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Posted at: Apr 20, 2017, 1:53 AM; last updated: Apr 20, 2017, 1:53 AM (IST)

My stories are inspired by real life experiences: Jarnail Singh

My stories are inspired by real life experiences: Jarnail Singh
Jarnail Singh

Rachna Khaira

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 19

He is the proud recipient of Dhahan Prize, the highest overseas award for Punjabi fiction, for his small stories collection “Kaale Warke” in 2016. He had also been awarded by the Punjab government with Punjab Shiromani Pravasi Sahitya Puraskaar in 2013. Back in Canada, he is the founder president of a literary club, ‘Punjabi Kalman da Kaafila’. Meet the soldier-turned story teller, Jarnail Singh, whose stories have even become part of various literary courses in Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) and other state universities.

“During my service in the Air Force for more than 15 years, I got a chance to meet people from different religions and cultural backgrounds. Later, serving as a supervisor at the Toronto airport for more than 20 years again widened my literary spectrum and brought me closer to humanity by sharing their concerns on various issues. It is with this enriching experience that I ventured into writing short stories for the mankind,” said the author.

Are you a fiction writer? “Although all my stories are inspired from my real time experiences I encountered in my service both in Air Force and at the airport, I had to add a little element of fiction to it to make it more readable and enjoyable to my readers, but I ensured that while adding these elements, I should not project the society in a wrong way,” said Jarnail Singh.

Talking about his literary works, he said, “To begin with, I wrote ‘Mainu ki’, a collection of short stories about the lives of faujis in the Armed forces. Also, I wrote ‘Manukh te Manukh’ and ‘Samay de Haani’ depicting the everyday struggle our farmers face in Punjab.

The writer had attained world recognition for his book titled ‘Towers’. “Towers was basically written after the incident of 9/11 attack on the US. It is a story of a Canadian family whose daughter dies in the attack. Her brother, who later joins the US army, also dies while fighting a battle. The story deals with the crisis the family faces after the death of its two children,” said Singh, adding that the book was included in the course list of GNDU.

While speaking about the condition of Indian immigrants in Canada, Singh said Indians in Canada were enjoying equal rights. “The charter of freedom embedded in the constitution of Canada provides us equal freedom and rights as granted to their people. It is due to this equality that Punjabis occupy topmost positions in the country,” said Singh. Also, slamming Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s stand to call Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan as ‘Khalistan sympathiser’, Singh said he was a decorated soldier and was never involved in Indian politics. “The Punjab CM should meet the Canadian Defence Minister to clear his misconceptions,” he added.

What next? “Nowadays, I am writing my own autobiography with my experiences in India and Canada,” said Singh. Any issue concerning Punjab which he would like to write upon? “The pitiable condition of education and health services disturbs me very badly. While foreign countries are providing state-of-the-art facilities in education and health absolutely free to its citizens, in India it is getting expensive day by day. The state government must do something to provide relief to its people,” said Singh.

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