Punjabi Likhari Sabha
I don’t have, to be frank, much interest in literature as I find myself nowhere near the creative people like writers and poets both in temperament and intellect. I think writing is a God gifted talent. But I do have some interest in the Punjabi culture, Punjabi poetry and also Urdu poetry written in Devnagri script. February 15, 2017, I was honoured to be with a galaxy of Punjabi prose, story and poetry writers under the aegis of Jalandhar Punjabi Likhari Sabha at their monthly meeting. It was a pleasurable and a rewarding evening. I must thank my friend Param Dass Heer who himself is a Punjabi poet and a geetkar of standing who took the initiative and invited and introduced me to the Sabha of which Param Heer is the General Secretary. I was touched by their respectand regard showered on me at the function under the leadership of a renowned social and spiritual community activist Sardar Beant Singh Sarhadi. Punjabi Likhari Sabha is a club of intellectuals and literary people which is engaged in catering to the literary and cultural needs of the concerned and interested, in and around Jalandhar, for the last 45 years with self support. One can understand the contribution the Sabha has been making in promotion of the creative activities for the benefit of the community at large.
This month’s meeting of the Sabha was dedicated to the memory of Guru Ravidassji whose Gurpurab was observed some days before. Many poets of standing and also of up-coming genre recited their poetic compositions and paid glowing tributes to the great Guru. A book of poems for children “Nikke Nikke Phul Kalian” written by Sardar Sujaan Singh Sujaan was released together with the authorand Sardar Beant Singh Sarhadi, Param Heer and Deepak Bali, General Secretary of Punjab Jagrati Manch. I was told that Sujaan Sahib is a poet of his own standing and recites poetry in Tarannum. Deepak Bali spoke briefly and informed about their efforts to promote our mother tongue Punjabi. My hosts gifted me a set of books – Muhabat Nama of Ashi Ishpuri, Phoolan Dian Khushbuaan of Param Heer, Punj Abban Di Jaie of Bibi Surjit Kaur and Samen Da Sach of Surjit Singh. I am sure that by reading, which I will do in due course, these poetry books would help in enriching my feeble knowledge of Punjabi literature.
I will cherish the memory of this honour in the years to come. While thanking the Punjabi Likhari Sabha I said in my brief remarks that a written word had an immense force to register its impact as an English poet John Keating said, “No matter what anybody tells you; words and ideas can change the world.” I added that famous Punjabi writer Surjit Patter had also said in one of his poems:
ਇਹ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਆਪਣੇ; ਫਿਰ ਦੂਜਿਆਂ ਦੇ,
ਗ਼ਜ਼ਲ ਤਾਂ ਦਿਲ ਵਿਚ ਉਤਰਨ ਦਾ ਨਾਂ ਹੈ !
I also recalled the poetry of a rustic Punjabi poet Gurdass Ram Alam who attributed the qualities of a good poet:
ਸ਼ਾਇਰ ਓਹੀ ਜਹਾਨ ਵਿਚ ਹੋ ਸਕਦਾ;
ਜੋ ਸੋਨੇ ਨੂੰ ਸੋਨਾ ਤੇ ਕੱਚ ਨੂੰ ਕੱਚ ਆਖੇ !
ਕਰੇ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਦੇ ਦਿਲਾਂ ਦੀ ਤਰਜ਼ੁਮਾਨੀ;
ਝੂਠ ਨੂੰ ਝੂਠ ਤੇ ਸੱਚ ਨੂੰ ਸੱਚ ਆਖੇ !
Finally to register my sense of gratitude to the Punjabi Likhari Sabha and tributes to Guru Ravidassji, I said that it was good to be here today in the company of learned and enlightened people and added that a novice and humble man like me would tend to gain from this good Sangat as Guru Ravidassji said in his Bani:
ਤੁਮ ਚੰਦਨ ਹਮ ਰਿੰਡ ਬਾਪੁਰੋ ਸੰਘ ਤੁਮਾਰੇ ਵਾਸਾ;
ਨੀਚ ਰੁੱਖ ਤੇ ਉਂਚ ਭਏ ਹੋ ਗੰਧ ਸੁਗੰਧ ਨਿਵਾਸਾ !