A writer from Karnataka, who translated Punjabi religious literature into Kannada and vice-versa, is putting the blame of rise in crime in Haryana on the state government's "indifferent approach" towards literature.
Panditrao Dharennavar, who is a sociology lecturer at a government college in Chandigarh, reached Sirsa to meet Punjabi poet Hari Singh Dilbar.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, he said: "I never expected a language poet of Dilbar's stature staying under such poor conditions. The surge in rape incidents can't be controlled by forcing minor girls to get married. People can think on these lines only in a literature-sans society."
Dilbar stays at a one-room set with one of his grandchildren who drives autorickshaw to earn living.
Dharennavar said: "The government should encourage poets to write folk stories and dramas to encounter unabated rape incidents."
The Kannada writer who has translated Sri Japji Sahib, Sri Sukhmani Sahib, and Zafarnama in his native language, said: "We, in Karnataka, were told that people in Haryana are like 'huli' (tigers) who are brave and physically strong but khaps' suggestion to lower girls' age for marriage to control crime against women is unconstitutional."
"Now, Haryana should either create literature that instills moral values and positives messages among people or adopt the path of underdevelopment."
About Dilbar, he said: "I came to know about the great Punjabi poet's poor living conditions from a social networking site. So I came to ask people of Sirsa to help the noted Punjabi poet in leading a comfortable life."
Dilbar, who is known for his unusual sting as a hallmark of his satirical comedy, said: "I recited poems from the ramparts of the Red Fort 113 times. My association with the prime minister dates back to the year when Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru was at the helm. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also invited me on the Independence and Republic Day."
The bed-ridden Punjabi poet, whose work had been appreciated by Punjabi University in Patiala that plans to make a documentary on his contribution to literature, sleeps on a chaarpai (cot) at a roofless corner of the house.
Later in the day, Dharennavar took out a cycle rally through the town's main market to spread awareness about the importance of literature and the state government's "apathy" towards Punjabi poets.