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An insight of the Controversial Punjabi Literary
Balbir Singh Sooch, Advocate, Ludhiana 

The writers of fame involved in the Controversial Punjabi Literary Awards talk of conscience and moral values on the issue of acceptance or non acceptance of awards. Who is right and wrong? The double standards was the tones and actions of the awardees which is a clear cut pointer as a net result of the function that they have no morality and are no way different and better than Indian politicians judged by their act and conduct so far. The function and awards proved its purpose and the awardees lost their honor forever even after accepting or refusing the awards.

The Shiromani Sahitkar Puraskar function organised by the Punjab Languages Department held at the Law Auditorium of Panjab University at Chandigarh on August 8, 2008 to honor the awardees i.e. writers, journalists and artists with the awards. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was the chief guest and Dr UpinderJit Kaur, Punjab Education Minister, the guest of honour.

The awards came under the scanner when a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, levelling allegations that over eight members of the committee, set up to shortlist people for the literary awards, had selected themselves for the same but Dr Upinderjit Kaur denied all allegations of favoritism and said the awards have been decided on the basis of merit.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today called upon Punjabi writers, intellectuals and artists to extend wholehearted support and cooperation to the state government in eradicating social evils from the society on the one hand and to promote the cause of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat not only in the country, but across the globe on the other. It is worth mentioning here that similar guidelines for eradicating social evils always expected in the election year from those who are themselves responsible for the present fate of the society and the country. 

The general secretary of the Punjabi Sahit Academy Dr. Sukhdev Singh rightly including himself during addressing the audience in the presence of the chief guest and the personalities presiding over the program, “Mini-Panjabi Kahani” (Panjabi Short Story)  at Punjabi Bhawan, Ludhiana on Sunday, August 3, 2008 said, “We are like Marasis (in the sense exploiters) who could write to appreciate or bring downfall of anyone in eyes of public and the chief guest must pay liberally to the academy but I do not like to insist to declare the amount now itself as was the practice here earlier” (without naming anyone or his opponents) though everything was pre-arranged as a drama for educating, giving message and like directing the writers to dance to the tunes of the politicians and write about the corruption of bureaucracy only for their (Politicians-Ruling Class) upper hand and the advantage in the field to keep writers as their puppets putting them (Writers) at risk from all around.  

It was looking strange for the learned writers to listen all this as to them corruption is a curse gifted to society especially by the politicians in India. It was more painful seeing justifying by Dr. Sukhdev Singh that the writers are Marasis and act as exploiters. He might be true to his conscience but it seems difficult to digest for others till today.

With the result of such conspiringly arranged, programs, discussions, meetings, writings and the work of fiction as also boasted there, the judicial, the administrative justice including police system is already damaged irreparably and there is no law and order in the country. The prevailing system in the country is more or less useful for the most corrupt politicians and the government officials of courts etc only. The trend stressed and executed in practice, proved fatal, disastrous for the country as well as very harmful for the law abiding citizens of India. 

The every writer of his ‘Kahani’ wanted to stress his theme in a few words interestingly helpful to reform the society to eradicate the prevailing evils warningly and there was always loud laughter at the end. A writer, government official of courts who did work of fiction projecting corruption especially in the police system narrated his Panjabi Short Story that ‘Girls Talk’ –“The girls were talking among each other that boys are also talking like them only when  they are alone and together”. On this, question among the girls arose, are the boys also so dirty? His story was like explaining his own and others who write like him on corruption. It was the conclusion of that story as writers seen present assessing and valuing the story ‘Girls talk’. Nothing is more to say about the writer. 

Who is there knocking the door? I have come to see Bhai Sahib. Is he at home? No but you come on and leave your message was the reply from inside. Door opens and the man entered and say I am friend of Bhai Sahib. Would you like to have one cup of tea asked by the old lady present in the home. The man replied, Thanks. Mata ji, only deliver my message to Bhai Sahib that ‘Suri’ came to see him. (Suri (pig female) miln ayia si). On this, the old lady said to the guest, at least correct your language and say, “Suri (pig female) miln ayi si or say Soor (pig male) miln ayia si”. An interesting story was about meaningless and unnecessary use of surnames. 

In the present society son is more preferred by the ladies and there is no doubt about it. It may due to existing social conditions in the male dominated country. A story Marad (Man) was narrated by a writer that a woman was pregnant and she wanted to make sure whether she is going deliver son or girl and went to the doctor along with other lady for check up. The doctor did scan and assured them from the test that she would be delivering male child only. Both were very happy and more cautious to go home safely as they had to yet go at far away distance in the late hours of day without any mishap on the way. Doctor said to them that now both of you are not alone but I am sending a male with you now. They felt encouraged by listening this and left for their home fearlessly. 

The personality especially invited for presiding over the function got up to speak about “Mini-Panjabi Kahani’ (Panjabi Short Story)  at the end but after the chief guest who came also late and left in the mid of function delivering his political speech proving and stressing himself as the only active reformer of the society as usually politicians do. He said, “You might be interested in speeches as you have already heard but I am not among those to deliver such speeches at occasion or never in life and words that effect” He wanted to leave message with the spoken words to clarify that he is not here to promote anyone and thus did not miss to say everything about the arranged show very politely and intellectually. 

He has all praise for “Mini-Panjabi Kahani’ (Panjabi Short Story) and narrated one of his stories that once the people were deployed to punish the person who violated the ban on use of intoxicants including liquor. He was ordered to be beaten by flogging on his naked body at the crossing of roads. The process was on and the victim was badly injured and crying with pain. Then a passerby asked to the people passing by side of the scene as why they are beating him? Let us go from here they must have drunk. Here message is very clear that rulers are visibly more intoxicated to commit crime than the petty criminals. 

The functions, programs, discussions, meetings arranged, the writings were always encouraged conspiringly like fiction stated with ulterior motive but without any ideas of reforms and realization on the part of the politicians and the officials. 

The writers of fame involved in the Controversial Punjabi Literary Awards, for the reasons of manipulation of the circumstances by the politicians as sequences stated above. The general secretary’s open declaration that writers are Marasis and act as exploiters but at the same they have become purchasable commodity and are not intellectuals and impartial as could be adjudged from the present case, the way the procedure is adopted to select the awardees and the writers past history is not clean in the context. Now, it is not difficult to assess the conduct and their cheapness when one of the highly educated and an active writer admit their status is as of Marasis only nothing more than that.  

Most of the intellectuals accept the awards enthusiastically even in face of the allegations that the eight members of the screening committee and the advisory board, set up by the state government, to shortlist people for the awards, had selected themselves. But the editor of Punjabi Tribune G.S. Sidhu Damdami refused to accept the award on the ground that his conscious does not permit him to accept the same in the light of the controversy and allegations had arisen now though he is justifying the recognition of his services by the award.  

In view of the above facts regarding the conduct of writers in general, do they have any consciousness and morals left to talk and write in face of earlier controversies? To be so much enthusiastic for the awards is nothing but a pointer of infinity of their degradation and they ceased to be fit for eradicating social evils from the society on the one hand and to promote the cause of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat as could have tauntingly desired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal by noticing their manipulations and the hunger for awards.

Aug 9, 2008 7:43 PM

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Copyright © Balbir Singh Sooch, Chief and Spokesperson, Sikh Vichar Manch, Ludhana, Punjab (India)