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Sunday, July 18, 1999
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Chakras of life force
Review by M.L. Sharma
Brilliant Light by Madabusi Subramaniam. Fusion Books, New Delhi. Pages 160. Rs 195.

Climbing the Blue Mountains by Eknath Easwaran. Penguin Books, New Delhi. Pages 175. Rs 250.

Wafting aroma of tart truth
Review by Darshan Singh Maini
Playing with Pebbles by Surinder Singh. Published by author. Pages 124. Rs 75.

Teenage stuff that adults can enjoy
Review by J.N. Puri
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Kimberly Kirberge. Health Communications Inc, Deerfield Beach, Florida, USA. Pages 370. $ 12.95.

50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence
50 years on indian independence
Write View
by Randeep Wadehra
Punjabi literature
by Jaspal Singh



Chakras of life force
by M.L. Sharma

Brilliant Light by Madabusi Subramaniam. Fusion Books, New Delhi. Pages 160. Rs 195.

“Brilliant Light”, a companian volume to “Unveiling the Secrets of Reiki”, is essentially an “inside book” and lifts the veil from the hidden secrets of initiation and unravels the mysterious factors connected with “reiki” initiations like attunements and visualisation of symbols.

The author describes reiki as an alchemy which transmutes emotions into energy. “Reiki is a system of divine grace....an embodiment of wisdom and energy of consciousness,” he says and adds, “reiki brings us in contact with the reality within ourselves, enabling us to experience the final beauty.”

There are six centres called “chakras” — namely, root chakra, sacral chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, brow chakra and crown chakra. It is the awakening of energy in these “chakras” which improves the quality of physical, mental and spiritual life. Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese world implying spiritual strength as well as life force or “chi”. It was founded by Dr Mico Usui.

The author says initiation is a ritual resulting in the descent of divine energy, called “shakipaat”. It involves symbols which are “written” through the pranic flow on cerebro-spinal system of the initiate by the grandmaster. There are specific deities corresponding to the five element chakras along with the third eye and the crown chakras. The author has given photographs of more than 80 symbols in geometrical forms as well as in the Japanese script, which are used in the initiation process. He has provided details concerning attunements and other processes for the first, second and master level reiki initiations.

According to him, symbolic forms are the key to higher meditation approach and help in transcending outer limitations and gaining inner freedom and contentment, besides spiritual delight.

Subramaniam shares with the readers his own spiritual experience when he had a vision of a great Tibetan mystic at a sidhashram in Tibet. “A flash of lightning appeared on my forehead. My vision expanded and I saw a golden ring so brilliant. I felt being led by a young radiant man into a cave. I was told to sit there and wait. I sat with eyes closed. I saw a mystic. He was placing his palm on my head. Dazzling light appeared at my crown (chakra).”

This Tibetan mystic, in fact, revealed him the highest reiki secrets and it is from this revelation he got inspiration and insight to write this book, essentially a manual for reiki grandmaster.

Regarding karuna reiki, he says, this system was developed by William L Rond and it is very powerful in healing and helping others because it “opens you to work more closely” with all enlightened ones, physically present or in a spirit form as “karuna” or compassion is their motivating force.

In the chapter “Transcendence” the author reveals the secret of transcending time. The “yantra” (diagram) associated with the mantra “kareem” should be drawn on one’s own crown chakra horizontally as it helps in transcending the narrow walls of time. He says, “Time is a living feel of conscious energy in its expression of cosmic intelligence. It returns everything to the wholeness and light.... if you give up attachment to the events of time you go beyond time... Timelessness is pure consciousness.”


Climbing the Blue Mountains by Eknath Easwaran. Penguin Books, New Delhi. Pages 175. Rs 250.

“Climbing the Blue Mountains” is the most graphic portrayal of a spritual odyssey in which Eknath Easwaran, a Keralite, on the analogy of the blue mountains in his native state, describes the modes and methods of sadhna and the hardships one encounters on the spiritual path as in tedious climbing of mountains.

“There is nothing like meditation on earth,” he says. “A life based on meditation on the lord of love within penetrates far beyond the multiplicity of existence and reality,where dwell infinite truths, joy and beauty,” he adds. The journey is described in detail and in an inspiring way.

He suggests that a room should be set aside exclusively for meditation and spiritual exercises. Only half an hour in the morning should be devoted to meditation and if one wants to increase time one should devote only half an hour in the evening.

One should sit in a straight-backed chair or on the floor and should close eyes and go slowly through an inspirational passage from any sacred literature. While silently reciting the passage one should avoid association of ideas nor reflect on the meaning of the words. He should only concentrate on the actual words and not the meaning.

In a telling sentence he declares: “The secret of meditation is simple: you become what you meditate.”

He is emphatic that one should not change mantras and restrict to the specific mantras finally selected and it should be repeated silently, say, while walking, waiting or washing dishes. He is again emphatic when he says: “I can assure you that the mantram will come to your rescue in every one of these jungle encounters. When you can repeat it deep in the unconscious, the mantram releases immense inner resources.”

Easwaran says spiritual life does not imply leaving society behind; it implies extending a “long arm to society” and helping it to go forward.

The book is a useful effort to help spiritual aspirants. It is full of inspiring quotations.Top


Wafting aroma of tart truth
by Darshan Singh Maini

Playing with Pebbles by Surinder Singh. Published by author. Pages 124. Rs 75.

THE little volume of wit, wisdom and vision is a product of his late muses, and carries the mark of authenticity. Laced with metaphors and matching illustrations and couplets in Urdu, this joint handiwork of Justice Surinder Singh (retd) and R.D. Sharma “Taseer” bids fair to become soon a manual for all seasons. These 101 aphorisms show how the aphorist in labour subsumes the poet, the thinker and the man.

I understand, these pebbles, fresh and brook-washed, were the handiwork of a mind lately in quest of the ruminous and the ineffable. And in a manner, one could describe them as pearls that had been gathering beauty and form in the deeps of the writer’s soul. Hence that characteristic and dialectical blend of reality and romance, insight and epiphany. It is thus that the sacred and the profane meet on the ground of our being and becoming.

To put it differently, these inspired utterances in a proverbial vein comprehend a whole range of experiences from the dark and the light to the near and the far. And such utterances come from a pressure on the pulse, and reach down to the grid of those energies that sustain man’s spirit and senses, and provide the milk of moral life. They help illumine the voyage of pilgrim minds in the midst of life’s endless ambiguities and ironies.

Though pain and suffering are the very ground of our existence, it is the spirit of man that redeems him, or brings him close to nirvana. Thus I find a note of strenuous optimism in these aphorisms which, I trust, are likely to linger in the ears of the mind, and resonate even when the song is done.

There is always a time or a moment for an idea or ideas whose condition has achieved “criticality”, to use a nuclear physics concept. Such thoughts keep maturing in the vats of one’s consciousness or cellars till they give off the needed aroma. In sum, they have achieved the age of vision. The arrival denotes a state of peace and restfulness after the long journey is about to end, and we are poised “to take the ferry”.

Let me, for a moment, turn to the insightful title, “Playing with Pebbles”. The running and constitutive metaphor of “play” suggests strongly the elements of the exercise in progress — the elements of innocence, wonder, sensuous delights, the spirit of abandon and sporti- veness.

It may be helpful to remember that mystic thought and poetry often turn round this axis. For “the play” suggests multiple connotations — from God’s lila to Krishna’s gopis and dalliance — and to the basic varieties and concerns of life that our period of childhood initiates, and sustains in the long voyage of life.

If the title is indicative of the writer’s passage through ”ordeals of consciousness”, the consummated sayings and couplets do show a steady progress from “Readiness is all” (a phrase from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”) to “Ripeness is all” from “King Lear”, one of the world’s supreme tragedies of suffering and redemption.

The fact that the poet called “Besabar” (the impatient) has graduated to a new nom de plume, “Sadak” (a true faithful) lately shows the dynamics of his spiritual arrival. Gone is the diurnal distress, strife, fretting; instead, we find in this change a state of peace and restfulness even perhaps of stillness. And yet, he is deeply immersed in the business and traffic of life.

Such a paradox is possible only when the spirit in labour is full of world-pain, pity and compassion. The two valumes of verse in Urdu, “Valvaley” and “Aur Valvaley”, and the earlier volume in English entitled “At thy feet” are, therefore, to be taken as outpourings of a heart hungering for a touch of grace, even as it celebrates both the sacred and the profane.

Since each of these 101 epigrams, illumined by couplets in Urdu, can offer many a variation to the responding imagination, it may be fruitful to ponder one saying each day to savour in full the aroma of these sweet and tart truths.Top


Teenage stuff that adults can enjoy
by J.N. Puri

Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Kimberly Kirberge. Health Communications Inc, Deerfield Beach, Florida, USA. Pages 370. $ 12.95.

THIS book is a well-planned and well thought-out compilation of 101 stories of life, love and learning and it is a labour of love by the New York Times’s best-selling authors.

Apart from the three editor-authors, there are as many as 66 writers of well-known stories and not so well-known authors who could not be located. Most of the stories have been taken from books or magazines which have been widely read. Again, many stories and poems are by those who specialise in working with teenagers.

It took two years to edit and complete this volume. The joy in creating this book has been the opportunity which the three authors had to work with hundreds of teenagers and adults. As stated in the book, more than 1500 individuals had submitted their stories, poems and other pieces but even the best pieces could not be included in this volume merely because they did not fit into the overall format.

The reader will find, apart from 101 stories of life, love and learning, quotes from celebrated thinkers, writers and scholars as also a thoughtful collection of cartoons.

One is surprised to find that apart from the usual acknowledgement and introduction, there are as many as seven appendices though not titled as such, and each has different purpose. Their titles excite interest. The creaters of “More chicken soup” have invited the readers, particularly teenagers, to send stories and poems for inclusion in the next book to be titled “The Chicken Soup for the Soul Letters”.

In one chapter “Supporting teenagers” it has been stated that three organisations have been selected for receiving a share of the profits generated from the sale of this book. These NGOs hail from California and they cater to teenagers in the USA, Canada, Australia and Taiwan.

In three other chapters the three authors introduce themselves in detail so that young readers could relate themselves easily and respond in producing more volumes.

In the last but one chapter there are brief sketches of all other authors, so that these contributors too become familiar to readers.

Some books are meant for teaching, some for preaching and a few for entertaining. Hopefully this book belongs to the rare category which not only teaches and preaches but also entertains. It is a “three in one” volume.Top

Write View by Randeep Wadehra

A date with Titans of yesterday
by Randeep Wadehra

Down Memory Lane by Hiro Shroff. Eeshwar, Mumbai. Pages 298. Rs 200.

WALKING down memory lane is seldom an entirely pleasant exercise. The lane may be strewn with rose petals, but an occasional hidden thorn does cause an element of pain. More appropriately, the whole exercise is like watching a replay of the past in a kaleidoscopic pattern. Hues are varied, bright, dull, dazzling, depressing. Memories... sweet, sad, bitter, amusing. Memories to cherish, memories to forget.

How much can an individual remember? A person who has lived a full life usually has variegated experiences which leave a permanent imprint on one’s mind.

This book is a medley of recollections by people from different walks of life, as narrated to Hiro Shroff, who is an anecdotist par excellence. Nevertheless, here he is playing the role of an oral historian. One was aware that oral history is an ancient Indian tradition, but that it has become a specialised field of activity is something new. Well, one lives and learns!

Old timers do not need any reminder of Shroff’s credentials. Born in 1926, he was a PTI correspondent for years, the first bureau chief of UNI in Mumbai, personal secretary-cum-PRO of the redoubtable Rukmini Devi Arundale, the then head of Kalakshetra in Chennai. Married to a Chinese and having lived a kinetic life, Shroff is a cosmopolitan to the core. Yet, his yearnings for the innocent days of yore bring out the refugee child from a village near Karachi.

As a reporter he covered Pakistan, Afghanistan, West Asia and China when a fresh chapter in world history was being written. He has interviewed such demi-gods as Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Nehru, Sukarno, Ho Chi Minh, Ayub Khan and Norodom Sihanouk. So also kings of various countries. Perhaps his coup was in the form of an interview with Pope Paul VI.

Through his immensely popular “Down memory lane” column, not only did he take the present generation of readers to the events, sounds and sights of more than half a century ago, but also provided keen insights into the persona of different celebrities from political, social and other fields. The details are vivid and thought provoking. The present book is a compilation of all those articles and interviews.

What would your reaction be if you found yourself face to face with a person in the buff, especially when the person was as intimidating as VK Krishna Menon, who was fastidious about dress and appearance? Soon after the Bandung conference in the mid-forties Menon had gone to Peking as Nehru’s envoy to meet Mao. Shroff followed him.

Krishna Menon’s addiction to tea is legendary. One afternoon he was chatting with Menon in the latter’s hotel room over a cup of tea.Suddenly Menon stripped and went to take a shower. He continued conversing with the journalist from the bathroom. Realising that he had left some tea in his cup, Menon strolled out of the shower, dripping, finished the tea, and resumed his bath-cum-chat!

The internationally noted photographer Jitendra Arya recalls that shooting JRD Tata was akin to military drill. The plug points had to be checked, angles determined, etc. Would you believe it that the man who played such a prominent role in modernising Indian industry felt “very nervous” and “intrigued” by Arya’s cameras, gadgetry and lighting equipment?

Talking of Amitabh Bachchan, Arya recalls that when he first took his pictures he did not think much of him and accordingly gave Bachchan a treatment that the great actor never forgot. Years later, on achieving stardom Amitabh refused to give time to Arya and reminded him of the shabby treatment meted out to him by the photographer. Moral: Never scoff at an underdog, he might turn out to be a superstar some day!

The 1950 Nehru-Liaquat pact facilitated an exchange of journalists between India and Pakistan. Though a Sindhi Hindu, Hiro Shroff’s surname gave him a Parsi “identity” that stood him in good stead in Pakistan. While having tea at Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan’s residence the latter praised the Indian government for sending a Parsi as the press correspondent and joked, “This makes you the father-in-law of Pakistan,” as Jinnah’s wife, Ruttee, was a Parsi.

Liaquat prided himself on his quick wit, but India’s High Commissioner in those days, Sir Sita Ram, was better at repartee. When the Nizam of Hyderabad’s Sadr-ai-Riyasat, Laiq Ali, escaped to Pakistan after the “police action” Liaquat introduced Liaq to Sir Sita Ram remarking, “Your excellency, may I introduce to you Mir Laiq Ali, who, until the other day, was your prisoner.” The Indian envoy quipped, “Mr Prime Minister, he is your prisoner now.”

At Karachi, Shroff once had to escort Mridula Sarabhai to Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s residence. She placed before the Frontier Gandhi a snuff box and a framed photograph of young Sanjay and Rajiv Gandhi. Ghaffar wept unabashedly and remarked that India had thrown him to the wolves in Pakistan. Though the great Pathan accepted the photograph, he returned the snuff box.

Quite early Shroff had discovered that rewriting history is not a malady peculiar to the saffron brigade. While on board the INS Delhi (formerly, HMIS New Delhi, not to be confused with the latest destroyer INS Delhi commissioned in 1999), he came across a publication entitled: “INS Delhi, 1948-1978”. It mentioned that Indira Gandhi was the first Indian lady to travel on board that ship en route to Jakarta on June 2, 1950. But Shroff recalls that in fact Maniben, daughter of Sardar Patel, is the rightful claimant to that “honour” because she had travelled on the same ship in April, 1950, from Bombay to Cochin. Quarrelling over trifles? Right!

While travelling from Cochin to Jakarta in 1950 on the INS Delhi, Nehru was accompanied by Indira and her two sons Rajiv and Sanjay. On board was Lt Jadav Chatterji, who later on retired as a Commodore. He recalls in the book that one day while he was in the wardroom he saw two small heads peering at him from the quarterdeck above. They threw small missiles at him. Irritated, the subaltern chased them and shook one of them by the scruff. It was then that he noticed Nehru standing there watching the whole episode and smiling.

During his visit to Indo-China Nehru was visiting certain monuments. He expressed a desire to climb a hillock to enter a particular monument. But that country’s security men turned down his request. He started looking intently up the hillock. When he sensed that the security had relaxed a bit he dashed forward and ran up the step to the monument, leaving the security men wide-mouthed.

You must have heard of the legendary Piloo Mody who one day entered Parliament with a placard around his neck that read, “I am a CIA agent.” His brother Russi Modi is no less famous. But they had another brother named Kali Modi who brought the Diners Club into India. Their father, Sir Homi Mody had a sharp brain and ready wit.

After independence, Nehru wrote to him thus, “Homi, you have served the British well and you have been knighted but now we have become independent and you must help me. We need you in the new Parliament, in the Lok Sabha, because things are going to be tense and tempers will fray and there will be all kinds of ugly scenes. You, with your wit, can defuse everything and you can help me a lot”.

Homi was reluctant, as he was busy with several activities. When Nehru persisted and emphasised the importance of his wit Homi replied, “Panditji, if you need only my ‘wit’, why don’t you take my three sons; any one of my three sons?” When Nehru asked if any of his sons had Homi’s wit the latter quipped, “Oh yes. One is a Dim Wit, the other is Nit Wit and the third one is a Half Wit. Take your choice.”

Hiro Shroff talks lovingly of the quaint customs of the pre-partition Sindh, the glimpses of which he occasionally gets in Ulhasnagar a predominatly Sindhi suburb of Mumbai. But I like the one about the Chinese custom wherein the newly wed couple’s parents pay the taxi fares of all the guests invited to the wedding!

Shroff recalls that journalists in his time were by and large true to their profession. Instead of hankering after give-aways and other “perks”, they concentrated on ferreting out news stories. They would be happy if they were able to “satisfy” their boss by being the first with a “scoop” rather than angle for what was not rightfully theirs. The “implements” at their disposal too were simple — primitive by today’s hi-tech standards — yet the professional standards were high. Perhaps it had something to do with the value system prevalent in those days. The newspaper managements too did not interfere as they do now.

After the formation of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah hired the renowned journalist Pothen Joseph, a Malayali Christian, as editor of the Muslim League’s Dawn newspaper, much to the chagrin of the fundamentalists “PJ” was given a free hand as editor. Once, in one of his editorials PJ praised Mahatma Gandhi as a result of which he received threatening letters. When he brought this to Jinnah’s attention the great man wrote the remark, “Ignore it !” The importance of free press was recognised by Jinnah. I am sure Najam Sethi must be envying PJ, and wishing that the Quaid-e-Azam were alive today.

One wonders if the half a dozen or so bloody confrontations between India and Pakistan would have been avoided if the subcontinent’s press were absolutely free from eternal pressures and interference. At least this part of the world would have been a far more pleasant place to live in. Perhaps, if wishes were horses ....

You must have heard many anecdotes about Gandhi. But here is one that is delightfully at variance with his popular image. He was passing through Rawalpindi. It was his day of silence. Shroff was a mere boy then. He along with his father went to the local railway station to have the Mahatma’s darshan like many others.

Inside the compartment Shroff jingled the coins in his pocket. Gandhi promptly seized all the coins and asked through a written query how far the boy lived from the station and what would be the tonga fare. Shroff replied that it would be six pice. Carefully, the Mahatma counted out six pice, handed them to Shroff and pocketed the rest! Gandhi as penny pincher? Hardly, it was one of his techniques of collecting funds for running his ashram, and sustaining the freedom movement.

He could be despotic too. Dojay, son of Pothen Joseph, recounts an incident.

When the Quit India resolution was to be moved Nehru had certain reservations. Mahatma Gandhi told KM Munshi to tell Nehru that if on the next day — when the Quit India resolution was to be moved — he did not support it, Nehru’s political career would be zero in India. Well, well, well! The old man certainly knew how to bring his blue-eyed chela in line if the latter chose to be recalcitrant. The apostle of nonviolence did not hesitate to get tough and crack the whip if the situation so demanded. His clashes with Kasturba are the other examples of this .

Nostalgia is a powerful medium through which one can relieve one’s past. However, it can unleash powerful emotions and impulses that a novice might find impossible to handle. We all are aware that life is seldom sedate. Various contrasting experiences weave a mosaic that one can neither shed completely, nor would one like to claim as entirely one’s own. They are fortunate who can focus on the pleasant and productive sides of their past lives, rejecting the unappetising parts. Hiro Shroff is one of them. His own reminiscences are remarkably free of rancour and those who have shared their experiences with him too have followed suit. Only a seasoned journalist who has seen life in all its shades and experienced its different nuances can achieve the ease and finesse that he depicts while dealing with the various subjects.

This book gives us glimpses of the mental make-up of such varied personalities as mountaineers like Gyan Singh, Tenzing, Hillary and Bachendri Pal, political stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi, Acharya Kripalani, C. Rajagopalachari, etc., of ordinary mortals like that, the Muslim Sindhi village bumpkin who despite his poverty was happy with the world thus putting us, the participants in the perennial rat race, to shame.

There are others, the arrogant and the humble, the crafty and the naive, the lofty and the debased, the flamboyant and the simple, who have been portrayed in this excellent book of memoirs.


Presidents of India by A B Kohli. Reliance Publishing House. New Delhi. Pages ix+167. Rs 225.

Kohli begins this book with the advent of India’s freedom. Describes the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly, the first general election, etc. In the second chapter he depicts how the institution of President of India was formally brought into being. The duties and responsibilities of the President and the Vice President as enshrined in our Constitution too have been briefly expounded.

Thereafter the author has highlighted the tenure of all the 12 Presidents from Rajendra Prasad to KR Narayanan. He has also given their brief biographical account. It is a handy book for reference purposes. The language is simple enough even for school students to understand. The latter especially will find it quite useful for their quiz and general knowledge contests.Top

Punjabi literature by Jaspal Singh

Propped up by borrowed theories

literary criticism in Punjabi has passed through many phases in this century. Old critics like Maula Baksh Kushta and Bawa Budh Singh were mainly concerned with the biographical details of the writers. At places they also tried to interpret literary works though in a superficial manner. Bawa Budh Singh's main inspiration was Hudson's "An Introduction to the Study of Literature”.

Prof Puran Singh added an idealistic dimension to literary interpretation which was later on developed by Principal Teja Singh. He commented on the literary works of Bhai Vir Singh, Dhani Ram Chatrik, Lala Kirpa Sagar and younger poets like Prof Mohan Singh and Amrita Pritam.

Teja Singh was a towering literary figure of his time. He encouraged young writers to keep on writing and help the Punjabi language acquire a respectable literary corpus. His critical ideas were collected in "Sahit Darshan".

Dr Mohan Singh Diwana, one of the most erudite — and also arrogant — scholars of Punjabi did some solid work in this field. But he could not be popular because of his individualistic traits.

Actually, systematic literary evaluation and interpretation in Punjabi starts only with Sant Singh Sekhon. Haribhajan Singh Bhatia from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, has brought out an impressive collection of essays in criticism by many well-known Punjabi writers dominating the literary scene in the second half of the 20th century.

“Veehvin Sadi di Punjabi Alochana — Sambaad te Mulankan" (Publication Bureau, GNDU) is an authentic survey of the critical ideas of writers like Sant Singh Sekhon, Haribhajan Singh, Karanjit Singh, Tarlok Kanwar, Gurbaksh Frank, Ravinder Ravi, T.R. Vinod, Raghbir Sirjana, Sutinder Noor, Joginder Rahi, Gurcharan Arshi, Surjit Bhatti, Tejwant Gill and a few others.

A perusal of these essays proves that Sekhon's “Sahitiarth” still remains one of the most fundamental treatises on literary criticism in Punjabi. This book introduced the Marxist mode of interpretation to Punjabi readers and researchers in a systematic manner.

Drawing mainly on Christopher Cauldwell's "Illusion and Reality", a methodology based on certain literary principles was introduced in Punjabi. Sekhon's ideas also show an affinity with the critical ideas of T.S. Eliot and I.A Richard.

Dr Haribhajan Singh went beyond Sekhon and introduced Formalism and Structuralism in Punjabi literary studies. "Sahit Shastar", "Sahit te Sidhant", "Rachna Saranchna", "Rupki" and "Sistami" are some of his seminal works. Haribhajan Singh has been influenced by Russian Formalists and French Structuralists.

Karanjit Singh did some commendable work in the field of Punjabi folklore. His "Punjab di Lokdhara te Punjabi Jeevan" is an important contribution in the field of folkloristics. Nineteenth century Russian literary giants like Pushkin, Tolstoy and Dostoevski and others influenced his literary perceptions. He adds a Marxist angle to his critical ideas and makes use of the dialectical method in literary interpretation.

Tarlok Kanwar, one of the most well-read Punjabi critics, was mainly responsible for introducing discourse analysis and semiotics to Punjabi readers. His "Path te Parsang", "Sanchar/Sabhyachar", "Thapana/Uthapana" "Vachan/Parvachan", etc. were hotly discussed in literary circles. In the present paper, however, "Punjabi Samikhia de Navin Paripekh", he gives a traditional account of the present critical scene in Punjabi.

Gurbaksh Singh Frank uses the Marxist methodology in a dynamic manner, liberating it from ideological dogmatism. The debate on Marxism and Structuralism initiated by him is very thought provoking

Ravinder Singh Ravi was one of the most promising literary critics of Punjabi who sacrificed his life for his ideas at the height of terrorism in Punjab. He was the first critic to introduce the Punjabi reader to "new criticism", a school of literary criticism that flourished in America in the fifties. Ideas of scholars like Ransom, Brooks, Frye, Chase, Woodhouse and so on were brought within the grasp of Punjabi readers. He used both historical and structural methods to understand and interpret literary creations.

T.R. Vinod is a popular literary critic of Punjabi. His field of study is Punjabi fiction, particularly Punjabi short story. He is aware of the Indian literary tradition as well. He has evolved a method that takes into account the social content, structural tension and narrative technique in the interpretation of literary texts.

Raghbir Sirjana has played a very important role in the literary culture of Punjab. His literary magazine "Sirjana" has seen more than 110 issues, which in itself is a significant achievement. His theoretical work "Yatharthi" appeared in 1986. In the present paper "Samkali Punjabi Sahit Alochana" he has surveyed contemporary critical thought in Punjabi.

Sutinder Noor is easily the most popular literary commentator in Punjabi. At literary gatherings his is a regular presence in North India. He has a fine narrative style that mesmerises young audience. He is one of the founder members of the "Delhi school of criticism" which harboured writers like Haribhajan Singh, Tarlok Kanwar, Jagbir and Manjit, etc.

It is said of him that he can write a "research" paper for presentation at a seminar while travelling in a train to reach the venue. A Punjabi don once conferred on him the title of "jathedar of Punjabi literature".

Joginder Rahi has been a very successful university teacher. He has not written much. But whatever he has written is invariably prescribed as text for the post-graduate course in Punjabi literature. His "Punjabi Novel", "Masle galap de" and "Sama te Samwaad" are popular books on literary criticism.

As opposed to Rahi, Gurcharan Singh Arshi has written a lot and has translated into Punjabi such classics as Plato's "Republic" and Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind". He has, like Tarlok Kanwar, made use of western literary theories.

Tejwant Gill, a well-known Gramscian scholar, Surjit Bhatti, a Marxist critic, and some new scholars like Bhupinder Kaur, Sabinderjit Sagar and Rai Jasbir Singh have also contributed papers to this collection.

After going through this imposing work one can safely conclude that most Punjabi critics, including the old masters, are sustaining themselves on borrowed ideas without any indigenous input whatsoever. Many of them have literally translated passages from western texts without acknowledging the source.

Even methodologies, tools and models have been borrowed from here and there. That is why there is nothing like a "Punjab school of criticism" or a Punjabi poetics developed over a period of time.

Even so, it goes to the credit of some of them that they have exposed the Punjab reader to the Western literary traditions and trends. But ill-digested theories and methodologies should better be filtered out before going into print.

There is no paper in this collection by such well-known critics as Attar Singh, Kishan Singh, Pritam Singh, Roshan Lal Ahuja, Najam Hussain Sayyad, Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Kesar Singh Kesar, Gurbachan, Gurbhagat, Jagbir and so on.

Many younger critics like Sukhdev Khahra, Jaswinder, Satish Verma, Dhanwant Kaur and others are not represented. The title of the book "Veehvin Sadi di Punjabi Alochna" is thus not fully justified. Guru Nanak Dev University needs to do a lot to improve its publication standards. Paper, printing, binding, everything is so medieval and is being dished out at the most modern price. The authorities should take a cue from Punjabi University, Patiala.Top

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