O P Sharma
Dr Gian Singh, a versatile writer and former Additional Secretary of J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages has bagged the Sahitya Akademi Award in Dogri for his book ” Bawa Jitmal”. The unique feature of this book is that it is in Dogri verses in eight episodes about story and struggle of the revolutionary farmer common known as Bawa Jitto. Many writers have written about this legendary farmer but the present book under review is in Dogri verses with new approach and treatment of the subject matter. It is worth mentioning that in Bawa Jitto’s memory grand fair is organised every year at Jhiri near Jammu, winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir and very large number people from Jammu and Kashmir as also from neighbouring States of Punjab and Haryana take part in it.
A distinguishing feature is that Dr Gian Singh has attempted a comprehensive approach and new treatment has been imparted to Bawa Jitmal’s illustrious life in poetic form and focussing on his major contribution in farm sector. The treatment is different and also distinct depicting the events in a new light and his contribution in social and farm sector. Another merit of the book is its simple and stylish Dogri language.
The Sahitya Akademi, national institution of literature, has announced recently the prestigious annual awards for different Indian languages and declared that award in Dogri language and literature is for the 216-page book by Dr Gian Singh. It has been published by the Usha Prakashan, 295, Janipur Housing Colony, Jammu during the year 2018 and selected by the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi for the year 2000. The Sahitya Akademi awards every year writers for their best book and honour them with a Shawl, Memento and cash prize at a ceremonial function at the Nation Capital. Dr Gian Singh has joined the galaxy of Doyens of Dogri writers who have got the Sahitya Akademi Award.
In an exclusive interview, Dr Gian Singh stated: ” quite overjoyed over the announcement of award to him and added that it is, in fact, recognition of rich Dogri language, its literature as well as honour for the Dogras. Expressing gratefulness to the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, he said after the inclusion of the Dogri in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, Dogri language was registering speedy and steady progress.
Galaxy of Writers
It is worthwhile to mention that the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi started giving annually prestigious award to writers of Dogri language for the best book starting from the year 1970 and the first awardee in Dogri was Narendra Khajuria for his book entitled “Kala Ambar”.
So far, the Sahitya Akademi has honoured over 45 eminent Dogri authors for their contribution to Dogri language and literature. The award for the year 2020 has gone to Dr Gian Singh for his book, “Bawa Jitmal”. He along with other selected Indian languages writer will be honoured at a special ceremonial function at New Delhi shortly.
Dr Gian Singh was born to Thakur Mangat Ram and Krishna Devi on January 24,1954 at Ghorari Jagir in Ramnagar tehsil in Jammu and Kashmir. He had schooling in the local High School, Ghorari and passed matriculation during 1971. Afterwards, he joined service in the Health section of the Jammu Municipal Corporation and worked there for nearly 11 years and in 1983, he was selected as Research Assistant in Dogri Dictionary unit of the J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages where renowned Dogri stalwart Prof Ramnath Shastri was associated with this prestigious project. After complete compilation of the Dogri Dictionary, he became Assistant Editor for Dogri publications and later elevated as Editor and subsequently posted as Chief Editor in the year 2006 and still later promoted as Additional Secretary ( editorial ) and superannuated during January, 2012.
It is noteworthy that this youth from Ramnagar, worked very hard and forged ahead in life. While working and earning, he was studying as well. He passed post-graduation in Dogri and later completed his PhD (Dogri) under the supervision of Prof Champa Sharma, Head of the Dogri Department, University of Jammu.
In addition to his official work, Dr Gian Singh began with his first book, SelkdaKall ( a collection of Dogri poetry) and made further literary works including a play, Sah-bash (mutual trust), wrote a volume on Dogra folk, one monograph on MohanlalSpolia ( recipient of Sahitya Akademi award in Dogri ) and also did translation in Dogri of the “Pavitar Koran”.
Recipient of covetous Sahitya Akademi award in Dogri for the year, 2000, Dr Gian Singh has joined the galaxy of Doyens of Dogri language who has enriched their mother-tongue and contributed to the Indian literature. It is expected that he will continue his pursuits more vigorously in literary and cultural fields.
O P Sharma