Canada’s founder of Punjabi theatre

September 11th, 2017

Punjabi-born Ajmer Rode is a founding member of several Indo-Canadian literary and performing arts associations. He has written, directed and acted in plays of Punjabi theatre, and has published books in India and Canada, in Punjabi and English.  He is regarded as the founder of Punjabi theatre in Canada. He has also attracted attention in the U.S. with his poem Stroll in a Particle, which is one of the eight international poems inscribed on a public wall outside the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation building in Seattle. His collection of poetry, Poems at My Doorstep originally published in 1990 has been re-issued by Ekstasis this year. $23.95 ISBN 978-1-77171-233-0

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Book shop in vegetable Market
ਪਟਿਆਲੇ ਅਰਬਨ ਅਸਟੇਟ ਵਿਚ ਸਬਜ਼ੀ ਖਰੀਦ ਦਿਆਂ ਕਿਤਾਬਾਂ ਦੀ ਦੁਕਾਨ ਦੇਖ ਮੈਂ ਦੰਗ ਰਹਿ ਗਿਆ।
ਕਾਊਂਟਰ ਤੇ ਖੜ੍ਹੇ ਕੁੜੀਆਂ ਮੁੰਡਿਆਂ ਨੇ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਉਹ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਵਿਚ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਵਿਭਾਗ ਦੇ ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥੀ ਹਨ।
ਕਿਤਾਬਾਂ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਤੱਕ ਲੈ ਕੇ ਜਾਣ ਦਾ ਇਹ ਵਧੀਆ ਯਤਨ ਹੈ।
ਹੋਰਨਾਂ ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣੇ ਇਲਾਕੇ ਵਿਚ ਇਹੋ ਜਿਹੇ ਯਤਨ ਕਰਨੇ ਚਾਹੀਦੇ ਹਨ
ਬਰਜਿੰਦਰ ਨਸਰਾਲੀ



Dr. M.B. Gaijan Head, Department of English Samaldas Arts College, Shri M. K. Bhavnagar University Bhavnagar, Gujarat

Abstract: In 20th century Canada remained multicultural fascination world for the world community due to liberal immigration policy, multicultural, multilingual social acceptability. As a result humanity all over the world preferred to accept Canada as their “Dream Land”. Thus, Canada emerged as the rainbow-coloured nation. Indians have also preferred Canada as their “Dream Land”. Thus Canada becomes “Second Home” for the large number of Punjabis, Jains, Marathis and Gujaratis. These Indians couldn’t forget their homeland, culture, and their roots. By their literary works they paint their “roots”, “India”, “culture”. Among all Indo-Canadian writers, Ajmer Rode’s contribution is indeed remarkable. He is a playwright, director, translator and poet. He is writing in Punjabi as well as in English. Because of his unique contribution he is awarded by the State Government of Punjab. He is also a leading poet of Canada. Being a Punjabi, his poems remain highly significant to understand Indian’s culture. In the final text of this paper Ajmer Rode’s selected poems are considered for the study. For full article go to the link below.



When Navtej Bharati and I saw Om Puri in 1999 in his Mumbai apartment he lived with writer Nandita Puri and their son Ishaan. And a dog that was blind. Om said he picked up the dog when it was a blind puppy abandoned by his mother on this very apartment street; we raised him along with Ishaan, he said. The little story was so moving, said so much more about the great actor.

And those who met Puri know he was a Punjabi in and out. When we presented him a copy of our newly published book Leela he immediately opened it and read a poem to three of us, including Nandita who being a Bengali merely smiled. (The picture was taken by Shahzad N Khan,  Vancouver, 2010)



An event not to be missed


melodies * lyrics * dances * scenes * colors

One of Canada’s leading Indo-Canadian performing arts organization, NAAD FOUNDATION is holding its annual festival on 28 October 2016 in Surrey Arts Center, Surrey BC, starting 6:30 pm. The program will be emceed by popular social activist Meera Gill.  

The festival will present several items of semi-classical, popular and fusion music by well-known and accomplished Naad musicians: Amarjeet Singh (tabla), Gagandeep Singh (vocalist), Dr. Bruce Harding (flute), Surinder Khaira (drums), Coach Sandhu (guitar), Baljit Singh (Dilruba) and Nikki (Tanpura).

The highlight of the program will be dance performances by famous Kathak dancer Mangala Bhatt of Jaipur Gharana coming (from India) especially for this program.

This Year the festival will premiere a Poetry film Our Victory based on a poem written by poet-dramatist Ajmer Rode. The film is produced by multi-talented artist Gagandeep Singh and directed by photographer & up-and-coming director Gurleen Suri.

The festival will also release a new publication Punjab Paintings produced by famous Indo-Canadian artist Jarnail Singh. 



MG Vassanji coming to address the Dhahan Prize gala 2016

mg-vassanjiDhahan Prize is the largest and most prestigious international Punjabi prize awarded annually for three best works of Punjabi fiction. The books written in Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi are considered for the prize, already being praised for creating fraternity among Punjabi authors across India-Pak border. So far the winning authors have been from India, Pakistan, UK and Canada. This year the top prize ($25,000) goes to Toronto based writer Jarnail Singh; the second prize ($5,000) winners are Zahid Hassan (Shahmukhi) and Simran Dhaliwal (Gurmukhi).

One of Canada’s most acclaimed novelists MG Vassanji is coming to deliver the keynote speech this year. Among his many prizes and honors are Gillar prize (twice) and a Governor-General’s prize; he was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2005. His speech alone would be worth attending the gala, though, there would be much more, of course, including meeting the winning authors and Dhahan Prize founders and organizers. I urge all Punjabi language lovers, readers and writers not to miss the gala being held on 29 October 2016 at 6:30 pm at the Museum of Anthropology, UBC. For tickets go to or get them at the door.