Amritsar, February 1
Speaking at the inaugural day of the eighth edition of Amritsar Sahitya Utsav, singer Rabbi Shergill shared that listening to popular Punjabi songs today doesn’t engage the soul and heart like it used to. Rabbi, whose music has always found its own audience, inclining towards originality and melody unlike the ‘commercial numbers we hear, was one of the speakers in a session on “Punjabi Music: Contemporary Situation”.
“We have heard Punjabi music, which is about uplifting oneself and praising others. There have been several popular yet meaningful genres of Punjabi music. Now, it has become a tool for fame and money,” he said. While deliberating on the contemporary popular Punjabi music and what ails it, he said now the question was whether the dominant social class of Punjab had any responsibility towards others. Agreeing to Rabbi’s views and taking the conversation forward, famous thinker Taskin, who was among the speakers, said after 1970, Punjabi culture had been predominantly limited to singing only, which has made it a commodity, by breaking it from the beauty of art.
The discussion on contemporary Punjabi music saw speakers, including Alankar Singh, a Sikh scholar, who gave information about Punjab’s sangeet gharanas and expressed his thoughts about contemporary Gurbani music trends.
The inaugural session of the day was dedicated to Gurbachan Singh Bachan, famous Punjabi writer and thinker. A seminar, ‘Academic Research: Status and Evaluation’, was also held where the expert scholars expressed that the original spirit of literature had now been replaced by theory and universities and colleges need to be freed from colonial models. Gurpal Singh Sandhu said research and capital had nexus in our universities, which needed to be freed. Eminent Punjabi writer Amarjit Singh Grewal, who was also one of the key speakers, said on this occasion that more resources are being spent on buying land in Punjab and not acquiring knowledge. “Land industry and capital will not save Punjab. Creation of knowledge is the way of liberation for Punjab,” he said.
In another session, Ishwar Dayal Gaur from Panjab University, Chandigarh, speaking about the relationship between literature and history, said history needs to be thought of with the cosmic method present in literature instead of sequential. “The concept of time in folklore is like a celebration, waiting from one celebration to another. History is also a creative process rather than a model-bound history that we can only make possible through a philosophical and cosmological perspective,” he said. Various exhibitions have also been put up at Khalsa College for Women, the venue for the festival, including chitrakla, wood carving, ancient Punjabi musical instruments and book exhibition.