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More than just rigid punctuation

By February 7, 2019No Comments

Source : The Hindu

“Kahani Punjab” meticulously maps how Punjabi language traverses beyond its well defined regional and spatial confines



Though pop melodies set in Punjabi folk tunes enjoy enormous popularity and longing for love and being loved and the cherished desire for spiritual sublimity in the ‘spectacle society’ , still people seem quite unaware of the inherent potentiality of Punjabi literature that explores the inner realm of feelings and the complex gamut of external reality fabulously. Punjabi, a language having 90 million native speakers across the globe and reckoned as the eleventh most widely spoken language, exudes both warmth and innocence with equal vehemence and its literature produces a nuanced narrative of the lost world of innocence, wonder, nostalgia and emotional resilience. It does go beyond its immensely popular verse genres such as Janam-Sakhis, Bechans, Goshts, Paramarathas, Parchis, Unthanks and Bhule Shah’s Kafis and proverbial tragic love story of Heer and Ranjha and how it is vastly relatable for the readers. It is what has been brilliantly delineated by a reputed literary periodical of Punjabi, “Kahani Punjab” through its 100th issue that appeared recently.

Romantic tales

The journal astutely edited by Dr Krantipal carries sensitively rendered short stories, perceptively argued essays and stunningly told poems that betray a wide spectrum of feelings. These creative outpourings are contributed by many celebrated Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu poets. The readers are also exposed to Hindi, Rajasthani, Iranian and French stories through translations. The journal also published pulsating and wilful reminiscences of the “first love experience” of many eminent authors such as Karamjeet Singh, Jaswinder, Jaswant Singh Kanwal, Bhupinder Kaur Preet and Surjit Gil. The never told-before stories revolving around the first love encounters steeped in nostalgia unfold many layers of experience that transcend the usual romantic hankering of lovers in separation.

At a time when waves of hatred are washing over us, the journals published stories that offer a satirical commentary on the justification for ongoing widespread intolerance and vividly portrays the grotesque aftermath of hatred and revenge.

According to the editor Krantipal, an accomplished author, the special issue carries a judicious assessment of short stories, anecdotes, interviews, poems and translations that appeared in the previous issues.

The selected content zeroes in on the complex mosaic of multi-cultural aspirations and linguistic diversity of the country.

The literary quarterly, primarily devoted to short stories, was launched by the prominent Punjabi novelist and fiction writer, Ram Sarup Ankhi in 1993. There exists a long standing tradition of literary journals in Punjab and Preet Ladi, Panja Dariya, Punjabi Duniya and Arsi are the widely respected periodicals but no journal makes the short story the object of a single pristine look and Ankhi tried to supplement what has been left out. The latest issue of “Kahani Punjab” reproduces the editorial that appeared in its tenth issue through which the editor candidly spells out his priority.

Realising dad’s dreams

“The first issue of ‘Kahani Punjab’ was sent to a number of authors, literature lovers, personal friends and I requested them to send me one hundred rupees for ten issues, many responded positively but some of them asked me to send ten issues first then they will send the money. ‘Kahani Punjab’ keeps on grappling with financial crisis”.



In the last, Ankhi makes a poignant remark, “Believe ‘Kahani Punjabi’ appears only for attaining premature death. We will publish only one hundred issues. My green-eyed friends pray for my health so that I can see through its hundredth issue and there will be no issue after that, I assure them”.

Unfortunately Ankhi Ji left us after editing the 67th issue and his son Krantipal resolved to realise the unfulfilled dream of his father. He added new features; the journal started giving award to the best story and organising a three-day annual symposium on short stories. According to Krantipal, the legacy of Amrita Pritam, Kartar Singh Duggal, Balwant Gargi, Suba Singh, Ishwar Chitakar and Surinder Singh Narula gets strengthened as the symposium elicited the attention of a number of short story writers and critics belonging to Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu. The three-day short story festival was attended by many eminent authors including Vishwanath Tripathi, Abdul Bismillah, Asghar Wajahat, Mahesh Darpan, Amrik Singh and Gauri Nath.

Evocative poems

The latest issue, in fact “the best of Kahani Punjab”, carries articles of Asghar Wajahat, Ibbar Rabi, Sukhbir and Punjabi short stories of Gurmeet Karialwi, Bhola Singh Sanghera, Harpreet Seekha, Balbir Kaur Sanghera, Talwinder Singh Dheer, Shamsher Dhapti, Baldev Misti, Manmohan Bawa, Tripta K Singh and Kesra Ram. Further, a section is devoted to translation of short stories that carries Punjabi translations of Balzac (French), Nadir Ibrahim (Persian), Manisha Kulshrestha (Rajasthani), Seema Azad (Hindi), Arun Parkash (Hindi), Asghar Wajahat (Hindi), Jyoti Chawala (Hindi) and Mohammad Arif (Hindi).

Punjabi is a language of inflexion and nuance and not rigid punctuation and it is the impression that one gets when he reads evocative and nuanced poems of Buta Singh Chauhan, Bari Nizami, Jagtar Sekha, Jagtar Salam and Jaswinder.

The latest issue of “Kahani Punjab” meticulously maps how Punjabi language traverses beyond its well defined regional and spatial confines and the editor Krantipal did well to document how Punjabi literature transposes us to a realm that is positioned on excitement and anxiety and the vibrant interplay of myth and reality.

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