West indian literature

Balwinder Singh Grewal wins the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature at a ceremony in Surrey, British Columbia


A trio of international authors were celebrated for their contributions to Punjabi literature at a ceremony in Surrey, British Columbia, on Thursday evening.

The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature was founded nearly a decade ago in Metro Vancouver and awards a total of $45,000 to three writers: the winner takes home $25,000 and two other runners-up receive $10,000 each .

Collection of short stories by Balwinder Singh Grewal dubolia earned him first prize this year.

“The Dhahan Award is a huge pat on my shoulder,” he said in a press release. “I am happy and inspired to continue my creative journey with a greater sense of gratitude and responsibility.”

Javed Boota and Arvinder Kaur were the other finalists, honored for their respective work Cholan Di Burki and Jhanjran Wale Paer.

Grewal and Kaur are from India, while Boota lives in the United States

Balwinder Singh Grewal accepts his award. Her collection of short stories Dubolia explores dignity, perseverance and the human condition. (Submitted by Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature)

The award was founded almost ten years ago by Barj Dhahan, founding president of the Canada India Education Society, with the aim of promoting Punjabi literature and encouraging writers working in the two Punjabi scripts, Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi.

This year, organizers say they received a record number of international submissions, from countries including India, Pakistan, the UK, the US and Australia.

Punjabi is the most widely spoken language in British Columbia after English, according to Statistics Canada.

“Punjabi is a Canadian language now,” Dhahan said in an interview with CBC. The first edition.

    Barj Dhahan, founder of the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature, stands in front of a grove of trees as the sun shines on him.  He has a gray beard and gray hair and wears a plaid shirt and a smile.
Barj Dhahan, founder of the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature. The award was created with the support of the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. (Submitted/Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature)

Dhahan said about 11 secondary schools in the province offer the language to 11th and 12th graders.

He said this year’s awards honored eight stories written by young people, as well as three poems written by Indigenous students.

All three poems relate to the theme of the 2022 prize, which is to highlight the similarities between the treatment of Indigenous peoples by colonial governments in Canada and the Indian caste system.

“Our First Nations, their experiences under colonialism and in the experience of the lower castes of India and Pakistan…there are parallels and colonialism had a part to play in that,” Dhahan said. .

The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Lynda Gray, a member of the Tsimshian First Nations, who wrote the 2011 non-fiction book First Nations 101 which provides insight into historical and contemporary Indigenous life and the impacts of colonization.

Dhahan says the theme highlights how stories can shape society and bring about change.

“Through truth, we can address historic issues of injustice, oppression and suffering and move toward healing,” he said.

The first edition7:21The Dhahan Prize will be awarded tomorrow in Surrey

The winners of the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature will be announced tomorrow in Surrey. Today we talk to the founder of this year’s ceremony and who could walk away with the grand prize of $25,000.

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