Folk Punjab Fund for Punjabi Books is our program to support Punjabi writers and publishing industry. Using the fund, we will purchase a modest number of award-winning Punjabi books every year and distribute them using different channels so that they reach a wider audience.
Although the state of Punjabi publishing in Pakistan is improving in some ways but we cannot call it satisfactory. There are a couple of active Punjabi publishers in Lahore, printing some 50 to 100 books every year. Sometimes they are in the position to offer a compensation to the author, but often the authors themselves have to bear the cost of getting the books published.
In other countries, and in ours too, the government (through relevant departments), purchases a sizable number of copies of new books for the community and college libraries. But since we have been made to believe that the Punjabi language is good for nothing, books published in Punjabi are seldom bought by officials making such decisions. Our program, we hope, will fill this gap.
The following is the list of books we have chosen for the inaugural year 2014. They were all awarded 1st, 2nd, or 3rd positions in this year’s Masud Khaddarposh Trust Awards.
Chup TooN Baad (Ali Babar)
Goongi Pukaar (Tufail Khalish)
Kandh AsmaanaN Teek (Bushra Naaz)
Main Chetar Nahi Chakhya (Khaqan Haider Ghazi)
Aaheen Da Balan (Naveed Anjum)
Glaleecha Unnan Wali (Zahid Hassan)
Kabootar, Banere, te Gallian (Zubair Ahmad)
Parchhaven (Sabir Ali Sabir)
We have already acquired 10 copies of each of these books, which is a small number but good enough to begin with. We will try to extend this to 100 copies in the coming years.
If you’d like to donate to the program, please contact us. All the donations will go towards acquiring more copies of the books or possibly expanding the range of books.
Here in Lahore, we are, more than anything, waiting for the month of Harh to end and Sawan to begin. Counting days. Literally.
Anyway, since it’s still Harh, let us share a few lines from a Bulleh Shah poem about “love in the month of Harh”:
Hun kih karan jo aaya Harh
Tan vich ishq tapaya bhaar
Tere ishq ne ditta saar
Rowan akhian karan pukaar
P.S. We don’t know what does the last line mean. Help us in the comments!
Hast-o-Neest Institute of Traditional Studies & Arts will be hosting a 2-day lecture series on Metaphysics of Punjabi Sufi Poetry by Dr. Shahzad Qaiser on June 26-27 in Lahore.
Hast-o-Neest is an initiative of Baytunur Trust for the research, study and promotion of traditional art, and culture. It aims to provide an introduction to and a greater understanding of traditional wisdom including sufi doctrine and method, traditional philosophy, metaphysics and cosmology, and allied arts as calligraphy and architecture.
Dr. Shahzad Qaiser has a doctorate in philosophy and is a recipient of President’s Award for Pride of Performance in Punjabi Literature. He has written several books on metaphysics and poetry including ‘Understanding Diwan-i-Farid’ and ‘Iqbal and Khawaja Ghulam Farid on Experiencing God’.
The lecture series or seminar will be held at the Hast-o-Neest premises 31-G, Gulberg II, Lahore from 5:30 to 8:00 PM. For registration, please send in your name, cell phone number, and email address to 0300 847 1855 or email@example.com.
One of you recently sent me a video of a folk group singing Babu Rajab Ali’s long poem, titled Aqal da Baag. It’s like his review of Punjab — people, food, customs, professions, districts, and what not. He summed up everything he could think of that was happening in Punjab.
A treasure of immense historical value, it’s sung in a very gripping way. Without instruments, the ups and downs of the their voices make up for the rhythm. Thank you so much, Tejpal.
I knew Rajab Ali, or Babuji as he was known, but hadn’t read or heard his poetry until now. A friend of mine, a fiction writer, grew up in the same region where Rajab Ali settled after partition. Babuji appears in a couple of his stories. Lost. As someone who’s present but absent. Like a new desi immigrant in the US. Reduced to zero.
Except that Babu Rajab Ali didn’t have a choice, neither did he leave East Punjab voluntarily, not could he go back. Unlike a US visa, you cannot undo a partition. He, they say, never came out of the past. How could he? The man, in 1940, quit a career in civil engineering for the love of Punjabi poetry!
Punjab’s partition didn’t just result in the death of our loved ones, it shattered many a souls too. Beyond repair.
You may have noticed that our homepage looks a bit different. That’s because we are restructuring Folk Punjab from just being an archive of Punjabi folklore to becoming a hub of information about everything that’s happening in the Punjabi literary and research arenas.
Our homepage will now present news and updates from Punjabi literary world. It will also feature the research being done on Punjab’s history and folklore. We’ll try to keep you updated on Punjabi literary/cultural events as well.
So keep visiting, there will always be something new for you here.
The Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize has been founded to celebrate the rich history and living present of Punjabi language and literature, around the globe. A collaboration between Canada India Education Society (CIES) and University of British Columbia (UBC), the prize was officially launched yesterday on October 8, 2013 in Vancouver, Canada.
A cash prize of $25,000 CDN will be awarded annually to one ‘best book’ in either Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi. Two runner-up prizes of $5,000 CDN will be awarded, one for each script. Winners will be honored at an annual Gala, held in Vancouver in its inaugural year and at alternative host cities around the world subsequently.
We wish CIES all the best. View the video introducing the prize after the break. Read more »
—by Naresh K. Jain
According to A.K.Ramanujan, an important way to explain the diversity of Indian culture is the interdependent coexistence of two traditions—the pan-Indian Sanskritic Great Tradition and the many local Little Traditions. These latter, according to Ramanujan, comprise at least three elements—bhakti, tantra and folklore. These ‘counter systems,’ as he likes to call them, ‘invert, oppose, and otherwise reflect on the so-called Great Tradition’ and one cannot understand Indian culture in all its plurality without coming to terms with them.
In this paper I am concerned only with folklore and with the representation of women in the love legends. This representation of women does not always conform to the prevailing gender stereotypes. Women are not necessarily the docile, submissive, tongue-tied, powerless creatures a majority of Indians accepts them to be. I wish to suggest that because of folklore’s nearness to mother earth and also because of its greater freedom from the constraints of decorum and propriety, folklore is capable of surprising us with unusual portrayals. These representations may be more realistic than what we come across in classical literature; they may interrogate, even subvert, conventional man-woman relationships; or with the help of a humorous inversion, call the entire rhetoric of romantic love into question. Such a folkloristic treatment of gender relations not only comes like a breath of fresh air, but it also functions as an antidote to the overt seriousness with which themes are often treated in classical literature. Read more »