learning: Haiku in Indian Languages - Punjabi

Updated: Sep 12, 2021


HAIKU IN PUNJABI editor and translator: Arvinder Kaur

Haiku entered the life of Punjabis in a big way when Parminder Sodhi published his book

of translation of Japanese haiku Japani Haiku Shayari. Influenced by Sodhi’s book, Amarjit Sathi took to writing and promoting Punjabi haiku and made it his life’s mission. With a handful of like-minded haijin he started an online Punjabi haiku group that has exerted a great influence on Punjabi haiku poets and has been responsible for shaping their sensibilities.

Several books, translations as well as originals, have appeared since then. International

haiku conferences have been organised by Punjabi Haiku Forum in collaboration with Punjabi

University Patiala. It is heartening to note that the response to the conferences has been

overwhelming.

Punjabi haiku scene is extremely volatile at the moment. It seems ready for big strides

and is making its presence felt in the mainstream Punjabi literature. Hardliners are putting

up a resistance but haiku in Punjabi, with its emotional and cultural appeal, seems ready to

overcome all obstacles. Thematically, Punjabi haiku is exploring almost all areas of life and

Nature. Punjab’s rich cultural heritage holds a very special and sacred place in the hearts

of its haijin and hence it is written about with a lot of love and affection both by the native

poets and the diaspora. A strong feel of the “here and now,” the depiction of everyday harsh

realities, the pining for the beloved in the romantic month of Sawan, the tender nuances of

relationships, and of course the typical Punjabi rustic humour all form subjects for Punjabi

haiku which has a huge readership and hence a bright future. ghar vapsi— home coming—

ambi de boote vich jhoot rahi swinging in the mango tree

maa di lori mother’s lullaby

—Sandip Chauhan

meenh dhota chan— rain-washed moon—

keet val kirli di the lizard’s balanced walk

tulvin chal towards an insect

—Ranjit Singh Sra

kania— raindrops . . .

khule verandeh ‘ch faili spreading through the verandah

basmati di khushbo the scent of basmati

mehak vihune scentless

diary de vich in the diary

sukke phul dry flowers

—Amarjit Sathi

jhone di luyai— sowing paddy—

kirti kudi de pairan heth under the young girl’s feet

tapda sooraj the burning sun

—Harvinder Dhaliwal


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