In a letter from jail in 1975, Pash cautioned Surjit Patar towards sycophants. “Don’t be too enamoured by their praise,” he warned. “Popularity is a noose around your neck. Don’t let it sway you.”
Pash had a love-hate relationship along with his contemporaries. In a gorgeous poem, he informed Amrita Pritam to maneuver past ‘Ajj Akkhan Waris Shah Nu’ and requested her to reply to the age of revolt. From Shiv Kumar to Amrita Pritam, from Harbhajan Singh to Patar, he engaged with all. When Harbhajan Singh stated Pash’s poetry didn’t maintain worth greater than that of a crimson rag, he responded with a poem titled ‘Inkaar’. He refused to vary his metaphors to please another person. Drawing a line between their poetry, he stated he wouldn’t write about flowers, ladies, fantastic music. He would relatively write in regards to the village cobbler’s blindness, the ironsmith’s blistered pores and skin, or the lady whose fingers have cracked with washing utensils. When Pakistani poet Ahmed Salim was sentenced to jail for his writings, Pash wrote him a poem, ‘Ahmed Salim De Naam’, saying Salim’s poetry had lastly bore fruit.
Fame by no means eluded Pash even when he was alive, however acceptance from fellow poets actually did. In his demise, nevertheless, the paradigm shift he dropped at Punjabi poetry was properly accepted and documented within the poems and essays his contemporaries wrote remembering him.
More than 150 poems have been penned on Pash by 95 poets and authors after his demise; his father, Maj Sohan Singh Sandhu, had compiled these as his final undertaking earlier than his demise in 2013. The writers got here from a vibrant spectrum and included well-known names reminiscent of Patar, Amarjit Chandan, Santokh Singh Dhir and Harbhajan Singh, underground chief Harbhajan Sohi and Pakistani poet Mazhar Tirmazi. Critic Raghbir Singh admitted to the bias Pash confronted and acknowledged that his contemporaries had righted him in his demise. “With time, his work became a toast of poetic circles,” he wrote within the preface to a guide on Pash.
Over the years, Pash’s symbolism, that arose from on a regular basis life, his unpoetic idioms have change into a cult. Perhaps the primary Punjabi poet to have been killed for his writings, he’s a favorite with Left-leaning students and is recited at protests.
His pal of 20 years, London-based Chandan, says he nonetheless can’t imagine it’s Pash’s 70th birthday. “His young handsome face is etched in my memory.” A pupil of Chandan’s uncle, Pash had colored his hair blonde once they first met. He nonetheless remembers his eyes, his lovely naturally kohled eyes that Pash himself talked about in a number of of his poems. As the picture, his poetry too doesn’t fade.
“His untimely death at the hands of the enemies of Punjab made this image and every word written by him permanent. It is rather ironic that both Sikh and Hindu fundamentalists are united in hating the truthful poems he wrote close to his death. He will always be remembered for these poems,” Chandan says. When he went to satisfy Pash in California (the place he had moved following Khalistani threats in 1986) in January 1988, the latter was in India. Chandan had then penned a poem (see field) imagining him there and puzzled how Pash would react. Alas, Pash was assassinated throughout that journey. Chandan’s final assembly with Pash remained unrealised, his poem by no means reached him.
The shadow of demise had been on Pash’s thoughts for lengthy. He had confided in poet Ajmer Rode. “Those were the days when Punjab was gripped by terrorism and death haunted Pash. He said it wasn’t really death that scared him, but the constant uncertainty, the ever-present shadow of death that followed him. ‘It is deadly and doesn’t let you do anything creative,’ he had told me,” says Rode, who not too long ago wrote a guide, ‘Pash Da Sath’. As a spontaneous response to Pash’s demise, he had written ‘A Movie Scene’.
with no concern for advantage or sin,
pumps recent water for the fields
A poet’s physique
with bullet holes in its naked again
spews heat blood on the earth
of mutilated unwritten poems
flutters within the deepening pool of blood
This grotesque scene
was shot for a horror film
to unfold scare and silence
Pash who performed the poet in it
didn’t shut up, when
they wished him to close up.
The producers blew him to items. For actual.
Whether they have been of opposing ideologies or his associates, frankness marked Pash’s relationship along with his contemporaries. In his letter to Patar, he had stated: “Good ideology can give birth to bad poetry; bad ideology can birth good poetry.”
— By Amarjit Chandan
Pash lives right here within the orchards
plums, apples, grapes
within the fields of wheat and cotton
Wind, solar, pigeons
inform us: what was it like as a baby,
and as a younger man?
When cotton balls bloom like
clusters of stars in your desires
don’t you are feeling stressed?
When you bear in mind the solar
sliding on sand dunes in your village,
on the jail partitions, within the desires of the
sleeping prisoners, don’t you are feeling unhappy?
Pash stays quiet.
On a close-by line
youngsters’s garments sway
within the afternoon solar.
—Translated by John Welch and Ajmer Rode