Pash, my father: Daughter Winkle Sandhu remembers the revolutionary Punjabi poet


Our journey collectively was horrifically and abruptly lower brief. On Wednesday, March 23, 1988, a bunch of Khalistanis assassinated my father. But, they have been by no means capable of contact probably the most essential elements of Pash’s being: his beliefs, ideology and spirit.

Born on September 9, 1950 at village Talwandi Salem in Jalandhar, Avtar Singh Sandhu wrote beneath the pen title of Pash. Inspired by the Naxalite motion, he was identified for his poetry of resistance. The 4 volumes of his poetry — ‘Loh Katha’, ‘Udadiyan Bazan Magar’, ‘Saddey Sameyaan Vich’ and ‘Khilre Hoye Warke’ — have been translated into a number of languages. He was gunned down by militants on March 23, 1988. He was 38.

Thirty-two years therefore, my father lives on and evokes folks’s hearts, ignites discussions, makes it to college syllabuses and is usually the theme of analysis students’ PhDs. Even in the present day, his poetry modifications lives of the youth and evokes younger women and men to comply with in his footsteps. It goes with out saying, I’m proud to be the daughter of this revolutionary, highly effective, influential, progressive and daring poet.

Pash with daughter

I used to be born in a small village of Talwandi Salem (Jalandhar) in January 1981. Those have been occasions when folks would shed tears at a daughter’s start. But right here was my father — celebrating my coming into this world, distributing sweets to everybody in our village and enjoying loud music on the speaker! Many have been perplexed at his happiness, however solely he understood the sweetness, sincerity and worth of a daughter’s start and what she brings to a household.

I used to be seven when tragedy struck. A primary-grader, I didn’t realise what a loss it was for Punjab. I simply knew I’d by no means have the ability to run into my father’s arms once more, or hear his voice, share milestones collectively, or have the ability to be beloved by him. Slowly, the recollections light.

As I grew up, my household helped me perceive him, who he was, as a father, extra in order a author. My aunts Pammy and Rajinder, uncles Ajit and Sucha, my mother, my grandmother and a few of my father’s closest associates — Surinder Dhanjal, Chaman Lal, Sukwinder Kamboj and Amarjit Chandan, to call a number of — instructed me what he was like and I in the present day really feel that although he isn’t right here, I do know him. I’m ceaselessly indebted to my grandfather, Maj Sohan Singh Sandhu, who was my finest useful resource particular person on my father. After Papa’s loss of life, he was the daddy determine in my life.

In the previous three many years, folks have come to me from everywhere in the world to precise how a lot love and admiration they’ve for my father. To say the least, it makes me really feel immensely proud, speechless with gratitude and brought aback by all their phrases. Every time I’m going again to Talwandi Salem, it brings me nice pleasure to reside in our dwelling, to see and really feel the ‘khet’, the fields he beloved a lot, and to reside the easy ‘pind’ life he wrote about. I can’t wait to share these moments along with his grandchildren.

Every poetry competition I’ve ever attended internationally has a devoted section to recognise Pash, and there’s at all times a follower, believer or passionate human being who needs to attach along with his poetry and comply with in his footsteps. Organisations reminiscent of International Pash Memorial Trust and radio and TV channels internationally assist preserve Pash’s poetry alive.

As the years go by, I’ve taken the place of my Dadaji by educating my very own kids, Armaan and Anayat, about their grandfather and ensure they know who he really was, his significance, and what highly effective poetry he has left behind for the world to learn and expertise.

If he have been alive in the present day, I really feel my household would have been dwelling a really completely different life, however I attempt my finest to reside by his phrases and beliefs.

Some of my father’s poems have guided me in a few of my most tough life selections and I will probably be ceaselessly grateful to him. He has additionally formed me into the girl I’m in the present day. He has given me and my mom the energy to reside on by way of his phrases.

His portrait hangs in my front room with the poem ‘Sab Ton Khatarnak’ proper beside it. I really feel he appears to be like at us every single day, ensuring we don’t let anybody destroy our goals. When not too long ago confronted with a seemingly insurmountable problem, this poem carried me by way of, serving because the wind beneath my wings.

Pash’s poetry offers succour and energy, sustenance and hope to hold forth and information the following technology to carve its personal path. Such highly effective and progressive poetry is and ought to be recognised, celebrated and lived by.



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