Vasant Ritu, Issue No. 84 (Mar-Apr 2019)

FEATURE – Punjabi Literature – Guru Nanak, Its Greatest Progenitor

This feature on Punjabi Literature is devoted to Guru Nanak, on his 550th birth anniversary. Decidedly one of the pioneers of Punjabi Literature, Nanak’s unparalleled contribution to Punjabi life, literature, thought, and language depicts wide-ranging facets of Punjabi life. His work has contributed to the growth of the language, incorporating words from Sanskrit, Pali, Apbharans [Apabhransha], Persian, Arabic and Sindhi. This feature, edited by Prof Tejwant Singh Gill, includes some of Nanak’s basic poetry and commentaries on his writing and poems written by the best Punjabi poets in his honour…

Highlights
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The life, ideals and teachings of Guru Nanak as also his seminal contribution to the Punjabi literature are reflected in the ‘Commentaries’ (articles) and ‘Perspectives’ by nine learned scholars, veteran and young.  Of especial interest is Jagtar Singh Grewal’s article “Guru Nanak and Patriarchy” highlighting the Guru’s stress on the need for respect to the fairer sex. (Feature)




The poems both by way of translation from Guru Nanak’s ‘Bani’ as also on his life & philosophy – by as many as 16 accomplished litterateurs, including ‘Padma Shri’  Sant Singh Sekhon (“Guru Nanak conversing with Sheikh Farid”) provide a comprehensive enough  window on the immense influence the Guru has brought to bear on the Punjabi letters and culture. (Feature)



Of particular interest is the review by Charanjeet Kaur of Khooni Vaisakhi: A Poem from the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre 1919, originally written in Punjabi by a firsthand witness to the incident – Nanak Singh. It remained unpublished until his grandson Navdeep Suri has recently translated it into English. (Feature)




Pritha Sarkar & Debojyoti Das’s reading of two works on the transgender community in India, the Hijras, in Me Hijra, Me Laxmi and The Truth About Me presents unique perspectives into the social, cultural and psychological impetus with regard to being a Hijra in India. The article deftly traverses literature and gender studies. (Literary Section)




Anirban Banerjee’s interesting study of the portrayal of a dog in Sadat Hasan Manto’s The Dog of Tithwal showcases the literary paradigm regarding the presentation and portrayal of animals in literature, and especially, animals in the literature of conflict, which, in this case, is the spectre of the Partition. (Literary Section)




“Let Justice Prevail” the story by noted writer Eva Bell reveals the murky waters of politics. The rivals of a young man standing for the Assembly Elections, try to besmirch his clean image and make him withdraw his candidacy. But Truth finally prevails… The remaining 5 stories too by competent writers are equally engaging. (Fiction)




The story “Mehboob Manzil” by the accomplished writer Humera Ahmed reflects the nostalgia one has for one’s home and childhood friends…for home is where our heart is… Whereas in “The Monk,” Revathi Raj Iyer with a masterly skill delineates the indefinable unrest gnawing at the mind of a monk who was ordained when he was six...and the out-of-the way experiences he goes through… The remaining 4 stories too by competent writers are equally engaging.  (Fiction)




Shreeamey Phadnis’s poetry is born out of wonderment for the nature outside of humans, coupled with an inherent organic restlessness in his internal nature, both in equal parts. His poems speak about the colours of pain, beauty, sensation, nature, identity et al. (Poetry)




Chandra Shekhar Dubey’s poems move around diverse themes underlying heritage, culture, urbanisation and love, but the inner rhythm of his poems binds them all in one thread that is celebration of humanism. (Poetry)




Four fascinating works related to art /travel-photography/ art crime/ poetry cum art – (1) The Legend of Krishna – In Wall Paintings of Gujarat and Rajasthan (Pradip Zaveri); (2) Where Gods Reside – Sacred Places of Kolkata (Mala Mukerjee & Jael Sulliman); (3) The Heist Artist (Vish Dhamija); and (4) When Seeing Is Believing (Bina Sarkar Ellias & Ar) – are reviewed by GSP Rao, Priyadarshi Patnaik, Atreya Sarma, and Ambika Ananth respectively. (Book Reviews)




The story of Ramayana holds a perpetual interest, and reviewer Bhumida Sharma perceives a “subtle and emphatic portrayal of female characters” in Anuraga Chandra’s The Ramayana Secret.... And quite a few books have come out recalling the centennial of Jallianwala Bagh massacre and one of them is Jallianwala Bagh: Literary Responses in Prose & Poetry (edited by Rakhshanda Jalil), and it is reviewed by Sapna Dogra. (Book Reviews)




Five works of fiction – a gripping novel My Father’s Garden (Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar);; and 4 interesting collections of short stories – are reviewed by Teresa Tudu, Semeen Ali (Hijabistan by Sabyn Javeri), Sagarika Dash, Mala Pandurang, and A Annapurna Sharma. (Book Reviews)

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Past Issues

Issue:83:Indian English Writing

Issue:82:AROMA OF THE HEART - Poetry by Youth < The Age of 30

Issue:81:MENTAL HEALTH

Issue:80:Sanskrit Literature

Issue:79:INDIAN WRITING IN ENGLISH

Issue:78:Indian Feminism

Issue:77:Indian College Fiction

Issue:76:JNANPITH LAUREATE SANKHA GHOSH