An Ode To The Soul

Creative Zone
An ode to the soul
Neha Walia

— Photo by Vicky Gharu
— Photo by Vicky Gharu

“PHOOLAN diye daaliye, siron tere uchian dwaran da mein das ki karan; tuhion ehna kadd kadh, ban ke daler appe mal le bulandian de thaan.” These lines describe piece of heart of a poetess whose thought and undying passion for literature has remained unchallenged through time. Meet Ratandeep or ‘Ratneev’, a pioneer in Punjabi poetry and a member of the Chandigarh Sahit Academy. Her love with poetry started at an age when most children don’t know how to spell correctly. “My father was a farmer and we had a humble background. But my father had a collection of Urdu books that introduced me to reading and writing,” says Ratneev.

Though she’s penned down numerous poems since then but it was in 1988 that her thoughts personified in form of her first book, Gehne Pai Dhupp. “It had all the different colours of my poetry. It covered social issues, romantic poems and war poems,” says Ratneev, who was also the vice-president of Punjab Sahit Academy. Some of her best works include Jung; a poem based on war issues, Rooh de banere te and Mere Saheb, a poem based on women exploitation. Her works have been published in many newspapers and magazines. Indo-Canadian newspaper in Canada, run by Tara Singh Hayra, published 14 of her poems in single edition. Her inspiration? “I am a big follower of thoughts and ideas of Avtaar Singh Paash, Amrita Pritam and Shiv Kumar Batalvi. In 1979, Amrita Pritam published my poem on the title page of her magazine Nagmani,” she says.

Her most prized possessions are the letters of appreciation she received from Amrita Pritam and Paash, who she calls ‘ an inquilaabi writer’. And what is her take on status of literature today? “Literature has lost its position. It lacks tolerance and depth. It’s all pakhand baazi now, for fame and money,” says the poetess who refused awards, as it would have corrupted her work

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