Punjab Research Group

The heart of Punjab – book reviews

Posted in Book reviews, New Publications by Pippa on July 5, 2009

Reviews of an authentic account of a Punjabi village and the first sizeable document about the historical and revolutionary Sikh National College

By heart of Punjab I do not mean Lahore, the terribly enlarged heart of Punjab. I mean a “Punjabi village” which by its community life and tradition, language and idiom — including a farmers and craftsman’s working life, vocabulary and folklore — represents the heart of Punjab.

Dr. Shamsher Singh Babra is a renowned economist, has been a Divisional Head at the World Bank, a visiting fellow at Oxford, a consultant at the UNO and has appeared as an expert at the British House of Lords. His Punjabi book, Vichchoray da Dagh, is about Chotian Galotian, his native village in Sialkot at Gujranwala-Sialkot district border where he lived until his graduation from Sikh National College Lahore 1947. Unblossomed Buds, his other book in English, is the first sizeable document about the historical and revolutionary Sikh National College. It is also the key to Vichchoray da Dagh, which is arguably the best book written about a Punjabi village with the ability to thrill and move its readers to tears.

The Punjabi village — as my generation born in the nineteen thirties, or the author’s, born in the twenties knew it — is almost dead now. Punjabi village died without anyone writing its obituary or, as in this case, its elegy. It is a historical document because, with an economist’s discipline, the distinguished doctor has collected data from fellow villagers all over the world.


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