Today, his poetry stands in equal footing, amongst that by stalwarts of modern Punjabi poetry, like Mohan Singh and Amrita Pritam, all of whom are popular on both sides of India-Pakistan border. In , when he was just 11, his family moved to Batala Gurdaspur district after partition of India, where his father continued his work as a patwari and young Shiv received his primary education. Allegedly, he was a dreamy child, often vanishing for the duration of the day, to be found lying under trees by the riverbank close to the Mandir or Hindu temple outside the village, lost in a brown reverie. Education He completed his matriculation in , from Punjab University, and enrolled in the F.
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The Bohemian Punjabi poet died at the age of 36 on this day It would not be incorrect to say that there has been no comparable romantic poet in Punjabi after him. In the Bohemian aspects of his personality, he brings to mind the urdu poet Majaz who too died young.
Shiv has often been termed the Keats of Punjabi poetry. One wonders if this has something to do with the times, partition and the confusion of ideas and identities that reigned. Apnaorg has some renditions available online , though I could not get them to play on my computer. The language that Shiv employs is notable for its idiomatic usage of small- town Punjabi and also by his effusive usage of words of Persian origin, a trend that has over the years been discouraged just as Hindi has tended to borrow more heavily from Sanskrit than Persian and Arabic vocabulary.
Sikh symbols are strikingly missing even as he brings the usage of urban Hindu rituals and symbols in his characteristic poetry. Some of his poems are available, in Gurmuki, here. Another good article on Shiv with a critical commentary on some of his poems here. My own favourites are many, but certainly those that first come to mind are Shikra, Maye ni maye mere geetan de naina vich, Ghamaan dee raat lami hai, Ae mera geet kisey na gaunan.
All of these have been sung by Jagjit Singh. I may end with a warning to anyone envisaging an overdose of Shiv: he can be terribly Wagnerian- effusively dark and deeply sombre.