Punjab Research Group

The Memoirs and Poems of Lal Singh Dil

Posted in Book reviews by Pippa on February 25, 2013

lal singhA man forever on the margins Reviewed by Aruti Nayar

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

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Travel grants for research in India – deadline 31 March 2013

Posted in Funding opportunities by gsjandu on February 21, 2013

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

 Sheila Christie

Office Manager

ICOMOS-UK

70 Cowcross Street

London EC1M 6EJ

Monday to Thursday 9.30am to 1pm

020 7566 0031

www.icomos-uk.org

Call for book proposals for a new series: Language, Migration and Identity

Posted in News/Information by Pippa on February 15, 2013

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, c.scaife@peterlang.com.

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Beyond Belief ‘Women in Sikhism’

Posted in sikhs by Pippa on February 14, 2013

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

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Newton International Fellowships

Posted in Funding opportunities, Research Fellowships by Pippa on February 12, 2013

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

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Anand Patwardhan’s Portraits of India

Posted in Events, Film by Pippa on February 12, 2013

jai bhim comradeThe work of India’s foremost film essayist
23 – 25 February 2013
Legendary film maker Anand Patwardhan brings a cinematic eye to pressing issues facing India and the world today. Fiercely independent and never afraid to take on the censors, he writes and edits passionate, probing, timely and timeless films.

To open three days of introduced screenings and discussion we will show the award-winning film, Jai Bhim Comrade. A special event to follow will feature Anand Patwardhan in conversation with poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson.

“Legendary director Anand Patwardhan’s epic doc about dalit people is a massive, musical, magnificent, masterpiece” – Mark Cousins on Jai Bhim Comrade

“…a tour de force, beautifully shot and often darkly funny…” – Duncan Campbell on War and Peace in The Guardian

Further details: http://www.bfimessages.org.uk/t/ViewEmail/y/4C53B01AE72E9A13/70E856DF948D6100419C69E1CEBE89F9

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Cfp: Global Studies Conference

Posted in Conferences by Pippa on February 12, 2013

The 2013 Global Studies Conference, held at the India International Center in conjunction with Ambedkar University, will feature sessions on a breadth of topics relevant to Global Studies. Proposals for paper presentations, workshops, roundtables or colloquia are invited, addressing global studies through one of the following themes:

*Economy and Trade
*Politics, Power and Institutions
*Society and Culture
*Resources and Environment

The upcoming deadline for proposal submissions is 19 March 2013. Please visit our website for more information on submitting your proposal, future deadlines, and registering for the conference.

Presenters have the option to submit completed papers to The Global Studies Journal. If you are unable to attend the conference in person, virtual registrations include the option to submit a video presentation, and/or submission to the one of the journals for peer review and possible publication, as well as subscriber access to the journals.

New Delhi and the Global Studies Conference

Entering its sixth year, the Global Studies Conference meets annually to discuss the dynamics of globalization in today’s world. The Global Studies Conference serves as an open forum for exploring globalization from many perspectives. As the center of one of the emerging BRICS economies, New Delhi is a relevant and ideal location to discuss India’s role in globalization.

Further details: http://00ed389.netsolhost.com/cmngnd/vo/globalstudies2013b.html

Journal of Punjab Studies Volume 19, no 2

Posted in Academic Journals by Pippa on February 12, 2013

The latest issue of the Journal of Punjab Studies is now uploaded at the following link: http://www.global.ucsb.edu/punjab/journal/v19_2/index.html

The issues includes the following articles:

Pritam Singh    Globalisation and Punjabi Identity: Resistance, Relocation and Reinvention (Yet Again!)
Tahir Kamran    Urdu Migrant Literati and Lahore’s Culture
Ilyas Chattha    Economic Change and Community Relations in Lahore Before Partition
Akhtar Hussain Sandhu    Sikh Failure on the Partition of Punjab 1947
Rana Nayar    The Novel as a Site for Cultural Memory: Guridal Singh’s Parsa
Ashutosh Kumar    2012 Assembly Elections in Punjab: Ascendance of a State Level Party

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