By Jaswant Singh Gandam
PHAGWARA (TIP): The nonagenarian Punjabi litterateur Prof Piara Singh Bhogal was, on November 14, bestowed with “Life-time Achievement Award” by Punjabi Virsa Trust (Regd) Phagwara and Punjabi Lekhak Sabha (Regd) Palahi village for his outstanding contribution to Punjabi literature.The award carries a shawl, a citation, a memento and Rs 11,000 cash.Prof Bhogal is an eminent Punjabi writer, critic and columnist. Led by Trust’s and Sabha’s Presidents Prof Jaswant Singh Gandam and Gurmit Palahi respectively, the office-bearers of both the bodies presented the award to the nonagenarian Prof Bhogal at his Jalandhar residence owing to his age factor. Punjab Press Club Jalandhar President Satnam Singh Manak and Punjab Arts Council Secretary Dr Lakhvinder Singh Johal came specially to join the function. Both lauded the stellar contribution of Prof Bhogal for Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat.
They also praised his oratory and the unflinching stand for ‘haq-sach’ (righteousness and truth).
Manak, in particular, made a special mention of Bhogal’s memorable association with ‘Punjabi Jagriti Manch’, a body wedded to Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat.
In his interaction with writers, Prof Bhogal disclosed that he took to writing about 70 years ago.
“I was hardly 22–23-year-old when my first two books hit the stands,” he informed.
Prof Bhogal said,” I have so far written about 50-60 books, including 6 novels,5 books of short stories,4 plays,10 books of criticism, an auto-biography, besides some translated/edited works. I rate my recent novel ‘Nari’ as the best of all other novels while my book ‘Punjabi Sahit Da Ityihas’, whose 4 Editions have been published so far, is virtually a magnum opus. (‘Nari’ beautifully pictures the warp and woof of social relations and the position of woman). I have also written about 400 articles for Punjabi newspapers, both home and abroad. I regularly wrote for a decade political column for Ajit and Punjabi Tribune”. For a well-read and richly decorated Prof Bhogal, literature is everything. “Literature mirrors life as well shows mirror to it”, he quipped. He said,” Forwriting, you have to read good literature. I still read daily for one to one and a half hour even though I have crossed 90”. He said that Punjabi literature was rich but regretted that Punjabis lack book culture. Maintaining that books are enduring friends, Prof Bhogal pleaded for bridging gap between publishers and readers by developing a mechanism for distribution of books to readers in order to inculcate reading habit among Punjabis. Thanking the organizers for the honor, Prof Bhogal reminisced about his native historic village Palahi where he was born on 14 August in 1931