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KAUR, PRABHJOT (1924 - )

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Kaur, Prabhjot is an eminent Punjabi nationalist poet. She was born on 6 July, 1924 in village Langaryal, Distt. Gujrat, now in Pakistan. Her parents were S. Nidhan Singh Sachar and Smt. Rajinder Kaur. She is married to Col. Narenderpal Singh, who is a well-known novelist, author and journalist himself. They have two daughters: Nirupama Kaur and Anupama Kaur. Nirupama Kaur is a poet and author and Anupama Kaur is a painter. Her early life was spent in various cantonments all over India as her father was a Farms Officer in Military Farms.

Beautiful surroundings and loneliness made her a poet at a very young age. She actually started writing at the age of eight. She became the editor of the school wall paper and later of the college magazine. Freedom struggle made her a patriotic poet and her first book was published in 1943. She was influenced by nature as she mostly lived far away from the cities. Travelling also made her vision broader. By 1946, she had already published four collection of poems, which were read by the then Major Naranderpal Singh who was in Syria at that time.

Singh started taking interest in her and contacted her parents for her hand. His works were also already being published in various magazines. Prabhjot Kaur read one of his pieces—a ballad—which she thought that was somehow incomplete. She continued the poem and published it in the same magazine in the following issue. It became a six poem serial written alternately by them and was published under the name of "Karle" before even they met.

Eventually, they met in April, 1947 but the riots in Punjab separated them for the time being and they finally got married in 1948. Singh continued his service in the Army and started writing novels which became very popular. Prabhjot Kaur kept on writing poetry. In 1954, she got an award for her book written for children from the Language Department of Punjab. Her husband was posted as Military Attache to Afghanistan in 1956 and they remained there till 1960. During this time, her poetry was translated into Persian and published in Kabul in a collection named, "Lala".

In 1964, she won the Sahitya Akademi Award for her collection of poems, "Pabbi". In the same year, she was nominated as the Poet Laureate of Punjab. In 1966, she was nominated to the Vidhan Parishad of Punjab, and in 1967, she was honoured with Padmashree. She is closely associated with International P.E.N. and attends many meetings on behalf of India. She has also been a member of the National Commission of UNESCO. In 1968, she won the coveted award of "La Rose de France".

Her poetry was translated into French and published in Paris under the heading of Plateau". In 1975, she was designated "The woman of the year 1975" by Philippines. By now, she has published 24 collection of poems, 4 collection of short stories, a few general books and some books for children. She has been translated and published into Bulgarian (Light and shadows); English (Plateau and Dreams Dir Young); Persian (Lala), French (Plateau) and in Danish (Shadow).

Besides, she has been translated into Greek, Arabic, Russian, Hungarian and many Indian regional languages. She has been honoured by Punjab as Shromani Shaityakar, and by Delhi Administration for her contribution to literature. Poetry Society of U.S.A. has decorated her with Distinguished Order of Poetry. She has passed through many stages and now she represents the quintessence of Indian culture and heritage. She wears saree and Punjabi dress.

She has travelled very widely so her attitude towards situations is modem. She is aware of the changing patterns of life and living. Generally, she has contributed in all spheres of life as her husband Col. Narenderpal Singh was Deputy Military Secretary to the President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, for four years and then Military Attache in France for three years. Narenderpal won his Sahitya Akademy award in 1976, thus making them the only couple in India who are both Sahitya Akademi winners.

References :

1. Amarjit Singh, Punjabi sahit da itihas—Qissa kal, Amritsar, 1981.
2. Sekhon, S.S., A History of Punjabi Literature, Patiala, 1993.

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