Happy Vaisakhi

~~ਤੂੜੀ ਤੰਦ ਸਾਂਬ ਹਾੜ੍ਹੀ ਵੇਚ ਵਾਟ ਕੇ~~
~~ਲਾਂਬੜਾਂ ‘ਤੇ ਸ਼ਾਹਾਂ ਦਾ ਹਿਸਾਬ ਕੱਟ ਕੇ~~
~~ਕਚਹੇ ਮਾਰ ਵਂਝਲੀ ਆਨੰਦ ਚਹਾ ਗਯਾ~~
~~ਮਾਰਦਾ ਦਾਮਾਮੇ ਜੱਟ ਮੇਲੇ ਆ ਗਯਾ~~

~~Toorhi tand saamb haarhi vech watt ke~~
~~Lambrhaan ‘te shaahaan da hisaab katt ke~~
~~Kachhe maar vanjhli anand chhaa gya~~
~~Maarda damaame jatt mele aa gya~~

The above lines are sung by Dhani Ram Chatrik, a great poeat and lyric of Punjab. There was a time when a few words of his, like above verse, could describe the whole of Punjab. Today world seems to have forgotten those people who can be considered father of modern punjabi poetry and father of punjabi publication. I take the festival of Vaisakhi an opportunity to remember him.

Article from Tribune :

A proud legacy lies in dust
Punjabi’s greatest poet Chatrik’s house in a shambles, converted to marriage palace

Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Public memory is short. And, Dhani Ram Chatrik, who earned the title of “Punjab’s greatest lyric and poet,” seems to have been forgotten by Punjabi language lovers just after 50 years of his death.

Chatrik was the first to standardise the Gurmukhi type. He had the honour of publishing the first volume of Guru Granth Sahib and Bhai Khan Singh’s “Mahan Kosh” (the first authentic dictionary of Punjabi), by using modern technique at his Sudarshan Printing Press.

He was unmistakably the maker of modern Punjabi poetry. Many celebrity singers have earned crores of rupees by singing his songs. He was one of the seminal figures of the literary renaissance in the country at the turn of the last millennium. And today he’s a forgotten hero!

Chatrik became the founder-president of the Punjabi Sabha, which worked relentlessly to get Punjabi language an honourable status at the time when Urdu enjoyed the official patronage. A versatile and prolific writer, he used his pen in experimenting with different genres of Punjabi language. His vocabulary was fresh, and metaphor, tone and style employed by him were refreshingly new. Unmistakably, Chatrik was a towering personality who lived for Punjabiat.

Unfortunately, the palatial Chatrik House on the Amritsar- Lahore road, which should have been a pilgrimage centre for Punjabi writers, is in a shambles today. A marriage palace — Chirag Palace — has come up on the major portion of the house. The issueless youngest son of the celebrity poet — Prem Kumar Monga (71) and his bed-ridden wife Lalita — now live in the remaining portion of the house. The house itself has witnessed many alterations.

Hardly any literary aficionado knows that the couple lives in the house once constructed by Chatrik. The house is a few yards away from Khalsa College and Guru Nanak Dev University, which were established to promote Punjabi language and Punjabiat. But both these institutions never bothered to invite the couple at any of the literary functions.

It was a chance meeting with Dr Harbhajan Singh Bhatia, Professor, School of Punjabi Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, that revealed some interesting facts. Dr Bhatia, while expressing his disgust at the construction of the marriage palace after demolishing the major portion of the Chatrik House, said that it was unfortunate that Punjab had failed to exploit the potential of “literary tourism”.

Dr Bhatia, who recently visited the birthplaces of Shakespeare and Lord Byron in the United Kingdom, said these birthplaces attracted a large number of tourists from all over the world.

The poet’s youngest son, who himself could not read the books authored by his father as he had not learnt Gurmukhi, owns the responsibility for having failed to preserve the Chatrik House. He sold the property in a phased manner, unmindful of its heritage value. It is learnt that he suffers from depression. His wife admits that Chatrik would have regretted that his own sons could not read the literature he had produced with painstaking efforts.

All four sons of Chatrik — Mr Balwant Rai, Mr Brij Mohan (both are no more), Mr Jaswant Rai and Mr Prem Kumar — decided to donate their father’s library to Punjabi University, Patiala, after Chatrik’s death. The old couple (Mr Prem Kumar and Ms Lalita), however, still possesses parts of the Gurmukhi letters prepared by Chatrik and some rare pictures. These letters, made of metal, are worth keeping in a museum.

Meanwhile, Mr Joginder Singh Ohri, who had purchased the major portion of the house in 1987, now plans to demolish the remaining part of the Chatrik House, which is in his possession, to expand the Chirag Marriage Palace. Earlier, he had felled more than 50-odd trees to construct the marriage palace. Mr Vivek Kumar, son of Mr Ohri , however, agrees to preserve the remaining part of the house if state or district administration shows any interest. “I know the heritage value of the portion, which could be preserved for creating a museum in the name of Chatrik,” he adds.

Born on October 4, 1876, Chatrik breathed his last on December 18, 1954. At that time, the social and cultural milieu was fast changing. In his biographical note, Chatrik gives interesting information about the Gurmukhi type and his contribution in its modification. He writes that Christian missionaries brought “Punjabi letters” from England in the year 1875 and published the Bible in Gurmukhi at the Mission Press, Ludhiana. But the type, invented by the Christian missionaries, was not up to the mark and required modification.

Lala Hira Nand improved the type with the help of writers from Amritsar and published beautiful books in Lahore by 1880. Later, Munshi Gulab Singh & Sons, Lahore, prepared another Gurmukhi type with the help of a Muslim worker, Munshi Noordin, who was instrumental in introducing the Gurmukhi letters in different parts of Punjab. He was later employed by the Wazir Hind Press, Amritsar, and more varieties of the Gurmukhi type were introduced.



14 April 2009 at 12:02

Happy Vaisakhi Sukesh

  Gopal Koduri

15 April 2009 at 10:59

Great! :)

Happy Vaisakhi...