writer, dramatist, translator
Ajmer Rode has published books of poetry, drama, prose and translation in Punjabi and English. His works have been included in many Punjabi and English anthologies and books prescribed in several universities of Punjab and Delhi. Pash Da Sath is his latest publication by WEB publications.
His first book Vishava Di Nuhᾱr published by the Punjabi University in 1966 expounds Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in fictional form. The book initiated a series of university publications on popular science. “we hope the publication of this book will inspire more writers like Ajmer Singh (Rode) to explore unbeaten and unknown paths to expand the periphery of their mother tongue.” (Kirpal Singh Narang, VC, Punjabi University). Prominent Punjabi writer and critic Sant Singh Sekhon reviewed the book extensively on All India Radio, Jallandhar, 1966
His first poetry book Surti is credited with introducing concrete poetry into Punjabi. “I feel, with these poems Ajmer has expanded the scope of Punjabi Language and has quietly given a new turn to Punjabi poetry” (Dr. Attar Singh). Most of his poetry is included in his 1000-page book Leela (co-authored with Navtej Bharati) considered one of the most outstanding works of 20th century Punjabi poetry. “Leela remains unparalleled in the history of Punjabi literature for its courage to explore and experiment with poetic word, cultural memory and our day-to-day existential struggle (Anᾱd Foundation jury of scholars).”
In October 2010 he was invited to take part in the Commonwealth Writers Meet in Delhi where writers from 40 countries including three (Moyez Vassenji and Michael Crummy being the other two) from Canada participated. In 2008 Canada Council sponsored him to participate in another international poetry festival, Kriti, held in Chandigarh in 2008. The Sahitya Akademy, Delhi, invited him to read his poems in Hindi translation in April 2012.Ajmer’s
“Stroll in a Particle” is one of the 8 international English poems inscribed in bronze on a public wall outside the new office complex of Bill & Melinda Gates in downtown Seattle (2011). American critic and FExecutive Editor of Copper Canyon Press Michael Wiegers selected the poems. Mine was picked from www.poetryinternationalweb.net. See also Poems in Punjabi and Poems in English
Ajmer Rode is founder of Canadian Punjabi Drama and has written and directed 10 plays. His one-act play Dooja Passa was the first Punjabi play written in Canada and his full length play Komagata Maru, recently published on-line by Canada’s Simon Fraser University, was the first full length Punjabi play written and staged in Canada. His English play, Rebirth of Gandhi, was premiered in Surrey Arts Center in 2004.
His translations include the English translation of classic Punjabi novel, Marhi Da Diva by published as The Last Flicker by India’s Sahitya Akademy, Delhi. Discussion on the translation is included in well known American critic Jeremy Munday’s book, Introducing Translation Studies (3rd edition published by Routledge, 2012), and in Prof. Rana Nayar’s book, INTER-SECTIONS (published by Orient Black Swan, 2012).
Ajmer has been active member of the Punjabi Writers Forum, Vancouver. He was on the National Council of The Writers Union of Canada in 1994 and chaired its Racial Minority Writers Committee the same year. He was also on the Canada Council and BC Arts Council juries for awarding grants to creative writers.
Awards & Honors
He has been awarded several writing and travel grants by the Canada Council.
His other awards include:
Best Overseas Author award by the Punjab Languages department (1994)
Lifetime Achievement Award by the University of British Columbia (2013)
Best Citizen Award (literature) by Guru Nanak Dev University (1994)
Punjab Arts Council honor, 2008
Anᾱd Foundation’s Anᾱd Kav Sanmᾱn award, Delhi, 2010
Mehfil Magazine award for Literary achievement, Vancouver, 2010
Darpan magazine’s Artistic Visionary award, Surrey, 2013
Certificate of Appreciation for translation by the Provincial language Service, BC, Canada, (2007).
exploreASIAN award for contribution to theatre (2004)
Outstanding Literary Achievement award by Rode Heritage Committee, Canada (2000)
Punjabi Writers Association, Calgary (2015)
Ajmer was born in 1940 in a village, Rode of Punjab, India, Completed his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and migrated to Canada in 1966 where he got his M.A.Sc. from the University of Waterloo. Before becoming a full time writer in 1994, he worked as Assistant Professor (Punjab), Computer Engineer (BC Hydro), and Planning Engineer & Global Warming expert at BC Gas in Vancouver.