The Story So Far

In the genre of Punjabi short stories,Mohan Bhandari’s writings reflect the changing face of Punjab’s rural structure,its ethos and social relationships.

Written by Parul | Published: May 17, 2013 3:58 am

In the genre of Punjabi short stories,Mohan Bhandari’s writings reflect the changing face of Punjab’s rural structure,its ethos and social relationships. His stories are close to life,and involve the rural traditions that have influenced his own experiences. Now,a new audience can be a part of his literary process. Titled ‘Short Stories of Mohan Bhandari’ the stories have been translated into English by Paramjit S. Ramana,a professor of English at Bhatinda. Ramana has earlier translated the works of Punjabi writers like Kartar Singh Duggal,Ajmer Singh Aulakh and also Gurdial Singh’s autobiography. “The idea is to make Punjabi literature reach out to a wider audience. Bhandari represents the Punjabi culture and idiom in a democratic manner,” explains Ramana,who worked closely with Bhandari on the book.

The stories reflect his writing over the last four decades. This can be noticed by the changing form and shape of the stories. “Life’s truths are static,and it’s the social relationships and our culture which have changed. Politics has entered relationships and I tell my own experiences and situations in my stories. I am a story myself,” says Bhandari who won the Sahitya Akademi award for his anthology of short stories ‘Moon Di Akh’. Bhandari’s creative and personal life has been one of struggle,financial hardships and creative roadblocks. These aspects,along with the shift from rural to urban locale is visible in his writings. Deeply influenced by Russian writers like Tolstoy,Gorky,Chekhov and Urdu writers like Manto,some of Bhandari’s popular works include Til-Chouli,Kaathi di Latt,Gora Basha and Moon di Akh. “The collection includes his earlier stories where the village was represented as a harmonious society. The break-up of the family and how the individual becomes the centre,is how Bhandari echoes the changing face of our society in his words,” says Ramana for whom the translation is a result of his love for the language.

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