When Navtej Bharati and I saw Om Puri in 1999 in his Mumbai apartment he lived with writer Nandita Puri and their son Ishaan. And a dog that was blind. Om said he picked up the dog when it was a blind puppy abandoned by his mother on this very apartment street; we raised him along with Ishaan, he said. The little story was so moving, said so much more about the great actor.

And those who met Puri know he was a Punjabi in and out. When we presented him a copy of our newly published book Leela he immediately opened it and read a poem to three of us, including Nandita who being a Bengali merely smiled. (The picture was taken by Shahzad N Khan,  Vancouver, 2010)



An event not to be missed


melodies * lyrics * dances * scenes * colors

One of Canada’s leading Indo-Canadian performing arts organization, NAAD FOUNDATION is holding its annual festival on 28 October 2016 in Surrey Arts Center, Surrey BC, starting 6:30 pm. The program will be emceed by popular social activist Meera Gill.  

The festival will present several items of semi-classical, popular and fusion music by well-known and accomplished Naad musicians: Amarjeet Singh (tabla), Gagandeep Singh (vocalist), Dr. Bruce Harding (flute), Surinder Khaira (drums), Coach Sandhu (guitar), Baljit Singh (Dilruba) and Nikki (Tanpura).

The highlight of the program will be dance performances by famous Kathak dancer Mangala Bhatt of Jaipur Gharana coming (from India) especially for this program.

This Year the festival will premiere a Poetry film Our Victory based on a poem written by poet-dramatist Ajmer Rode. The film is produced by multi-talented artist Gagandeep Singh and directed by photographer & up-and-coming director Gurleen Suri.

The festival will also release a new publication Punjab Paintings produced by famous Indo-Canadian artist Jarnail Singh. 



MG Vassanji coming to address the Dhahan Prize gala 2016

mg-vassanjiDhahan Prize is the largest and most prestigious international Punjabi prize awarded annually for three best works of Punjabi fiction. The books written in Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi are considered for the prize, already being praised for creating fraternity among Punjabi authors across India-Pak border. So far the winning authors have been from India, Pakistan, UK and Canada. This year the top prize ($25,000) goes to Toronto based writer Jarnail Singh; the second prize ($5,000) winners are Zahid Hassan (Shahmukhi) and Simran Dhaliwal (Gurmukhi).

One of Canada’s most acclaimed novelists MG Vassanji is coming to deliver the keynote speech this year. Among his many prizes and honors are Gillar prize (twice) and a Governor-General’s prize; he was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2005. His speech alone would be worth attending the gala, though, there would be much more, of course, including meeting the winning authors and Dhahan Prize founders and organizers. I urge all Punjabi language lovers, readers and writers not to miss the gala being held on 29 October 2016 at 6:30 pm at the Museum of Anthropology, UBC. For tickets go to galatickets@dhahanprize.com or get them at the door.



One of British Columbia’s leading performing arts organizations, Naad Foundation, is holding its Naad Festival – 2016 on 28 October 2016 in Surrey Arts Centre.

The festival will present several eclectic items by well known Naad musicians: Gagandeep Singh (Classical Vocal), Dr. Bruce Harding (Flute), Surinder Khaira (Drum), Amarjeet Singh, (Tabla), Coach Sandhu (Guitar), Baljit Singh (Dilruba)

The highlight of the program will be a dance performance by famous Kathak dancer Mangala Bhatt of Jaipur Gharana (India).

This year the festival will also premier a short spoken word film, OUR VICTORY, written by Ajmer Rode, directed by Gurleen Suri and produced by Gagandeep Singh.



A Hindi movie based on Ajmer Rode’s Punjabi play, One Girl One Dream,

                                             ਇਕ ਕੁੜੀ ਇਕ ਸੁਪਨਾ

A movie based on Ajmer Rode's play, One Girl One Dream



 a poem by Ajmer Rode


Their stony grandstanding
urges you to look at your hands.
See what is possible with them.

I stand among those
looking in awe
the apex stone at 140 meters
the one that communes with gods
to receive blessings
coded in seven colors of sun.
Still under the spell
something in me moves my feet
to go and touch in reverence
the lowermost slab
supporting all those above it. To the apex.

translated into Greek by Manolis Aligizakis


Η πέτρινη περήφανή τους στάση
σε κάνει να κοιτάζεις τα χέρια σου.
Να δεις τί είναι εφικτό να φτιάξεις.

Στέκομαι μαζί μ’όλους
που θαυμάζουν
τον τελευταίο ογκόλιθο στην κορυφή
εκατό σαράντα μέτρα ψηλά
αυτόν που επικοινωνεί με τους θεούς
να αποσπάσει την ευλογία τους
κωδικοποιημένη στα επτά χρώματα του ήλιου.
Είμαι ακόμα υπνοτισμένος
καθώς κάτι μέσα μου υποκινεί τα πόδια μου
ν’ανέβω και μ’ ευλάβεια ν’αγγίξω
τον πιο χαμηλά τοποθετημένο ογκόλιθο
που υποβαστάζει όλους τους άλλους από πάνω του.
Μέχρι την κορυφή.



Meera Gill with AjmerRode - Komagata Maru function 23July2016Meera Gill with Ajmer Rode
At the Komagata Memorial event on 23 July 2016 (Coal Harbour, Vancouver)

With Ajmer Rode just before yesterday’s event, discussing the book : “A Journey With The Endless Eye”- put together with partnership with Jarnail Singh Artist. We could not be more proud of the fact that this book written by Mr. Roe and the ten original painings (from the book) depicting history of the Komagata Maru incident were released by the President of the Carleton University of Ottawa on the same day our Prime Minister was offering the Komagata Maru apology on the Parliament Hill (http://newsroom.carleton.ca/…/carleton-host-art-exhibition…/ ). Ten paintings are now the integral part of that university. Please congratulate Mr. Rode and Mr. Jarnail Singh for their vision and dedication to save part of our heritage in Canada.
-Meera Gill/24 July 2016




Today’s creative writing session was perhaps the best ever. Collectively we brainstormed the subject and theme of a new play. Participants poured out scene after new scene, some hilarious, creating much fun and excitement.
In the next session we are going to give shape to the play by selecting and structuring the scenes and by creating appropriate characters.






The next Creative Writing workshop is going to be held
on 12 March 2016 at 1:00 pm sharp
at unit 109 – 12414 82 Ave., Surrey.

ALL WELCOME: Children, Seniors, Adults.

Creative writing is exciting -fun and serious learning at the same time. 
It fills you with joy and confidence; Expands mind Improves memory Lowers stress

For more information, phone Amarjeet at  778 883-2627
Ajmer Rode at 778 840-4342

cw picture 23 jan 2016

Creative writing at Naad Foundaton



ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਸਾਹਿਤ ਲਈ  ਢਾਹਾਂ ਪ੍ਰਾਈਜ਼


Submissions for the 2016 Dhahan Prize for Punjabi literature are now being accepted. DEADLINE is 15 March 2016.

Dhahan Prize is the largest and most prestigious international prize for Punjabi fiction. It awards a first prize of $25000, and two second prizes of $5000 each.

For address, eligibility guidelines, and SUBMISSION FORM please go to: