17th Annual International Mother Language Day – Surrey BC – February 23

PLEA cordially invites everyone
to come and be part of the annual celebration of
our mother tongue Punjabi.

17th Annual International Mother Language Day

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020
Time: 1:30 to 4:00 pm

Spruce Building Atrium
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU)
(12666 72 Avenue, Surrey)

Discussions on Ongoing efforts to promote Punjabi Language education in BC
Young Punjabi learners will share poetry, songs and stories
PLEA will honour individuals for their role in promoting Punjabi language education.

Free Event. Refreshments.

PUNJABI LANGUAGE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (PLEA)
In partnership with
DEEPAK BINNING FOUNDATION
and
KWANTLEN POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY (KPU)

For more information Please contact
Balwant Sanghera – 604-836-8976
Sadhu Binning – 778 – 773 – 1886
Paul Binning – 778-889-8255
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਲੈਂਗੂਏਜ ਐਜੂਕੇਸ਼ਨ ਅਸੋਸੀਏਸ਼ਨ (ਪਲੀ)
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PLEA Presents the 16th Mother Language Day on February 23 at KPU Surrey

You are warmly invited to participate in the 16th celebration organized by Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA) on International Mother Language Day.

This year’s event will take place at
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU)
Surrey Campus, Cedar Building Atrium
Saturday, February 23, 2019 – 1:30 p.m.
Free parking, light refreshments

Download English and Gurmukhi Punjabi posters
PLEA Feb.23,2019.PosterUni
PLEA Feb.23,2019.Poster.Eng

For more information, contact
Sadhu Binning at 778-773-1886
Balwant Sanghera at 604-836-8976

PLEA’s Facebook group page
facebook.com/groups/PunjabiLanguageEducationAssociation
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Jatinder Mauhar’s ‘Qissa Panjab’ – a film about youth

‘Qissa Panjab’ by Jatinder Mauhar is a pleasant departure from typical ‘commercial’ or ‘formula’ Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu films being produced in India and Pakistan.

Dheeraj Kumar and Kul Sidhu

First of all, the two women protagonists do not, at any point in the whole hour-and-a-half long film, appear to be ‘heroines’, ‘actresses’, ‘fashion models’ or ‘prostitutes’- instead they always appear to be who they are supposed to be: two young women from lower middle class making their way through poverty, crime and misogyny in today’s urban and rural Punjab.

Second, the music thing. Yes, there are songs and dances, but each are made to occur ‘naturally’, so to speak. For example, most songs and dances were performed on stage by characters who are singers and dancers; and, there’s a nice recurring theme song by Gurdass Mann.

Jagjeet Sandhu

This same ‘common sense realism’ sets off and permeates the plot, characters and scenes of ‘Qissa Panjab’- and its done very well where there isn’t a dull moment in the film.

Director Jatinder Mauhar

The director has achieved an important milestone in creating a real-to-life film for the box office. The film has no pretensions of being an ‘art’ movie made for foreign film festivals and academic institutions, and it does not covet to become a box office hit by employing the usual ‘selling’ tactics of sexualizing women, over-dramatizing or providing solutions palpable to exploitative societal structures.

This is Jatinder Mauhar’s third full-length feature film as a director, earlier he had made ‘Mitti’ (2010) and ‘Sikander’ (2013) where he was also the screenwriter. Jatinder’s short films include ‘No exit’ (2005) and ‘Reth (The Sand)’. He has worked as researcher for the documentary ‘India’s Frontier Railways’ in 2014 for BBC London. He is a regular columnist with over 82 articles published about films, film literacy and current issues for the USA based newspaper Punjab Times, and for other publications in India and abroad.

Jatinder is now working on his fourth film titled ‘Saade Aale’.

‘Qissa Panjab’ was presented in Surrey on December 20th by Sukhwant Hundal and Sadhu Binning for ‘Watan’ where Jatinder Mauhar was in attendance.

View its trailer:

Contact Jatinder Mauhar
jatindermauhar@gmail.com

Uddari Weblog is published
from the unceded territories of the
Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
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PUNJABI LANGUAGE CELEBRATION – 13th Annual – Delta Feb 27/16

plea-banner-copy

PUNJABI LANGUAGE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION’S (PLEA)
13th Annual
International Mother Language Day
Saturday Feb. 27, 2016
Time: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
North Delta Rec. Centre 11415 – 84 Ave., Delta
❉ Discussions: efforts to have Punjabi language education in
local educational institutions. Mr. Garry Thind from the Surrey
school board will be present.
❉ It is a matter of great pride for all of us that a large number
of Punjabis are part of Canada’s federal government. Is this
going to have any effect on the development and preservation
of Punjabi language in Canada? Surrey Centre MP Randip Sarai
will be present to discuss this.
❉ Young Punjabi learners will share poetry, songs and ideas.
❉ PLEA cordially invites everyone to come and be part of the
annual celebration of Punjabi language.
❉ Free Event. Refreshments.

For more information Please contact
Balwant Sanghera – 604-836-8976
Sadhu Binning – 604-437-9014
Parvinder Dhariwal – 778-838-1121
Paul Binning – 778-889-8255
ਪ ੰਜਾਬੀ ਲੈਂਗੂਏਜ ਐਜੂਕੇਸ਼ਨ ਅਸੋਸੀਏਸ਼ਨ (ਪਲੀ)

Contact Uddari
uddariweblog@gmail.com
Facebook
facebook.com/UddariWeblog
Twitter
twitter.com/UddariWeblog
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Public Forum on First Nations and South Asians – Vancouver July 29

SANSAD Public Forum on First Nations and South Asians
Sunday July 29
4.00 pm-6.00 pm
Café Kathmandu
2779 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

It is unfortunate that the South Asian community is generally poorly informed and not responsive to the issues of the First Nations in Canada. South Asians, who have historically experienced and struggled against colonialism in their homeland and honour the heroes of this struggle could be expected to empathize with the original and continuing victims of colonialism in Canada. And as a people who have experienced, struggled against, and continue to struggle against racism, they could be expected to stand in solidarity with the aboriginal people who continue to be the greatest victims of racism in Canada. But the enjoyment of benefits based on the dispossession of the aboriginal people has made us stay away from the concerns of the First Nations. How can we overcome our complicity in injustice and learn to stand in solidarity with oppressed aboriginal people? South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy invites the public to a discussion and exploration of this urgent question.

Panel
Joint Keynote Speakers
Dr. Ronald Ignace (former Chairman of Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, Chief of Skeetchestn Band and Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University) and
Dr. Marianne Ignace (Professor of Anthropology and First Nations Studies, SFU)
Raj Chouhan (MLA Burnaby-Edmonds)
Gurpreet Singh (Host of Radio India)
Sadhu Binning (Poet and writer)
Moderator: Zahid Makhdoom

For more information contact Chin at 604-421-6752

Item provided by Randeep Purewall
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Celebrating Gursharan Singh (1929-2011) – Surrey BC Oct 10/11


Mere dil vich dard jagaey, chutki le ja na, le ja na … chatta channan da dey ja na
(From ‘Chatta Chandna Da’ by Amritshar Natak Kala Kendra)

Bhaji Gursharan Singh passed away in his home in Chandigarh on September 27. This
great human being from Punjab, a revolutionary spirit, a ground-breaking artist who
changed the face of Punjabi theatre and culture, a champion of the downtrodden and
fearless defender of the oppressed is mourned not only in Punjab and India but wherever there are South Asians who ache for the deprivation and sorrow of others and who work for social justice.

Join us in celebrating the life of this revolutionary artist.
Monday, October 10
1.30 pm-4.30 pm
7475-135 Street
Surrey BC

Organized byHarinder Mahil, Chin Banerjee, Raj Chouhan, Sadhu Binning, Charan Gill, Makhan Tut., and Paul Binning, Sukhwant Hundal and Sarwan Boal.
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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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‘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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Skeena: first novel to be launched in English and Punjabi

P R E SS R E L E A S E
LIBROS LIBERTAD ANNOUNCES THE PUBLICATION OF NEW FICTION

NEW FICTION
05-04-2011
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Fauzia Rafique
Skeena
You are invited to the launch of Skeena, a novel by Fauzia Rafique. Skeena is the first Canadian novel to be launched in English and Punjabi. The launches will take place this weekend in Surrey and Vancouver on April 9 and April 10.

The launch in Surrey on April 9 (2 – 4 PM, Newton Branch of Surrey Public Library, (604) 598-7400), presents the novel in both Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi (Perso-Arabic) scripts.
Program
Poetry Readings by Greek Canadian Surrey-based Author and Publisher Manolis to launch his 12th collection of poetry ‘Vernal Equinox’ (Ekstasis Editions, Victoria 2011). Manolis will also present a selection of his translation of Yannis Ritsos, the Star of Lenin, Poetry Prize Award winning Greek poet.
Readings from ‘Skeena’ by Fauzia Rafique
Guest Speakers on ‘Skeena’
Sadhu Binning, Bhupinder Dhaliwal, Surjeet Kalsey, Dr. Saif Khalid, Shahzad Nazir Khan, Ajmer Rode
Discussion and Refreshments
Event Host: Sana’s Janjua

The launch of English edition of Skeena will take place in Vancouver on April 10 (2 – 4 PM, Hellenic Community Center, 4500 Arbutus. Tel: 604-266-7148).
Program
Book Launch ‘Vernal Equinox’
Poetry Readings by Manolis, a Greek Canadian author who has published 12 collections of poetry, two novels and numerous pieces of prose in Greek and English, will launch his latest poetry collection ‘Vernal Equinox’, Manolis will also present a selection of his translation of Greek poet Yannis Ritsos who was unsuccessfully nominated for a Nobel Prize nine-times but was not awarded it because of his progressive views.
Book Launch ‘Skeena’
Reading by Fauzia Rafique
Guest Speakers on ‘Skeena’
Anne Murphy, Anthony Dalton, Farah Shroff, Indira Prahst and Sunera Thobani
Discussion and Refreshments
Event Host
Valerie B.-Taylor

Skeena is the story of a Muslim Canadian woman spanning thirty years of her life where she explores her changing environments, religious and cultural influences, and intimate relationships. Told by Skeena herself, it is a rare glimpse into the mind and perspectives of a Muslim woman. With the utter simplicity of style and expression, and a plot immersed in gripping realities, Fauzia has created a novel that is hard to put down even when it explodes some deep-rooted myths.

Based in the dynamics of Muslim Punjabi culture, the story begins in a village in Pakistani Punjab in 1971, takes us to Lahore in 1981, Toronto in 1991, and then brings us to Surrey in 2001. Skeena’s story involves Punjabi Canadians from both India and Pakistan.

Skeena has been published in Punjabi (Shahmukhi) from Pakistan in 2007 where it was launched in nine cities, and has received high acclaim. The Gurumukhi edition of Skeena is published by Uddari Books from Surrey this year. For information and updates on the three editions of Skeena, go to http://novelskeena.wordpress.com/

In this deeply human and heartwrenching novel, loneliness and loss are felt, but Rafique provides gentle humour and a great deal of hope. In Skeena, Rafique teaches us about life and love. You will find yourself thinking about Skeena long after you have finished reading.
Lisa Collins, Editor, Vancouver

Fauzia Rafique’s novel Skeena is written differently than the others, the author has begun and completed this work with the full witnessing of the time.
Parveen Malik, Author/Publisher, Lahore

Skeena is a novel on patriarchy that never uses this word.
Kishwar Naheed, Poet, Islamabad

Fauzia Rafique is a Vancouver-based South Asian Canadian writer of fiction and poetry. Her English and Punjabi writings have been published in Canada, Pakistan, and on the web. Print titles include the Punjabi publication of Skeena (Lahore 2007) and an anthology Aurat Durbar: The Court of Women: Writings by Women of South Asian Origin (Sumach Press, 1995). A selection of her English and Punjabi poetry, Passion-Fruit/Tahnget-Phal will be out in 2011.

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

Contact Libros Libertad for details or to arrange appearances, events or media opportunities.
info@libroslibertad.ca
1-604-838-8796.

Check out other recent releases at www.libroslibertad.ca
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PLEA’s International Mother Language Day, Surrey BC, Feb 20/11‏

PUNJABI LANGUAGE CELEBRATION
PLEA cordially invites everyone to come and be part of the annual celebration of Punjabi language
9th Annual International Mother Language Day
Feb 20, 2011
1:30-4:30 pm
Haveli Restaurant
8220 – 120 Street, Surrey

Features
– Upcoming Canada Census in May
– Future of Punjabi language in Canada
Open dialogue between panelists and audience

Representatives from Canada Census will provide information about the Census and its importance for the South Asian community.
Young people will present poetry and songs about the mother language Punjabi.

For more information
Balwant Sangera 604-836-8976
Sadhu Binning 604-437-9014

PUNJABI LANGUAGE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (PLEA)

Download this information in Gurumukhi
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Punjabi MaaNboli and the Punjabis-1

The PLEA Event: Need for Capacity Building

Celebrations for the 7th Mother Language Day included an event organized by Punjab Language Education Association (PLEA) in Surrey last month that presented a community panel discussion and a speech/song contest for young Punjabis.

It was a prideful pleasure for me to hear children and teens deliver speeches, recite poems and sing songs in Punjabi. Aman Taggar’s power-point presentation was insightful where he supported the use of term ‘MaaNboli’ to represent other dialects and languages of the Punjab. However, for me, the most important aspect of the event was the initiation of discussion here in BC on issues faced by Punjabi Canadians from Pakistan.

The PLEA has been serving (cultural) Sikh Punjabi Canadians from India in the Greater Vancouver area for fifteen years, now it responds to the changing needs of Punjabis by acknowledging (cultural) Muslim Punjabi Canadians. The two communities together represent over 90% of all Punjabis, and democratic progressive people on both sides continue to struggle hard to remove barriers to the development of Punjabi MaaNboli and our cultures. In that, we continue to be snared by the interests of the imperialists in the geographic location of the Punjab, the divisive policies of the federal/provincial governments of India and Pakistan, and the violence of our respective extreme ‘right wing’ political formations.

Punjabi communities in Canada are susceptible to the impact of these determinants. We often carry the same prejudices about each other, and indeed about others, in our mainstream cultures here as we do back in India and Pakistan. To overlook, if not mis-represent, each other in our histories, curriculum, classrooms, discussions, is one such impact. An example of it confronted me early last year in the form of UBC’s two-day Conference on Modern Punjabi Literature where Punjabi literature written in Shahmukhi was neither represented nor acknowledged at any level. My post Modern Punjabi Literature at UBC: A glass half full!, and then, ‘Sanjh’ A New Punjabi Literary Magazine point to such omissions.

Canada is home to 800,000 Punjabis, making Punjabi the Fourth ‘most spoken’ language in the country (0.8%) after English (67.1%), French (21.5%) and Chinese (2.6%). Vancouver Lower Mainland and Metro Toronto account for the majority of Punjabis with Surrey (Newton) being the most dense. In all these areas, Punjabi communities from Pakistan have also been growing, and signs of it are apparent in various cultural and political activities organized in the past few months in Surrey by Fraser Valley Peace Council and Bazm-e-Amno-Adab.

The five members of the ‘Pakistani Panel’, as we called ourselves, gave brief personal views on the issues faced by Pakistani Punjabis in Canada. Please click over and see the discussion in the official report of the PLEA event. Here, i want to reiterate my recommendations. The suggestion was for the PLEA and other educational and cultural organizations to implement capacity building in existing programs and services by including, for example, literature written in Shahmukhi and its writers in the discourse on Punjabi literature; to expand existing Punjabi language courses to offer them in both Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi where students may go on to specialize in one script.

Capacity building is an important step forward for the development of Punjabi MaaNboli languages in BC. So far, my appreciation goes to Sadhu Binning and Anne Murphy at UBC for being responsive on this issue, and by making attempts to be inclusive and wholesome in their efforts to develop Punjabi.

While looking for stats on Punjabi, i found this:
‘As of 2006, the population of surrey is 394,976, a 13.6 percent increase from the 2001 population. The foreign-born population is 150,235, constituting 30.28 percent of the city’s population. Visible minorities number 181,005 or 46.1 percent of the population, while Aboriginals constitute 1.9 percent of the population.’ (Wikipedia)

I am not sure how rejoiced i can be at our ever growing numbers in Surrey while the numbers of native peoples, who ‘owned’ Fraser Valley, are persistent in going down.

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

References
Celebrates International Mother Language Day
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton_Town_Centre
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrey,_British_Columbia
Modern Punjabi Literature at UBC: A glass half full!
‘Sanjh’ A New Punjabi Literary Magazine
http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/analysis/language/allophone_cma.cfm

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UBC Students of Punjabi Literature, Delightful Performers!

This post was going to indulge in a discussion on different ways to further develop Punjabi literary communities in Canada with reference to the UBC Conference on Modern Punjabi Literature but then Sadhu Binning sent me photos that brought back all the smiles and laughs drawn by a skit performed by the ‘junior’ students of Punjabi at that Conference.

The package also includes an expected group photo with newly emptied tables that i am happy to present to you here.

UBC Conference on Modern Punjabi Literature, First Day

For the rest, please stay posted.

The skit ‘Mr. Binning’s Retirement’ was presented by the UBC students of Punjabi to celeberate the life long tenure of their teacher Sadhu Binning. A 20-delightful-minute long exploration of all available career options of a retired South Asian Canadian teacher of Punjabi literature in Vancouver, the skit was a light-hearted view of a teacher and the system.

Before we proceed further, it will be helpful to see this mobile-phone photo of a youth who could so easily project the body language of his teacher.

Sandhler as Mr. BinningShamsher Sandlas, the ‘Mr. Binning’, ready to hail Nasiruddin Shah?

The ‘Mr. Binning’ character played by Shamsher Sandlas brings out all of Sadhu’s laid back mannersim where though disinterested in climbing social ladders, he does oblige Mrs. Binning (Rupinder Gosal) time and again by giving a good shot to each presented career choice by turning it into a viable opportunity. From making an on-the-spot call to Actor Om Puri in India and arriving there for an audition on the next flight from Canada- to playing golf with BC Liberal Politician Ujjal Dosanj as a career move- to going all out for a chance to become a Punjabi Pop Singer- Mr. Binning tries everything with mild enthusiasm, and good-natured submission to various hiring requirements. Yet he FAILs at everything. This leaves an open stage and eight happy artists to ponder over various new possibilities.

The Seven UBC Students who predict Sadhu Binning’s post-retirement career options as being NIL. Shamsher Sandlas (Mr. Binning), Rupinder Gosal (Mrs. Binning, in red shirt), Daljit Mahal (Om Puri, Ujjal Dosanjh), Harman Bains (Actress), Rupeela Gill (Director’s help), Akashdeep Villing (Actor and Music producer), and Aman Oberoi (Music producer) in ‘Mr. Binning’s Retirement’.

The Eighth, if you are wondering, is Sadhu outside the frame at this point; and, if you find that people are not standing where their names indicate than please be my guest because i also can not understand all the moves made by our youth.

Moral of the story? Mr Binning CAN NOT do anything but teach Punjabi, and/or that Mr. Binning MUST NOT do anything but teach Punjabi. Sounds good to me because i know that teaching Punjabi the last few decades has not stopped Sadhu from working on his creative writing, and that is what matters the most.

An interesting observation is that the teacher role of Sadhu presented by his students who all appeared to be second generation Punjabi Canadians, is the same as is revered in South Asia for centuries where the love of teaching a particular discipline makes a teacher a strong role model for the students or at least, someone that they respect, learn from and remember as they move along to shape their lives. Yet at the same time, unlike the traditional model of a teacher in South Asia, Sadhu does not create distance as means to command respect but remains informal and communicative with his students, a quality attributed to teachers in the ‘Western’ education system. The character that comes out is a cross between the two traditions.

Another observation is that each time Mr. Binning enters his living room and takes a seat after a day’s hard work, the ominious remote (weapon of TV) control finds his right hand in a brisk and un-observing manner, compliments of course, to the groundedness of Mrs. Binning played by Rupinder Gosal.

Daljit Mahal was comfortable with enacting both character actor Om Puri and our own leader Ujjal Dosanjh. Harman Bains and Rupeela Gill, the actress and the director’s assistant in the film scene, provided faster tempo and some tension to Mr. and Mrs. Binning’s slow and comfortable drawl. Akashdeep Villing (Actor and Music producer) and Aman Oberoi (Music producer) came out strong in their roles as well. And of course, in the shape of Shamsher Sandlas we may be looking at an expatriot Nasiruuddin Shah, to say the very least!

That was a lot of fun Shamsher, Daljit, Harman, Rupeela, Akashdeep and Aman, thanks; it was a great group effort to write/direct/produce the skit in such a short period of time. We also must thank Bibi Anna Kaur Murphy for her advisory role in the skit, and so, thanks Anne.

Also view Rana Nayar’s forceful comment on Modern Punjabi Literature at UBC: A Glass Half Full, that goes right into the discussion that is about to take place in the next post. Before we split, let me tell you that from 40-50 new people that i had the pleasure to meet, Rana Nayar got me the most confused in that after hearing his first presentation par excellence i was sure he was a British Punjabi from London but he turned out to be a Punjabi Punjabi from Chandigarh thus challenging some of my myths and assumptions.
No More Watnu Dur by Sadhu Binning
Earthy Tones by Gurdial Singh and Rana Nayar
Punjabi Books at Amazon

Modern Punjabi Literature at UBC: A glass half full!

Yes, a glass half filled with an invigorating and inspiring drink when it could as easily be brimming with it; despite falling short on the representation of over one half of Punjabis, and Punjabi women, it was still an important landmark in the development of Punjabi literary community.

The UBC Conference on Modern Punjabi Literature this past weekend was a powerful mix of literary criticisms, academic observations, poetic expressions and cultural activisms. So when the next morning, i was still grappling with the overwhelmingness of this pleasant experience, Amardeep Singh of Lehigh University had already written and published his Notes From a Punjabi Conference in Vancouver. And so, soon after meeting Amardeep at the Conference, i was happy to again experience his crisp, observant and ‘positive-interventionist’ presence through his blog, and it did bring things in perspective for me.

The discussions at the Conference were initiated by Sabina Sawhney of Hofstra University with her paper on Punjabi/Sikh identities where some of the points made by her led to issues put forward by Sadhu Binning about Canadian Punjabi literature . Though each paper presented and every thought expressed was valuable to me, I am most appreciative of ideas that tackled the work of individual writers because though we may find a sizeable body of work on Punjabi classical writers, there is a dearth of criticism on modern Punjabi writing. In that, we had Amritjit Singh of Ohio State University on “The Generational Challenges of Progressivism in the Poetry of Gurcharan Rampuri and Sadhu Binning“; Rana Nayar from the Punjab University on “Narratives of Dispersal: Stories of Raghbir Dhand” and “The Novel as a Site of Cultural Memory: Gurdial Singh’s PARSA“; and, the views expressed by UBC students of Punjabi on Ajith Kaur.

The organizers had created a safe environment where giving and taking criticism was the way to find solutions to various problems faced by Punjabi cultural and literary communities in Canada and elsewhere. “The Uncomfortable Residue of Dis-location: Fragment, Hybridity, and Panjabi Literature(s) in Canada” by Harjeet Grewal (University of Michigan), “The Cultural Politics of Crossing Boundaries” by Anne Murphy (University of British Columbia), and “Secular Sikh Writers” by Amardeep Singh pointed to some groups and individuals that are attempting to extend existing cultural, social or religious boundaries.

The Student Panel, Writers Panel, and Punjabi Poetry Readings were the highlights of this weekend of inspiration and togetherness.

Though Pakistani side of the Punjab, and the literature created by Pakistani Punjabi writers did not feature in any area of this conference on modern Punjabi literature yet the problems, needs and barriers faced by us are the same. The sad truth of the current state of Punjabi literary communities in India and Pakistan, in Canada, and in United States is apparent where we are swamped by the challenges of our immediate situations while our totality is being annihilated by our ignorance, and sometimes, our denial of each other. Let us see who we are then. We are Nanak, Farid and Kabir; Madhulal Hussain, Waris and Bullah; Amrita Pritam, Najm Hosain Syed and Ashu Lal Fakir; We are Ustad Daman, Gurdiyal Singh and Pash, Amarjit Chandan, Baba Najmi and Ajmer Rode; Mushtaq Sufi, Amarjit Pannu and Neesha Dosanjh Meminger; Nilambri Singh Ghai, Ahmad Salim and Sadhu Binning; We are Parveen Malik, Surjeet Kalsi and Baljinder Dhillon; more, and many more.

As was pointed out by presenters and participants from time to time, modern or classical Punjabi Literature is not limited to the writings of Sikh writers of Punjabi language; rather, it includes works of writers of all religions who write Punjabi maaNboli whether in Gurumukhi, Shahmukhi and Roman scripts; who live in India, Pakistan, Canada and elsewhere. As well, it must include works of writers of Punjabi origin using languages other than Punjabi because a literature is not just the keeper of a language but also of the culture and diversity of its people.

In other words, Punjabi literary community must be represented in its wholeness in Punjabi departments, language courses, educational seminars and conferences, and in text books. I was happy to note that the structure put in place by Sadhu Binning, Anne Murphy and others here at UBC already contains this capacity. The faculty members seemed proficient in both scripts; most students were aware that Punjabi uses two scripts; some senior students were able to read books in both scripts. That in itself is gratifying and encouraging; so, i came away from the Conference with the hope that steps will be taken to bring a sense of balance to our persepectives on and appreciation of Punjabi literature by assuring full representation at various levels of cultural and educational activity at UBC and in Canada.

Taking my own advice, i would like to express gratitude to Anne Murphy for the wonderful work she has accomplished for Punjabi in Vancouver by adding a title to an existing name given to her by Punjabi Sikh community so that it reads ‘Bibi Anna Kaur Murphy’ instead of ‘Anna Kaur Murphy’. The imperceptible change from ‘e’ to ‘a’ in the first name is optional but highly recommended as it will help create a beat that may appease all the diverse communities of Punjabi-rhythm freaks.

Another post will soon follow on the development ideas and strategies put forward by Sukhwant Hundal, Ajmer Rode, Darshan Gill, Baljinder Dhillon, and the Student Panel.

Fauzia Rafiq

(Update: Second Post:
“UBC Students of Punjabi Literature, Delightful Performers”

Punjabi Literature

Honouring Poet Sadhu Binning

Sadhu Binning, Vancouver 2008

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Poet Sadhu Binning, Vancouver 2008

Profile at www.writersunion.ca


UBC Conference A seminar in honor of Sadhu Binning
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I met Sadhu Binning in one of the earlier festivals of Desh Pardesh (1988-2001) in Toronto at the end of 1980s. Desh Pardesh was an inspiring coalition of cultural organizations and individuals spearheaded by the gay South Asians of Khush, and later, the members of South Asian Visual Arts Collective (SAVAC); its impact on South Asian cultural communities in Canada and US is deep and unmistakable.

Next, i saw Sadhu in Surrey in 2005 when Dr. Manjur Ejaz (www.wichaar.com) was visiting from Washington to comemorate Dr. Prem Prakash Singh. Yet after all this time, there was no feeling of discontinuity; and that in part, is the healing experience of coming across Sadhu Binning or his poems.

It is rare to meet a person who appears to be serenely unified in this disjointed world as he uses his soft but firm poetic voice in Punjabi Canadian literature.

It is difficult to find a Punjabi poet in the West who has expressed the pain and loss resulting from the experience of migration, and has then gone on to deliver the pleasant possibility of an evolved integration.

It is impossible to find a poetic voice that sustains its nuances when crossing the boundaries of one language while housed into the other.

This one poem says it all:

No More Watnu Dur

A Punjabi/English poem by Sadhu Binning

letters that I wrote

to my family

to my friends

in the last one century

were all written

from a foreign land

to the motherland

but the letter that I just wrote

about the news of my father’s death

is written

from my country to another country

I wrote:

My father left his home a long time ago

he lived with the dream of

one day returning to his fields

to spend the last of his days in peace

now along with his body

all his dreams are melted into this land

I have dropped his ashes

in icy river water

he has become part of this soil

From Binning’s Punjabi/English poetry collection ‘No More Watno Dur’ (No More Away From Home), published 1995 by TSAR Publications in Toronto.

Considering Binning’s contributions to the development of Punjabi language and literature in Canada, the University of British Columbia (UBC) has organized a two-day conference (April 26-27, Vancouver 2008) on Punjabi literature to honour Sadhu Binning. From the line-up, it seems like an exciting event; thanks to Anne Murphy, a fellow faculty member of Sadhu at the UBC.

Fauzia Rafiq

‘No More Watno Dur’ by Sadhu Binning