Archive for March, 2011

Pak’s ETPB to name office building after Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Pak’s ETPB to name office building after Bhagat Singh…Daily Times

LAHORE: Pakistan’s Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman Asif Hashmi announced naming the ETPB office building after Shaheed Bhagat Singh and demanded the Punjab government to rename the ‘Shadman Chowk ‘after the legendary hero. Hashmi informed Daily Times of this after he visited a candle light vigil organised by the Institute for Peace and Secular Studies and other progressive organisations at the Shadman Square . Institute for Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) Chairperson Saeeda Diep had given applications to the Punjab and local governments demanding renaming of Shadman Chowk after Bhagat Singh, and Hashmi seconded this demand.

Street play, demonstration remember Bhagat Singh

LAHORE: Scores of passers-by joined civil society activists in watching ‘Chipen Ton Pehlan’ staged near Shadman Chowk on Wednesday in connection with the 79th anniversary of Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom.....Dawn News ..

Shadman-chowk-lahore where Shaheed Bhagat Singh was hanged along with Rajguru and Sukhdev popularly known as ‘fawara chowk’

Written by Davinder Daman and directed by Huma Safdar, the one-hour street play was arranged by Punjab Lok Rahs.

Reviving the old tradition of Nukar Theatre, the play portrayed Bhagat Singh’s struggle against British imperialism.

The cast included Punjab University Mass Communication Department students Hammad Afzal (Bhagat Singh), Adil Aziz (Boga sweeper), Adnan (advocate Pran Nath Metha) Mohsin Ali Danish (jailer Akbar Khan), Tayyab and Akmal (jail officials) while Sobia Zaidi and Huma Safdar performed choreography.

At nearby Shadman Chowk roundabout, civil society activists held a demonstration under the umbrella of Institute for Peace and Secular Studies.

Carrying placards, the demonstrators joined by Labour Party Pakistan activists demanded that the Shadman Chowk be renamed after Bhagat Singh who was hanged there on March 23, 1931. They also raised slogans like `Inqilab Zindabad,’ Bhagat Teray Khoon Se Inqilab Aaey Ga,’ and ‘Amriki, Arab Samraj Murdabad’.

They also informed Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Syed Asif Hashmi that the Punjab government had been approached in 2001 that Bhagat Singh should be recognised as one of the heroes of independence movement and Shadman Chowk be renamed after him, but no action was taken.

Mr Hashmi assured the demonstrators that he would take up the matter with federal and Punjab governments. He said that a block in the ETPB offices would be named after Bhagat Singh on Thursday.

The ETPB would also give award to a Sikh on the occasion of Baisakhi every year who would have contributed to the cause of independence.

Also, the Punjabi Language Movement observed the death anniversary of Bhagat Singh at its Shama Chowk office on Wednesday.

Movement convener Chaudhry Nazeer Kahut said the Quaid-i-Azam made no secret of his sympathies for Bhagat Singh and other freedom fighters in the Lahore prison.

“Jinnah sahib in his speech in the Central Assembly on Sept 12, 1929, said `the man who goes on hunger strike has a soul. He is no ordinary criminal, who is guilty of cold blooded, sordid wicked crime’.

“It is clear that Jinnah Sahib considered Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev freedom fighters. If the father of the nation admires a freedom fighter, how can we ignore him? Why not Serdar Bhagat Singh be declared the hero of independence movement in our history and text books?

“After partition of Punjab, creation of Pakistan and freedom of India, where do Punjab’s heroes of independence movement like Rai Ahmed Khan Kharral and Bhagat Singh stand? Why discriminate Bhagat Singh and other Punjab’s heroes of independence?” asked Kahut.

Allama Iqbal was Bhagat Singh’s favourite revolutionary poet. It was Maulana Zaffar Ali Khan who for the first time floated the title of Shaheed for Bhagat Singh.

Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore. He demanded that a statute of Bhagat be installed there and the Qadahfi Stadium also be renamed after him.

“if i were a flower..” By Sukhmani Sadana

Sukhmani Sadana, is one I fell in love with as soon as she was born … and yet I had to discover this side of hers to actually feel a new kinda bonding , a feeling of ends of a circle touching again.
Today Amritsar born Sukhmani can be seen on television as a debut actress with a Yash Raj show ‘Khoote Sikkey’ serial on fri-sat sony 11pm, a scriptwriter with Ogilvy & Mather having written screenplay for two prime time MTV shows.. ..Modelled for some products too . Indisputably, She is a Beauty and surely God has made her in his carefree leisure ! More beauty lies in her poem that is fresh and creates a surreal picture of story of Birds, Bees N Flowers, wither she entwines herself and her life in queer twists and turns. Sample this beautifully woven emotion ………’I am stung. I bleed my colours and drop my petals’.

“if i were a flower..”

By Sukhmani Sadana

A bee humming around me,
Makes me smile with its company.
It fills the void each flower is born with,
Spaces and purrs, its smitten by me.

A tap and a step back, a whiff and reverse,
It’s puzzled, yet baffled by me.
I stand uptight, in conflict to the wind,
The wind that’s like a blustery airstream today.
Does it mean to suggest a sign?
Well! I persistent with my pal- my bee,
Taking pleasure in this fixture.
We grow in this bustle each day,
With our liking only swelling,
Till one day, 2 bees from another tree,
Come buzzing along my way.

My shades, aroma or frailty,
I know not what magnetizes them?
But surely the sweetness is something i don’t mind.
They glance at me with esteem and love,
But a look of repulsion for the another.
I know not who- to let settle on me, for their daily nectar feed.

As seasons change and i begin to flourish,
The blossom is enchanting.
I let the current swing me by,
Like a flame struggling a rebellious blowing.
From a garden of a another street,
Comes yet another bee,
This time distressing..all the other 3.

I take their interest and give my nectar in return,
We feed our lives in a self seeking manner,
With as much integrity as it can be.
But this bitterness between them,
Will have to be endured by me.

I sense this pride of possession,
Turning slowly into hostility,
And then on a warm afternoon, while this buzzing is making my roots feeble,
I predict my soil loosening on me.
This day settles on surprising me,
Where one of them, beyond sympathetic borders,
Not eager no more to take this crowd,
Over a flower he thought was his belonging.
So he chooses to make this patch of ground,
Miss a once breathing bloom.

I am stung. I bleed my colours and drop my petals.
As life for me just began to search its end.
Before i drop and wither, i gaze at my loving bees
And wonder which one would miss me the least??

My Blues –by Rashmi Talwar


My Bluesby Rashmi Talwar

The blues beckon me
I sleep on a soft white pillow of clouds

look up the sky, in its darkest light

Tiny yellow lamps, Oh ! So balmy
A cool breeze floating, calmly

Wait for the orange tear
Sunny orb, all so clear

Turning greens into daylight
Follow purple shadows and moonlight

Oh My Love , from the rainbow hues
Darling, I love the color blue

It gives me both, where I fly
Over the seas and wide blue sky !

Who is JUGNI ? By Indu Vashist Amritsar connection

Who is JUGNI ? By Indu Vashist
No Punjabi wedding is complete without the mandatory ”JUGNI”—What are the origins of Jugni -Folklore-Does it have an Amritsar connection …YES !

MARCH 2011

The character of ‘’JUGNI’’ has been featuring in Punjabi popular and folk music for well over a century. The most recent references of this rebellious, fiery female character have appeared in diverse productions like Pakistan’s Coke Studio , Punjab’s sensicore rocker Rabbi Shergill, and of course Bollywood in films like Tanu Weds Manu and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!

In the various versions of this song, JUGNI is a spunky, rebellious character, who does not fit into the traditional feminine norms:
She wears western clothes,
Flirts with men in the streets,
Wants to drive (either a Bullet motorcycle or a Fiat car, depending on the era),
Is poor but aims for upward class mobility,
Speaks English,
Wants to travel all over (depending on the era she travels all over Punjab, Britain or Canada).

The singer, usually a man, sings of loving JUGNI, but feeling insecure by JUGNI’s defiant character (above): Mainu Kale chad Ke Jandi, Fir Vaajan Mar Bulandi (First she leaves me then calls after me).
The singer often laments that the pain of loving this rebellious character will kill him (below): Eh ladh di ae na darrdi phad ke daang mure khad di aa.
(She fights, doesn’t have fear, she always carries a stick as a weapon with her).

JUGNI Tap Tap Tap Tap Khoon Bahaundi (JUGNI, drip, drip, drip, drip, spills blood)
The first version of this song can be traced back to 1906, written and performed by Bishna and Manda.
Manda, as he was commonly known was born as Mohammad in Hasanpur, Thana Vairowal in AMRITSAR District, Punjab. Bishna was a Jatt from a village in Majha area, close to AMRITSAR Both men were illiterate poets who would roam from village to village composing songs and free-styling when given money. In 1906, they are said to have been around the age of 50.
In 1906, the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign, a Jubilee flame was taken across the British Empire to celebrate her rule. The flame, carried in a large gold container, was taken to the every district headquarters. As the flame arrived, the district government was supposed to greet it with pomp and ceremony.
When the flame reached Punjab, there was nascent freedom struggle anger against the Empire brewing. Bishna and Manda followed the flame from district to district, performing their own poetry and folk music parallel to the pomp of the colonial government.
Their versions contained references to JUGNI, the rebellious woman. Bishna and Manda had misheard the word ‘Jubilee’ for JUGNI and started writing verses that channeled the anger of the region against the British as symbolized by the Jubilee flame.
As they traveled behind the flame, their popularity grew; people from all around came to attend their performances. JUGNI became a metaphor for the growing unrest against the British.
Many other poets took on the ‘JUGNI’ metaphor and started composing their own songs with similar grammatical structures.
Following other Punjabi folk songs’ customs of mentioning specific villages, the specific village of JUGNI was meant to highlight either a specific site of struggle or just to contextualize the song. The basic structure of the song can be heard here in a pre-independence recording:
The early JUGNI songs had lyrics like:
JUGNI jaa varhi Majithe (JUGNI is from Majitha, i.e., the district of Bishna and Manda)
koi Rann na Chakki peethe (No pimp should have to go to the grinder – common hard labor in colonial prisons)
Putt Gabhru mulak vich mare (Our country’s young men are dying)
rovan Akhiyan, par Bulh si seete (Our eyes are crying, trying to forget)
Piir mereya oye, JUGNI ayi aa (Oh god, JUGNI is coming)
ehnan kehrhi jot jagaee aa (What kind of light is this?)
According to oral histories, as word of Bishna and Manda’s performances got around, large crowds gathered to see the performances, the police started to break up the shows.
The British started to get worried about the revolutionary undertones of JUGNI songs and the way that people began to talk of the British. The police finally arrested Bishna and Manda in Gujaranwala.
They are said to have been tortured and murdered by the police for inciting people against the Empire.
JUGNI as a concept still exists within popular Punjabi music today.
Rabbi Shergill’s recent version of the song follows the traditional grammar of the song. The character of JUGNI is rooted in defiance and rebellion, today that takes on not only Rabbi Shergill’s literal interpretation of the legacy of this folk form, but brings back a fiery woman character back into the popular lexicon.
tags: Bollywood, folk songs, Indian freedom struggle, JUGNI, Punjab

*ZOOLOGIST WHO BONDS PEOPLE*- By Rashmi Talwar *Times of India*.

By Rashmi Talwar
His Multiple interests have made Dr Amarjit Singh Tanda stand tall in Australia ——

Dr Amarjit Singh Tanda with flowers

Mealybugs, weak stocks and wilted leaves irked him no end, as he looked with wonderment at the vast expanse of green fields and thus his passion for seeing ‘unspotted’ green leaves and a rich harvest of crops in his ancestral farms in village Dherian, Nakodar , in the food bowl of India (Punjab) ,shaped his destiny .

It drove him to Entomology- a subject dealing with pest and insect study. And so emerged Dr Amarjit Singh Tanda as the Managing Director of One of the largest independently-owned pest control companies in Sydney, Australia- ‘Tanda Pest Control’- making this decrepit village proud of its son .
With it, he also added the business of ‘Real estate’ finding opportunities galore to explore lands from Down-Under.

However his success did not rob him of his sensitivities, rather it reinforced him to pursue his other desire manifold to consolidate his roots.

Riding high on his commercial success, he grew equally passionate to give back to his motherland in ample measure -through community services, writings, poetry.
He thus won over his fellow Punjabis in faraway lands as well as in the country of his birth — organizing platforms and connecting them across the seven seas with the incomparable flavors of their rich language and culture.

His motherland too took pride in one of its own –Dr Amarjit Tanda as ‘founder’ President of Indian Overseas Congress Australia (IOCA) (established in 2004 by him ), was recently conferred the “Hind Rattan Award 2010” by the Advisory Board of NRI Welfare Society of India, on the eve of Republic Day in New Delhi. For outstanding services, achievements and contributions for keeping the Flag of India high.
In his long service to the community Dr Tanda as IOCA President was nominated as an Independent from Commonwealth Electoral Division of Greenway (New South Wales, Australia ) and has contested three times in the Federal Elections in NSW.

The Punjabi who has distinguished himself as an Entomologist, a Congressman, Poet and Social worker of Indian and Punjabi community has also managed to warm the hearts of fellow Punjabis in Australia and India with his unique style of penning poetry. Having written five collections of Punjabi Poetry -‘Hvavan De Rukh’, ‘Likhtum Neelee Bansri’, ‘Kore Kagaj Te Neele Dastkha’, ‘Diva Safian Da’ and ‘Sulgade Harf’ –his natural pride is in the winning of 11-Firsts and one second prize in poetry competitions and that indisputably remain his most prized possession .

Similarly he has left no stone unturned with his contributions in filmmaking too, with Production of 3 Punjabi Feature films by ‘Tanda Brothers Productions’ –‘Vairi, Dhee Jat D’i, ‘Pehla Pehla Pyar’ and a Hindi Feature Film-‘Smuggler’.

His original research work in the field of Entomology has been recognized by ‘American Biographical Institute, Raleigh, USA’ and his name was included in the 5000 Eminent personalities of the world. He was also awarded with honorary degree in Biology by the ‘Institute of Biology, UK’ as a Charted Biologist.

Dr Tanda often travels to India and touches his Alma Mater – Punjab Agriculture University- PAU Ludhiana , enriching them with useful tips, sharing his vast repertoire of New practices in this field to sustain bumper crops including bee pollination, bio-control of crop insect & pests.
PAU –is where he did his MSc degree in 1976 and PhD degree in 1983 after which he served the university for 15 years in teaching and research in the Department of Entomology and was also In charge of Young Writers’ Association, of the Varsity.

He has authored four books on the ‘Biology & Control of Cockroaches, Biology and Control of Rats and Mice and Management of Termites in Australia’.

The ‘Sikh Society of Australia, Melbourne’ recognized his work for the welfare of the Indian community and conferred him with the ‘International Volunteer for the year 2001’ award.

Dr Tanda is also the Founder President, Punjabi Sahit Academy Sydney and Punjabi Welfare & Cultural Association, Australia.

Speaking to TOI from Sydney, Dr Tanda says – ‘I was a topper in school throughout and poetry is my first love from school days.’
A peek into his poetry gives away his monumental struggle and his never-say-die spirit in true Punjabi style.

The urge to succeed are laid raw in the lines —-
’Agg jadon vi chhaati vich baldi hai
Parbat vi uchche nahin lagde..’(Whenever fire rages in the chest, the mountains do not appear to be too high).

Dr Tanda has worked relentlessly to bring Punjabis together on several platforms including organizing many cultural and welfare programs that has encouraged the community to retain its distinct identity with prizes for children for Bhangra -Gidha performances , Punjabi Dress and Punjabi Singing competitions, besides religious Programs on the ‘Shabad Goshti’ and ‘Aassa Di Vaar’ that saw participation by Intellectuals of Punjabi community and Sikh Scholars .

His joys are in Editing a literary Magazine in Punjabi namely ‘Kaleere’ and Painting. He has to his credit portraits he painted of Gurus, – star crossed lovers of Punjabi lore – Sassi Punnu and a series of paintings related to Punjabi Culture called ‘ Reetee Rivaz’ .

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