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Poet, Singer, and Activist

This Father’s Day, Read a Book: “ਬਿਰਖ ਦਾਤਾ “

Posted by on Jun 14, 2014 in Discussion | 0 comments

pashaura

Fathers Day ਨੂੰ ਸਮਰਪਿਤ:

Happy Father’s Day!

Recently, my grandson was featured on Huffington Post’s article: 15 Reasons Why You Should Celebrate Father’s Day With A Book (he is number 15!) and it was wonderful to see so many dads and grandfathers actively reading. There is a social media movement called #DadsRead (Read about it HERE) that encourages all Dads to read to their children and grandfathers too. It occurred to me that there isn’t much written in Punjabi about this topic. So I have written this blog post in Punjabi, dedicated especially to fathers and grandfathers of Punjab.

ਪਿਛਲੇ ਸਾਲ ਫਰਿਜ਼ਨੋ ਕੈਲੇਫੋਰਨੀਆ ਵਿਚ ਨੌਜਵਾਨਾਂ ਦੀ ਬਣੀ ਸੰਸਥਾ “ਜੈਕਾਰਾ” ਵਲੋਂ ਬੱਚਿਆਂ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਪ੍ਰੋਗ੍ਰਾਮ ਉਲੀਕੇ ਗਏ ਸਨ |  ਇਕ ਅਜੇਹੇ ਪ੍ਰੋਗ੍ਰਾਮ ਲਈ ਪ੍ਰਬੰਧਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਬੇਨਤੀ ਉੱਤੇ ਮੇਰੇ ਵਲੋਂ  ਸ਼ੈਲ ਸਿਲਵਰਸਟਾਈਨ ਦੀ ਅੰਗ੍ਰੇਜ਼ੀ ਵਿਚ ਲਿਖੀ ਹੋਈ ਕਹਾਣੀ ” The Giving Tree” ਦਾ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਰੂਪ ਪੇਸ਼ ਕੀਤਾ ਗਿਆ | ਆਪਣੀ ਇਸ ਬਲੌਗ ਉਤੇ ਪਾਠਕਾਂ ਦੀ ਨਜ਼ਰ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਦਾ ਓਹ ਰੂਪ ਪੋਸਟ ਕਰ ਰਿਹਾ ਹਾਂ :

Boy Up on Tree
ਇੱਕ ਸੀ ਬਿਰਖ !  . . .ਤੇ ਉਹਨੂੰ ਇੱਕ ਨਿੱਕਾ ਜਿਹਾ ਮੁੰਡਾ ਬੜਾ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਲਗਿਆ ਕਰੇ | ਓਹ ਮੁੰਡਾ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ਼ ਉਸ ਬਿਰਖ ਕੋਲ ਆਉਂਦਾ , ਓਹਦੇ ਪੱਤੇ ਇਕੱਠੇ ਕਰਦਾ, ਸਿਰ ਦਾ ਤਾਜ ਬਣਾਉਂਦਾ ਤੇ ਜੰਗਲ ਦਾ ਰਾਜਾ ਬਣ ਬਣ ਕੇ ਖੇਡਦਾ ਰਹਿੰਦਾ | ਓਹ ਉਹਦੇ ਮੋਟੇ ਤਣੇ ਤੇ ਚੜ੍ਹ ਕੇ ਓਹਦੀਆਂ ਟਾਹਣੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਝੂਟੇ ਲੈਂਦਾ ਖੇਡਦਾ ਰਹਿੰਦਾ ਤੇ ਜਦੋਂ ਥੱਕ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਓਸੇ ਬਿਰਖ ਦੀ ਛਾਂਵੇਂ ਈ ਸੌਂ ਜਾਂਦਾ |

ਉਸ ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੂੰ ਓਹ ਬਿਰਖ ਬੜਾ ਈ ਚੰਗਾ ਚੰਗਾ ਲਗਦਾ ਸੀ  | ਤੇ ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੂੰ ਖੁਸ਼ ਵੇਖ ਕੇ ਬਿਰਖ ਹੋਰ ਵੀ ਖੁਸ਼ ਹੁੰਦਾ !

ਪਰ  ਸਮਾਂ ਲੰਘਦਾ ਗਿਆ ਤੇ ਮੁੰਡਾ ਵੱਡਾ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਗਿਆ | ਹੁਣ ਓਹਨੇ ਓਸ ਬਿਰਖ ਕੋਲ ਆਓਣਾ ਜਾਣਾ ਘੱਟ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ | ਓਹ ਬਿਰਖ ਹੁਣ ਕੁਝ ‘ਕੱਲਾ ਇਕੱਲਾ ਮਹਿਸੂਸ ਕਰਨ ਲੱਗਾ !
ਫਿਰ ਇੱਕ ਦਿਨ ਓਹ ਮੁੰਡਾ ਉਸ ਕੋਲ ਆਇਆ ਤੇ ਬਿਰਖ ਨੇ ਚਾਈਂ ਚਾਈਂ ਆਖਿਆ ,” ਓਏ ਮੁੰਡਿਆ ਆ ਜਾ, ਮੇਰੇ ਤਣੇ ਤੇ ਚੜ੍ਹ ਜਾ , ਮੇਰੀਆਂ ਟਾਹਣੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਝੂਟੇ ਲੈ, ਫਲ ਖਾ, ਮੇਰੀ ਛਾਂਵੇਂ ਬੈਠ, ਖੁਸ਼ ਰਹੁ ਸੱਜਣਾ ਤੇ ਮੌਜਾਂ ਮਾਣ” |Boy asking for money

“ਮੇਰੀ ਉਮਰ ਹੁਣ ਬਿਰਖ ਤੇ ਚੜ੍ਹਨ ਤੇ ਖੇਡਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਰਹੀ | ਮੈਂ ਵੱਡਾ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ ਵਾਂ | ਮੈਂ ਹੁਣ ਕੋਈ ਚੀਜ਼ਾਂ ਵਸਤਾਂ ਖਰੀਦਣੀਆਂ ਤੇ ਮਜ਼ੇ  ਲੁੱਟਣਾ ਚਾਹੁੰਦਾ ਵਾਂ  | ਮੈਨੂੰ ਕੁਝ ਪੈਸੇ ਚਾਹੀਦੇ ਨੇ | ਤੂੰ ਮੈਨੂੰ ਕੁਝ ਪੈਸੇ ਦੇ ਸਕਦਾ ਏਂ “? ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੇ ਪੁੱਛਿਆ |

“ਬਈ ਮੁੰਡਿਆ ਇਹ ਤੇ ਬੜੀ ਮਾੜੀ ਗੱਲ ਹੋਈ | ਮੈਂ ਤੇ ਪੈਸੇ ਰਖਦਾ ਈ ਨੀਂ ; ਮੇਰੇ ਕੋਲ ਤੇ ਪੱਤੇ ਈ ਨੇ ਤੇ ਜਾਂ ਫਿਰ ਫਲ ! ਤੂੰ ਇੰਜ ਕਰ ਬਈ ਮੇਰੇ ਫਲ ਲੈ ਜਾ, ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਜਾ ਕੇ ਵੇਚ ਲਵੀਂ, ਪੈਸੇ ਵੱਟੀਂ, ਚੀਜ਼ਾਂ ਵਸਤਾਂ ਖਰੀਦੀੰ   ਤੇ ਮੌਜਾਂ ਕਰੀਂ,” ਬਿਰਖ ਨੇ ਆਖਿਆ |

ਬਿਰਖ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਸੁਣਕੇ ਮੁੰਡਾ ਬਿਰਖ ਤੇ ਚੜ੍ਹ ਗਿਆ, ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਫਲ ਇਕੱਠੇ ਕੀਤੇ ਤੇ ਲੈ ਕੇ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਚਲਾ ਗਿਆ | ਮੁੰਡੇ ਦੀ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਵੇਖਕੇ ਬਿਰਖ ਵੀ ਖੁਸ਼ ਸੀ |

ਪਰ ਹੁਣ ਮੁੰਡਾ ਬੜਾ ਚਿਰ ਮੁੜਕੇ ਨਾ ਆਇਆ | ਰੁਖ ਉਦਾਸ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ | ਇੱਕ ਦਿਨ ਕੀ ਹੋਇਆ ਬਈ ਓਹ ਮੁੰਡਾ ਫਿਰ ਆ ਗਿਆ | ਓਹਨੂੰ ਦੂਰੋਂ ਈ ਆਉਂਦਿਆਂ ਵੇਖ ਕੇ ਬਿਰਖ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਵਿਚ ਝੂਮ ਉਠਿਆ ਤੇ ਚਾਅ  ਨਾਲ ਅਖਣ  ਲੱਗਾ ,” ਆ ਜਾ ਆ ਜਾ ਮੁੰਡਿਆ ਆ ਜਾ | ਮੇਰੇ ਉੱਪਰ ਚੜ੍ਹ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਮੇਰੀਆਂ ਟਾਹਣੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਝੂਟ | ਫਲ ਖਾ, ਮੇਰੀ ਛਾਂਵੇਂ ਬੈਠ, ਹੱਸ ਖੇਡ ਤੇ ਮਜ਼ੇ ਕਰ |

“ਮੇਰੇ ਕੋਲ ਹੁਣ ਖੇਡਣ ਦੀ ਵੇਹਲ ਕਿਥੇ ? ਮੈਨੂੰ ਵਹੁਟੀ ਚਾਹੀਦੀ ਆ, ਬੱਚੇ ਚਾਹੀਦੇ ਨੇ,  ਮੀਂਹ ਹਨੇਰੀ ਤੋਂ ਬਚਣ ਅਤੇ ਸੁਖ-ਆਰਾਮ ਲਈ ਘਰ ਚਾਹੀਦੈ ? ਕੀ ਤੂੰ ਮੈਨੂੰ ਘਰ ਦੇ ਸਕਦੈਂ “? ਮੁੰਡੇ  ਨੇ ਪੁੱਛਿਆ |

“ਮੇਰੇ ਕੋਲ ਤੇ ਕੋਈ ਘਰ ਹੈ ਨਹੀਂ | ਮੇਰਾ ਤੇ ਜੰਗਲ ਈ ਘਰ ਆ,” ਬਿਰਖ ਨੇ ਆਖਿਆ | “ਪਰ ਤੂੰ ਇੰਜ ਕਰ ਮੇਰੇ ਟਾਹਣ ਈ ਵਢ  ਕੇ ਲੈ ਜਾ, ਜਾ ਕੇ ਘਰ ਬਣਾ ਲਵੀਂ ਤੇ ਮੌਜਾਂ ਕਰੀਂ, ਖੁਸ਼ ਰਵ੍ਹੀਂ “|Boy Taking Limbs away

ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੇ ਬਿਰਖ ਦੇ ਟਾਹਣ ਵਢ ਲਏ ਤੇ ਲਿਜਾ ਕੇ ਘਰ ਬਣਾ ਲਿਆ | ਮੁੰਡੇ ਦੀ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਵੇਖ ਕੇ ਬਿਰਖ ਵੀ ਖੁਸ਼ ਸੀ |

ਪਰ ਹੁਣ ਫੇਰ ਮੁੰਡਾ ਕਈ ਚਿਰ ਮੁੜ ਕੇ ਨਾ ਆਇਆ | ਬਿਰਖ ਫਿਰ ਉਦਾਸ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ |

ਬੜੀ ਦੇਰ ਬਾਅਦ ਜਦੋਂ ਬਿਰਖ ਨੇ ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੂੰ ਆਉਂਦਿਆਂ ਵੇਖਿਆ ਤਾਂ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਵਿਚ ਉਸ ਤੋਂ ਬੋਲਿਆ ਹੀ ਨਾ ਜਾਏ | ” ਆ ਬਈ ਮੁੰਡਿਆ ਆ ਜਾ | ਆ ਜਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਕੋਲ ਤੇ ਖੇਡ-ਮਲ੍ਹ,” ਬੜੀ ਮੁਸ਼ਕਿਲ ਨਾਲ ਬੜੀ ਹੌਲੀ ਜਿਹੀ ਆਵਾਜ਼ ਵਿਚ  ਬਿਰਖ ਨੇ ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੂੰ ਆਖਿਆ |

“ਹੁਣ ਤੇ ਮੇਰੀ ਖੇਡ੍ਹਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਉਮਰ ਈ ਨਹੀਂ ਰਹੀ,” ਮੁੰਡਾ ਅਖਣ ਲੱਗਾ | “ਹੁਣ ਤੇ ਮੈਨੂੰ ਚਾਹੀਦੀ ਏ ਇੱਕ ਬੇੜੀ, ਜਿਹਦੇ ਉੱਪਰ ਤੈਰ ਕੇ ਮੈ ਕਿਤੇ ਦੂਰ ਜਾ ਸਕਾਂ “| ਕੀ ਤੂੰ ਮੈਨੂ ਬੇੜੀ ਦੇ ਸਕੇਂਗਾ ?

” ਤੂੰ ਇੰਜ ਕਰ ਬਈ ਮੇਰਾ ਇਹ ਮੋਟਾ ਤਣਾ ਈ ਵਢ ਲੈ ਤੇ ਬੇੜੀ ਬਣਾ ਲੈ,” ਬਿਰਖ ਨੇ ਆਖਿਆ | “ਫਿਰ ਤੂੰ ਬੇੜੀ ਨਾਲ ਪਾਣੀ ਤੇ ਜਿਧਰ ਮਰਜ਼ੀ ਸਫਰ ਕਰੀਂ ਤੇ ਖੁਸ਼ ਰਵ੍ਹੀਂ “[

ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੇ ਬਿਰਖ ਦਾ ਮੋਟਾ ਤਣਾ ਵੀ ਕੱਟ ਲਿਆ ਤੇ ਬੇੜੀ ਬਣਾ ਕੇ ਪਾਣੀ ਤੇ ਸਫਰ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਓਥੋਂ ਦੂਰ ਚਲੇ ਜਾਣ ਲਈ ਠਿੱਲ ਪਿਆ |STUMP , MAN  & River

ਪਰ ਬੱਚਿਓ ਬਿਰਖ ਭਲਾ ਹੁਣ ਅੰਦਰੋਂ  ਖੁਸ਼ ਸੀ ? ਨਹੀਂ ਨਾ. . . !

ਲੰਮੇ ਸਮੇਂ ਪਿਛੋਂ ਓਹ ਮੁੰਡਾ ਫਿਰ ਆ ਗਿਆ |

“ਮੈਨੂੰ ਅਫਸੋਸ ਹੈ ਮੁੰਡਿਆ” ਮੁੰਡੇ ਵਲ ਵੇਖ ਕੇ ਬਿਰਖ ਨੇ ਉਦਾਸੀ ਨਾਲ ਆਖਿਆ | “ਹੁਣ ਤੇ ਮੇਰੇ ਕੋਲ ਤੈਨੂੰ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਕੁਝ ਵੀ ਬਾਕੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਰਿਹਾ | ਮੇਰੇ ਤੇ ਫਲ ਵੀ ਹੁਣ ਨਹੀਂ ਰਹੇ”|

“ਮੇਰੇ ਵੀ ਦੰਦ  ਹੁਣ ਹਿਲ ਗਏ ਨੇ , ਮੈਂ ਵੀ ਫਲ ਖਾਣ  ਜੋਗਾ ਹੁਣ ਨਹੀਂ ਰਹਿ ਗਿਆ” ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੇ ਆਖਿਆ |

“ਮੇਰੀ ਤੇ ਕੋਈ ਟਾਹਣੀ ਵੀ ਬਾਕੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਰਹਿ ਗਈ ਜਿੱਥੇ ਤੂੰ ਝੂਟ ਸਕੇਂ ” ਬਿਰਖ ਬੋਲਿਆ |

“ਮੈਂ ਵੀ ਵੱਡਾ ਹੋ ਗਿਆ ਵਾਂ ਹੁਣ ਟਾਹਣੀਆਂ ਤੇ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਵਾਂਗ  ਝੂਟ ਨਹੀਂ ਸਕਾਂਗਾ” ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੇ ਆਖਿਆ | “ਮੇਰਾ ਤੇ ਮੋਟਾ ਤਣਾ ਵੀ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਲਗਾ ਜਿਸ ‘ਤੇ ਤੂੰ ਚੜ੍ਹ ਸਕਦੋਂ ,” ਬਿਰਖ ਕਹਿਣ ਲੱਗਾ |

“ਮੈਂ ਵੀ ਏਨਾ ਥੱਕ ਗਿਆ ਵਾਂ ਬਈ ਤਣੇ  ਤੇ ਚੜ੍ਹ ਈ ਨਹੀਂ ਸੀ ਸਕਣਾ”  ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੇ ਆਖਿਆ | “ਮੈਨੂੰ ਇਸ ਦਾ ਡਾਢਾ ਦੁੱਖ ਹੈ,”  ਬਿਰਖ ਨੇ ਹੌਕਾ ਲੈਂਦਿਆਂ ਆਖਿਆ | “ਮੈਂ ਚਾਹੁੰਦਾ ਸਾਂ ਤੈਨੂੰ ਕੁਝ ਦੇ ਸਕਦਾ, ਪਰ ਮੇਰੇ ਕੋਲ ਦੇਣ ਲਈ ਕੁਝ ਬਚਿਆ ਹੀ ਨਹੀਂ | ਹੁਣ ਤਾਂ ਮੈਂ ਇੱਕ ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਮੁਢ਼ ਹੀ ਰਹਿ ਗਿਆ ਵਾਂ ,”  ਬਿਰਖ ਨੂੰ ਬੜਾ ਹਿਰਖ ਸੀ |Return after Long Time

“ਮੈਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਥੋੜ੍ਹੀ ਬੈਠਣ ਲਈ ਥਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਬਿਨਾਂ ਹੁਣ ਹੋਰ ਕੁਝ ਨਹੀਂ ਚਾਹਿਦਾ | ਮੈਂ ਬਹੁਤ ਥੱਕ ਗਿਆ ਵਾਂ | ਆਰਾਮ ਨਾਲ ਰਤਾ ਬੈਠਣਾ ਹੀ ਚਾਹੁੰਦਾ ਹਾਂ,” ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੇ ਆਖਿਆ |

“ਹੱਛਾ” ! ਬਿਰਖ ਨੇ ਥੋੜ੍ਹਾ ਆਪਣੇ ਆਪ ਨੂੰ ਜਿਨਾਂ ਕੁ ਓਹ ਹੋ ਸਕਦਾ ਸੀ ਸਿਧਾ ਹੋ ਕੇ ਆਖਿਆ,  ” ਫੇਰ ਤਾਂ ਇਹ ਮੇਰਾ ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਮੁਢ  ਵੀ ਤੇਰੇ ਬੈਠਣ ਦੇ ਕੰਮ ਆ ਸਕਦੈ | ਆ ਜਾ ਮੁੰਡਿਆ ਆ ਜਾ | ਤੂੰ ਇਸ ਮੁਢ ਉੱਤੇ ਚੜ੍ਹ ਕੇ  ਬੈਠ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਆਰਾਮ ਕਰ” | ਮੁੰਡੇ ਨੂੰ ਮੁਢ ਤੇ ਆਰਾਮ ਕਰਦਿਆਂ ਵੇਖ ਬਿਰਖ ਅਜੇ ਵੀ ਖੁਸ਼ ਸੀ. . . !!!Boy now a Tired Oldman
ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ ਨੋਟ:
ਸਾਡੇ ਪੁਰਖਿਆਂ ਨੇ 5000 ਸਾਲ ਤੋਂ ਸਾਂਭ ਸੰਭਾਲ ਕੇ ਹਰਿਆ-ਭਰਿਆ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਰੂਪੀ ਓਹ ਸਵਰਗ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਸੀ ਜਿਸਦੇ ਵਗਦੇ ਰਗਦੇ ਖੂਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਜਿਵੇਂ ਰੱਬ ਆਪ ਵਸਦਾ ਰਿਹਾ ਸੀ ! ਦੁਧ ਵਹਿੰਦੀਆਂ ਨਦੀਆਂ ਵਾਲੇ ਉਸ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਵਿਚ ਅਜ ਉਸ ਦੇ ਆਪਣੇ ਧੀਆਂ-ਪੁੱਤਰ ਨਸ਼ਿਆਂ ਵਿਚ ਡੁੱਬੇ ਫੋਕੇ ਪਾਣੀ ਨੂੰ ਤਰਸ ਗਏ ਹਨ | ਪਾਣੀ ਦੀ ਘੁੱਟ ਲਈ ਵੀ ਦਿੱਲੀ ਵਲ ਵੇਖ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ | ਹਰ ਪਖੋਂ  ਵਾਤਾ-ਵਰਨ ਦੀ ਇਸ ਟੁੰਡ-ਮਰੁੰਡ ਵਿਚ ਆਓ ਰੁੱਖ ਦੇ ਉਸ ਮੁਢ ਤੋਂ ਉਠੀਏ ਜਿਸਨੂੰ  ਲਾਲਚ-ਵੱਸ ਅਸਾਂ ਆਪ ਆਪਣੀ  ਹਥੀਂ ਪੋਰੀ ਪੋਰੀ ਕਤਲ ਕੀਤਾ ਸੀ ਤੇ ਆਪਣੇ ਬੱਚਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਮੁੜ੍ਹ ਉਸ ਬਿਰਖ ਨਾਲ ਜੋੜੀਏ ਜਿਸਦੇ ਮੋਢਿਆਂ ਉਪਰ ਚੜ੍ਹ ਕੇ ਅਸਾਂ ਅਜੇ ਹੋਰ ਅੱਗੇ ਜਾਣਾ ਹੈ | ਮੇਰੀ ਜਾਚੇ ਸ਼ੈਲ ਸਿਲਵਰਸਟਾਈਨ ਦੀ ਇਹ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਸਾਡੀ ਤਰਾਸਦੀ ਦੀ ਹੀ ਓਹ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਹੈ ਜਿਸ ਤੋਂ ਵਧ ਕੇ ਅਸੀਂ ਅਜੇ ਆਪ ਬਿਆਨ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰ ਸਕੇ  !
ਜਿਓਂ ਜਿਓਂ ਓਹ ਸੁਣਨ ਅਤੇ ਸਮਝਣ ਯੋਗ ਹੋ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ, ਮੈਂ ਅਤੇ ਮੇਰੀ ਪਤਨੀ ਆਪਣੇ ਦੋਤ੍ਹ- ਪੋਤ ਨੂੰ ਇਹ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਅਤੇ ਇਸਤਰਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਹੋਰ ਬਾਰ ਬਾਰ ਪੜ੍ਹਕੇMudh te Baittha JJ ਸੁਣਾਉਂਦੇ ਰਹਾਂਗੇ | ਵਾਅਦਾ ਕਰੋ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਵੀ ਆਪਣੇ ਬੱਚਿਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਅਜੇਹਾ ਕੁਝ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਅੱਗੇ ਆਓਗੇ ਤਾ ਕਿ Father’s Day ਕੇਵਲ ਪਿਓ -ਪੁੱਤਾਂ ਵਾਸਤੇ ਮਹਿੰਗੀ ਟਾਈ ਜਾਂ ਕੁਝ ਹੋਰ ਖਰੀਦਣ ਤੀਕ ਹੀ ਸੀਮਤ ਨਾ ਰਹਿ ਜਾਏ | ਜਿਥੇ ਸ਼ੈਲ ਸਿਲਵਰਸਟਾਈਨ ਹੁਰਾਂ ਦਾ ਇਸ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਲਿਖਣ ਲਈ ਦੇਣਦਾਰ ਹਾਂ ਓਥੇ ਇਸ ਕਾਰਜ ਲਈ ਤੱਤਪਰ “ਕੈਮਰਾ ਚੁੱਪ ਨਹੀਂ” ਵਾਲੇ ਇਸ ਤਸਵੀਰ ਵਿਚ ਮੁਢ ਤੇ ਬੈਠ ਕੇ ਕੈਮਰਾ ਸਾਫ਼ ਕਰ ਰਹੇ ਜਨਮੇਜਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੌਹਲ ਹੁਰਾਂ ਦਾ ਵੀ ਇਸ ਤਸਵੀਰ ਲਈ ਖਾਸ ਤੌਰ ਉੱਪਰ ਧੰਨਵਾਦੀ ਹਾਂ !

Other related links re: Father’s  Day and the Environment :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKXhEEVPasg

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Happy International Women’s Day From Madera, California with the American Association of University Women and my Punjabi Poem with English subtitles: “Daughters”

Posted by on Mar 14, 2014 in Discussion | 2 comments

On Friday and Saturday, I celebrated International Women’s Day locally in Madera California with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), where I was kindly invited to introduce my poem, “Dhean,” or “Daughters.” Both events were organized by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which has been empowering women since 1881! It was a matter of great privilege for me to have been invited for both these occasions. The Galloway Hall at the Madera Public library and the conference room at the Methodist church were filled by women and children of all ages. There were 17 other speakers, along with some wonderful children’s dance groups.

AAUW Galloway Room Library Picture

AAUW Galloway Room Library Picture

Me with President AAUW Madera

Standing with some of the members of AAUW Madera, including the President

I was the only male speaker present and it was humbling to hear the very personal stories other speakers shared. Ileana Herera shared her story of suffering domestic violence and overcoming it. She was married and pregnant at 18. She endured beatings during her pregnancy by her husband, and is now a survivor, bravely sharing her experience to educate and give hope to victims of domestic violence. Offering her advice she said,” if you don’t do anything, your hope is false. You can’t rely on someone changing their ways. You must act.”

There are many areas that need improvement, but there is also much to celebrate of the progress made in women’s rights. But it was not always like this. Women’s rights groups have been pivotal in the strides made, and should be commended for this.

In Western countries, when we think of inequality of human rights, gender based violence or the most horrific acts of violence against women around the world, such as acid attacks, female genital mutilation, sex slavery, child marriage, honor killings, feticide, to name a few, we tend to assume these are things that only happen in “Third World” countries, far away from us, or places that don’t have democratic governments or are ruled by religious zealots. But the reality is that it happens everywhere, including right here in the United States. Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Former Secretary of State called gender-based violence “an issue of international human rights and national security.”

300px-Guru_nanak_sri_lankaGuru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion understood it as no easy task to change people’s age old mindset. He declared it in no uncertain terms 500 years ago in the poetic verse from the Guru Granth Sahib – the Sikh Holy Scripture, on page 473: “ਭੰਡਿ ਜੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਨਿੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਮੰਗਣ ਵੀਅਹੁ ॥ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਚਲੈ ਰਾਹੁ ॥ ਭੰਡੁ ਮੁਆ ਭੰਡੁ ਭਾਲੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਬੰਧਾਨ ॥ ਸੋ ਕਿਉਂ ਮੰਦਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਤੁ ਜੰਮਹਿ ਰਾਜਾਨ ॥

This roughly translates in English to: “She is the one to whom we are born. In her womb develops life.  She is the one who makes friendships, becomes a lover, a wife and a partner in procreation and it is through her we make relations with others.  It is from the woman the creation goes round. If someone loses his wife he looks for another one. After all she is the one who gave birth to the bravest of the brave and king of kings. So don’t say she is a lesser person than a man.”

When I first wrote my poem, I imagined a very small number of people would be interested in it, not just because it was written in Punjabi, but because the subject matter is one that is not often addressed: daughters. My son, Navdeep, convinced me to write an English translation, and soon after that we created a moving image slideshow set to my voice, which we uploaded to youtube. It was wonderful to be able to share this particular poem with the AAUW.

DHEAN: DAUGHTERS

I wrote this poem as a father, brother, husband and as a grandfather. Although I completed the poem recently when the news of feticide and dowry related violence started to get worse in India, I had been thinking about it for some time. I had first listened to the famous singer Noor Jahan’s rendition of a Punjabi song a while ago.

Here is the original video by Noor Jehan:

Starting with the lyrics, “Eh Puttar Hattan te Nahi Wikde, Aven na Takkran Mar Kure” roughly translated in English, meaning: “our sons cannot be bought in the market place, they are a gift from god.” How so very much I loved the tune and the very melodious voice of Noor Jehan, the lopsided message of what was left unsung in this song always irked me. If sons cannot be bought at the marketplace, what is being implied about daughters? Are they not a gift from god? Are they expendable or replaceable? Praising only sons, I thought the lyrics of this song knowingly or unwittingly further reinforce the age old stereotype. Read the full Kavita di Kahani (Story behind the poem).

  • Through this poem, I wanted to tell that, daughters are an equally a precious blessing.
  • I wanted to draw attention to the frightening statistics of feticide as well as to the curse of dowry in India.
  • I also wanted to make this poem stand out as a tribute to ‘daughters of the world’ and make it accessible to those who do not speak Punjabi by adding English sub-titles.
  • But more importantly, I wanted to slowly make people think and change the age old mindset.

If you like this poem, please share this post with others, and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or on my Facebook fan page.

 

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Is Punjabi a Dying Language?

Posted by on Apr 2, 2012 in Discussion | 5 comments

Is Punjabi a Dying Language by Pashaura Singh DhillonIs Punjabi a dying Language in all Punjabs and disappearing from the face of the earth? I use plural because Punjab is not one entity anymore and should be viewed as split in five parts with fragments in Delhi, Haryana, Himachal, East and West Punjab. Adding the Diaspora as one entity, it becomes six.
Disappearing or not: That is the question looming large in the minds of some of the intellectuals who know better!

Some say that the situation is hopeless outside of East Punjab, but Pakistani Punjab is waking up and fighting back a belated fight to save the mother tongue. Interestingly, some of our Pakistani brothers look up to us in the East Punjab with envy and think Punjabi is thriving in the East. While the grass may not be that green here either, what exactly is going on one needs to ask!

When the UNESCO report was brought to light a few years ago by a Punjabi newspaper that the Punjabi language will disappear in the next 50 years or so, it sparked frenzy amongst many Punjabis all over the world, including eminent author and journalist, and ardent son of Punjab, Kuldip Nayyar. He shamed higher authorities and intellectuals in both East and West Punjab into promising to do something about the threat that the Punjabi language may become extinct in 50 years if no changes were made to current policies. Emergency meetings took place, announcements made, numerous resolutions were passed in Punjab, along with serious concerns shown by some organizations in the Diaspora.

As many contradict, I am not here to enter into a debate on whether the UNESCO report is real or not real. Assuming the report is real and Punjabi language was predicted to vanish in the next 50 years, the important questions that need to be asked are: did anything tangible happen to stem the tide in Punjab or in the Diaspora? Did it change the mindset of those concerned or not concerned?

And the answer is a resounding “No.”

On the other hand assuming this report is not true, this is still no time to rejoice. Languages do not die out because of reports. They vanish because of many factors such as:
If any languages like Punjabi, are not taught in schools as a proper subject or as a medium of instruction. If educated people think it is a language of the uneducated and not civilized to talk to their children in this language. When it is considered ‘crude’ and impolite to talk in Punjabi to your boss or colleagues, especially in the newer breed of fast spreading corporate culture and it is not used in any official correspondence. When it does not help to earn your livlihood in anyway;  you don’t need a language historian to tell you that Punjabi Language is not going to survive under these conditions. There are similar dangers in similar situations in other countries, such as the movement in the Chinese province of Guangzhou to save ‘Cantonese’ from the growing Mandarin influence. And our language is slowly fading before our very eyes.

Some people blame Bollywood, others blame politicians and state policies, and a host of many other things. These are all partly true. But the overlooked factor is us. Where do we fit into this? Shouldn’t the youth “want to” learn their mother tongue? Is it the sole responsibility of the Punjabi school? Or is the burden placed onto our shoulders: the older generation? An interesting article on TheLangarHall.com that resulted in an even more interesting conversation through the comments, posed these very concerns. The youth posed the question of whether it is the individual’s responsibility to want to learn Punjabi through university/online classes, or the parents’ responsibility. Check out the full article here.

This is a complicated question, and one we Punjabis, especially those in the Diaspora, have been trying to answer for many years. In fact, our forefathers a century ago were also faced with this question. But being the first generation of immigrants they had bigger problems of bare survival. Not only that they did not have resources, ask Gadrites our pioneers, majority Punjabis, why they became Gadrites the way they did. They were not free to look for labor jobs, eat at restaurants ; their hard earned pay packet were snatched by whites before they even reached labor camps and India being ruled by the British were taunted as Indian coolies or slaves. They were even not allowed to bring their wives from home, leave aside Punjabi schools or any courses or resources to help them. Consequently they married Mexican wives and being Punjabi fathers’, the  mindset was that teaching the mother tongue was the job of the mother alone and that there was nothing much they can do about it. Hard truth, stark reality! So obviously they could not pass along Punjabi as the mother tongue, they nonetheless tried to provide the children with their Punjabi roots in their own way.

The Mexican mothers on their part did what they could as mothers and wives of Punjabi husbands. They made Punjabi food at home, went to the Gurdwara, and the children often had eclectic names like Jesusita Kaur, or Armando Singh. And that was about it. The Punjabi fathers could not pass on their language or their religion down, and the result is an entire generation who have no real connection with their Punjabi roots.

I live in California and through various organizations here, we have made some monumental strides in promoting Punjabi language, but nothing substantial appears to have changed so far as our mindset is concerned. For example due to the hard effort of some individuals and groups, our Punjabi American community is making a headway in convincing the educational authorities and relevant legislators in California to author necessary Initiatives and Bills on the Legislative floors to this effect. History of Punjab and Punjabis who immigrated to North America especially California more than a century ago, is being included in the History and Social Sciences Framework and Curriculum in California Public school system for the first time. This has made it possible to create a Punjabi Language course in any high school in California, making it on par with Spanish, French, or German, and the only requirement is that 15 students or more need to show an interest in learning it. Apart from Yuba city, Kerman, and the Modesto City School District, no other school district in California could interest enough parents or students to produce the required number of school children to participate. Privately there are some efforts through Punjabi schools by individuals and Gurdwara Management committees to teach Punnjabi but that does not go beyond the basics and limited only to a limited families who already are conscious about it. A few courses offered at the University level stay devoid of students because of lack of back up and fresh suply at the high school level.

Last week I was invited to participate in a Punjabi Kavi Darbar (Punjabi Poets’ Meet) organized by one of our more progressive organizations here in Fresno and there are quite a few of them in the Central Valley of California. Coinciding with the March 23, Martyrdom Day of Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh, the occasion was appropriately dedicated to ‘Maan Boli Punjabi Chetna Divas’ (Mother tongue Punjabi Conscience Day) except there were no mothers. It was all male  ‘Maan Boli Punjabi Chetna Divas’. With plenty to eat and drink. There were some impressive speeches and thought provoking Punjabi Poems by good speakers and Punjabi Poets enthusiastically applauded by the jam-packed audience gathered in a modest hall. But the demographic is usually the same. Most of the members are of my generation, with occasional members of the younger generation, but they are almost always originally from Punjab and already have a firm grasp on Punjabi language. So, as they say, we are “preaching to the choir.”

So, whether the UNESCO report declaring Punjabi to become extinct in 50 years is true or not true, is irrelevant. State policies on the one hand, within Punjab must be changed and pressure should certainly continue on this front by creating an environment of encouragement in public schools and encouraging more artistic venues to promote Punjabi language through popular mediums. Additionally here are some quick and more innovative examples:

1) Vishavjit Singh, of SikhToons.com uses the comic book form to tell Sikh stories, and issues related to Sikhs. I have not seen any in Punjabi yet, but I hope this will be encouraged in due time. It is a great medium to reach the youth.

2) The Punjabi film industry has tremendous potential to cover a range of issues that are either absent or misrepresented in Hollywood or Bollywood.

3) Encouraging the youth to participate in Punjabi poetry in many forms, including Spoken Word poetry, Music, Rap and hip hop, to provide a more socially aware message than the cheap lyrics found in most of the Punjabi music today.

If ‘charity begins at home’ this is also true of a revolution or a big change. As the rapper Tanmit Singh of the group G.N.E. writes in his rap below,“the revolution starts with me.”

I leave you with this video in English, called “Soulja’s Story.” Also read this article about other rappers who rap about Sikh and Punjabi issues. With more encouragement, maybe there will be enough minds who talk about serious issues in Punjabi songs, rather than what is being sold to the youth as “Punjabi music” today.

Also, check out my poem “Tera Kaun Vichara” on the importance of preserving our mother tongue.

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Irony of Punjabis and our 2012 Election (Part 1)

Posted by on Aug 15, 2011 in Discussion, Radio Show | 3 comments

Punjab Elections 2012Punjab Assembly Elections are here one more time at Punjab’s doorsteps. In the spirit of “freedom,” there will be candidates and party propagandists from the parties in power and aspiring for power, selling their new slogans and others repackaging or coining new phrases to sell the old ones, all in the hopes of getting our votes and becoming elected in the 2012 Elections. The voter, on the other hand, is also getting smarter and shrewder if not totally fatigued and frustrated over this seasonal drama recurring every 5 years since 1952. The voter is expected to look and listen more carefully this year before casting his or her vote. As far as the NRIs in the Diaspora are concerned, since they have no vote or have no bowl of rice directly at stake one way or the other, it is big community news and the subject of gossip and discussion anywhere Punjabis congregate: at Gurdwaras, Mandirs, and Masjids all over the world, including California, where I and many other Punjabis, live.

Eying the voter at home in Punjab, there will be horse trading, arm twisting and dangling of all kinds of carrots to lure the voters in and keep the candidates to toe the line. Paid news, muscle power, threats, blackmailing, bribery, alcohol, and drugs are almost seen as acceptable and “natural” means to seduce the bride to come to the altar for all states in India. Falling for an extra fancy for it, and taking it to new heights or depths (depending on your perspective), this practice has been especially facilitated in the land of five rivers by our successive governments over the years so much so that this has slowly but surely crept into our most sacred of elections for our religious institutions such as the SGPC. People in general and that includes our political parties, have little faith in the local police. Running an honest and ethical election has become quite the challenge for the Election Commission who is contemplating import policing to conduct their business this time; this is what democracy looks like today!

View Irony of Punjabis and Our 2012 Election (Part 2)

 

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Irony of Punjabis and our 2012 Election (Part 2)

Posted by on Aug 14, 2011 in Discussion, Radio Show | 0 comments

The Ghadar Party

The Ghadar Party

History repeats itself we often hear. What was witnessed here in North America during Manpreet Singh Badal’s recent visit was unusual to put it mildly. 100 years ago in 1913, Indians working in America and Canada primarily from Punjab formed a movement which began with a group of immigrants known as the Hindustani Workers of the Pacific Coast. Under the presidentship of Sohan Singh Bhakna and guidance from Lala Hardyal, it established its headquarters in San Francisco, California. This Hindustani or Indian Association later came to be better known as the Ghadar Party. The aim of the Ghadar Party was to force the British to “Quit” India after their hold on the country for 100 years, and regain the self-respect of every Indian – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, and Atheist alike.

Not many people may be aware of the fact that having come away from India and watching Americans enjoying  as a free nation, the Ghadrites were the first group of Indians who had dreamt the dream of freeing India some 15 years before the Indian Congress passed its resolution in 1928 to the same effect. Their dream was to set up a national democratic government on the sub-continent similar to the federal system of the United States of America.

Coming from enslaved India a century ago in 1913 and being so few in numbers as workers in America, they kept their meetings secret yet they all gathered together in these same cities in California to rally support amongst their countrymen. How the Ghadrites did what they did and became such catalysts in the wider struggle to free India is a history now!  And because of their sacrifices we are not only free in India, we are also free in  America as NRIs and proud Sikh Americans, playing full part in making this country the best place to live.

View Irony of Punjabis and Our 2012 Election (Part 2)

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