The annual state-level Punjabi literary event, a pride of the Punjab language department, has lost its sheen due to financial crisis this year.
The event, which is held every year on November 1 on Punjab Day, was delayed over a fortnight and the prestigious Shriomani Sahitkar award, which is given during the event, will also not be bestowed, as the policy committee that decides the nominees has still not been formed.
Sources revealed that in order to get funds for the event, the authorities concerned had to run from pillar to post.
Authorities whined that earlier the funds for the event were allocated to the department two or three months in advance, but this year even after sending various proposals the funds were delayed.
“Earlier the event use to be a week-long affair and Punjabi literature aficionados from across the state use to come and be a part of it. But due to financial crisis, this year it's been cut short to a two-day event,” said an official of the language department.
Another official said every year publishers from various cities used to come and put up their book stalls at the venue. However, this year, since the event's date was decided at the last moment, there were a lot of chaos and one of the main attraction bookstalls were a miss.
However, director of the department Balbir Kaur said: “The event was delayed as authorities were busy with the Vidhan Sabha session. And the award of Sahitkar would be given in March, since we are yet to form a deciding committee board.”
Kaur added that the book fairs were being held at other cities, including Ludhiana and SAS Nagar.
Punjabi literature lovers, who come every year for the event from across the state, whined that the event had lost its sheen and was not organised at the scale it use to be.
Though a large number of people turned out for the event, its gleam remained absent.
The function was inaugurated by Member of Parliament Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
The event opened with a conference on Babu Firoz Din Sharaf's contribution to the Punjabi literature. Scholars from across the state highlighted his works and presented their abstracts on him.
The key attraction at the literary event was Sukwinder Singh's stall, where poems were inscribed on glass bottles.
An auto electrician mechanic by profession and bottle poet by passion, Sukwinder stole all the limelight at the event, as people thronged at his stall with curiosity to find out how he inscribed poem inside the bottles.
The poet holds India's record for writing maximum numbers inside bottles, including 40 in Punjabi, eight in English, two in Hindi and one poem in Russian, African and Dutch.
He shared that the idea of writing poems inside bottles occurred to him two years back when he wrote his first poem on alcohol addiction.
He said: “I wanted to do something different and that's when I thought of using scrapped bottles instead of pages for writing poems.”
He added that his experiment lead him to translate his own compositions in global languages.
Moreover, the poet added that his art was not being given the due recognition.
“I had written an application to Punjab language department to promote my talent at school and college level; however, they told me there was no such provision.”
The poet despite stealing the show said, “I wish the government supports my talent for it is rare and it can help promote Punjabi language.”