Interview with Paash’s wife and daughter
Interview with Paash’s wife Rajwinder Kaur and daughter Winkle Sandhu
Thinking of Pash
Recently Pash’s widow Rajwinder Kaur along with her daughter Winkle visited their native village, Talwandi Salem, to relive her past. Devinder Pal met them there. Here are some snatches
Sab to khatarnak hunda hain, murda shanti naal bhar jana
Na hona tadap da sab sahan kar jana,gharan to nikal kam, te kam to ghar jana
Sab to khatarnak hunda hain, sadde supneya da mar jana
Pash’s daughter Winkle and widow Rajwinder Kaur.
We might have read this poem several times but almost twenty years have gone since its poet departed from this world leaving behind his poems, wife and daughter. Although his contributions make them proud but they can’t escape the emptiness.
Reminiscing about her husband, late Avtar Singh Sandhu better known as Pash, Rajwinder Kaur has her story to tell. She was here in Talwandi Salem recently
Her wet eyes say a different version than that of the poet but she tries her best to make every moment spent with her husband a memorable chapter.
Rajwinder says the truth is when he was alive she didn’t understand the intellectual capability and potentiality of Pash. And when he is gone, she tries to make everything belonging to Pash her most prized possession.
“I didn’t have a slight idea who was Avtar Singh Sandhu or Pash in actual,” she admits. “I deeply regret the fact I, as a life companion of the famous poet, never understood his dreams. I am sure his companions go through similar pain.”
When I read people who have tried to illuminate themselves with the help of Pash’s poetry, my emptiness and distance make me more desperate.
Sun-m suniya raha be
Koi ugh sugh dasja maahi di
Once she used to complain about their compatibility. Although sailing in different boats, she never stood against his pen. “Intellectually I felt inferior to him, and I suppose felt the same.”
“Might be this is a universal fact that whenever people have become successful in different spheres, such problems have occurred in their lives and especially in pairs,” she quips.
Pash and Rajwinder Kaur were married for three months when his collection of poems ‘Sade sameya wich’ was published. He brought out many collections including ‘Loh katha’, ‘Siyaad’ and ‘Uddiya baaja magar’. Because of his revolutionary writing, he was arrested in number of fake cases. At the time of marriage, Rajwinder was just 17. He was 10 years older to him. But she considers herself to be 20 years younger.
“May be I was not able to travel in his poetic journey but he was satisfied that I didn’t create any hindrance. People close to him thought marriage would ‘mature’ with responsibility. But who could stop a watcher of flying eagles,” she says. Pash was killed on March 23, 1988 on the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh.
When asked about financial equation, she mentions that once the poet, who used to take tuitions, gave her 65 paisa and said, “Keep it safely.” She says that Pash left behind more than gold mines. I was so happy with Pash association that I didn’t feel financial deprivation.
Working as a nurse in the US, Rajwinder Kaur lives with her daughter, Winkle, and ailing in-laws. Since leaving Punjab, they have returned only twice. Her daughter plays a role of a friend more than anything else.
“Poets like Pash often ask us what we are to them,” she quips. This question haunts me and that’s why I try to calm myself by getting close to his poetic soul. And what else can be more helpful than her daughter who resembles Pash in more than one way. She brings not only present but also past. Winkle also writes poems in English but she doesn’t reveal those to anybody.
She describes Pash as revolutionary poet who wanted to create a simple and clear society. He used to think that people will feel the need of poetry in the coming future.
Being asked about Pash’s loss, she says, “Pash has never left us alone. He will live forever through his poems.”