Punjab Research Group, Saturday 25th October 2014
It so happens that several historic anniversaries fall this year, which makes our October session of Punjab Research Group even more pertinent. It is thirty years since Operation Blue Star and the anti-Sikh pogroms. In addition, the outbreak of the First World War and the protracted tragedy of Komagata Maru off the coast of British Columbia, with scores of South Asians stranded aboard, remind us of the momentuous events in Punjab’s history and their on-going impact on the region in particular, and South Asia in general. The PRG’s forthcoming meeting is an opportune platform to discuss the context and aftermath of these events. We would particularly encourage papers discussing less-heard perspectives from women, religious minorities, non-dominant castes and classes, and welcome emerging scholars, independent writers and activists as well as academics. This one-day workshop is being hosted by Wolfson College, Oxford, a college with a strong South Asia research cluster. Please send 200 word abstracts and expressions of interest to Pritam Singh email@example.com, Iftikhar Malik firstname.lastname@example.org and Kaveri Qureshi email@example.com by October 4th 2014.
30 years later: Reflecting on 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms
Symposium and Academic Response
WHEN: Saturday, November 1st from 9AM-3PM
WHERE: Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, University of the Fraser Valley, in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada Room F125
This academic response will feature a keynote address from Parvinder Kaur Mehta of Wayne State University as well as a panel of UFV scholars and a graduate student panel.
From Lost Childhood to Uncertain Future—The Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley presents an exhibition commemorating the 30th anniversary of the anti-Sikh pogroms in Delhi. This exhibition features the photography of Mr. Sanjay Austa. The launch will include UFV speakers as well as a poetry reading from UFV students.
WHEN: Launch Date is Monday, October 27th at 4PM and the exhibition is available for viewing until November 13th
WHERE: Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, Room F125
That Land Beyond the Waves —A Play Performance on the Komagata Maru: The Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) in Abbotsford, B.C, Canada has commissioned the performance of a brand new play on the Komagata Maru. Written by Dr. Rajnish Dhawan and Directed by Dr. John Carroll of UFV’s Department of English
WHEN: Saturday, November 1st at 7PM and Matinee Performance on Sunday, November 2nd at 2PM
WHERE: Matsqui Centennial Auditorium
Tickets: $15.00 General; $10.00 for students: To purchase tickets, please visit: http://ucfv.bookware3000.ca/CourseSearch/?course%5B0%5D=EVENTS,FALL14,EVENT,KM%20EVENING&course%5B1%5D=EVENTS,FALL14,EVENT,KM%20MATINEE&
Based in Vancouver, Canada, The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature aims to inspire the creation of Punjabi literature across borders, bridging Punjabi communities around the world, and promoting Punjabi literature on a global scale.
The Dhahan Prize awards $25,000 CDN annually to one best book in fiction published in either of the two Punjabi scripts, Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi. Two runner-up prizes of $5,000 CDN are also awarded, with the provision that both scripts are represented among the three winners. The Dhahan Prize is awarded by Canada India Education Society (CIES) in partnership with the Department of Asian Studies in the Faculty of Arts at University of British Columbia (UBC), and is funded by an endowment from Barj and Rita Dhahan, and family and friends.
The winners of the inaugural Dhahan Prize in Punjabi Literature are:
First Prize of $25,000: Khali Khoohaan di Katha (Novel) by Avtar Singh Billing (Gurmukhi script) India/USA
Runner Up Prize of $5,000: Ik Raat da Samunder (Short stories) by Jasbir Bhullar (Gurmukhi script) India
Runner Up Prize of $5,000: Kbooter, Bnairy te Galian (Short stories) by Zubair Ahmed (Shahmukhi script) Pakistan
I feel happy and lucky to be the first author to win the prestigious, inaugural Dhahan Prize in Punjabi Literature, said Avtar Singh Billing, author of Khali Khoohan di Katha. [Canada India Education Society] and the University of British Columbia have really created history by establishing such a unique, international award for Punjabi fiction. I feel proud that the Punjabi literary world found my sixth novel worthy of this honour.
Punjabi literature has a long and rich literary heritage and is produced around the world. Barj S. Dhahan, co-founder of CIES states, Punjabi has been a Canadian language for 115 years and it is exciting that this prize is uniquely a Canadian undertaking.
The Prize Advisory Committee has been central to developing an independent and impartial jury of senior writers and scholars to adjudicate the prize. Professor Anne Murphy, chair of the prize advisory committee explains, We have three juries: one to choose Shahmukhi books, one for Gurmukhi books, and one Central Jury that determines the winner. There is no overlap among the juries and the names of members are not disclosed until after adjudication is complete. It is crucial that we always maintain a strong and fair process.”
About the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature:
The Dhahan Prize celebrates the rich culture and transnational heritage of Punjabi language and literature by awarding a yearly prize for excellence in Punjabi fiction. The Prize mission is to inspire the creation of Punjabi literature across borders, bridging Punjabi communities around the world and promoting Punjabi literature on a global scale. The Dhahan Prize is awarded by Canada India Education Society (CIES) in partnership with the Department of Asian Studies in the Faculty of Arts at University of British Columbia (UBC). Learn more at http://www.dhahanprize.com and join us on Facebook and Twitter.
Please read complete versions SEPT 22 2014 Dhahan Prize Winners Announced – English, September 22 2014 – Dhahan Prize Winners Announced Gurmukhi Version and September 22 2014 – Dhahan Prize Winners Announced Shahmukhi Version
Funded by the German federal and state governments’ Excellence Initiative, the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies will admit up to fifteen PhD students to its doctoral programme, which is to begin on 1 October 2015. Up to ten of these candidates will receive a Graduate School grant; the other candidates will be supported in their search for funding.
The formal prerequisite for application to the programme is a master’s degree in one of the disciplines represented at the Graduate School, with ranking, where applicable, of above average (or German Magister or Diplom, with a grade of “very good”). Candidates are expected to submit an outline of the proposed dissertation project (maximum 6 pages, with a summary of no more than half a page), to include a short description of the topic, its relevance to the field, and its theoretical and methodological orientation, as well as a preliminary work schedule.
As English will be the primary language of communication, students are expected to have advanced English-language proficiency. In addition, students must demonstrate proficiency in the language(s) relevant to their projects. It is assumed that language skills can be improved during the course of the doctoral programme.
The application deadline is 15 November 2014.
Further details: http://www.bgsmcs.fu-berlin.de/en/application1/index.html
It was many summers ago. I was visiting my village on the banks of the Jhelum. I saw the people of my village go towards the Eidgah, across the chappaD, or the pond. When I asked my grandfather about them, he said. “Ajj mela ay putter!” [Son, today is a fair!] The mela ground was bustling with makeshift shops and people thronging them. At one end of the mela a circus had come up. The mithai stalls were packed with customers and curious on-lookers, some of them were buying and eating. And that’s when I heard the sound of their music. There they were, surrounded by a circle of spectators. A couple of local artists sang a song I had not heard before. I couldn’t understand a word, other than ‘O mereya Jugni, O mereya Jugni’ – which they chorused, over and over again.
That was my introduction to Jugni. I had no idea who Jugni was, and for I long time I didn’t care.
Jugni returned to my life years later, making an entry in a different way. On a satellite TV channel, in a dimly lit studio, equipped heavily with musical instruments and a pungent smell of glamour. Arif Lohar was singing Jugni for Coke Studio and giving him company was Meesha Shafi!
This time, I wanted to know Jugni. Was it a character from a story? A glow-worm? Or something else?
‘Jugni’ is a Punjabi folk song, popular not only in the Punjab but also among the regional languages of Rajputana, Sindh and Hyderabad . But Jugni has also been said to be a kind of jewel, an attractive ornament worn around the neck, a little like the ‘taweetri’. Worn alike by men and women, Jugni the ornament is usually made of gold or silver. The wooden jugni is also used as decorative jewellery for cows and buffaloes. This cow-Jugni is known as ‘gaani’. Along with other neck jewellery like necklaces, lockets, maalas, gaani, taweet or tweetri, Jugni is a hot favorite item of fashion among rural girls and boys.
Read full article: http://kafila.org/2011/05/07/who-killed-jugni-shiraz-hassan/
A great opportunity for UK/EU students. Have a look at the website for further details but if you are interested in developing a PhD project related to Punjab, Partition, women’s history in Pakistan or more broadly in another area of South Asian history please contact Dr Pippa Virdee (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss this further.
Offering you cross-institutional supervision, training, mentoring and career support to ensure that you produce world-leading research and maximise your career potential.
The Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is a collaboration between De Montfort University and the universities of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent, Leicester, Birmingham and Birmingham City. This newly launched programme will provide you with combined research expertise for the personal and professional development, creating the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers.
Through the partnership we aim to deliver excellence in all aspects of research supervision and training. We will assist you in acquiring the best supervision for your field of research, you will have access to a wide range of facilities and support networks across our campuses.
Visit http://www.midlands3cities.ac.uk to find out about this unique programme.
In memory of Alys Faiz by Andrew Whitehead
15 September 2014
Alys George was born a century ago this month. She was better known as Alys Faiz – she married the renowned Pakistani poet, journalist and activist, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. I met and interviewed her twice at her home in Lahore in the 1990s – and I am posting the audio of those interviews on this blog with the blessing of her daughter, the artist Salima Hashmi.
Alys was the daughter of a bookseller in the London district of Walthamstow. In the 1930s in London, she became politically active eventually joining the Communist Party, and got to know Indian nationalists and leftists in London. In 1939, she travelled to Amritsar to visit her sister Christobel, who married Dr M.D. Taseer, a noted Marxist thinker and educationalist. Two years later, Alys and Faiz married at Pari Mahal in Srinagar – with the nikah conducted by Sheikh Abdullah.
When I interviewed her in Lahore in October 1995, Alys reminisced at length about becoming involved in the British Communist movement (‘I wanted to go to Spain but my parents said no’), getting to know Indian activists, coming out to Punjab and spending time in Kashmir. She recalled the tragic, cathartic violence which accompanied Partition, and spoke of her husband’s ranguished poetic reflection on the manner in which India and Pakistan gained independence, ‘Freedom’s Dawn’.
See Andrew Whitehead’s website to listen to the interviews: http://www.andrewwhitehead.net/blog/in-memory-of-alys-faiz
‘Perhaps some day I might end up as a poet after all’ By Salima Hashmi
7 March 2013
The daughter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the Subcontinent’s iconic bard, discovers letters exchanged by her mother and father.
Since being Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s daughter has given me privileged access to the family archives, I have become an accidental archivist. In 2009 I embarked upon the Faiz Ghar project to set up a small museum in a house leased to us by a friend and admirer of my father. We commenced sorting through Faiz’s belongings, papers and books. It was not a massive collection by any means, owing to his nomadic, rather Spartan, but interesting life, that began on 13 February 1911 and ended on 20 November 1984. My mother Alys was instrumental in saving and sorting what little there was: a smart grey lounge suit, a cap, his scarf, his pen, and a reasonably large cache of letters, certificates and medals.
After my mother’s death in 2003 all these things had been packed away in cartons in my house, waiting for just the sort of opportunity that the Faiz Ghar project afforded. Sifting through the papers, I came across a plastic bag containing some scraps. On closer look, I deciphered Faiz’s writing, and the unmistakable stamp of the censor from the Hyderabad Jail, where Faiz spent part of his imprisonment between 1951 and 1955 for his role in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy – a Soviet-backed coup attempt against Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. These few letters were in poor shape, but readable. It is surprising that they have survived at all. Alys and Faiz had moved to Beirut in 1978. On return, all seemed to be in order in the house – except the cupboard, which had been attacked by termites. That cupboard contained Faiz’s letters from jail, which were later preserved with the help of Asma Ibrahim, transcribed by Kyla Pasha, and published in 2011 under the title Two Loves.
See Himal South Asia for full article: http://himalmag.com/perhaps-day-might-end-poet/
The US-UK Fulbright Commission
Closes: 31st October 2014
The US-UK Fulbright Commission is now accepting applications for its 2015-16 Robertson Visiting Professor in British History Award
This award provides a career-development opportunity for an exceptional, British historian to teach at Westminster College, Missouri, a small, selective liberal arts college for one academic year. The modest lecturing requirement will allow time for establishing a collaborative relationship with the US National Churchill Museum and Churchill Institute and for conducting personal research.
‘British Historian’ is inclusively defined: we welcome applications from historians of all time periods, thematic areas, and geographical regions of the British Isles, candidates with a specialisation in British Imperial or Colonial history and historians in interdisciplinary fields, such as art history, music history, or the history of science. The applicant should have at least one year’s experience of teaching undergraduates.
The Fulbright-Robertson Award offers the following benefits:
A grant of $52,500, plus travel allowance of up to $10,000
A number of memberships
Sickness and accident benefit coverage
Substantial pre-departure support, including a Finalists Workshop (March) and a 2-day Orientation Programme (July)
Once on-the-ground in the US, further support is offered by the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)
Membership of an extensive Fulbright Alumni network after grant completion
Eligibility requirements: Applicants must be a UK citizen (resident anywhere) and hold or expect to receive a PhD (or equivalent professional training or experience) in a relevant area before departure to the US. Those who hold or who are eligible to hold US citizenship, or who are resident in the US at the time of application, may not apply for an Award from the US-UK Fulbright Commission.
Wed 29 Oct 2014
Time: 7pm – 10pm
The genocidal pogroms against the Sikh people in India in November 1984 left thousands dead. In many of the outer areas of the capital, New Delhi, whole neighbourhoods were wiped out. Women were raped in large numbers. Senior politicians of the Congress (I) party led mobs, assisted by the police and administration. Thirty years on no memorials exist to the dead and the perpetrators continue to enjoy complete impunity. But the silence is slowly breaking. Not just about the damage caused to the justice system, memory and language in India, but also about the individual and collective trauma that exists within Sikh communities across the world.
Marking the 30th anniversary of the November 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms, the Wiener Library is proud to feature the work 1984: Jis tann lãgé soee jãné by photographer Gauri Gill. The images and texts from the artist’s 1984 notebooks reflect upon the pogroms and their ongoing impact in India. The images are from the resettlement colonies of Trilokpuri, Tilak Vihar and Garhi – various sites across Delhi – as well as protest rallies in the city. The accompanying texts by leading artists, poets, filmmakers and writers from Delhi remark upon the event, via the images, in thoughtful ways.
The exhibition also contains photographs of the pogrom as it occurred in November 1984 itself, and are drawn from the work of Indian photographers, Ashok Vahie, Ram Rahman and Sondeep Shankar.
Contributors to this project include contemporary Indian artist Arpana Caur; Senior Advocate and Human Rights activist, Harvinder Singh Phoolka, academic Dr Navsharan Singh; eminent historian Dr Uma Chakravarti; prizewinning Canadian author Jaspreet Singh and Parvinder Singh of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The event, held in partnership with the National Union of Journalists, will take the form of a panel discussion chaired by Wiener Library trustee Philip Spencer featuring Lord Indarjit Singh CBE, human rights barrister Schona Jolly and Parvinder Singh of the NUJ.
Professor Spencer is Director of the Helen Bamber Centre for the Study of Rights, Conflict and Mass Violence at Kingston University. His most recent book, Genocide since 1945 (Routledge, 2012) traces the history of genocide since the Holocaust looking at a number of cases across continents and decades.
Lord Indarjit Singh CBE is Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations UK, Vice Chair and Founder of the InterFaith Network UK. He is also Head and Co-Ordinator of the Sikh Chaplaincy Services. He is a member of the House of Lords, editor of the Sikh Messenger, presenter of ‘Thought for the Day’ on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2’s ‘Pause for Thought’.
Schona Jolly is a writer, journalist and a barrister specialising in human rights and equality law. She is from London, but has lived and worked in a number of countries, including India. She is particularly interested in South Asian affairs and writes for a number of international publications on India. She is an executive committee member of the Bar Human Rights Committee.
Attendance at this event is free but booking is essential as space is limited. Please see The Wiener Library website for further details: http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=154
There has recently been a number of reports about the drugs problem affecting Punjab, India and I wanted to share some useful articles and documentaries. It has become a huge problem, politically, economically and of course socially. If you have any comments or links to other useful articles or references please share them via the comments option.
Glut – The Untold Story of Punjab – 2011 documentary film examining the drug problem in Punjab.
Recent debate on NDTV: Watch: Punjab’s Drug Problem – No Political Will?
Four out of 10 men addicted to drugs in Punjab by Shishir Gupta
Drug epidemic grips India’s Punjab state by Simon Denyer
‘Drug hurricane’ lashing India’s Punjab by Toral Varla
Punjab teeters on edge of crisis as 70% fall into drug addiction by Rahul Bedi
What happened to the land of plenty – Punjab? By Ushinor Majumdar
Drug abuse threatens Punjab’s population
Punjab in grip of a drug epidemic
Sinking into deep despair of a drug epidemic by Ben Doherty