The more I heard about him, since I was in a school,
the more I read him, the more I wanted to know
him. Today, I am very proud that I am announcing
that the person being honoured by the Godrej No.
1 Doordarshan Panj Pani Sanman 2005 for contribution
to the Punjabi heritage and culture is Giani Gurdit
Singh," said Satinder Satti, a popular TV
"Much of our heritage and culture would have
been lost had it not been for personalities like
Giani Gurdit Singh who reminds the coming generations
of their roots and culture. It is because of his
immense contribution to the heritage and culture
of Punjab that Doordarshan is honouring Giani
Gurdit Singh," she added. Satti was the compere
at a function held by Doordarshan Kendra, Jalandhar,
to honour eminent Punjabis.
Doordarshan had conferred the award on a number
of prominent Punjabis for their contribution to
various facets of life in Punjab. The septuagenarian
is the author of one of the most popular and acclaimed
Punjabi books, Mera Pind, that has been in continuous
print since 1961.
Along with Giani Gurdit Singh, those honoured
at Phagwara, near Jalandhar, on Saturday, May
28, were eminent journalist Kuldeep Nayyar, singer
Surinder Kaur, playwright Harcharan Singh, creator
of the Rock Garden Nek Chand and Budh Singh, who
has set up the Guru Nanak Mission Hospital.
Govardhan Sharma, Director, Doordarshan, Jalandhar,
gave away the award to Giani Gurdit Singh. The
citation read out at the function said: "Doordarshan
feels honoured in honouring with the Panj Pani
Sanman the master of magical expression, Giani
Gurdit Singh, who, by his enchanting words in
his immortal work Mera Pind, has captured the
aroma of the land of Punjab, the language of its
people, their psyche, folklore and lifestyle.
Gurdit Singh, in his various books, has preserved
Punjabi culture, making immense contribution in
recording its glorious heritage in all its hues.
He has also made meaningful and definitive contribution
to the glory of the legacy of Punjab and India
with his extensively-researched writing in the
field of Gurbani."
A short film on the writer was
also shown after the citation was read. Shot at
Giani Gurdit Singh's home in Chandigarh, the presentation
called him an eminent literature and researcher.
"He not only pursued knowledge,
but also disbursed it widely through his writings."
It dwelt on his contribution to journalism (he
established Parkash, the first daily Punjabi newspaper
in PEPSU in 1947) and research (through the Singh
Sabha Patrika magazine that he founded in 1973).
His various books, including the three-volume
Punjab Dian Lok Kahanian, Punjabi Jiwan te Sabhyachar,
a poetic compilation called Bhavan de Des, Ithas
Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Bhagat Bani Bhag and the
over 20 biographies he has penned came in for
particular mention. His having been honoured by
various national and international organisations,
including UNESCO, was also recalled.
Addressing the audience after
receiving the award, Giani Gurdit Singh said:
Doordarshan has brought a number of accomplished
Punjabis near each other and in the limelight.
He pointed out that there was a paucity of interest
in literature in Punjab and in the Punjabi language.
He said the function was a call to the Punjabis
to focus more on their language, so that it gets
its rightful place among progressive languages.
Satti's comment that Giani Gurdit
Singh was a chanan munara (lighthouse) of society,
summed up the mood of the gathering. Others who
were honoured at the function are Prof Pritam
Singh (education), Dalip Kaur Tiwana (literature),
Dr S. S. Johl (agriculture), Dr Inderjit Kaur
(philanthropy), B. R. Chopra (film-making), Kartar
Singh Duggal (broadcasting), Milkha Singh (sport),
Nek Chand (fine arts), Dr S. S. Goraya (science
and technology) and Dr Hardas Singh (medicine
and treatment). Of these awardees, Milkha Singh,
B. R. Chopra and Dr S. S. Goraya did not receive
the awards in person.