Punjabi writer and Sahitya Akademi awardee Jaswant Singh dies

Kanwal's death has left a void in the literary circles which will be difficult to fill

Jaswant Singh Kanwal penned novels, short stories and essays, including Raat Baaki Hai, Sach Nu Phansi, Ainion Chon Utho Surma, Mukti Maarag, Haani, Pali, Puranmaashi, and Civil Lines. Photo: Twitter

Eminent Punjabi writer and Sahitya Akademi Awardee Jaswant Singh Kanwal died in his native village in Moga district on Saturday (January 1), his family said.

He was 101.

Kanwal passed away after a brief illness, his grandson Sumail Singh Sidhu said.

He was cremated in his native Dhudike village.

The prominent Punjabi novelist, essayist and short-story writer had left school when he was a teenager and went to Malaya (present-day Malaysia), where he got interested in literature.

Kanwal returned to Dhudike after a few years and lived there till he breathed his last on Saturday.

In 1996, he was bestowed the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship award for his book Pakhi (Hand Fan) and two years later in 1998, he received the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel Taushali Di Hanso.

He received the Sahitya Shiromani Award of the Punjab government in 2007 and the following year, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, conferred on Kanwal the degree of Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) for his contribution to Punjabi literature.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condoled the passing away of Kanwal.

In a message, Amarinder Singh described Kanwal as a versatile writer who penned nearly 80 books and novels vividly portraying the rural life of Punjab.

The chief minister also lauded the immense contribution of Kanwal towards the promotion of Punjabi language, art and literature through his literary works.

He further said the writer will be remembered by millions of readers for his prolific writings, which lent a voice to the plight of the common man grappling with several socio-economic hardships.

Kanwal’s death has left a void in the literary circles which will be difficult to fill, he added.

Amarinder Singh prayed for courage to the bereaved family to bear the irreparable loss and grant eternal peace to the departed soul, a statement issued said.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal also condoled the passing away of Kanwal.

In a statement here, he said: “Mr Kanwals extensive collection of 80 books will serve as an inspiration for us always.”

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