Thursday, March 27, 2014



Some days back , I was invited to witness a play performed by IPTA J&K Chapter  commemorating  Death Anniversary of India’s  three  Revolutionary freedom Fighters  namely Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Some  Characters in the play read  poems  of  Punjabi Poet  *PASH   . The poems had deep relevance to the event and the subject of the play .I post one poem titled Adhi Raat ( Midnight ) for readers who do not know PASH . The poem has been rendered to simple English  by me….


At Midnight ,
Not even seven warm quilts could stop my shiver .
As if river Satluj had flown over my bed,
Drenched  lay all the seven quilts,
My Fever 106 or may be 107 Degrees  ,
Every breath just sweat and sweat only.
And then the  thought
“ Those who are engaged in changing the world around them ,
Never die of fever ,
Those who are carried away on the shoulders of  the Death ,
Begin their life’s journey afresh after  their Death .”

And for me  barred  lies the  warmth of the sun
But listen  ,
“I shall not accept even the shade of that sun.
I shall break every empty Pitcher
My blood and sweat have mingled with this earth
I shall grow once again even after being buried under this earth”

( Pash )

 Pash is the pen name of Punjabi revolutionary poet Avtar Singh Sandhu ( 1950-1988 ). A Patriot , Nationalist , Champion of the underprivileged , Pash’s   poetry  is laced with  Marxist thought . He talks of  Struggle and fight for social justice and oppression. He is    starkly Anti establishment  .His literary critics have opined that  beating Marxist drums alone  is not the ultimate aim  Great Poetry .  Whatever be said about him, he remains quite sensitive to issues facing humanity at large especially the poor and the marginalized .That apart , he remains a loud voice in Modern  Punjabi poetry that comes close to the poetry of Baulgaria’s Nikola Vaptsarov ( 1909-1942 ).

 Assisted by his wife , he also started a Model school for poor and Underprivileged children of his village  with  Grant received from Punjabi Sahitya Academy. He also edited     Anti  47 a magazine that opposed  Punjab's Terrorism . He knew  that armed   Terrorists were after his blood  and   he would be killed any moment . He gave this indication in so many poems and write ups . He was killed by Armed Militants on 23.03.1988 in his village Talwandi Salem,Jalandhar .

In his Poem Mein Vidaa Hondaa Hain ( I take leave of you  )

“ You drop all this from your mind ,
My love ,
Except this
That I had intense longing to live ,
That neck deep I wanted to delve in life ;
You live my share of life ,
My Love ,
Live my share of life as well….

  A selection of his poems in Punjabi, INKAR, was published in Lahore in 1997 . Sahitya academy also published a Book On Pash in 1999 titled”PASH  PUNJABI POET  ” He has also been widely translated . His letters and pages from his Diaries have also been published .Love  for his land of birth    is visible in most of his letters and diary notes .


I quote a  Paragraph from his Diary Published Posthumously ..

“ So beautiful was the night today ! All through  I had intimate talk with it , The dew covered wheat lying asleep on earth’s vast bridal bed , with heaps of sugarcane stalks aglow in the moonlight , with carts standing still like orphans , with thatched huts showing warmth distinct from cold ……… And with forefathers calmly buried in their graves ..
(  Pash 01.01.1974 )

Poetry of Pash also bears influence of Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda and Turkish Poet Nazim Hikmet Ran. It appears that Pash had profound knowledge of world literature . Possibly a serious study of world literature shaped his committment and clarity apart from the gigantic courage of conviction that he demonstrated in life ...I quote him ..

"Eagles have flown aloft taking in their beaks
Our desire for a moment of life's peace,
Friends, let us indeed,
In pursuit of flying eagles proceed.""
- Pash

( Autar Mota 27.03.2014 )

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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