The next Punjab Research Group meeting is taking place on 29 June 2013 at Coventry University. The programme includes the following speakers:
Malik Hammad Ahmad Lang, PhD Candidate, University of Warwick, Civil ‘Resistance Movements of Pakistan: Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) 1981-84’
Pippa Virdee, Senior Lecturer, De Montfort University, ‘Emergence and Resistance: the dichotomy of women’s space in Pakistan’
Kavita Bhanot, PhD Candidate, University of Manchester, ‘Depicting a dera community in Birmingham: extracts from a novel in progress’
Umber Abad, Research Fellow, University of Manchester, ‘Singular Muslim Identity and trail towards Auqaf; a becoming post-Colonial modern’
Daniel Haines, Postdoctoral Fellow, Royal Holloway, ‘Making places national: Local agency in the Punjab borderland, 1952-1955’
Tahir Kamran, Iqbal Fellow, University of Cambridge and Ali Usman Qasmi, Assistant Professor, LUMS, Lahore, ‘Round table discussion on the 2013 Elections in Pakistan: A Punjab perspective’
If you would like to attend please contact Dr Pippa Virdee for further details. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in The News on Sunday: http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jun2009-weekly/nos-14-06-2009/she.htm#1. It is worth publishing here in full as it highlights the tremendous work done by Iqbal Qaiser on Punjab. Visit the Centre he has set up in Kasur, further details are available: http://punjabikhojgarh.org/.
There is hardly a person who has more knowledge about Punjab than Iqbal Qaiser. Coming from a humble background, he could not afford formal education beyond matriculation but his thirst for knowledge kept him going outside the formal environment. He kept on studying and traveling to learn as much as he could about the land that he adores, and now his expertise in the field is such that he guides people doing Doctorate and Post-Doctorate through their thesis.
Iqbal Qaiser is a historian, anthropologist, poet, story writer, activist, etc. He also happens to be a prolific writer having adventured in numerous fields. What makes this man really special is his unrelenting commitment to Punjabi. Despite the fact that the readership of Punjabi is negligible, and being aware of the fact that one can’t expect to make a living at all by writing in Punjabi, this man continues to serve Punjabi. He says, he knows that if he writes in Urdu, his readership would improve tenfold and also his financial status but he wants to write in his own language. Who else would do it if he doesn’t, he says.
There is hardly any historical site in Punjab which he hasn’t visited or is not aware of. In his late 50s, Iqbal Qaiser is still not afraid to go out in the scorching summers of Punjab. Without a private conveyance, he travels on foot or public transport. With the amount of work that he has already done, one can only conjecture what he would have been able to do if he had the resources.
He is currently in the process of writing ‘A History of Lahore District’, which of course would be in Punjabi but would also be translated into English and in Gurmukhi script. This work of his is an encyclopedia of Lahore, having reached proportions, never even thought of earlier. Perhaps, the greatest contribution so far in noting down the history of Lahore is of Maulvi Nur Ahmad Chisti. This late 19th century work is a must in the library of any person who is interested in Lahore. This book is roughly of around 1000 pages. The Encyclopedia that Iqbal Qaiser is in the process of writing would be divided into five volumes, and each one would include roughly around 1000 pages. Comparing the work of these two scholars, the former would only appear as a shadow to the latter. However, this is not to take away the credit from Maulvi Nur Ahmad Chisti, whose work acted as a beacon of light for Iqbal Qaiser. No stone has been left unturned in the Lahore District. No neighborhood, no village, no personality, site has been spared. This contribution of Iqbal Qaiser would make him immortal in the annals of history.
Simultaneously he is also working on another book, which he would call ‘Historical Jain Shrines in Pakistan’. This would be a survey of all the extant Jain temples across Pakistan. This speaks in volumes about the dedication of a person. Not many people would dare to take such two projects simultaneously, however for Iqbal Qaiser this second project is a piece of cake in his own words.
‘Historical Jain shrines in Pakistan’ is inspired by his own earlier work which got him international acclaim and numerous awards. This book is called ‘Historical Sikh Shrines in Pakistan’. This book was published in 1998 in Punjabi with a rendition in English and Gurmukhi script. When he was writing this book, he was also a primary school teacher. He says he used to do his field work during the summer vacations. This book covers 175 important Sikh Gurdwaras all over the country, describing their present condition, locality and history. In the project, he has been able to achieve what the Department of Archaeology could not accomplish, even with all the funds.
‘Historical Sikh Shrines’ made Iqbal Qaiser from a parochial writer to an internationally recognised author. He was invited to America and Canada for book launching ceremonies. The Sikh community world over lauded his efforts and bestowed him with various titles and awards. The Punjab Times Gold Medal, Guru Nanak Award, Punjabi Saat Lamparada Award are just tip of the ice berg. He even got the honour to have lunch at the White House because of this book. The recognition that Pakistani Government gave him was harassment from ISI. Today at the Patiala University, a Ph.D programme is being offered on this book by the History Department.
With the money which he amassed from the sale of this book he bought a piece of land in Lalyani and opened a research institute there by the name of Punjabi Khojgarh. This is yet another effort to promote the cultures of Pakistan but things are not working smoothly for the institute at the moment, which is facing water and electricity issues because of shortage of funds but the struggle is going on.
Besides being a historian and anthropologist, Iqbal Qaiser also happens to be a Punjabi poet. Inspired by the Sufiyana kalam, Iqbal Qaiser has two collections of Punjabi poetry to his credit, one of which was given the Bulleh Shah Award by Majlis Bulleh Shah. During Zia’s Martial Law, he was sent to jail for having read one of his poems at a conference condemning the Martial Law. This poem was called ‘Aaj boodh dardiya boodh vai’. This poem was dedicated to Bhagat Singh on his death anniversary, 23rd of March when these people dared to organize a Bhagat Singh day.
Besides writing books and finding jobs to make a living, Iqbal Qaiser writes for Indian Punjabi newspapers Ajeet and Nawa Zamana. Unfortunately, here too he is not properly compensated for his efforts, as the newspapers are Indian and the governments don’t allow them to pay him. He prefers to write in Indian newspapers over Pakistanis because there is greater reverence for Punjabi there than here, where it has become a second if not third language.
Iqbal Qaiser is an inspiration for any person who wants to do something but believes that certain factors are holding him/her back. He teaches us to face all difficulties head on without fear through his persistence in doing what he wanted to do. Iqbal Qaiser says in one of his poems:
‘Kaal jithe se Baba muya
Mein utho he panda choya
Mein khure hun kithe marna
agla panda kine karna’.
‘Yesterday where our predecessors ended their journey
I have begun from there
Now I don’t know where my journey will end
And who would pick up the thread’.
Research Consultation: Anthropological Collection on Sikh Turbans
The Horniman Museum, London
Kind assistance is requested with researching a collection displaying the dastar as part of Sikhs’ global migration. The collection has three aspirations; to firstly display the pagh’s physical variation as geographically dichotomous and freighting a regionally intrinsic identity trope for instance Makhan Singh as a kalasingha wearing a Kenyan kilemba. Secondly to consider the pagh and its contentious role in Sikh identity within the milieu of other head-coverings e.g. Mitres in Europe during The Middle Ages. Thirdly to reflect on the pagh in Sikh-Britain relationships e.g. Winterhalter’s 1854 portrait of Duleep Singh or turbaned Sikhs as stock British Armed Forces’ media images. Thoughts on the collection mode and process are especially welcomed. The Horniman Museum Collections can be explored at www.horniman.ac.uk, whilst the researchers can be reached on email@example.com and JZetterstrom-Sharp@horniman.ac.uk. The collection is due to gain exhibition in 2014 with displays finalised by end 2013.
In a moving photo documentary, the children of the horrific October 31-November 1-2, 1984 riots narrate personal tales bound together by the common themes of violence, loss and the death of their childhood, reports Sanchari Bhattacharya.
The conference will be held at Queen Mary University of London on Saturday, 18th May, 2013. It is sponsored by the GLOCUL: Centre for Culture and Law, School of Law at Queen Mary, University of London and the Jakara Movement.
Proposals for individual papers should be no more than 250 words in length and may be uploaded at the conference website, with a current CV/resume.
Abstracts Submission Deadline:
3rd May, 2013.
Please send all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please visit our website
Since 2010, the Sikholars: Sikh Graduate Student Conference has been bringing together advanced graduate students working on a variety of subjects related to the study of Sikhs and Panjab. Pairing community organization with Stanford University’s Center for South Asia, the conference has hosted students from Pakistan to Canada, India to France from over 25 universities. We are excited to bring this venture to London in conjunction with Queen Mary University of London.
We are pleased to announce our call for papers. With topics ranging from Gurmukhi fonts in Unix Coding to sex-selective abortion, from Nihangs in the court of Ranjit Singh to diasporic literature, from the Khalistan movement to the North American bhangra circuit, from Sikh sculpture and architecture to representations of masculinity in Panjabi films, we encourage the widest possible range of those pursuing graduate studies on Sikh and Panjab related topics.
You are cordially invited
to a public conversation between
film director Mira Nair and Professor Parminder Bhachu
about lives lived through migration, movement, and diaspora. How are these dynamics being rendered in new expressive and cultural forms that are being forged in the 21st century?
Please come and join the conversation.
It is yours as much as it is ours.
At 7:30 pm, Tuesday, April 9th 2013
Dana Commons, Higgins School of Humanities
Clark University, 950 Main Street, Worcester MA 01602
Refreshments will be served following the program
This event is funded by the Communication and Culture Program,
the Office of the President, the Higgins School of Humanities, and the Sociology Department.
Poet of the Revolution: The Memoirs and Poems of Lal Singh Dil, Translated by Nirupama Dutt Penguin/Viking. Pages 167. Rs 399
Looking at the slight, self-effacing man, no one could guess that he was bursting with revolutionary fervour or was willing to stake all for a cause. If anything that defined him was the shrinking self-consciousness and a deep sadness lurking in his eyes that told its own multiple tales of oppression. One remembers a warm May evening in Punjab Kala Bhavan, a few months before his death in 2007, when Lal Singh Dil had read out his poetry and Parnab, a Bengali photographer, poet and activist enacted vignettes from writer-activist Mahashweta Devi’s works. Dil may not have displayed any revolutionary fervour, fire and brimstone but his poetry did. After all, he had articulated the double burden of caste and class when he wrote: “For us, trees do not bear fruits, for us, flowers do not bloom, for us, there is no spring, for us, there is no revolution.”
Dil was born on April 11, 1943, at Ghungraali Sikhaan, in Samrala. His was a life of immense struggle and his poetry made him a legend well within his lifetime. His tragic life epitomised the fact that the plight of a Dalit never changed.
Whether as a Muslim or a Naxalite — he remained an outcast (or more aptly, an outcaste) always. Buffeted around by life and people who discriminated against him. Be it as a child who could never be centre stage, or a teacher whose glass (in which he drank water) was ‘purified’ by throwing it into the fire and then into water with tongs. The resulting crackling sound had haunted him forever. He embraced Islam, first becoming Muhammad Bushra, then Wali Muhammad to find peace and justice.
His works include three collections of poetry, Satluj di Hava (The Satluj Breeze), Bahut Saare Suraj (A Million Suns) and Naaglok (City of Snakes); an autobiography called Dastaan; and a narrative long poem called Billa Aj Phir Aaya (Billa Visited Again Today). Be it as a labourer, farm hand or a wandering mad man wreaked by delusions, Dil lived only for the sake of his emotions and convictions. Here’s a man who touched the abyss, rose like a phoenix time and again, who did not know where his next meal was to come from and yet carried on writing verse, the only way he could liberate himself. Others of his ilk capitulated but he never hankered after rewards or recognition. Once the Naxalite movement petered out, he had nowhere to go but “The comrades of his revolutionary days were now editors, executives, professors, businessmen or expatriates. The spring thunder was over and everyone had returned to the comfort zone of their class structures.”
The demons in his mind drove the trajectory of his life and whether he lived in the fantasy world or walked miles on end aimlessly, Dil gave many, including the translator of this book, hope and the grit to carry on with life. He embodied the resilience and tenacity of the human spirit. The translation by Nirupama Dutt is reader friendly and bereft of jargon. The Foreward by Prem Parkash (in which he sounds patronising towards ‘Lallu’at times) and an Appendix by Amarjit Chandan, the London-based poet/activist. The Introduction reveals the layers of Dil’s personality and many shared moments with the writer. It is the memoirs and the poems that haunt you long after you finish reading them. Nirupama does bring to life Dil’s poems and writes with a felt intensity about the poet who was also a confidante. There is a simplicity of style and narration, much like Dil himself. When Dil died on August 14, 2007, at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, close to Independence Day, his friends could not find any garland because they had been sold out. Flowers were taken from people’s houses to make garlands and it was an apt tribute to a man whose tea shop had become a hub of literary activity. As Dil said, one day people would come and sing qawwalis under the banyan tree outside his hovel. Perhaps, “It will happen one day, for in ‘Manto-town’ (Samrala is also the birthplace of Manto) Dil was the true faqir and Manto and Dil were forever buried in many a heart.”
published in The Sunday Tribune: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130224/spectrum/book2.htm
The Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH UK Trust) offers financial support for students who as part of their study need to travel to India to undertake research. Awards are made twice yearly and the next application deadline is 31 March 2013. We support research in all areas of cultural heritage, archaeology, architecture, dance, music, literature and much more. We particularly welcome scholarship applications which focus on skills development and capacity building.
Applications for travel grants, or for grants to support conservation or research work, are invited twice a year on 31st March and 30th September. In some circumstances applications received between these dates will be considered. Only applicants who are UK citizens are eligible for INTACH UK Trust grants.
Scholarships may cover air passage to India and in some cases subsistence allowance, internal travel, and payment of fees to approved institutions.
All applications for scholarships will need to be endorsed by two appropriate, suitably qualified or experienced people who can act as referees for the applicants. Grants for conservation work will not normally cover the entire cost of projects and grants will therefore need to be supported by funds from other sources. As applications for support normally greatly exceed available funds, INTACH UK Trust supports those projects or proposals which it considers best fit its remit, demonstrate good practice and offer the prospect of delivering significant conservation benefits.
For more information on these grants and for an application form please see INTACH UK Trust Travel Grants
Thank you, and kind regards
70 Cowcross Street
London EC1M 6EJ
Monday to Thursday 9.30am to 1pm
020 7566 0031
Peter Lang would like to announce the launch of a new scholarly book series:
Language, Migration and Identity
Series Editor: Professor Vera Regan, University College Dublin
This series fills a hitherto neglected but now growing area in the treatment of migration: the role of language and identity. This topic is central in a globalized world where the definition of community is constantly challenged by the increased mobility of individuals. Linked to this mobility is the issue of identity construction, in which language plays a key role. Language practices are indicators of the socialization process in bilingual and multilingual settings, and part of the strategies by which speakers assert membership within social groups. Migrant speakers are constantly engaged in identity construction in varying settings.
Language, Migration and Identity invites proposals for revised dissertations, monographs and edited volumes on language practices and language use by migrant speakers. A wide range of themes is envisaged, within the area of migration, but from a broadly linguistic perspective. The series welcomes studies of migrant communities and their language practices, studies of language practices in multilingual educational settings, and case studies of identity building among migrants through language use. Proposals might focus on topics such as second language acquisition in social context, variation in L2 speech, multilingualism, acquisition of sociolinguistic competence, hybridity and ‘crossing’ in relation to identity. A multiplicity of approaches in the treatment of this interdisciplinary area will be welcome, from quantitative to ethnographic to mixed methods.
The series welcomes established scholars as well as early career academics and recent PhD research.
For information on how to submit a book proposal, please contact Christabel Scaife, Commissioning Editor, Peter Lang Ltd, email@example.com.
You can still listen to this discussion on the BBC Radio 4 was aired on Monday 14 January at 16.30 (GMT).
The fundamental message of Sikhism appears to be simple; God is one and all people are equal. But are some more equal than others? If the Sikh scriptures are consistent with a feminist agenda, why do some Sikh women feel that they are second class citizens?
Joining Ernie to discuss the position of women within the Sikh tradition are Navtej Purewal, Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at Manchester University; Eleanor Nesbitt, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Education in the University of Warwick; and Nicky Guninder Kaur Singh, Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Colby College Waterville Maine in the USA
Here’s a link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ptgfy
Deadline: 10th April 2013
A new round of Newton International Fellowships – an initiative to fund research collaborations and improve links between UK and overseas researchers – has now opened. The Newton International Fellowships are funded by the British Academy and the Royal Society and aim to attract the most promising early-career post-doctoral researchers from overseas in the fields of the humanities, the natural, physical and social sciences.
The Fellowships enable researchers to work for two years at a UK research institution with the aim of fostering long-term international collaborations. Newton Fellows will receive an allowance of £24,000 to cover subsistence and up to £8,000 to cover research expenses in each year of the Fellowship. A one-off relocation allowance of up to £2,000 is also available. In addition, Newton Fellows may be eligible for follow-up funding of up to £6,000 per annum for up to 10 years following completion of the Fellowship to support activities which will help build long-term links with the UK. The scheme is open to post-doctoral (and equivalent) early-career researchers working outside the UK who do not hold UK citizenship.
Applications are to be made via the Royal Society’s online application system which is available at https://e-gap.royalsociety.org/
The closing date for applications is Wednesday 10 April 2013. Further details are available from the Newton International Fellowships website: http://www.newtonfellowships.org