by: Dr Jaspal Singh
Source: South Asia Post, Issue 12 Volume I, March 31, 2006
Punjabi Akademi, Delhi was set up in 1981 with a specific purpose of promoting Punjabi language, literature and culture. During these twenty-five years, the Akademi has organised scores of seminars and cultural events in the national capital. Many Punjabi theatrical performances were staged in Delhi under the auspices of this Akademi. Every year on Independence Day and Republic day the Akademi organises national Kavi Darbars in which dozens of well-known Punjabi poets participate. Besides celebrating these occasions the Akademi also organises Kavi Darbars and seminars outside Delhi and often collaborates with other academic institutions for the promotion of Punjabi language and literature. Even in the field of thought and intellection, this organisation has played a very dynamic role while introducing many new ideas to Punjabi readers, writers and intellectuals.
Punjabi intellectuals and academia have extended all co-operations to the academy. Consequently, the level of seminars and discussions therein has been very stimulating. Many Punjabi scholars have been honoured by the akademi. Hundreds of Punjabi writers have been published in the Akademi organ Samdarsi, a very prestigious bimonthly brought out by the Akademi. Even the universities in Punjab have acknowledged the importance of this institution.
Many special numbers of the journal Samdarsi have been brought out in which a number of well established Punjabi writers like Kartar Singh Duggal, Amrita Pritam, Devinder Satyarthi, Haribhajan Singh, Ajit Kaur, Mohinder Singh Sarna, Tara Singh and so on besides a host of younger Punjabi writers led by Surjit Patar, Mohanjit, Mohan Bhandari, Prem Parkash, Ram Sarup Ankhi and so on have contributed their writings. Since the Govt. of Delhi runs Punjabi Akademi, it receives lavish government grants. The writers published in Samdarsi are paid good remuneration that is very rare in the world of Punjabi letters. The most prestigious project executed by the Akademi is the fourteen-volume history of Punjabi literature. No other institution including the publication bureaus of different universities of Punjab have been able to perform such a grand literary feat.
Now on the occasion of silver jubilee celebrations the Akademi has brought out 464 pages jumbo edition of its journal. All major Punjabi writers have contributed to this issue. Hun Mai Vida Hunda Han a poem by revolutionary Punjabi poet Paash goes like this, â€œMai hun vida hunda han/Meri dost mai hun vida hunda han/Mai ik kavita likhni chahi si/Tu jis nu sari umar parh saken/Us kavita vich/Mehkde hoi dhanie da zikar hona si/Kamadan di sarsraht da zikar hona si/Te gandlan di nazak sokhi da zikar hona si/Us Kavita vich rukhan uton chondian dhundan/Ate balti vich choe dudh/Te gaundian chaggan da zikar hona si/Te jo vi hor/Mai tere jism vichon Takkia us sare kase da zikar hona si...â€ (I take your leave. My darling I take your leave now. I had longed for writing a poem, which you could croon throughout your life. This poem would have alluded to the fragrance of coriander leaves and also of the rustling sound of the sugarcanes. The poem would mention the delicate feel of the tender mustard stems and of the dripping fog from the trees. It would have alluded to the fresh frothy milk in the buckets and also to whatever I discovered in your limitless body.)
There are many evocative poems, stories and plays in this collection. Therefore the issue is worth preserving not only because of its size but also because of the quality of its content. Punjabi Akademi Delhi has to be congratulated for this gesture.