Some poems-stories from Punjabi Sahit Sabha Rampura Phul writers-1973


When did I started writing poems, do not remember, but I was influenced by Kumar Vikal’s style of writing poetry. Published very few poems, when Sardal’s Rampura issue was being planned Buta Ram insised to include my Hindi poem, which he translated in Punjabi, so mine and my friend Dhir(Ranbir)’s poems were published on single page. One of my story, which I translated myself from Hindi was also published in this issue. Few of my poems were published later, one in Dinman on Andhra Cyclone of 1977 and another in Chauthi Duniya in the pen name of Anadvardhan but with my photograph, which left no chance to hide the identity of the poet!Posting these poems here

Tainu kiven Dasiye maan-How to explain you mother-Dhir

Tainu kiven Dasiye maan-How to explain you mother-Dhir

Poem Alvida-Sahitak Suraj-Jan.72


Dinman poem

Annual report of Punjabi Sahit Sabha Rampura Phul-1973


In 1972, we formed Punjabi Sahit Sabha(Punjabi Literary Association) in my home town Rampura Phul in Bathinda district of Punjab. This is its first annual report which was published in ‘Sardal’ edited by Gursharn Singh playwright from Amritsar in its September 1973 special issue focused on this association. Some creative writings from Sabha’s members were also published in this special issue, which included Atttarjeet, Buta Ram, Ranbir Dhir and mine too!, shall be posting some of the poems and short stories from this issue in next posting.


Punjabi Sahit Sabha Rampura Phul report-1973

Punjabi Sahit Sabha Rampura Phul report-1973

Rampura Phul literary report-Sep.73-Sardal  (2) Rampura Phul literary report-Sep.73-Sardal  (3)

Remembering Emergency-1975 with tribute to a departed Comrade with story-Prikhia-Test in Punjabi


39 years ago this early morning in Bathinda was rudely woken up by Punjab Police, who came to arrest a Comrade, known as Professor. Professor also departed some time ago, but in 70′s when police repression was at its peak, he was arrested and taken to much notorious interrogation centre of Amritsar, known as ‘butcher house’ those days. How he faced those moments, story tries to depict that. This author has very few stories or poems to his credit, this story was published by eminent playwright of Punjab Gursharn Singh, who also edited literary journals-Samta and Sardal.

Has anything changed after lifting of emergency in March 1977, perhaps a lot, but not for better, perhaps for worse. Ruling classes have learnt their lessons, not to impose visible direct censorship on media, manage it! So media is finely being managed and it is so pliable and saleble item now! Middle class has grown bigger, information technology has transformed life a lot. Fattened and corrupted middle class has become a big bullwork to stop revolution. Working class, peasantry, agriculture labor, Dalits, Tribals, women are subjected to much worse repression. But middle class is allowed to print radical journals,which was not allowed during colonial regime, when even non radical nationalist journals/journalists were subjected to much bigger repression-arrests, jails etc.Situation is much grim with rightist religious fanatics are ruling the roast and holding political power, may resort to open fascism any time! Just posting the story to remember those days of 70′s:
















Two Writings of eminent Punjabi Writer Balwant Gargi of Bathinda


Balwant Gargi is known for his plays and sketches of writers, but he wrote fiction as well. Here two of his  writings are being introduced:, one already on the blog-Loha Kutt, on an earlier page.

  1. Sultan Razia, Punjabi play, Balwant Gargi, 2011 ed. Is ted. 1973, Navyug Publishers, Delhi, pages 74, price Rs. 100/


I am beginning the readings in year 2014 with this first book of the year. After joining in Central University in Bathinda, my interest in Razia Sultan grew, being imprisoned in fort here, which I knew from childhood, but never aware of its historicity. With the interest growing in history after leaving Bathinda in 1977, the return to the city, marks to revisit these historic monuments and their related history. Balwant Gargi, known as ‘The Bania of Bathinda’, wrote this play, but I never paid any attention, even when he was Professor of Eminence in Punjabi University Patiala for two years, appointed by then VC J S Puar. But reading his play on Razia gives satisfaction at two levels-remembering Balwant Gargi, iconic Punjabi writer from Bathinda, now being forgotten and going through Razia Sultan time events. Bathinda fort, now renamed as Razia Sultan fort, spoiled in between by Patiala kings, is more than one thousand years old, constructed perhaps during king Anangpal time, gone through many different kingdoms, Bhatti kings as well. The region may not be called Punjab in those early times, could be Sindh or Rajsthan or any other name. I have with me Mewa Ram’s huge Hindi novel of the same title-Sultan Razia-plan to read that too later.


Razia Sultan was the first queen of India in 13th century. Daughter of Sultan Alatmash or Ilatitmash, she was favourite of her father, whose sons were spoiled and his servant turned wife Shah Turkan was bent upon getting her son Rukan ud din made king, when king was on his dyeing bed and was not able to speak up his successor, he was trying to utter ‘Razia’, but was not able to do so. Later Rukan ud din was pronounced king, but he remained drunk and enjoyed women, not paying any attention to administration, which was misused by his mother, who was too cruel towards people and got even 12 year old innocent  brother of Razia-Kutab ud din killed. Razia rebelled and she had support in Altunia and her brother in law Gyasudin Balban, powerful feudal lords of the kingdom. Altunia wanted to marry her, but Razia, fiercely independent woman refused. Turkan, Rukan du din were killed in revolt and Razia was pronounced queen, but her path was full of thorns. She tried to be a benevolent queen, treating all citizens equally. She gave rights to black race warrior Yakut, with whom she fell in love too, which angered her supporters like Balaban and Altunia. Many of her regional lords rebelled, some of which she forgave also, but they again cheated her and stabbed her in the back. She came towards Bathinda, where Altunia was her appointed governor, who also joined rebellion. Yakut was killed and she was imprisoned in Bathinda fort, later she along with Altunia moved towards Delhi to reclaim her kingdom, but was killed on the way unknown and unsung, Altunia also being killed. She was buried in Delhi as per her desire. Behram Shah, her half brother became king. This is the event line depicted by Gargi in his play dedicated to Surekah Sikri and Manohar Singh-famous actors of National School of Drama in seventies. The play was staged in Urdu language by Ibrahim Alkazi and was later published. Gargi made revisions in the play after its stage production and wrote its introduction in Punjabi on 15th June 1973. Gargi mentioned in introduction that he had his childhood playing near the fort of Bathinda, where Razia was said to be imprisoned and which was scaring for child Gargi. He had different image of Razia, which was shattered after reading history of the period, which was a saga of betrayals, mutual killings of courtier lords.

Balwant Gargi in his interpretive historical play had also echoed today’s talk of ‘Aam Aadmi’-commom man, where Razia talks of fighting corruption and cruelty of her predecessors and ruling like aam aadmi, which of course she fails and meets a tragic end.

2. Kakka Reta’(Dry Sand), a Punjabi novel, Balwant Gargi, 1993 ed., Navyug Press, Delhi, pages 100, price 70/ rupees




This novel’s reference I got recently in context of Bathinda life. First book of the year in Bathinda, I read was Punjabi play Razia Sultan by Balwant Gargi and it is now his this novel, whose first publication is difficult to identify, as Indian languages publishers have this bad practice of not mentioning first or earlier editions, only the present edition year is mentioned, which is at least 25-30 years later date.

   This is autobiographical novel of the writer, even name of hero, main character is kept as Balwant, whose life from early schooling of 2nd, or third class until Matriculation is depicted. Balwant studies in Bathinda and his mother’s place is at Tapa, where his grand maternal mother and maternal uncle live and where he visits in summer vacations and get the feel of first innocent love with an agricultural labourer’s daughter Rummy, who just spend few days together in vacation period, just roaming aimlessly, enjoying each other’s company. This is when he had passed eighth class exam, could be of 14 years or so and the girl may be of 12-13 years. And when he stops for a day after doing Xth class and going to join college in Patiala and stops for a day at Tapa , he gets the news that Rummy was married some time ago and no more lives there. He goes for a walk to her side, but could not meet even her father Raju, who is away to his brother’s place. Such melancholically incidents happen in most lower middle class families in early years and the literature recreates these sensitively. Krishan Baldev Vaid’s novel Uska Bachpan like novels are little more focused on this theme. Balwant Gargi has depicted school atmosphere of those days, with teachers being a terror for students, in home and around in pre partition Punjab healthy atmosphere of boys-girls playing together, even all communities children playing together. Gargi has dedicated novel to his mother, whose abuses he accepts as flow of butter…Malwai language of Bathinda region is again very fascinating. Some words may have even gone out of usage now-like “Jhagga’(Shirt), The novel is realist also in terms of depicting social reality. Balwant’s aunt dies of burns after giving birth to a male child and uncle marries few weeks after rituals are over. Presence of Bhua-father’s sister and her affection for her nephews is another interesting feature. Fairs and those of animal fairs were also regular feature of rural/semi urban life, which brought cheer for children etc. are narrated. The novel has been titled as Bathinda’s geographical feature, as the region being close to Rajasthan, had lot of sand hills and area’s defining feature. Now these hills are nowhere to be seen. This is not one of great novels, but interesting and region specific!

My first ever literary publication-Punjabi Translation of Mangal Pandey-September 1969-Preetlari


It was perhaps on 23rd March 1969, when I attended Bhagat Singh martyrdom day memorial meeting in Public Library Bathinda. The meeting was organised by CPI and conducted by District secretary Joginder Singh Bhasin. Editor of well known Punjabi literary monthly journal Preetlari, Navtej Singh was the key speaker. Probably I also spoke with some emotion, which impressed them. I was trying my hand at translation in those days by transllating in Punjabi from Manmathnath Gupt’s Hindi book-Bharat Ke Krantikari, which cost in those days just one rupees, now its price is 100/rupees. Manmathnath Gupt himself was famous revolutionary convicted in Kakori case in 1927 for life imprisonment. I used to buy Hind Pocket Books of nine rupees by paying eight rupees as Book Club member of Hind Pocket Books Delhi. I had become a member of Public Library Rampura Phul, my home town in 1964 and started my reading from Premchand’s Godan novel in May 1964. Since then I was avid reader of Hindi books. Since I was impressed by this book, so I wished to translate it in Punjabi for readers of my mother tongue. 

Preetlari was started in 1933 by eminent Punjabi prose writer Gurbux Singh Preetlari, who still was chief editor and his son Navtej, himself a good short story writer was editor and CPI activist. He invited me to send the translation to Preetlari and when I sent first piece, to my pleasant surprise it was published in September 1969 issue of the same year. It gave me immense pleasure and encouragement for further writings. I translated all the 16 or 18 sketches of Indian revolutionaries from this book and these were published within next two years in different Punjabi journals like Aarsee, Nawan Sahit , Jagriti and all of these were serialized in  Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall Jalandhar journal, edited by Baba Gurmukh Singh Lalton in those days. Unfortunately all the issues of Desh Bhagat Yaadan were lost by me and I could not recover it even from Jalandhar, Desh Bhagat Hall also lost these, due to perhaps police terror in those days in the name of crushing Naxalites. Now I am left with only five of these sketches, published during 1969-71 in various journals, which I shall share here. This very first one is being posted today. I will digitize all my publications in journals in due time.  




Balwant Gargi’s classic play-Loha Kutt-The Blacksmith


Balwant Gargi's classic play-Loha Kutt-The Blacksmith

  1. Loha Kutt, Punjabi play, Balwant Gargi, 2011 ed., Ist ed. 1950, Navyug Press <Delhi, Pages 58, Price 75/Rupees,

    This is one of Balwant Gargi’s most known plays, which was first written in 1944 and staged. This was not allowed by Gurbax Singh to be staged at Preetnagar theatre, being ‘not moral’ as per Gargi’s introduction to 1950 edition of the play. Prof. Mohan Singh liked play and he published it with pleasure. Play was first broadcast by Lahore radio and Iqbal Mohammad played the role of its main character Kaku Lohar(ironsmith). Like today, iron-smith association as damaging representation of their class objected to it, but they did not create social tension like today, they were convinced with writer’s justification. Gargi wrote another forward for 1991 edition of play and wrote last forward for 1998 edition, when he was Professor of eminence at Punjabi University Patiala. In this forward Gargi refers to Malwai language being part of his bones. His first play was ‘Bebe’ in 1943. The play is written by inspiration from real incident of Gargi’s village. A blacksmith’s wife had run away with his lover after 19 years of marriage. Gargi has woven two real incidents into one in the play. Baino, the young girl of the play was daughter of some other person, a beautiful girl who ran away with her lover. Santi, Kaku’s wife also ran away with his lover after 19 years of marriage, Gargi liked both the women, despite negative feudal chatting in village about both. Gargi in his play made Baino daughter of Kaku and Santi, who ran away with her lover Sarban after her father, fixed her marriage. She rebels and confronts her father boldly. Kaku in the play murders her and buries in the house. Santi who had loved Gajjan in her youth and who still lives in the same village, one-day rebels and runs away with Gajjan. Gargi recreates the story with some imagination. He does not run after Santi and kills her, rather he reconciles and just lives with his son. He is drunkard and oppressor of Santi and her daughter, First Baino, his daughter rebels and then Santi. While incident may be real, but the dialogues of Santi are intellectualized by Gargi and are not spontaneous. Overall play is good and effective. It is divided into three acts and six scenes. It has characters like Kaku, Santi, Baino, Deepa his son of 12 years, Gajjan, Bachni, Banso and his friends. The action is around 1944 in some village of Malwa . The whole play at Kaku’s Bhathi iron. Gargi became major writer of Punjabi after the success of this play.

On RSS patronised Dinanath Batra’s hit list with colonial law IPC-295A hunter!


On Dinanath Batra's hit list with colonial 153-A IPC hunter

  1. Plassey se Vibhajan Tak:Adhunik Bharat ka Itihas, Shekhar Bandopadhyay, Hindi translation of original English book, Hindi translation-Naresh Nadeem, Orient Longman (Now Blackswam), Ist ed. 2007, pages 566, Price 188/rupees.

This is Hindi translation of Shekhar Bandopadhyay’s English text book prepared for New Zealand. The historian is teaching in Victoria University Wellington in New Zealand. He has delineated History of India under British colonialism, from 1757 Plassey war to 1858 under East India Company and then from 1858 to 1947 under direct British colonial rule. This is history of Indians struggles against British colonial rule. The struggle which is just not Indian National Congress story, but all struggles, some of which hardly find reference in history text books. Book has been translated by experienced translator Naresh Nadeem.
Book is divided into eight chapters, apart from that; there are five maps of different times, introduction, terminology, Postscript, appendix-Time span of British rule in India, References and Index.
In his introduction, writer has acknowledged Sumit Sarkar’s ‘Modern India’ as his reference point for writing this book. David Hardiman, S R Mehrotra Ian Capland etc. have also impressed the writer. Writer has been teaching in Kolkata University before moving to Wellington.
Writer begins his story from focusing on Transition period of 18th century in first chapter. He refers to establishment of Moghul empire in 1526 by Babur, reaching its zenith during period of Akbar and slides to down fall after the death of last great Mogul emperor Aurangzeb in 1707. Within fifty years of Aurangzeb’s death, India came into control of East India company, who got license to trade in India from Moghul king Jehangir in 1613 after establishing factory in Surat in 1612. Bengal, Hyderabad and Awadh were three main Moghul centres after disintegration of Moghul kingdom’s central rule. Sirajudaula who assumed Murshidabad throne in 1756, was defeated and killed by East India company with treachery support of Mir Jafar in 1757 and started ruling India from inside. During East India company period, there had been lot of wars, which include Panipat’s third great war of 1761, when aggressor Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked India. Maratha rulers like Shivaji had been fighting Moghul empire earlier. In Punjab British could enter at the last. Ranjit Singh established Khalsa Raj in 1809, which continued for forty years till 1849, when in second Anglo-Sikh war, British won. In South Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan had free Mysore state till 1799, when British defeated Tipu and killed him. With 1764 victory in Buxar battle, British controlled whole East India. French controlled Pudduchery and Chandernagar and Portuguese controlled Goa, all other parts of India came under British rule till 1947.
In second chapter-British colonial power in India, writer elaborates the gradual control of British in India. They established Calcutta Madrassa in 1781, Royal Asiatic Society in 1784, Sanskrit College Benares in 1794. Fort William College in Calcutta was set up in 1800. Different land revenue systems were in practice during British period-Permanent Settlement, Rayyatwari, Mahalwari etc. Police system was put into practice in 1800 or so. East India company recruited Indian army also from 1757 onward under its control. Indian civil service also began during 1780-1830,leading to ICS in 1892, with a little number of Indians in it. 20 to 30 lakh people died in 1943 Bengal drought. Railways came up after 1853.During British period, Indian industry developed in Jute and textiles after 1920’s
In third chapter Shekhar begins to focus on Early Indian response: reform and rebellion. Orientalism is related to Warren Hastings. British education in India started by charity schools in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras in early 1800. Press was also set up by Christian missionaries in that period for printing Bible in Indian languages.languages. Rammohan Roy worked for English education in 1825 in Kolkata and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan by setting Scientific society in Aligarh in 1864. Derizio proclaimed atheist in Calcutta . Pandita Ramabai in 1870 in Maharashtra reforms. Brahmo samaj in 1828 in Bengal, split many times. Arya Samaj in 1875 by Dayanand.
Tribal-peasant revolts- 1799-1805-Palagar revolt in South , Vellu Thampi in Travancore in 1800-, Rangpur revolt in Bengal in 1783, Sanyasi revolt 1763-1800, Titu Mir in 1831, 1855-56-Santhal-Hul revolt,leading to 1857 revolt-crushed brutally.
Fourth chapter is based on The rise of Indian Nationalism-Dinabandhu Mitra play Neel Darpan in 1860.Peasant revolts against money lenders-1907-Ajit Singh Lala Lajpat Rai movement, 1885-Congress set up by AO Hume.
Fifth chapter is- Early Nationalism: Resentment and Resistance-1893-Nagri Pracharini Sabha in Benares, Ganpati puja by Tilak in Pune from 1894, Shiva ji festival from 1896. Theosophical society set up in 1882. Singh Sabha in Amritsar in 1873, Bal-Lal-Pal politics, Bengal partition-1905-swadeshi movement-1905-11-partition annulled, Congress split in 1907. Terrorism story from 1902 in Bengal, from 1897 in Maharashtra with Chapekar brothers. Muslim population in India 20% in 1881-1855-first Mohemedan association-Anjumane Islami between 1907-9-Muslim leagues in all states.
Sixth chapter-The age of Gandhian Politics –Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915 and took over Indian leadership in 1920, after Tilak’s death. In 1918-19, due to drought one crore 20 lakh to 30 lakh people died. Indian Opinion, Young India and Harijan papers of Gandhi. Khilaft for Hindu-Muslim unity. AITUC in 1920 in Bombay. 1922 non-cooperation movement. 88 communal riots during 1923-27. 1931 Irwin-Gandhi agreement controversy. Govt. Of India act 1935, 1937 elections-Congress majority in five out of 11 provinces-Madras, Bihar, Odisa, United Province and Central Province. Bombay-Bengal also close, ministries in 8 states
Seventh chapter-Different voices of Indian Nation-Indian Muslim League in 1906, in 1924-Hindu Mahasabha. Rehmat Ali in 1933-Pakistan with four provinces-Punjab, NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan. Independent Labour Party by Ambedkar in 1936.
Eighth and last chapter is Freedom with Partition-Congress Socialists and Communists’s impact, Kisan Sabha adopted Red flag in 1937.Working class movement. INA movement, Navy revolt-1946. Partition time-80% foreign investment, 25% trade with Britain.
Good Book.

Motorcycle Diaries-Che Guevara


Motorcycle Diaries-Che Guevara640px-Peru_Machu_Picchu_Sunrise

I got this film perhaps two years or more ago and was wishing to see, yet could see two hours film only today. The film has been so touching and inspiring that I wonder how I am ignoring my strong desire to watch films and read-just wasting time of face book or other social sites. The film based on Che’s famous book of same title-Motorcycle Diaries, was made in 2004 by Walter Salles in Spanish with subtitles in English and other languages. The roles of Che Guevara and Alberto his friend have been played by Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna. Both friends started their 14 thousand plus kilometer journey in 1952 from Argentine to Venezuela, crossing Chile, Brazil, Peru, Columbia and more of Latin America. Che was 23 years old and celebrates his 24th birthday with lepers of Sao Pablo by swimming dangerous river in the midnight. Alberto, biochemist and Ernesto, a medical student start their journey of 500 wat motorcycle-Poderosa, which breaks down in Chile and they had to drop it there and move on walking or hitch hiking to reach Sao Pablo leper colony in Peru. They had fun on the way, but film and life takes serious turn when they come across Communist couples, indigenous people whose lands had been snatched by corporate. All these experiences change Che and he becomes revolutionary after his return from this journey. The climax of the film is swimming of dangerous river by asthmatic Che on his birthday night to be with lepers on other side. The first political speech made by Che at the farewell given by Doctors and patients of Sao Pablo, he focuses upon essential unity of whole South America and regrets division in smaller countries, the view held earlier by Bolivar! In one scene of the film, Che is pretty bad condition because he is not able to get asthma control injection for him in due time.
Che is shown in love with Chichina on first leg of his tour, later Alberto is shown enjoying the company of woman, but the main focus of the film is on the sensitivity of Che towards poor and struggling people. How they refuse to wear gloves and shake hands with leprosy patients shows their sensitivity towards humanity. A very touching and inspiring film, must watch! Film shows real Alberto at 80+ age living in Habana with his family, he was invited by Che, by then Commandant of Cuban revolution, who comes and establishes a hospital in Cuba. Alberto died quite recently in last 2-3 years at mature age of 90+. He was to celebrate his 30th birthday in Caracas in Venezuela on 8th August 1952, he hides his real birthday to pretend 2nd April to ‘motivate’ the early completion of journey, they could reach Venezuela capital in July end only, where Alberto reveals his real birth date, which Che responds by saying that he knew it before!
It is just third film, I watched in first five months of the year!

Literary Activities in Malwa


devendra satyarthiimages-Balwant GargiGurdial Singh novelist home Jaitu-20-2-14 (14)Gurbachan BhullarAjmer Aulakh at Mansa-5-1-14

Yesterday I posted this post in a bit of spur of moment. I have been reading Balwant Gargi’s novel and play and linking my stay to Bathinda, while writing it extended to Malwa, but then I left out some references, now I wish to fill some gaps in this memoir of early days linked to present. It was in 1972, we organised Punjabi Sahit Sabha in home town Rampura Phul,after I returned from Panjab University Chandigarh after competing my M.A. in Hindi and getting connected to many writers of Punjabi and Hindi. Prem Prakash once conducted a discussion in my hostel room with Mohan Bhandari, Bhushan, Gurbux Soch and me for Lakeer, which was published in that very year. Punjabi Sahit Sabha remained active till emergency in 1975 and some time later too, though I had left Rampura Phul. We did many activities through Sabha,one of main activities was holding anti fascist writers conference on the occasion of Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, whom we called unregistered those days, the other older was registered one. Dr. Surinder Singh Dosanjh was its main leader and I was one of the secretaries. We held unity talks with other Sabha,which was represented by Jaswant Singh Kanwal and two more writers.I along with Prem Prakash and one more writer had represented unregistered Sabha. Unity formula signed by six of us was published in Sardal perhaps.Sardal had brought out a special issue on Punjabi Sahit Sabha Rampura Phul as well, which carried poems from Ranbir Dhir(on face book now), Bhura Singh Kaler, Attarjeet, Boota Ram etc. Labh Singh Kheeva was also part of the Sabha then. Perhaps it can be said that Attarjeet, Boota Ram, Bhura Singh Kaler and few more good writers of today are product of this Sabha. Those days Barnala was known for its two literary organisations and Tapa also had active Sabha with C. Markanda. In Mansa also, Likhari Sabha has become active. Ajmer Aulakh was spirit of Sabha there, which later brought to focus Ram Singh Chahal, Bhikhi and more writers. While writing about Malwai writers yesterday, I skipped Aulakh and Mansa writers, reminded by Surinder Chahal. Incidentally those were the days, when Hem Jyoti was most popular radical literary journal and we all were attached to it. Later with political alignment Punjabi Sahit Sabhiachar Manch was formed, which included Amarjit Chandan, Waryam Sandhu, Surender Hemjyoti, Ajmer Aulakh,Pash, Niranjan Dhesi, Boota Ram, myself and many more. I remember its 3-4 meetings held at Niranjan Dhesi, Pash, Ajmer Aulakh and my place in Rampura Phul. I am including Ajmer Aulakh among major Malwai writers produced in Bathinda, Faridkot, Mansa and Sangrur districts. Mansa and Faridkot were part of Bathinda district in 70′s
While now about six month stay in Bathinda, after a gap of four decades, I am fascinated towards reading Balwant Gargi-called Bathinde da Baniya, though not born in Bathinda, he spent his early life in Bathinda town of 18 thousand people, as he himself describes prior to 1947. He was born in Shehna village near Tapa Mandi, incidentally Devender Satyarthi another Punjabi stalwart was also born in same village, though he is linked to nearby village Bhadaur. At one time we linked Tapa Mandi to Punjabi poet C Markanda. Two more writers of my area have earned fame. Laltu Hindi writer, who never lived in his village Mandi Kalan, lived mostly in Kolkata. Attarjit, again from Mandi Kalan near Rampura Phul. But four writers which have become classic are-Gurdial Singh, living in nearby Jaitu Mandi, Satyarthi, Balwant Gargi, and Gurbachan Bhullar, born in Pitho village near Rampura Phul. Satyarthi and Gargi are no more. But I had the pleasure of meeting both. Satyarthi once in Punjabi University Patiala long ago, when he was living in a hostel with some student.Gargi many times in Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjabi University Patiala, where he was made Professor of Eminence for two years, I visited even his Kasturba Gandhi house, where he lived in Delhi for long. Perhaps once met his American wife Jeanie too. With Gurdial Singh and Gurbachan Bhullar, though elder in age from me, but can claim friendship also, due to very long association. With Gurdial Singh used to take walk in the evenings at Jaitu, when I spent some tine there.I translated his novel Kuvela in Hindi in those days. With Gurbachan Bhullar, I kept regular contact in Delhi. Suddenly my own language Malwai has attracted me a lot,so fascination for reading Gargi is fascination for my own Malwai as well Read two of his books in last two days-Novel-Kakka Reta-Dry Sand and famous play written in way back 1944-Loha Kutt. He wrote a play on First Indian queen imprisoned in Bathinda fort-Razia Sultan also.