AHLUWALIA, JASBIR SINGH Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia,(1935 – ) born in 1935, is a leading radical Punjabi poet. He had a post-graduate degree in English and got his doctorate for his thesis on New conception of Reality, and got into the Punjab Civil Service. He came on deputation to Punjabi University, Patiala for some time as Director, Planning and Development (Punjabi). He worked as Director, Punjab State University Text Book Board, and Secretary, Punjab Education Board for brief terms. He knocked his way into the field of experimentalist as a departure from the dominant school of Punjabi poetry, the Progressives, the leaders of which, Mohan Singh and Amrita Pritam, received his particular attention.

Denigrating the progressive poetry of his school as a mixture of romanticism and socialist propaganda, he declared it to have became outworn with the achievement of independence and the subsequent launching of the Indian Government\’s five-year plans, to build an industrial society. The imagery and the use of figures of speech like metonym of the Mohan Singh-Amrita Pritam school depended, as he correctly noticed, too much on the humanisation of nature, in the way of the English romantics of the early 19th century, to which socialist slogans were added. Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia pointed out that poetry in the new industrial economy building up in the Indian Union needed a new imagery and a new rhetoric, and the new human being was no longer a romantic dreamer of independence, freedom and social equality, but a split personality torn between the old feudal mode of living and thinking and the new conditions taking shape in the process of industrialisation.This society needed a poetry that should not make man look back towards a pastoral age but bring him to grip with the rapidly spreading industrial milieu.

He called the kind of verse that he was himself experimenting with the suit the new age Prayogvadi (experimentalist), taking its imagery from life in the factory, the commercial establishments and from the mental situation created by its compulsions. He made a powerful impact on his immediate and younger contemporaries who seemed to be in a rush to unite under the new banner. He sought to strengthen the new imagery by connecting it with old and pristine legend, thus eliminating the pastoral, feudal age altogether. His first collection of poems was entitled Kagaz da Ravana (The Paper Demon), which was followed by Koor Raja Koor Par/a (False King False Subjects) and Sach ki Bela (The Moment of Truth). The last two title are taken from Guru Nanak\’s hymns which are in their own by repudiations of the ethos and thinking of the feudal age.

Of these poems, the main characteristics are intellectual irony and a cynical attitude towards progressive and popular political and social ideas and movements. He chooses to call his mode and manner of writing radical realism, to distinguished it from the more prevalent progressivism often confused by its critics with socialist realism. AHLUWALIA\’S WORKS ENGLISH: Marxism and Contemporary Reality, Punjabi Literature in Perspective. Tradition and Experiment in Modern Punjabi Poetry. Trends in Modern Literature. The Sovereignty of Sikh Doctrine. PUNJABI: Anubhav-te-Alochana (Experience and Criticism, 1961). Miri-Piri da Sidhant (The Doctrine of Temporal and Religious Power.) Prayogsil Punjabi Kavita (Experimental Punjabi Poetry). Sikh Falsfe di Bhumika (A Preface to Sikh Philosophy).

References :

1. Amarjit Singh, Punjabi sahit da itihas—Qissa kal, Amritsar, 1981.
2. Encyclopeadia of Indian Literature, 6 Vols., Delhi,1995.
3. Ramdev, Jaginder Singh (ed.), Punjabi Likhari Kosh, Jullundur, 1964.
4. Sekhon, S.S. and K.S. Duggal, A History of Punjabi Literature, Delhi, 1992.
5. Singh, N.K., Encyclopaedia of Indian Biography, Delhi 2000