By Surjit Singh surjit

Hindustan Times : 20 Sep 2017

AMRITSAR:Punjabi literary world on Tuesday mourned as an eminent Pakistani Punjabi poet, story writer and novelist Afzal Ahsan Randhawa, who was born in Amritsar on September 1, 1937, passed away in the wee hours of Tuesday in Faislabad at the age of 80.

News of his demise was shared by his family on his Facebook account. His last rites were held at 1.30pm on Tuesday. However, the family did not share the reason behind his death.

As per Randhawa profile published in different journals, books and newspapers, he was born in Amritsar to Iqbal Begum and Sarfaraz khan. Former Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) professor late JS Jolly, who did PhD on Randhawa, confirmed this fact in his thesis.

Randhawa’s ancestral house in Amritsar could not be located as he stayed here for a few years of his childhood and went to Narowal in Pakistan many years before Partition.

Randhawa grew up in a rural part of the Narowal district, where he was the editor of the Mission High School magazine.

He was a lawyer and a politician and was elected as a member to the Pakistan National Assembly in a byelection from Lyallpur, renamed Faisalabad, (1972-77). He was also radio/television playwright and a translator and has to his credit rendering a selection of African poetry in Punjabi.

His fiction had a deep connection with the roots of culture and folklore of undivided Punjab, said former GNDU professor Dharam Singh. Sorrow caused by Partition can be clearly seen in his writings.

Randhawa was popular among Sikh hardliners as he raised voice against Operation Bluestar and also wrote a poem on the operation “Navan Ghallughara” (new Holocaust). In this poem, he glorified Bhindranwale as a great warrior.

His works have been transcribed in Gurmukhi and published in Indian Punjab.

He was awarded by writers’ guild Pakistan for his “Deeva te Darya” (1961) and “Doaba” (1981). He was also awarded by the Punjabi Academy of Letters (1985-86). Punjabi Sahit Akademi, Ludhiana, bestowed on him Kartar Singh Dhaliwal award (1999). He authored several novels in Punjabi, including “Sooraj Grehan” and “Doaba”.