The writings of 18th-century Punjabi poet Shah Mohammad were recalled by various Punjabi scholars and experts during a seminar 'Shah Mohammad Da Jangnama: Jang Hind-Punjab Da' at the Khalsa College here on Thursday.
Shah Mohammad (1782-1862), who lived at Vadala Viram near Amritsar, recalled with pride the glorious days of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's empire in his long poem 'Vaar Shah Mohammad', also known as 'Jangnama Shah Mohammad' or 'Hind Panjab da Jang.
The experts at the seminar emphasised that the writings of Shah Mohammad, who is the primary source of accounts on Ranjit Singh's rule, are relevant even today as he reflected upon the socio-cultural aspects of Punjab and many of those challenges are still staring into the face of Punjabi society.
Khalsa College principal, Dr Mehal Singh, said, "Ranjit Singh's rule was exemplary and writings of Shah Mohammad were the primary source of the history of that period and the way Shah Mohammad lyrically evoked the memory of the bygone days when the Sikh warriors had subdued Khaibar, Kangra, Jammu and numerous other places. He describes with admiration the deeds of heroism and sacrifice of eminent Sikh leaders such as Sham Singh Attariwala and Ranjodh Singh. The historical framework the poet has laid out for the events that took place has not so far been superseded."
Noted Punjabi novelist Jaswant Singh Kanwal, known for his famous novels `Lahoo Dee Lo' and `Jungle De Sher', delved deep into how Punjab had been facing various societal problems which needed to be addressed immediately. "Punjab was in trouble when Shah Mohammad wrote about its challenges and its society is still divided and facing challenges today,'' he said.
The seminar was organised by Shah Mohammad Memorial Trust in collaboration with the department of Punjabi studies of the College.
Dr HS Bhatia, head of department of Punjabi studies, GNDU, said that though Shah Mohammad was basically a writer and not a historian, but his writings reflect upon the political, social and economic conditions of Punjab in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Senior journalist Varinder Singh Walia stated that Maharaja Ranjit Singh established a great rule, bringing unity of Punjab and giving the rule a secular outlook. His empire could not be sustained due to his failure to choose a successor, he added.