SINGH, KARANJIT (1930 – )
Singh, Karanjit, a University teacher, has authored two collections of poems. These are Rishte (Relations) and Phul Vi Angare Vi (Both Blossoms and Sparks) besides a collection of sketches called Kalam di Akh (Pen Portraits) a critique of Mohan Singh\’s poetry ”Mohan Singh Kavya Adhyan (A Study of Mohan Singh\’s Verse), Punjabi Jiwan (Life in the Punjab) and Punjabi Lok Dhara (Punjab Folklore). He has also translated into Punjabi such eminent Soviet authors as Pushkin, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. It is a fact that Dr. Singh is gaining better recognition.
Prof. Mohan Singh, the renowned Punjabi poet while writing about Dr. Karanjit Singh remarked, “the essential ingredient of a poem is its thought-content… In order to preserve or project it one requires diction. Reading, these poems, I am assured that Karanjit Singh has both.” Karanjit Singh has been in the soviet Union for several years engaged mainly in translating Soviet writing into Punjabi. Therefore, what he writes about the USSR is no formal tribute to a friendly country, it is genuine, soulful verse inspired by understanding and deep appreciation of the socialist way of life.
In a longer poem entitled “Awan Ruttan Jawan Ruttan” (Seasons Come and Go) in the section “Nighi Baraf de Chehre” (Face of the Warm Snow) running into over 500 lines, the poet describes the four seasons in Moscow throwing vivid sidelights on the people of the Soviet Union, their loves and longings. Writing about the legendary Kremlin he says: The red stars sparkle On the pinnacles of Kremlin at night Those who sleep in their shadow Their eternal sleep, Were the purveyors of fragrance They spread happiness all over. He who rules over everyone\’s heart Whom I, too, adore, They stand in biting cold To have a glimpse of him. What is more remarkable in these poems is the undisguised influence of Soviet thinking and their manner of stating the truth of life: It is true That man doesn\’t live by bread alone; It is a greater truth That man can never live without bread.
Where is truth? Come, I\’ll show you Its abode Seeing which It quenches one\’s thirst. Come I\’ll show you my beloved Seeing whom The mind is at rest. Yes, on one condition That you pull your eyes from your back And put them on your face. There are some fascinating specimens of poetry in this volume. What one admires in Karanjit is his not depending entirely on rhyme and metre for the essential music in his verse but on the selection and the arrangement of his words and phrases. He seems to jingle them in his palm and then throws them on the page with the immaculate flourish of a master, making his verse glow with colour and resound with musicality. T.S. Gill
1. Amarjit Singh, Punjabi sahit da itihas ”Qissa kal, Amritsar, 1981.
2. Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature, 6 Vols., Delhi, 1995.
3. Sekhon, S.S. and K.S. Duggal, A History of Punjabi Literature, Delhi, 1992.
4. Singh, N.K., Encyclopaedia of Indian Biography, Delhi, 2000.