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 (…/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:



Mandeep Wirk

Mandeep Wirk with one of her art works

Heartfelt thanks to our well known Indo-Canadian visual artist, writer and photographer Mandeep Wirk who reviewed the launch of our new book A Journey With The Endless Eye (by Jarnail Singh Artist and Ajmer Rode) on 21 February 2016 in Crossroads United Church of Delta, BC. The following is her blog post:

The Books Were Flying Faster off the Table than the Samosas.

by Mandeep Wirk

On the Sunday afternoon of February 21, I had the great pleasure of attending the much awaited book launch of “A Journey With the Endless Eye: Stories of the Komagata Maru Incident” with text by Ajmer Rode and paintings by Jarnail Singh. Many people have been waiting eagerly for this book, so the event was well attended at Crossroads United Church in Delta.

komagata maru front cover cropped 21mar2015

As I walked into the foyer, both Ajmer Rode and Jarnail Singh were busy signing books, as they chatted with a crowd of book lovers gathered at the table thumbing through their book. There was also the pleasant scent of samosas in the air and turning around I saw people enjoying Indian sweets as they chatted with friends.

Jarnail Singh’s paintings of the Komagata Maru episode featured in the book were on exhibition. Mums and Dads were busy explaining the story of the Komagata Maru voyage to their children as they moved from one painting to the next.

Looking around, I saw people holding anywhere from 1 to 10 books in their arms. Some people were buying multiple copies to gift to their loved ones. One grandfather told me he had bought copies for all his grandchildren, because he wanted them to know about the story of the Komagata Maru.

Surjeet Kalsey, a critically acclaimed poet, writer and a counsellor officiated the interesting program that followed. After welcoming everyone warmly, Surjeet explained that although the centenary of the Komagata Maru was in 2014, they had decided to launch the book later to continue creating awareness of the Komagata Maru. Also she pointed out that it took some time to find a publisher but eventually they were lucky to find publisher, Richard Olafson of Ekstasis Editions.

The Komagata Maru with its 376 Indian passengers was the first ship to be turned away from Canadian shores in 1914, because it did not meet the immigration requirement of direct journey from India to Canada. The continuous journey regulation was intentionally racist designed to prevent brown-skinned Indians from entering Canada, which the government of that time wanted to build into a white Christian nation.

Surjeet Kalsey Richard Olafson Ajmer Rode and Jarnail Artist -photo by Mandeep Wirk 21feb2016

Surjeet Kalsey Richard Olafson (publisher) Ajmer Rode and Jarnail Artist -photo by Mandeep Wirk 21feb2016

Critically acclaimed poet and Punjabi writer, Ajmer Rode spoke to the gathering, saying that their book is not a history book – instead their book includes “emotions” which history has left out. He noted that usually it is only “art” that deals with the topic of emotions. Ajmer Rode also explained the title of the book ” A Journey With The Endless Eye” saying that the “endless eye” refers to the “eternal gaze” of the Komagata Maru passengers – because the journey of the Komagata Maru is endless – continuing well into our own time.

However, Ajmer Rode also emphasized that there were a sizeable number of white people in Canada at that time who did sympathize with the Indian passengers on board the Komagata Maru – and it is for this precise reason he created the character of “Jean” in the book. Also the history of the Komagata Maru does not document women, but there were also a few Indian women aboard the ship who are lost to history – and for this reason he decided to include a mother and child to give voice to women in the book.

Prominent artist, Jarnail Singh also spoke to the gathering saying that he first heard the story of the doomed voyage of the Komagata Maru and the courage of its passengers in India, from his father. So when he immigrated to Canada, he decided that it was important to create a body of work around this defining moment in the history of South Asians in Canada, represented by the Komagata Maru episode.

Publisher, Richard Olafson also spoke to the gathering stating that he made the decision to publish Ajmer Rode’s and Jarnail Singh’s book because the Komagata Maru is such an important Canadian story holding special significance for South Asian Canadians. The South Asian Canadian community says thank you so much to Richard Olafson for “A Journey With The Endless Eye: Stories of the Komagata Maru Incident”.

Ajmer Rode and Jarnail Artist signing -photo by Mandeep Wirk 21feb2016

Ajmer Rode and Jarnail Artist signing -photo by Mandeep Wirk 21feb2016


Local politicians were also in attendance. Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal addressed the gathering announcing that PM Justin Trudeau will soon be making a formal apology for the Komagata Maru episode. Jagrup Brar made a poignant observation noting that artists and writers were necessary for any society to flourish – because it was artists and writers who “build human beings”.

Dr. Charan Gill from PICS Society also spoke to the gathering thanking community partners for their hard work. PICS Society under Dr. Gill’s leadership, has everyone knows, done a lot to develop our community. Also PICS Society played a big role in the centenary commemoration of the Komagata Maru.

We enjoyed musical entertainment by NAAD Foundation. Surjeet Kalsey introduced the founder of NAAD, Gagandeep Singh saying that his beautiful voice sounded just like Jagjit Singh. His albums are available on iTunes. Other members of the band were Amarjeet Singh (tabla), Dr. Bruce Harding (flute) and Surindar Singh (guitar). This fusion music sounded heavenly to our ears.

A dramatic performance by Gurdip Arts Academy from the Punjabi play called “Kamagata Maru” written by Ajmer Rode concluded this event. An encounter between a young girl and a wandering old man leaning on a cane highlighted the importance of preserving the story of the Komagata Maru in our social memory today. The young girl asks the old man who is looking around if he is lost. “Where is the 2nd Avenue gurdwara?” asks the old man. When the old man learns it was torn down a long time ago, he expresses his disbelief and disappointment, explaining that he had come all the way from India to do darshan (pray) at this gurdwara. Now the girl asks him some more questions and learns that this old man was a young boy called Puran on board the Komagata Maru in 1914 and the 2nd Avenue gurdwara had sustained the passengers with food and supplies during their 7 weeks of ordeal aboard the ship.

“Any community that doesn’t care for its history cannot become great,” says the distraught old man. The girl then tells the old man she is a history student and would like to preserve the story of the Komagata Maru with his help.Let us keep the memory of the courageous voyage of the Komagata Maru alive in our public memory.

A view of the audience

A view of the audience

Basant Motors of Surrey purchased 100 copies of the book to distribute further. Thank so much to Basant Motors for their enormous support.

Thanks so much also to the enormous support of the Komagata Maru Foundation for their purchase of 200 copies of the book.

Also many thanks to community members for their wonderful support.

“A Journey With The Endless Eye: Stories of the Komagata Maru Incident” is a beautiful coffee table book. Please contact Ajmer Rode and Jarnail Singh for more information regarding purchasing this book.


Well known contemporary painter Gurpreet Bathinda recently (January 2016) painted Bhootwara in India’s Miniature style. Bhootwara, now a legend, was a unique literary centre in Patiala of the sixties Punjab. The painting captures the essence of Bhootwara (literally a ghost house) surprisingly well. Great work! Below is the painting and a comment by Gurpreet.

Bhootwara paintng by Gurpreet jan2016

So… Friends, enjoy my new work on ‘Bhootwara’.

I did it in Indian Miniature style. I found only this style suitable for Bhootwara as it has become a legend in Punjabi Literature as well as like a mythical story! Many stories are being published about it in magazines and books. Here in this painting I have shown all ‘Bhoots’ busy in sharing ‘kathas'(Stories). Top stories are flying like clouds in the form of birds. few bird like stories are roaming in bhoots, one is being shared by Laali baba, another is sitting on Harinder Mehboob’s Head !
Bhoots shown are Navtej Bharati, Laali Baba, Ajmer Rode, Sutinder Singh Noor, Prem Pali, Gurbhagat, Kulwant Garewal, Dalip K Tiwana, Surjeet Lee and Harinder Mehboob!
(I am closely related to it because of my elder sister’s research work on Navtej Bharati ji and ‘Bhootwara’) – Gurpreet

“Beautiful work of art and great depiction of a rare group of intellectuals by Gurpreet Singh” –Gulab Singh Grewal 


ਭੂਤਵਾੜੇ ਦੇ ਭੂਤਾਂ ਦੀ ਕਥਾ

 ਡਾ: ਤਰਸ਼ਿੰਦਰ ਕੌਰ ਦੀ ਕਲਮ ਤੋਂ

ਡਾਕਟਰ ਤਰਸ਼ਿੰਦਰ ਕੌਰ ਨੇ ਭੂਤਵਾੜੇ ਦੇ ਵਾਸੀ ਲੇਖਕਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਕਥਾਵਾਂ ਆਪਣੀ ਇਸ ਨਵੀਂ ਪੁਸਤਕ ਵਿਚ ਪੇਸ਼ ਕੀਤੀਆਂ ਹਨ। ਭੂਤਵਾੜਾ ਸੱਠਵਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਪਟਿਆਲੇ ਵਿਚ (ਲੋਅਰ ਮਾਲ) ਸਥਿਤ ਦੋ ਕਮਰਿਆਂ ਵਾਲੀ ਕੋਠੀ ਸੀ ਜਿਸ ਵਿਚ ਕੁਝ ਭੂਤ ਸਥਾਈ ਸਨ ਕੁਝ ਅਸਥਾਈ, ਅਤੇ ਅਨੇਕਾਂ ਹੋਰ ਲੇਖਕ ਆਉਂਦੇ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਰਹਿੰਦੇ ਸਨ। ਭੂਤਵਾੜੇ ਦੀ ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ਤਾ ਇਥੋਂ ਦੇ ਸਾਹਿਤਕ ਕਲਚਰ ਦੀ ਅਮੀਰੀ, ਗਿਆਨ ਦੀ ਵਿਸ਼ਾਲਤਾ ਤੇ ਗਹਿਰਾਈ; ਅਤੇ ਲੇਖਕਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਸਮਾਨਤਾ ਤੇ ਮਿਤਰਤਾ ਦਾ ਵਾਤਾਵਰਨ ਸੀ; ਹੋਰ ਵੀ ਕਈ ਕੁਝ ਸੀ ਜੋ ਇਸਨੂੰ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੇ ਬਾਕੀ ਸਾਹਿਤਕ ਕੇਂਦਰਾਂ ਨਾਲੋਂ ਵਖਰਿਆਉਂਦਾ ਸੀ। ਮੇਰੀ ਆਪਣੀ ਮਾਨਸਿਕਤਾ ਉਤੇ ਭੂਤਵਾੜੇ ਦਾ ਡੂੰਘਾ ਤੇ ਸਦੀਵੀ ਪ੍ਰਭਾਵ ਪਿਆ; ਮੇਰੀ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਰਚਨਾ, “ਵਿਸ਼ਵ ਦੀ ਨੁਹਾਰ” ਦਾ ਮੁੱਖ ਪ੍ਰੇਰਨਾਸ੍ਰੋਤ ਅਤੇ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ਨਾ ਦਾ ਸਬੱਬ ਭੂਤਵਾੜਾ ਹੀ ਸੀ। ਸਾਡੇ ਲਈ ਖੁਸ਼ੀ ਦੀ ਗੱਲ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਡਾ: ਤਰਸ਼ਿੰਦਰ ਕੌਰ ਨੇ ਭੂਤਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਇੰਟਰਵਿਊ ਕਰਕੇ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਪਾਠਕਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਇਹ ਤੁਹਫਾ ਭੇਂਟ ਕੀਤਾ ਹੈ।

Bhootan Di Katha


If you want to cite an example of a contemporary creative mind in full bloom think of Manolis Aligizakis, a Canadian writer of Greek origin who writes in English and Greek. In 2015 alone he published 11 books in 4 different countries and in 4 different languages. In these books he’s either the poet or the translator, or the author, or his work has been translated and published into a different language. Below are his two poems translated into Punjabi by me.

Mnolis picture

ਮਨੋਲਸ ਦੀਆਂ ਦੋ ਨਜ਼ਮਾਂ


ਪਿਛਲੀ ਰਾਤ ਦੀ ਬੇਰਹਿਮ ਹਵਾ
ਤੇ ਉਸਦੀਆਂ ਸ਼ਿਕਾਰ
ਡਿਗੀਆਂ ਟਹਿਣੀਆਂ ਤੇ
ਕਦਮ ਧਰਦਾ ਮੈਂ ਤੁਰਦਾ ਗਿਆ
ਅਨੰਤ ਸੰਪੂਰਨਤਾ ਦੀ
ਸੁਰ ਵਿਚ ਸੁਰ ਹੋਇਆ ਸੰਗੀਤ ਸੁਣਦਾ ਗਿਆ
ਤੇ ਫੇਰ ਇਕ ਪੰਛੀ ਦੀ ਚਹਿਕ ਸੁਣ
ਮੈਂ ਸਿਰ ਚੁਕਿਆ, ਦੇਖਿਆ,
ਬਿਰਖ ਦੀ ਟਹਿਣੀ ਤੇ ਬੈਠੀ ਇਕ ਚਿੜੀ

ਸਬੂਤ –
ਇਸ ਦਿਨ
ਮੈਂ ਜਿੰਦਾ ਸਾਂ



ਉਦਰ ਵਿਚ ਪ੍ਰਵੇਸ਼ ਕਰਨ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
ਮੈਂ ਸਾਂ
ਇਕ ਸਹਿਜ ਸਹਿਜ ਬੁਝ ਰਹੀ ਅੱਗ ਦਾ ਧੂੰਆਂ
ਤੁਹਾਡੀ ਨੀਲੀ ਖਿੜਕੀ ਤੇ ਵੱਜ ਰਹੀ ਹਵਾ
ਤੁਹਾਡੀ ਹੋਂਦ ਵਿਚ ਆਈ ਤ੍ਰੇੜ
ਇਕ ਪੀਡੀ ਪਕੜ

ਜਿੰਦਗੀ ਦਾ ਰੂਪ ਧਾਰਨ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
ਆਪਣਾ ਨਾਮ ਚੁਣਨ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
ਇਕ ਮਾਤਮੀ ਜਲੂਸ ਦਾ ਗੀਤ ਸਾਂ

ਮੈਂ ਸਾਂ
ਇਕ ਬਹੁਰੰਗੇ ਗੁਲਾਬ ਦੀ ਮਹਿਕ
ਪੰਛੀ ਦੇ ਪਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਸਰਸਰਾਹਟ

ਚਮੜੀ ਦੇ ਜਾਲ ‘ਚ ਫਸਣ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
ਸਮੁੰਦਰ ਦੀ ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਨਰਮ ਛੱਲ ਸਾਂ ਮੈਂ

ਪਾਣੀ ਉਤੇ ਵਧੇ ਪਥਰੀਲੇ ਛੱਜੇ ਤੇ ਬੈਠਾ
ਕੱਲਮਕੱਲਾ ਬਾਜ
ਉਚਾਈਆਂ ਤੋਂ ਦੇਖ ਰਿਹਾ ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ
ਇਕ ਰੂਪਰਹਿਤ ਸੁਤੰਤਰਤਾ ਸਾਂ ਮੈਂ ਆਪਣੇ ਜਨਮ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
ਅਨੰਤ ਦਾ ਸਾਥੀ
ਇਕ ਸਾਦਾ ਜਿਹਾ ਹੌਕਾ
ਨਿਕਲਿਆ ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਹੋਂਠਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਦਾਗਣ

ਮੈਂ ਸਾਂ
ਇਕ ਘੰਟੀ ਦੀ ਅਨੰਦਮਈ ਖੜਕਣ
ਮੈਂ ਸਾਂ ਅਨਿਸ਼ਚਤ

ਅਨੁਵਾਦ: ਅਜਮੇਰ ਰੋਡੇ



Every Naad writing class ends up being more creative more fun filled more absorbing. Below are some of the pictures from our 28 November class taken by Gurleen:



Our 3rd class/workshop was held on 21 November 2015 at the Naad Foundation premises. We started with focusing on creative aspects of mind and its most amazing invention, the language; then did some free writing exercises before moving on to actual writing. Participants wrote short prose pieces, short stories, poems, journals, bios…. In a relaxed atmosphere.
No one is required or forced to write in the class, but everyone feels inspired to do so. And it is fun, a lot of fun indeed, to share these writings at the end. Creative writing gives expression to creative thinking, essential to excel in arts, sciences and business.

Creative writing is a pink&blue joy, with sea green depths.
Next class will be held on Saturday, 28 November, at Naad Foundation, # 109 – 12414 82 Ave, Surrey. For more information, phone Gagandeep @ 778 883-2677. We are grateful to Radio Red FM, Joy TV and Radio My FM for helping us spread the word.

Naad CW class 21nov2015 -1Naad CW class 21nov2015 -2



Looking forward to our next class tomorrow, Saturday, 14 nov 2015

The class on 7 November 2015 was a success -more than expected. We started with a brief meditative silence, simple language exercises and moved on to writing. All the children and adults wrote and shared their pieces. It was a joy to see creative faces beaming with excitement, hands moving in rhythm.

Creative writing expands your mind.
You explore, imagine more, think deep. and deeper.
You discover words, write.


Contact Gagandeep Singh at 778-883-2627 . See
Naad Foundation at 12414  82 Ave (unit 109), Surrey, BC

CW first workshop 7nov2015 -3CW first workshop 7nov2015 -5