HT Live: Getting closer to Giani Gurdit

To understand the late scholar better, comes the compilation Giani Gurdit Singh 1923-2007 that was released here on Sunday.

Nonika Singh

Sunday marked Giani Gurdit Singh’s birth anniversary. Even though we lost the great Sikh scholar, an authority on Guru Granth Sahib on January 17, 2007, it was a moment of cheer and great pride for every Punjabi. For Punjabis were once more reminded — blessed is Punjab’s soil for having given birth to a great man Giani Gurdit Singh who was humility personified and scholarship embodied.

As intellectuals spoke at the release of the commemorative volume Giani Gurdit Singh 1923-2007 – a compilation of essays on the late Sikh scholar, Gianiji’s words and his persona shone once more. First when professor Rajpal Singh, secretary Pujjabi Arts Council read out Giani Gurdit’s words from his essay and later when Dr B.N. Goswamy, eminent art historian and Sardar Tarlochan Singh, former chairperson, Minorities Commission threw considerable light on Gianiji’s works.

Dr Goswamy remarked how deeply impressed he was by Gianiji who wore his intellect with humility and not conceit. He also commented on Gianiji’s extraordinary sense of irony and command over language. Fulsome praise was lavished on his masterpiece Mera Pind which, as Rajpal held chronicles Punjab’s social history. Dr Goswamy compared Mera Pind’s usage of language to that of a jeweler choosing his jewels with care and aesthetics.

And as well-known theatreperson – Poonam Singh read out a few passages from Mera Pind…the book which has made his village Mithewal a metaphor for every Punjabi’s lost village, Giani Gurdit’s prowess and his incisive perception and wisdom laced with subtle humour pulsated in abundance.

Sardar Tarlochan Singh hailed Gianiji as a complete book unto himself and he didn’t really know which chapter he should dwell on. Still he went on to elaborate upon Gianiji’s exemplary research and mentioned Mundavani and Bhagat bani in particular. He also underlined that Gianiji managed to achieve what universities and institutions are not able to. His foray into journalism, his contribution in reviving Singh sabhas at national level and setting up of Guru Granth Vidya Kendra in Delhi too were reflected upon. Singh also touched upon the controversies that trailed Gianiji and expressed regret over some misguided attempts to undermine his peerless khoj in Gurbani.

Of course the morning had no place for lament. For, all those present at Randhawa Auditorium, Punjab Kala Bhawan knew that erudite men like Gianiji walk the moral earth only once in a while and bequeath us a treasure trove of wisdom forever.

Booked for eternity

The commemorative volume simply titled Giani Gurdit Singh 1923-2007 edited by Sardarni Inderjit Kaur and Roopinder Singh, released on Sunday morning at Punjab Kala Bhawan, brings out the life and work of the prominent journalist, author and religious scholar Giani Gurdit Singh. The author of the much-acclaimed Mera Pind received many honours – UNESCO awards, the title of ‘Gurmat Acharya’ by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee, Punjab Sahib Shiromani award by the Languages Department, Punjab and Doordarshan Panj Pani award. Prominent writers like Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Prof Pritam Singh, Prof Harjit Singh Gill, Prof Harbhajan Singh and Prof Gurinder Singh Mann, Dr Karnail Singh Thind, Dr Nahar Singh and Dr Bhupinder Singh Khera have contributed to the volume with their deep insight into Gianiji and his writing.

HT City

Hindustan Times February 25, 2008

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