Sharing an old post,which gives a glimpse of how Pash became a literary icon in years to come after his assassination in 1988,initially some role was played by me also in organizing these functions at Jalandhar in 1989,1993,2000&2002,in which greatest personalities like Baba Nagarjun, Sujan Singh and Bhagat Singh Comrade Jaidev Kapoor and many Indian illustrious writers participated.But irony is that our leftist political holders of Pash Trust now dont extend even an invitation to me to attend its annual function,as happened this year,when after long gap of many years Pash trust was able to gather large audience by inviting Arundhati Roy,who might have read Pash poetry in my translation,yet the man who did his best to bring Pash on international literary map,was not even invited for the function!
When Pash was martyred by Khalistani terrorists on 23rd March 1988 at his village Talwandi Salem, family was in no position to take care of his literary treasure, which was in his Chaubarha-upper floor room of his home at village. Many people started visiting his house, mostly leftist activists and few of them lifted the writings of Pash from his chaubarah, may be telling family members, but making no itinerary of the poems/writings/published documents lifted from there, it was a kind of irresponsible grabbing of assassinated poet’s literary treasure. Some of the poems appeared in some volumes later with somebody’s name appearing as editor. Honest conduct would had been to keep all the things in Pash’s house, listing and handing over family to take care till some arrangement could be made by his comrades/friends. Later perhaps same year Pash memorial International Trust came into existence with initial five members-Gursharn Bhaji, Mohinder Singh Jathebandi from India, Avtar from UK, Harsharn Singh Dhido(Pash’brother in law) and Surinder Dhanjal from Canada. Surinder Dhanjal was assigned the duty of convener of trust. The whole literary treasure of Pash should have been transferred to Pash trust, which could have published it in a befitting manner. Pash trust in early years focused on organizing two Pash memorial functions-Birth anniversary-9th September as ‘Kavita Divas’, suggested by Amarjit Chandan and adopted as such by trust. 23rd March-martyrdom day was arranged at village Talwandi Salem, I attended one function there. Now no one calls 9th September as Kavita Divas or Poetry Day! The first ever function on 9th September 1989 was organised by me on behalf of trust at Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall Jalandhar, which was a grand success. After few years five thousand rupees Pash memorial award was started and some good Punjabi writers got this award like Santoskh Singh Dhir, Surjit Patar etc. Some awards got controversial, then award scheme was discontinued.
Few early years after Pash’s assassination were like explosion of writings on Pash. Gianranjan brought out Pehl special Pash issue in 1988 itself in Hindi from Jabalpur, to which I contributed a lot.My translation of Pash poetry in Hindi was published by Rajkamal prakashan and released on 25th March 1989 at Delhi by Com Satyapal Dang, in which many eminent Hindi writers participated. Amarjit Chandan came out with Pash poems collection ‘Khilre Hoe Varke’. This momentum continued for many years as in 1993 and 2000 major Indian writers came over to Jalandhar to pay tributes to Pash on birth anniversary functions. However after 2000 things changed. Pash Trust itself was facing controversies. Mohinder Singh Sandhu Jathebandi had passed away. There was concerted effort to control Pash trust by certain individuals and a political group, with whom Pash sympathized, but remained critical of overall conduct of Comrades like in his long poem-Comarade naal galbaat-Conversations with Comrades. Those who had sincerely worked to preserve and promote Pash’s poetry and ideas, were never recognized or respected like Bharat Bhushan. On the contrary certain people pushed their names with the work done solely by Pash’s father Sohan Singh Sandhu, by forcing themselves as joint editors with Sandhu Sahib. After passing away of Gursharn Bhaji, now Pash trust has been made multi member with none of Pash’s old friends or comrade associated with it. Many of trust members have written nothing or little on Pash, some have just pushed their names to work done by Pash’s father. In this situation, inviting Arundhati Roy was an attempt to restore or save the falling reputation of Pash Trust. Audience was expected to come to listen Arundhati Roy, but how much Pash poetry/writings or ideas are promoted by trust, only time will tell. Meanwhile I remember Pash fondly and cherish my association with Pash family.