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SINGH, HARBHAJAN (1919/20 - 2002)

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Singh, Harbhajan, born on 18th August 1920 and died on 20th November 2002, was an eminent Punjabi poet, critic, scholar and translator. An M.A. (English and Hindi), Gyani and a Ph.D. (on A critical Study of Medieval Hindi Poetry Preserved in Gurmukhi Scripts), he has been at different stages of his life Senior Lecturer and Head of Hindi Department, Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, Delhi (1951-67), Professor of Punjabi, Department of Modem Indian Languages, Delhi University (1968-84) and collaborator in the editing of the Akas (monthly) after retirement.

He is a recipient of Award from Sahitya Akademi (1969), Delhi Administration (1974), Punjab Government (1976), Soviet Land Nehru Award (1980) in recognition of his literary contributons. He is widely travelled in Europe, Canada, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. He is primarily a front-rank poet in whose poetry there is simplicity and spontaneity, unsophistication and meaningfulness of folk-song. Its predominant features are a delicately human view of life and a pensive search for certitude and personal fulfilment. Tar lupka (1957) is a verse play written by him.

He has produced about twenty collections of his poems, such as Adh-raini (Mid-night, 1962); selections from the Rigveda into Rigbani, (1963); Sarak de safe ute (On the page of the road, 1970); Main jo bit gya (1970) is a selection of his own verse compiled by himself. Alafdupehar (Afternoon, 1972); Ik pardesan piari (A lovely foreigner, 1973). His Nah dhuppe nah chhaven (Neither under the sun, nor in shade, 1967) earned him Sahitya Akademi award for 1969. His latest collection which reflects his mature outlook and liquid lyricism has been entitled Alvida ton Pehlan (Before bidding goodbye, 1984).

He has also contributed enough to the domain of literary criticism, theory and practice through a number of books which include Mul te mulyankan (Value and evaluation, 1972), Sahitya shastra (Literary treatise, 1973), Sahitya siddhant (Principles of literature, 1974); Rupki (Form and structure, 1977); Sahitya Adhyan (Literary studies, 1981). Besides, he had translated some classics into Punjabi, e.g., Gorky's My Universities into Mere vishav-vidyale (1961), Aristotle's Poetics into Arastu da kavya-shastra (1964), Longinus' On the Sublime into Udat bare (1970). He has also edited some selections from the works of contemporary writers, viz. Katha-Punjab (1970) and Qissa-Punjab (1972).

References :

1. Amarjit Singh, Punjabi sahit da itihas ”Qissa kal, Amritsar, 1981.
2. Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature, 6 Vols., Delhi, 1995.
3. Kohli, S.S., Punjabi Sahit da Itihas, Ludhiana, 1955.
4. Mohan Singh, A History of Punjabi Literature, Amritsar, 1956.
5. Ramdev, Jaginder Singh (ed.), Punjabi Likhari Kosh, Jullundur, 1964.
6. Sekhon, S.S. and K.S. Duggal, A History of Punjabi Literature, Delhi, 1992.
7. Singh, N.K., Encyclopaedia of Indian Biography, Delhi, 2000.

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