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Sahit Shiromani Puraskar for Giani Gurdit Singh
Gurpreet Singh Mehak
Fatehgarh Sahib, October 20
Eminent Punjabi writer Giani Gurdit Singh, known particularly for his book Mera Pind that has sustained readership over the past four decades, has been awarded this year’s Punjabi Sahit Shiromani Puraskar by the state government.
Presented by the Punjab Languages Department, the award carries a cash component of Rs 2.5 lakh.
While even international bodies like Unesco have recognised the worth of Mera Pind, which awarded the author in 1967, recognition from the state government was considered long overdue in Punjabi literary circles.
Born on February 24, 1923, in Mithewal village, Giani Gurdit Singh has lived a versatile life of an academic, politician and religious scholar. He was the editor of a Punjabi newspaper, Parkash, which he brought out from 1947 to 1978, and also Singh Sabha Patrika, a monthly magazine devoted to Sikh history and divinity from 1973 to 1988. Considered a virtual classic of Punjabi literature, Giani Gurdit’s Mera Pind was first published in 1961; it is now in its seventh edition. It is a comprehensive study of the entire spectrum of life in a Punjab village, which has since long been part of syllabus in schools, colleges and at university level.
Apart from his prose, Giani Gurdit has also received recognition for his research work on Guru Granth Sahib and other Sikh scriptures. Currently he is busy completing a book on Purtan Birs of Guru Granth Sahib. In 1991, the SGPC recognized his contribution with the honorific of Gurmat Acharya.
The Hindustan Times October 21, 2006