THE THIRD DAY OF THE SPRING CELEBRATIONS of Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi featured two writers, one acclaimed in Hindi, the other in Punjabi.
Jaswinder Singh, an engineer by profession, is an accomplished writer. He has penned a number of collections of ghazals for which he has received several honours and awards. Often invited to literary gatherings and mushairas, he was recently awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2014. Jaswinder Singh was introduced by the noted playwright Atamjit who engaged him in a lively conversation, beginning with a recitation of some of his poems. This was an effective introduction as Atamjit, being more of a performer, read the verses in his sonorous voice with a lot of feeling and passion. The poet, Jaswinder, strikes one as a simple, down-to-earth person, grounded in reality. Hailing from a family in which not much interest was taken in literature, his love for literature is entirely self-acquired. His poems are full of ‘punjabiat’, the feel of the earth and the fragrance of local landscape, rivers and plains, flora and fauna.
Manjula Rana, educationist and acclaimed writer of Hindi fiction, is not just a professor of Hindi, she is also a member of the UPSC. She has authored several collections of short stories for which she has received a number of awards. In her conversation with Madhav Kaushik, she spoke at length of Kalidas’s wife, Vidytoma, who was in fact his inspiration. Vidyotma’s story has not been told fully and Manjula has looked at her plight through a sympathetic, woman’s gaze. A story that she read, “Jai Ghosh” had the audience almost in tears; an unusual theme, it described the love of a woman (neglected in her family) for a childhood friend. It is this love that keeps her going to the end, a love like that of Dante and Beatrice. In conversation with Manjula Rana was the Secretary of CSA, Madhav Kaushik, who introduced her, highlighting her major achievements in the field of letters.
This is the time of the year when the Akademi also gives away Awards of Recognition to senior writers of the city. This year’s awardees are:
1. Sh. Madan Sharma 'Rakesh' (Hindi)
2. Smt. Taran Gujral (Punjabi)
3. Sh. Jai Gopal Kochhar - 'Ashk Amritsari' (Urdu)
4. Prof. Ramakant Angiras (Sanskrit)
Shri Vijay Dev, Adviser to the Administrator, gave away the awards. Addressing the gathering, he had a word of praise for the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi’s efforts to promote literature and language in the city. The audience was delighted to have him in their midst and it so turned out that Mr Vijay Dev is a literature enthusiast, too. He recited several Punjabi poems and quoted Prof Mohan Singh, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Hashim Shah, Sufi poetry, and other Punjabi legends.
All in all, it was a fitting culmination to a successful three-day event hosted by the CSA
Warm wishes from
Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi