17 Aug 2016

Jnanpith awardee Punjabi novelist Gurdial dies

BATHINDA: Much acclaimed Punjabi novelist and story writer Gurdial Singh passed away after a brief illness on Tuesday. Gurdial, 83, was the second Punjabi author to be bestowed with the Jnanpith Award -India's highest literary award -after poet Amri ta Pritam. He retired as a professor from Punjabi University, Patiala, in 1995.

Two Punjabi films were based on his two great novels `Marhi Da Deeva' and `Anhe Ghode Da Dan' and won national film awards and internatio nal honours. Gurdial's famous novel `Marhi Da Deeva' (The Last Flicker) was recently translated into Manipuri.

'Anhe Ghore Da Daan' was also shortlisIndia's official entry to ted for India's official entry to the Oscar Awards.

His other iconic novel `Adh Chanani Raat' (The Half-Moon Night), written in 1964, was translated into 13 languages.The National Book Trust also published an English translation of his novel `Parsa.' Gurdial penned nearly 40 works, including novels, short stories and books for children. Hailing from Jaito town of Faridkot district, Gurdial had started writing in 1957 and devoted nearly six decades to Punjabi literature. He was conferred the Jnanpith Award in 1999, He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 1998 and the Sahitya Akademi award in 1975.
In January , Sahitya Akademi had announced a fellowship for Gurdial. Amid the controversy over growing intolerance in the country, Gurdial had declined to return his award, unlike many other writers.

The writers' fraternity has mourned his death. "We have lost a doyen in Gurdial Singh. He will be always remembered for his works as he has contributed immensely in enriching the Punjabi literature," said Sahitya Akademi award winner writer Baldev Sadaknama and writer Prof Chaman Lal.

According to the novelist's son Ravinder Singh, Gurdial was hospitalized on August 6 after he complained of some illness. A few days later he was shifted to a private hospital in Bathinda where he breathed his last."

More than 50 years after it was written in Punjabi, `Marhi Da Deeva' was translated into Manipuri in September 2015.

"The Imphal-based Writers' Forum had it novel translated in Manipuri lan guage titled `Aroiba Meiri,' said Ravinder.

A few months ago after the novel was translated into Manipuri, Gurdial had told TOI at his residence in Jaito, "Literature cannot be restricted by boundaries or in any specific area. Good literature makes its own way and reaches wherever people like to read. We had been reading literature from Russia, and now Punjabi literature is also reaching farflung states in their languages, which is good sign."
Source - Times of india

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