Punjab Research Group

A tribute to the scholar par excellence Dr. Darshan Singh Tatla by Prof. Pritam Singh.

Posted in News/Information by rsmaan on July 17, 2021

Obituary: Dr. Darshan Tatla

Posted in News/Information by rsmaan on July 6, 2021

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It is with a very heavy heart that I share the sad news that Dr. Darshan Tatla passed away on the morning of 4th July 2021 in Birmingham.

If I had to name one person whose thoughts, feelings, dreams, excitements and disappointments were all linked to Punjab Studies, it was Darshan. With the exception of economics, there is no field of Punjab Studies – politics, history, literature, religion, diaspora etc., etc. – to which he did not make a contribution. He was a walking encyclopedia on the subject. No one studying the Punjab in any corner of the world escaped his attention. He was a great scholar, and a saintly man with a smile on his face even in adversity. His health had not been good for over two decades, but it deteriorated sharply in the last few months. He will be missed very, very sorely.

The members of the Punjab Research Group (PRG) had decided before the outbreak of Covid-19 to honour him with a Lifetime Achievement award for his distinguished contributions. We had hoped to present this award to him in person at one of the PRG conferences once the pandemic was over and he had recovered. This award will now, unfortunately, have to be awarded posthumously.

Darshan’s vision was the prime mover behind the founding of the PRG in April 1984. From its beginnings as a small group of like-minded PhD students in April 1984, the PRG has expanded and become the most well-respected regional study group from South Asia, where established scholars as well as young researchers come together to share their research in a mutually supportive research environment. The PRG’s work contributed to the organisation of the First International Conference on Punjabi Identity in 1994 at Coventry University, at which the first issue of the International Journal of Punjab Studies was also launched. The journal has continued since (as the Journal of Punjab Studies and more recently as the Journal of Sikh and Punjab Studies). The papers presented at the conference were brought together in a book; Punjabi Identity in a Global Context edited by Pritam Singh and Shinder Thandi and published by Oxford University Press in 1999. In 2016, the PRG launched the Best Doctoral Student Presentation Award, consisting of a cash award as well as a certificate, which is given to a doctoral student whose paper is judged to be the best presented at the PRG conference. To date, seven such awards have been given. The PRG will forever remain as a memorial to Darshan’s contribution to its founding and subsequent multi-dimensional development in the early years.

Prof. Pritam Singh
Director, Punjab Research Group

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