1st Edition

Critical Discourse in Punjabi

Edited By Rana Nayar, Alpna Saini, Tania Bansal Copyright 2024
    421 Pages
    by Routledge India

    This volume forms a part of the Critical Discourses in South Asia series which deals with schools, movements and discursive practices in major South Asian languages. It offers crucial insights into the making of the Punjabi language and literature, and its critical tradition across a century. The book brings together English translation of major writings of influential figures dealing with literary criticism and theory, aesthetic and performative traditions and re-interpretations of primary concepts and categories in Punjabi. It presents 30 key texts in literary and cultural studies from Punjab from the beginning of development of Punjabi language to its present form, with most of them translated for the first time into English. These seminal essays cover interconnections with socio-historical events in the medieval, colonial and post-independence period in Punjab. They discuss themes such as spiritual and aesthetic visions, poetic and literary forms, modernism, progressivism, feminism, Dalit literature, power structures and social struggles, ideological values, cultural renovations and humanism.

    Comprehensive and authoritative, this volume offers an overview of the history of critical thought in Punjabi literature in South Asia. It will be essential for scholars and researchers of Punjabi language and literature, literary criticism, literary theory, comparative literature, Indian literature, cultural studies, art and aesthetics, performance studies, history, sociology, regional studies and South Asian studies. It will also interest the Punjabi-speaking diaspora and those working on the intellectual history of Punjab and conservation of languages and culture.




    Translator’s Note

    Alpna Saini



    Rana Nayar


    Section-I: Background and Overview


    Punjabi Language: Evolution, Growth and Possibilities

    1.      The History of Punjabi Language

    Pyara Singh Padam


    2.      Literary Development of Punjabi Language

    Vidya Bhaskar Arun


    Punjabi Literature: A Historical Survey

    3.      Main Trends in Punjabi Literature 

    Parminder Singh, Kirpal Singh Kasel, Gobind Singh Lamba


    Problematics of Punjabi Literary History and Historiography


    4.      Methods and Problems in Writing the History of Punjabi Literature

    Sant Singh Sekhon


    Punjabi Culture

    5.      Punjabi Language, Literature and Culture

    T.R. Vinod


    6.      The Culture(s) of Punjab

    Gurbax Singh Frank:

     Punjabi Folk Literature

    7.      Folklore and Literature

    Sohinder Singh Bedi


    8.      Dynamics of Creative Process in Folk Literature

    Nahar Singh


    Section-II: Theorising Medieval Literary Forms


    Literature of the Medieval Age

    9.      Folklore and Medieval Punjabi Literature

    Karnail S. Thind


     Gurmat Literature

    10.  Gurmat Poetry - Tradition and Multiple Perspectives

    Jagbir Singh


    11.  The World of Gurbani – Principles of Interpretation

    Jagbir Singh

                                                                                                                                                         Aesthetics of Gurmat Literature

    12.  The Poetic Form in the Philosophy of Guru Granth Sahib

    Gopal Singh


    13.  Literary History of Shri Guru Granth Sahib

    Taaran Singh


     Sufi Literature

    14.  Critical Reflections on Punjabi Sufi Poetry

    Haribhajan Singh


    15.  The Poetic Universe of the Sufis

    Haribhajan Singh


     Punjabi Narrative Traditions

    16.  Origin and Development of Punjabi Prose in the Medieval Times

    Gurcharan Singh


    17.  Qissas and Romance: A Historical Perspective 

    Sant Singh Sekhon


    Section-III: Theorising Modern Literary Forms


    Punjabi Literature of the Modern Age

    18.  An Overview of New Punjabi Literature

    Kartar Singh Duggal


    Modern Punjabi Poetry

    19.  Reading Modern Punjabi Poetry - From Bhai Vir Singh to Surjit Patar

    Tejwant Singh Gill


    Modern Punjabi Fiction

    20.  Theoretical Possibilities in the Modern Punjabi Novel

    J.S. Rahi


    21.  A Critical Study of the Punjabi Novel

    Niranjan Tasneem

     Modern Punjabi Drama


    22.  History of Punjabi Drama

    Satish Kumar Verma


    23.  Rethinking Punjabi Drama

    Satish Kumar Verma


    Section-IV: Theorising Contemporary Issues in Punjabi Literature


    Progressive Punjabi Literature and Marxist Aesthetics 

    24.  Poetry and Social Criticism

    Sant Singh Sekhon


    25.  Contemporary Progressive Literature

    Kishan Singh



    Punjabi Meta Criticism

    26.  Punjabi Meta Criticism: Past and Present

    Harbhajan Singh Bhatia


    Punjabi Literature and Feminist Movement

    27.  Punjabi Diasporic Fiction – A Feminist Perspective

    Dhanwant Kaur


    28.  The Linguistic Revival of Punjabi Feminism

    Fakhra Hassan


    Punjabi Literature and Dalit Aesthetics  

    29.  Existence, Identity and Beyond - Tracing the Contours of Dalit Literature in Punjabi

    Paramjit S. Judge


    30.  Contemporary Punjabi Dalit Poetry: A Distinct Ideological Discourse


     List of Contributors



    Rana Nayar is Professor (Retired) from the Department of English & Cultural Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh in 2017. His main areas of interest are World Drama/Theatre, Translation Studies, Literary Theory and Cultural Studies. A practising translator of repute (Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow & Sahitya Akademi Prize Winner), he has rendered around 12 modern classics of Punjabi into English. These include novels, short stories and poetry and range across the works of Gurdial Singh, Mohan Bhandari, Raghbir Dhand and Beeba Balwant, published by Macmillan, National Book Trust, Sahitya Akademi, Sterling, Fiction House, Katha, Rupa and Unistar et al. He also has one collection of poems Breathing Spaces (Unistar, Chandigarh) and four critical books, i.e., Edward Albee: Towards a Typology of Relationships (Prestige, New Delhi, 2003), Inter-sections: Essays on Indian Literatures, Translations and Popular Consciousness (Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2012), Gurdial Singh: A Reader (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2012) and Cultural Studies in India (New York, London, New Delhi: Routledge, 2016), an anthology, edited along with Pushpinder Syal and Akshaya Kumar, to his credit. A committed theatre lover, he has directed over 20 major full-length productions, and has acted in almost as many.

    Alpna Saini is Professor of English at Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, India. Her areas of interest include gender studies, cultural studies, Indian drama, Indian cinema and translation studies. She translates from Punjabi and Hindi into English and vice versa. She has extensively published research articles and translations from Punjabi and Hindi to English. She has published a book of critical essays on the drama of Girish Karnad titled Subjectivity as a Locus of Conflicts in Girish Karnad: a Discussion of his Plays. She has also edited and introduced a book titled Negotiating Boundaries: A Study of Bushra Ejaz’s Writings with Neetu Purohit. Her most recent work of translation was Blood Flowers: Selected Poems of Harbhajan Singh Hundal which she co-edited with Rajesh Sharma.

    Tania Bansal completed her PHD in Comparative Literature from Central University of Punjab, Bathinda in 2017. After serving on the faculty of Chitkara University, Himachal Pradesh, she moved to Akal University, Talwandi Sabo (Punjab). Currently she is serving as Assistant Professor at Chandigarh University, Gharuan, Mohali. Her research interests are new historicism, feminism, partition history and translation.