Punjabi Literary And Cultural Summit In Surrey Brings Out Big Prominent Scholars From Around The World

By Balwant Sanghera

Punjab Bhavan on Surrey’s Fraser Highway was the hub of activity on October 7 and 8 as  prominent scholars from Canada, the United States and India had gathered there to take part in Punjabi Literary and Cultural Summit of North America.

The organizers led by Sukhi Bath did an excellent job in ensuring the success of this Summit which coincided with the first anniversary of the establishment of this facility.The scholars from very diverse areas and backgroundspresented very impressive research papers on a variety of topics. Prominent Punjabi poet and scholar Dr. Surjit Singh Pattar was the chief guest. He was accompanied by other luminaries like Professor Gurbhajan Singh Gill, well known and acclaimed writer Waryam Singh Sandhu and Principal Sarwan Singh. Along with Dr. Pattar and others, Surrey based prominent Punjabi scholar Dr. Sadhu Singh also gave very inspiring inaugural remarks to get the Summit under way on Saturday morning.

Five different sessions spread over two days –Saturday and Sunday-covered the Punjabi community’s journey in  Canada and United States from its arrival here more than one hundred years agoto the present, in a very comprehensive manner.For example, the session on our pioneers’ arrival and struggles in establishing themselves in a hostile environment was brilliantly covered by Sadhu Binning, Charanjit Singh Pannu and Dr. Raghbir Singh Sirjna.Along with other issues, the progress of the Punjabi diaspora and Punjabi language in both of these countries was presented in a beautiful manner by the speakers.Principal Kashmira Singh added a humorous touch to the proceedings by injecting his wrestling background into the discussion.The following session led by Principal Sarwan Singh, Dr. Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal and Gurdev Singh Chandi dealt with the area of sports, Punjabi journalism and media in Canada and the U.S.They also paid a very fitting tribute to some of the outstanding Punjabi athletes and players including Olympian Balbir Singh.

The Saturday morning session on youth, gangs, violence and problems faced by our young people was very timely and well done by Sgt. Jag Khosa, Inspector Baltej Singh Dhillon and Professor Prithipal Singh Sohi.These experts on youth and law enforcement emphasized the need to pay more attention to our youth from an early ageand stay connected with them through thick and thin. Toronto based renowned writer Waryam Singh Sandhu, Bhupinder Singh Dulay and Kulwinder Khaira dealt with Punjabi literature,music and entertainment in North America from a broad perspective. Renowned Punjabi writer Jarnail Singh Sekha, Principal Surinder Pal Kaur Brar and Amrik Plahihighlighted the problems faced by Indo-Canadian seniors in a very effective and realistic manner.All of them emphasized that in order to age gracefully, our seniors need to be more active physically, socially and mentally.At the same time, they need on-going family support in order to make their golden years more enjoyable.

In addition to these very informative sessions, the program also included various other activities including poetry recitations,songs,recognitions,and a play (Guddian)choreographed by Gurdip Bhullar. Professor Gurbhajan Singh Gill released his much awaited book Ravito an enthusiastic audience. There is no doubt that each of the resource persons, invited guests and celebrities made an excellent impression on the audience. They were all the stars. All of them seemed to enjoy mingling with members of the audience. Dr. Surjit Singh Pattar,through hiskeynote address, closing remarksand easy availability throughout the Summit impressed everyone. Dr. Pattar’s gift of poetry, his humility, and a very warm,kind and welcoming dispositionwere an impressive example for everyone. In addition to Dr. Pattar’s keynote address,the opening remarks by various speakers including Sukhi Bath,Indian Deputy Consul General Amar Jit Singh,Dr. Sadhu Singh,Professor Gurbhajan Singh Gill and others were very well received and appreciated by the attendees.

Honouring veteran writer /poet Gurcharan Rampuri was a very fitting tribute to a literary icon in our community. It was great to see Inderjit Singh Dhami and his family honour poet and tireless volunteer Kavinder Chand. Before the conclusion of the Summit organizer Sukhi Bath thanked everyone for their participation and urged the community to forge ahead unitedly.

Throughout the Summit, the attendees were treated to a very delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner and refreshments. For this, Sukhi, his team of volunteer, guests and participants deserve a pat on the back. Well done and congratulations!

Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist.



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