Prominent Punjabi playwright Swaraj Bir Singh, an IPS officer currently posted as director general of police, Meghalaya, has been awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for Punjabi for 2016.
The award has been given for his play ‘Maseya di Raat’ (Moonless Night) published in 2013.
A recipient of several national and state awards, Swaraj Bir was born in 1958 at Verka, Amritsar. Initially trained as a doctor, he later joined the police service in the Meghalaya cadre. In literature, he started as a poet and published several anthologies. But it was as a playwright that he came into prominence, having penned many acclaimed plays that have been staged widely.
His plays have highlighted many social issues and the award-winning play (‘Maseya di Raat’) is on the immense social pressure on a woman to give birth to a male child.
“The play also touches on female infanticide and foeticide. It also brings forth the unethical practices of tantriks who trap the vulnerable for their own ends,” he says.
The prolific writer’s other well-known plays include ‘Dharamyudh’, ‘Agni Kund’, ‘Krishna’, ‘Medni’ and ‘Shayari’. His forthcoming plays include ‘Hira Mandi’, ‘Yatra’ and ‘Kachi Garhi’.
Asked to comment on his getting the award, Swaraj Bir said: “I dedicate it to the toiling people of Punjab, friends lost during militancy and pro-people activists of the country.”
Punjabi literary circles have hailed the development. Sushil Dosanjh, editor, Hun, a literary journal, said, “It is a well-earned award as Swaraj Bir’s plays have given a new dimension to Punjabi theatre.”
Novelist Des Raj Kali said, “He is our intellectual playwright who writes with a poet’s flourish and a sensitive human being.”