Paash poetry book in Punjabi University Patiala syllabus

Ahluwalia’s book removed from MA course
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 19
After the ouster of Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia from vice-chancellorship of Punjabi University, now a collection of poetry under the title “Sach Di Bela’’ written by him and which was a part of the curriculum of MA (II) Punjabi, is being shown the door. Ironically, the same Board of Post-Graduate Studies in Punjabi which had recommended that Dr Ahluwalia’s book be made part of the syllabus for the session starting 2001, has now ‘’realised’’ that the book is ‘’indecent and vulgar and not fit for being part of the university syllabus’’.

A decision to remove the book of poetry was taken at a meeting of the board which was presided over by Dr Balwinder Kaur Brar. Earlier, Head of the Punjabi Department, Prof Bhupinder Singh Khaira, had submitted representations filed by Government College, Faridkot, and Mohindra College, Patiala, urging the university to remove the poetry book from the syllabus.

Today’s meeting unanimously decided that the book was not fit to remain in the curriculum and should be discontinued from this academic session.

The board has simultaneously included in the syllabus a book written by Paash by the name of “Sadha Samay Vich” which it felt represented “progressive poetry’’.

Ironically, the same board had earlier included the poetry of Ahluwalia in its curriculum for post-graduate students, saying that Dr Ahluwalia best exemplified “progressive poetry”. In fact, the then Board Chairman Dr Jaswinder Singh, wrote an eulogy in praise of Dr Ahluwalia which along with praises by other writers formed nearly 40 per cent of the pages of the book.

The lavish praise showered in the foreword of the book which has only seven poems and reams in praise of Ahluwalia going back to quotes written on him in the 1960s was also taken up by the board yesterday. A board member, Dr B.S. Khaira, said it was felt that the foreword and introduction written by Dr Jaswinder Singh in the book were unethical from the academic viewpoint. He said it was also decided that, henceforth, no head of the board would write articles to project any writer in the book which was being included in the course curriculum. He said it was felt that this did not allow students to form their own opinions about the author and, instead, tried to thrust an opinion on them which was unwarranted.

Dr Khaira said the role of other members of the board who had earlier lavished praise on Ahluwalia and heralded him as a progressive poet was also taken up at the meeting. Speaking about Dr Jaswinder Singh, one member said the academician had been under pressure from the former Vice-Chancellor to write a favourable article in Ahluwalia’s book.

(The Tribune 20-07-2002)

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