Thursday, January 04, 2007

Nanak Singh

There is something to be said for the firm approach when it comes to parenting. I remember the days when I was around 8 or 9 years old, being ‘forced’ to go to Punjabi class. All these years later, looking back now not only do I understand why it was important then that I learnt Punjabi, but I also am thankful that my parents for taking this firm approach.

The biggest obstacle I’ve found to the progress of my reading of Punjabi has been the lack of good stories that one can relate to (specially if you are young). The standard stock seems to consist of stories of the clever lumbri (fox) and of the crow.

Enter Nanak Singh into my life (better late than never). Very soon, I started reading his short stories not just to practice my Punjabi reading, but because I enjoyed them. What a good read! Thoroughly recommended. Pehaps you can get your local library to stock his books.

Born 4th July 1897, Nanak Singh was one of the best selling novelist in India for thirty to forty years. He wrote over 50 books including novels and collection of short stories. He is considered the pioneer novelist in Punjabi.

Recognized with many awards, including Punjab's highest literary award in 1960. his great historical novel Ik Mian Do Talwaran (One Sheath and Two Swords, 1959) won him India’s highest literary honour, the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1962.

His novel Pavitar Paapi (Saintly Sinner) written in 1942 became immensely popular and won him literary acclaim. It was translated into Hindi and several other Indian languages and was adapted into a smash hit movie in 1968.

Natasha Tolstoy, granddaughter of the World Renowned Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, translated Nanak Singh's novel "Chitta Lahu" (White Blood) into Russian. She visited Nanak Singh in Amritsar to present the first copy of the translated novel to him.

Nanak Singh passed away in 1971.

Nanak Singh with Sobha Singh

Read more at 10/10/05


Sikhi Seeker said...

I read 'Chitta Lahoo' for school, I think grade 8/9. It's a Good novel! And as tempted as I am to mention what part I like of it (and that which is the only thing I remember from it)...I won't... in case someone decides to read it now. It's definitely a good read!

ਿੲਕ ਿਸੰਘ said...

i practice my punjabi on daily hukamnamas and

hukamnama is easier to understand than ajit sometimes. they're pretty hard core over there.

as far as the novels go...i've really only read stuff that was required by school. i guess i'm not much of a reader of fiction or anything that's not live...:)

Confused Khalsa said...

any idea where to get these punjabi books in the uk?

would be a really good idea for the older kids at the local punjabi school to start reading.


msingh said...

I'm not sure where Nanak Singh's books can be purchased in the UK, but here are some leads I found by searching the internet:

Books Asia
107 Manningham Lane
01274 721871

Star Books International
55 Crowland Avenue
Middx UB3 4OP
020 8573 8289

Star Publishers & Distributors
112 Whitfield Street
London W1T 5EE
0207 380 0622

All my reading was done by borrowing from the local library.


msingh said...

I also think it would be good if we had punjabi translations of some of the popular titles like star wars - maybe more children would read them.


Anonymous said...

Novelist Nanak Singh Ji's son S. K.S Suri is a close family friend. Please let me know if you want to get books or a catalog of his novels.

hkl1501 said...

sat shiri akal, i stumbled on this website whilst searching for information on Nanak Singh's novel "step Mother" or as " Matrai Maa" as i am reading it in my A level Panjabi Class. i was wondering if anyone knows if this novel has been translated into english. thanks

Anonymous said...

I have read Pavitar Paapi and am currently reading Asstak naastak. Anyhow I liked Punjabi so much ( self taught, I have designed lessons on webpage for example)I not only learnt to read but to write. Without Punajbi school. I have just finished ( 3 years it took) a Punjabi novel manuscript. Thisis going to be proof read this coming weekend. After that hopefully published. I was even interviwedon Desi Radio, as the one of the 2 or 3 UK born and Bred English Sikhs who have attempted to write in Punjabi. I have written an action novel so kids can relate to it. Anyhow I digress, Nanak Singh had been a big influence.

Please see my work's extracts at and quami ekta.

Anyhow I think more of us Kids in the west should write for ourselves in Punjabi.

Rupe Dhillon

Anonymous said...

Another very good Resource for punjabi sikh religious , cultural and historical books is .
You can order them via phone in india , their no is 91-0183-2545421 or write to