Saturday, April 08, 2006

Prof. Puran Singh manuscripts missing...

Source: Tribune Chandigarh. April 4th.

Rare manuscripts of Prof Puran Singh missing
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Certain important archives related to the late Prof Puran Singh, respected Punjabi poet and prose writer, seem to have disappeared from the library of Punjabi University, Patiala. When did this happen, no one knows.

The way Prof Puran Singh described the Punjabi identity, temperament, image and mood in his poetry, no one has been able to match till now, say critics. He was a multifaceted personality.

“We are trying to locate the manuscripts of certain important works of Prof Puran Singh,” said the Chief Librarian of the university when contacted by The Tribune on the phone this morning. “I have put the officials concerned on the job of tracing the manuscripts,” she added. “It will take some more time for me to say something definite on this issue”, she said.

Sources said that the manuscript of a novel, “Bhagirath,” extracts of which were published long ago in a Punjabi University journal, “Puran Singh Studies,” is also missing. Another important missing manuscript is that of “Spirit of the Sikh”. The publication wing of the university had published it some years ago. It was edited by the late Prof Gurbachan Singh Talib, eminent scholar.

However, there were a number of printing mistakes in the publication. Another professor at the university, who felt the work required to be re-edited and republished after removing the mistakes, tried his best to find the manuscript. However, he was unable to locate it. " The Spirit of the Sikh" was perhaps published from a typed manuscript. That is what had been stated by Professor Talib in the book, said the Chief Librarian.

The family of Prof Puran Singh had donated the library of the writer to the university in 1966. " The archives of the writer were handed over to Prof Kirpal Singh Narang of the university by Raminder Singh, one of the sons of Prof Puran Singh", said a UK-based Punjabi writer, Amarjit Chandan. There was photographic evidence to prove this, he added.

Born in the North-West Frontier Province, now in Pakistan, on February 17, 1881, Prof Puran Singh did his higher studies in applied chemistry from Japan where he also published a magazine, " Thundering Dawn," dedicated to the freedom struggle of the country.

He was a close associate of Lala Hardyal and also lived in Patiala for some time. Prof Puran Singh was sent to jail because of his active participation in the freedom struggle. He died on March 31, 1931, at Dehra Dun, where he had earlier served in the Forest Research Institute. Unfortunately, no one has tried to organise a function to remember the legendary personality even this year, the 125 year of his birth and 75th of his death anniversary.

Prof Pritam Singh, a well-known collector of manuscripts, says that he wanted to donate his huge collection of rare documents to Punjabi University." But I changed my mind when it took six months for me to locate certain matter related to 'Ahiyapurwali pothi' from the library of the university", he said.

However, the Chief Librarian said that she had tried her best to preserve the rare archives and manuscripts in a scientific manner. As many as 48 eminent persons, including men of letters, had donated their libraries to the university in the past four decades." It is a difficult task to handle such a huge collection of works," she said.