‘Skeena سکینہ’ a review by Sadhu Binning

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

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

View Sadhu in YouTube video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Converted from Gurumukhi by Sajid Nadeem Choudhry

Sadhu Binning

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

More reviews and updates at Skeena Blog

Buy Skeena online in English, Gurumukhi or Shahmukhi

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Poet in the City: Faiz Ahmed Faiz – 17th Jan, London UK

An event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, one of the most prominent poets of the Indian sub-continent, who wrote in both Urdu and Punjabi, and whose humane work was filled with love, dignity and resistance to injustice.

This spectacular event will feature:
Javed Majeed, distinguished professor of postcolonial studies at Queen Mary, University of London, and an expert on Urdu poetry, who will provide a biographical introduction and will speak about Faiz’s great contributions to poetry and to world culture.
Poems by Faiz will be read in the original language and in translation:
In Urdu: Senior journalist, Saqlain Imam who now works for the BBC’s Urdu World Service in London
In English: Actress and playwright Sudha Bhuchar, Artistic Director at Tamasha Theatre company
In Punjabi: Renowned Punjabi poet and translator, Amarjit Chandan whose latest book is ‘Sonata for Four Hands’.

Musical settings of Faiz poems will be performed by Swati Natekar, a renowned vocalist from a hereditary musical family in Mumbai, accompanied by distinguished tabla player Hanif Khan.

From 6.30pm on Monday 17 January 2011
Hall One at Kings Place
90 York Way, London N1 9AG

How to buy tickets
Booking now open online, by phone or in person from the Kings Place box office:
Tickets cost £9.50 if booked online via www.kingsplace.co.uk
Otherwise tickets cost £11.50.
Box Office 020 7520 1490

For enquiries relating to your booking please contact tickets@kingsplace.co.uk.
To check ticket availability please use the online booking service.
For general enquiries or comments, please use our online feedback form or email info@kingsplace.co.uk

This event is presented by Poet in the City in partnership with the friends of Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Faiz by Sadeqain

Faiz, Ghalib and Iqbal by MF Husain

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‘Pride of Performance’ for Ahmad Salim


Ahmad Salim, London 2009
Photo by Amarjit Chandan

After 36 years of research, writing and advocacy, Ahmad Salim gets the Pride of Performance, a lifetime achievement award offered by the Government of Pakistan. The announcement came earlier this week as a part of this year’s Independence Day celebrations.

Here is a poet, author, teacher, translator, researcher, editor and activist, who has a formidable record of authoring 150 publications. Among them, about 40 books compiled and edited by him, explore Punjabi and Urdu literature; history of Punjab, Sindh and Pakistan; freedom struggles such as the Khilafat Movement; and, the status of minority communities in Pakistan.

His works of original writings include:
– 25 books of Punjabi literary works of poetry, fiction, criticism and travelogues
– 20 books of non-fiction in Urdu, English and Punjabi
– 20 researched works on the minorities in Pakistan

At this time, he is working on 15 book projects.

In the previous years, Ahmad Salim won the following awards:
– Punjabi Adabi Sangat Award (UK) on best Punjabi contribution, 2000
– Guru Ram Singh Azadi Award (UK), 1999
– Masood Khaddarposh Award on best Punjabi prose work, 1996
– Masood Khaddarposh Award on 3rd best Punjabi prose work, 1996
– Best script for television documentary (Cholistan), 1978
– Writer’s Guild Award on best translation from Sindhi to Punjabi, 1977
– Best poem on Poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, 1966

He has taught Pakistani languages at Shah Hussain College in Lahore and Sindh University in Jamshoro, is an avid translator, has served as the Director of Urdu Publications for Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), and, has been associated with South Asian Research and Resource Centre (SARRC).

Born January 26, 1945 in village Miana Gondal in district Mandi Bahauddin in the Punjab, Ahmad Salim grew up to be a strong political voice in Pakistan.

In the past three decades, not only that Ahmad Salim has produced 150 books but his work has emanated from his strong commitment to human rights where he was among the very first people who fought for the language rights of the people of Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and the NWFP. He was among a handful of people in West Pakistan who took a clear stand in support of Bengali freedom movement in the early 70’s. He has been tireless in his work to strengthen inter-community/inter-faith relations in Pakistan, to develop and maintain lines of communication between Indian and Pakistani Punjabis, and to investigate Pakistan’s curricula and text books with a view to eradicate religious and political bias.

Ahmad Salim’s contribution to Punjabi literature, development of literary criticism, research into history, and his ongoing attempts to bring communities together has created a body of work so substantial that the Pride of Performance seems slight in comparison.

More information
The Subtle Subversion: The state of curricula and text books in Pakistan
Qabar JinhaN de Jeevay
Punjabi writer receives Presidential Award
Ahmad Salim: Wikipedia

Fauzia Rafique
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frafique@gmail.com

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Jindan Kaur of Cheechon-ke-Malian

‘JindaN Kaur! Tere sadke, Bibi!
TooN vadh hyateyaN maanaiN
TooN uchi, tera naaN hai ucha
Aakh na pawan pleed-zubanaiN’


By Majid Sheikh
Sunday, 18 Apr, 2010

“Baoo, mera akhri saa barra mitha hoyay ga.”

On Friday, I went to attend the book launching ceremony of Jaswant Singh’s book on Jinnah and the Partition of 1947 at a local private golf club. As I had read the book when it was first launched, a question lurked in my mind about what the future held for the ‘sub-continent of hate’ that we live in.

As the book launch was consigned to `partial chaos’ as participants launched, on invitation, into tea and cakes before the ceremony began, it was best to quietly leave and ponder over the suffering the partition of 1947 had brought to the poor of our land. As the posh of Lahore tucked into sweet delights, outside the heat beat down harsh and fast. My thoughts swayed from my usual Sunday article to focus on the outcome of a remarkable person we are researching with regard to the events of 1947, a `holocaust’ the sort the world has seldom seen, definitely the largest exodus in human history and one that our elders are still ashamed to discuss openly. For this I condemn my elders, for they have not been truthful about our past.

That is why what Jaswant Singh has to say in his book needs much deeper and honest appreciation by all, especially Indians. Sadly, both have their eyes shut tightly to the reality of partition. Let me dwell on my research subject, and as she lives on the edge of Lahore, her story needs to be described. We must not make the mistake our elders have made. We must confront the truth, and face it for a better future.

Last month while on a research visit to a village near Cheechon-ke- Malian, just 18 miles outside Lahore to the west, I set off in search of an old woman a worker in my place of work described as `Sikhnee’. The description had an allure to it, and as we are researching the subject, it made sense to meet this `Sikhnee’. At first her son, the bearded village `mullah’, refused to let us talk to the old woman. After a considerable persuasion, we managed with the promise not to direct others to their house, and that we would not name him or his mother. To this promise we stick.

We met this old woman, aged approximately 78 if our calculations are correct, whose sun-tanned skin had freshness to it. The wrinkles on her face depicted her silent suffering. Maybe it was a thought in my mind. She was not bent as old women tend to be, but was a strong, well-set healthy woman used to working hard in the fields and in the house. Her name now is Fatima Bibi. Her husband was also the village `mullah’ and she married him in 1947. He died almost six years ago. “Jeth de pheli nu moya se,” said Fatima Bibi. She served me with a cold drink, and her great grandson also got one in the bargain.

Her story goes like this. Her real name was Jindan Kaur and her father’s name was Heera Singh Bhatti. They belonged to a village outside Sheikhupura just before Jandiala a hundred yards from the main `moogha'(water channel) as she put it.

In August 1947, their village was attacked by a Muslim mob. A few Sikh elders decapitated their daughters before the mob could reach the young girls. Ultimately, they were saved by the army, who came in two trucks full of soldiers. The entire village of Sikhs was taken to the Sheikhupura railway station and they were put into a railway bogey stuffed like animals and bound for Lahore, from where they were to go onwards to Amritsar in the new India, their new home.

Jindan then described the blood-curdling event of how their train was attacked near Cheechon-ke- Malian railway station. Every male member, including children, as well as old women, was hacked to pieces. “Tootay kar ditay sadday.” The young Jindan was taken away by the local toughs and they did what frenzied men do. “Javani lut lai. Kakh na chaddaya. Rool dita. Jeenday gee marya ve nahi.”

There were no tears in her eyes, for mine had welted on listening to her description of events. She looked at me and said: “Baoo, athroo da koi faida nai jaddon mera bapoo tootay ho gay.” The fate of her dear father had sealed time for her. She was the 15-year old Jindan when she talked lovingly of him. Her son was getting uneasy as she started to open up. I changed the topic to calm him. The ruse worked well. After a while I started off again to listen to what happened to Jindan Kaur alias Fatima Bibi.

The train had about 105 women, most of them young. Jindan was then a mere 15-year old. She was raped by a number of men, she does not recall the number. The young village mullah took her to his house after the `animals’ had satiated their lust. He nursed her to health. He then advised that she convert to Islam and he would marry her. It was a noble deed by any reckoning. He took her glazed eyes and her silence as acceptance for his offer. A year later, soldiers came to the village and offered all kidnapped Hindu and Sikh women to get on an army lorry to be taken to India. They, however, warned, that Sikhs were killing all their own women who had been dishonoured. Life continued to offer no choices.

Jindan was pregnant. She had no family to go to. Life did not offer a choice. For her life began and ended that fateful day. The rest has been mere existence and she waits for the day when she will be released from her mortal remains. The old Punjabi woman described her fate as only she could: “Baoo, mera akhri saa barra mitha hoyay ga.” Her son scoulded her for the remark.

The victims of 1947 abound in the villages of Punjab. In 2010 they are forgotten. The description `Sikhnee’ is a slur that she bears without malice. Her four sons and five daughters do not like the way people call her. Hate has an unforgiving element. Inconspicuous references hide a story, often one of pain and suffering. If only she could again call herself Jindan Kaur with pride and without feeling guilty. That day will surely come, of this I have no doubt.

There are thousands like her in Pakistan and India. They are the forgotten people our elders shut their eyes to. That is why preserving the truth of 1947 is critical if we are to claw our way back to normalcy. That is why what Jaswant Singh has to say matters too. That is why I left the `tea and cakes’ mob to think about Jindan Kaur. Life still does not offer her any choice.

Daily DAWN, Pakistan
From Ijaz Syed
syedi@sbcglobal.net

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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

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frafique@gmail.com

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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
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Baat ki Baat and a Punjabi Poem

BAAT KI BAAT is a new discussion forum on art that is being initiated in India by a group of painters, sculptures, musicians, dancers, writers and owners of art galleries. You are invited to be a part of it by visiting the website at www.baatkibaat.com.
The question to ponder over for the coming fifteen days: WHY HUSAIN NOT COMING BACK TO INDIA?

Also, a new Punjabi poem ‘Painda’ (Distance) by Hamraz Ahsan, in Roman at Punjabi Poems page.

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