Mohinderdeep: Search for New Poetic Images

In sixties Punjabi poetry, particularly ghazal, drifted away from the Urdu terminology, besides discarding the oft-repeated ideas. Mohinderdeep Grewal composed his first poem in 1963 while as a B.Sc. student in L.R.M. College (now DAV), Jagraon. He got second prize for the poem at an inter-college poetry recitation competition at Government College, Muktsar. There he met Randhir Singh Chand, a student of the host college, who got the first prize in this competition. The friendship lasted for many years till the untimely death of Dr. Chand.
From Principal Takhat Singh,Mohinderdeep acquired confidence for composing Punjabi ghazal. At the start he got recognition as a poet of ghazals, although he had been equally interested in composing poems. He waited for a long time for the publication of his first collection of ghazals. His books, Lahu Bolda Hai (1978), Safar di Rutt (1987) and Dil di Parwaz (2002) reached readers after big intervals. These collections of ghazals and poems have secured a place for him in the hall of modern Punjabi poetry.
Mohinderdeep was born in 1942 at Jhok Balochan Di (now in Pakistan) and migrated to Salimpur (Jagraon) after partition. He received his early education first at the village school and then at Government High School, Jagraon from where he passed his matriculation examination in 1958. Thereafter he received B.Sc. and B.T. degrees before starting teaching career. During his service, he did postgraduation in English and Punjabi. He is President, International Punjabi Sahit Sabhiachar Manch and General Secretary, Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha.
He has always been in search of new poetic images to express himself accurately. It is the turn of phrase that is the hallmark of his poetic expression. He chooses his diction like a classicist but gives vent to his feelings like a romantic.
Nature has always been his source of inspiration as in it he finds reflected human nature. Having been cut off from nature, man has been reduced to a robot. Fear and insecurity plague human mind, as a result of which the man of today always finds himself at the receiving end. His relationship with the fellow- 99
beings has been reduced to mere formality. There is no warmth in human relations, nor is there the spirit of abiding love for close relations. Life has turned out to be a long period of banishment from the valley of joy and delight.
Still the poet has retained his optimistic outlook in the face of the calamities. His Marxist outlook has stood him in good stead while dealing with the problems of life-
Akhaan nunpoonjh, utth ke manzil di kar talash
Hanjhuan de vichon dekhenga kinni ku der takk
(Get up and wipe your tears
it's the time for moving to the destination.
How long would you view things
through the corners of your tearful eyes ?) and then in a poem he says-
Kihojahe ne rishte
kejadon milde haan
na gham hunda hai na khushi
buss halaat anusar chehra badal lainde haan
(Of what type are these relations
we are neither happy nor sad
on meeting each other ?
Indeed we change our faces
to suit the occasion.)
Now Mohinderdeep is contemplating an odyssey, along with his wife, to the foreign lands where his three children live. The real purpose is a search for human togetherness that can make life worth living :
Je chahunde ho, mehkaan bann ke khindjana
Aao aapanphull bannjaaiye baghaan de
(If you want to move about like the fragrance
Let's take the form of flowers in a garden.)