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Poetry Lal Singh Dil

Discussion in 'Punjab, Punjabi, Punjabiyat' started by Admin Singh, Oct 5, 2009.

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  1. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    SAMRALA: The poet of protest, of the people, of the deprived masses who spent the last years of his life exactly in conditions against which he fought all his life breathes no more.

    Lal Singh Dil died on August 14 evening after remaining ill for a few days. As India celebrates the corporate success and nuclear deal with the US on August 15 afternoon, Dil was being cremated in Samrala where he spent the few last years selling tea by the road side.

    A few days earlier, the poet was found unconscious in his dingy room at Balmiki Mohalla when a team of TV journalists arrived to film a documentary on his contribution to the revolutionist poetry in Punjab. He was suffering from high fever and rushed to the Civil Hospital in Samrala. Later, he was referred to the DMCH in Ludhiana. "But I can't afford it," he had protested.
    A recipient of several awards, the poet has been living a life in penury for the past few years. Dil refused to accept any financial help.

    Dil, in his own words

    The atmosphere in school was not very congenial. I was kept away from sports and cultural activities. I belonged to a caste which evoked hatred in both teachers and students.

    I never won a prize for cleanliness, though I would go to school on inspection day after scrubbing my face hard with laundry soap and tucking my kurta neatly into my khaki shorts. Never did I, or any other boy from a lower caste, get a chance to lead the prayers at the morning assembly.

    I was very keen to go to college, though everyone was against it. What use would it be to send a chamar boy to college? The money-lender refused to give money for my admission fees. But my mother was determined to send me to college. She sold her ear-rings, paid my fees and even bought me a bicycle. I started attending classes.

    Before that, my experience of college had been very different from that of the school. I found that the professors teaching me English, Punjabi and economics treated me just as they did anyone else.

    My poems made me many friends; Harjit Mangat was one of them. He was very attached to me but would often run me down. But when Preetlarhi, a leading literary Punjabi journal of those times, published my poem, he was silenced.

    In Bahilolpur, I had to read a lot of rubbish. The Russians had found a fine way of selling their scrap paper to Indian buyers. But I kept writing poetry and became active at literary meetings.

    News of Naxalbari spread like wildfire. I was working as a daily-wage labourer then. Carrying loads up and down the stairs, I felt strangely energised. It was like a great opportunity. What I had not been able to go and do in Vietnam, I would achieve here…
     
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  3. Admin Singh

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    Naxalite Poet Lal Singh Dil: A Drawing and a Poem

    [​IMG]

    when the labourer woman
    roasts her heart on the tawa
    the moon laughs from behind the tree
    the father amuses the younger one
    making music with bowl and plate
    the older one tinkles the bells
    tied to his waist
    and he dances
    these songs do not die
    nor either the dance…
    Lal Singh Dil


    Drawing Pastel and Ink on Hand Made Paper by Amitabh Mitra
     
  4. Admin Singh

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    Dil was heart of Punjabi poetry
    Voice of the poor, he was soft yet powerful


    Ludhiana, August 15: As 63-year-old Lal Singh Dil breathed his last at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital last night after a brief hospitalisation, an era of revolutionary Punjabi poetry ended.

    With him, Punjabi poetry lost one of its brightest gems. Born and brought up in Samrala, Dil was the voice of the poorest of the poor.

    Having faced the worst forms of oppression in name of casteism, Dil found poetry an outlet of his pain.

    His four works, Naglok, Bahut Sare Suraj, Sathar and Satluj Dee Hawa, are regarded as Punjabi classics.

    Sarod Sudip, a well-known Punjabi poet and a close friend of Dil, says, "He was the most honest amongst all Punjabi poets. We all have egos but he was a man who was very humble. His elevated the level of Punjabi poetry."

    Sudip remembers, "Each time we had a poetic gathering, we prayed that Dil should not participate as his renditions would make all other works look little. Even in his anger, he had softness. Though he was a contemporary of Paash and both vented their anger against oppression, when Dil wrote, the words hit more, for he was polite, yet firm."

    Dr Sutinder Singh Noor, well-known Punjabi critic, says, "Dil was a soft poet. His anger would never harm others but motivate to bring about the needed social change. There are some of his poems in which he talks of violence, but as a critic and having read most of Dil's works, I would say that part is miniscule. Dil is a part of the great Punjabi poetry brigade comprising Paash, Harbhajan Halwarvi, Surjit Patar and Amitoj."

    All those who met Dil during their lifetimes could never get over his charm, as Nirupama Dutt, a poet and journalist, recalls, "I remember translating two of Dil's short poems way back in 1979 for a magazine called 'Springthunder'. Amarjit Chandan, who is Dil's friend and fan, gave me this task. I had not met Dil, as at that time he was underground for being an active naxalite. And finally in 1993, I got a chance to spend some time with him when I offered him and Sarod Sudip lift from Jalandhar to Samrala. I had never seen a man so very chivalrous and charming as Dil. He was honest to the core, bereft of dirty politics, and very sensitive."

    Dutt adds, "In April this year, we did a musical on one of his poems."
     
  5. Admin Singh

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    In Memory of the poet Lal Singh Dil

    Motherland

    Does love have any reason to be?
    Does the fragrance of flowers have any roots?
    Truth may, or may not have an intent
    But falsity is not without one
    It is not because of your azure skies
    Nor because of the blue waters
    Even if these were deep gray
    Like the color of my old mom’s hair
    Even then I would have loved you
    These treasure trove of riches
    Are not meant for me
    Surely not.
    Love has no reason to be
    Falsity is not without intent
    The snakes that slither
    Around the treasure trove of your riches
    Sing paeans
    And proclaim you
    “The Golden Bird”*


    * The reference is to ancient India termed as a “Golden Bird” because of its perceived riches.
     

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