters, or a writer is honored for with a ‘Best Book Award’ for the prior three years. A $1000 award accompanies the honor.

In 2009 the first award was given to Gurcharan Rampuri for his lifetome contribution to Punjabi-language literature, and in this same vein in 2011 the award was given to Ravinder Ravi. In 2010, the honor was given to Sohan Singh Punni for his book Kaneḍā de gadarī yodhe, which was deemed the most influential and worthy book published from 2007 to 2009.

The 2012 award will be given to the writer whose book, published in the last three years (from 2009 to 2011), is chosen as singularly important and influential by a committee of writers and academics.

Entrance into the competition is secured through
. The submission of five copies of a book published from 2009 to 2011 (if needed, one book and four photocopies can be submitted).
. Submissions are welcomed by writers themselves, or can be made by others on writers’ behalf.
. Five copies of a short C.V. or biography are also required.
. Please note that writers must be resident in B.C. to take part in the competition. . Please send all entrance materials to the following address:
Punjabi Writers
Department of Asian Studies
1871 West Mall, UBC Asian Centre
Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2

This honor will be awarded in the evening of Tuesday April 3, 2012 (5-8 p.m.) during UBC’s annual Celebration of Punjabi language and culture at UBC in Vancouver (please note the change of date from our earlier announcement).

At this event, writers, scholars, students, and members of the Punjabi community of greater Vancouver will be present. We will welcome Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh of Colby College at the event, to deliver a lecture in English. Student winners of a Punjabi-language essay contest will be honored, and students in UBC’s Punjabi language program will perform. The event is held on an annual basis in memory of Harjit Kaur Sidhu (1937-2007), who was a beloved wife, mother, and teacher, who was committed to education, Punjabi language and culture, and the rights of women.

The goal of the Celebration and associated activities—including the writer’s award—is to encourage awareness among the people of BC, and particularly young people of Punjabi background, of Punjabi language and literature in BC, and to bring recognition at the Unversity to Punjabi writers for their contributions to BC and Punjabi intellectual and cultural life. The Punjabi language program at UBC has been in place for over twenty years and is the most extensive program of its kind in North America.

For more information, see the UBC Asian Studies website,, under ‘events’, or call Sukhwant Hundal (in English or Punjabi) at 604-644-2470 or the Asian Studies office (in English) at 604-822-0019.

Download this announcement
Download this announcement in Gurumukhi Punjabi