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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In Ludhiana village, a family’s ode to their son and Punjab’s culture — ‘Vivek Satth’

Four years after their son died in Canada, family dedicates a community building at their native village for residents to gather and keep the tradition of ‘Pind Di Satth’ alive

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana | Published: December 9, 2019 11:47:16 am
In Ludhiana village, a family’s ode to their son and Punjab’s culture — ‘Vivek Satth’ ‘Satth’ which has a meeting hall, a multi-purpose hall, a play area for children and an open stage. (Express)

Rukkh nu jadd agg laggi…kull parindey udd gaye…

Udna hi si…

Ikk chidi par jaandi jaandi mud payi…

(When the tree was on fire, all the birds flew away. They had to. But one sparrow, stopped and turned back…)

PUNJAB POET and Padma Shri awardee Dr Surjit Patar recited these lines from his poem on Sunday at Gehlewal village of Ludhiana, in a fitting tribute to a family who lost their 22-year-old son in Canada four years ago. In memory of their son, they have dedicated ‘Vivek Satth’ to their native village, so residents can gather at a common place, organise cultural events like theatre, poetry, musical nights etc and keep the tradition of ‘Pind Di Satth’ alive.

‘Pind Di Satth’, in Punjabi culture, refers to a common place in the village for people to gather for community discussions and cultural gatherings. Traditionally held under a tree located at a central point in a village with a cemented platform around it, or outside a big darwaza (door), or more recently under a shed, the ‘Satth’ has been a spot for villagers to assemble and speakers to address them on vital issues.

In Ludhiana village, a family’s ode to their son and Punjab’s culture — ‘Vivek Satth’ ‘Pind Di Satth’, in Punjabi culture, refers to a common place in the village for people to gather for community discussions and cultural gatherings. (Express)

On Sunday, Jaswant Singh Zafar and his family, dedicated ‘Vivek Satth’, conceptualised and constructed by the family in the memory of their son Vivek Pandher (22), at Gehlewal and inaugurated it in the presence of Dr Patar. As villagers gathered to recite poems, discuss books and sing, Zafar felt there couldn’t have been way to honour the memory of his son, who was a guitarist, photographer and an independent filmmaker.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Zafar, a superintending engineer with PSPCL and Punjabi writer, said, “It had come as a shock to us when our young son died in 2015 due to heat stroke in Canada. He was a student there. There couldn’t have been a better tribute than giving a platform to people in our native village, where they can gather and hold cultural events. Our family has collectively spent Rs 1 crore to construct this ‘Satth’ which has a meeting hall, a multi-purpose hall, a play area for children, an open stage for performances and landscaping. We have used an acre land of land that we own for this project.”

In Ludhiana village, a family’s ode to their son and Punjab’s culture — ‘Vivek Satth’ Vivek was declared brain-dead on July 2, 2015, at the British Columbia General Hospital in Vancouver after he got seriously ill in June due to heat stroke. (Express)

Dr Patar said, “Cultural events like kavi darbar, musical nights, theatre etc. can be held at this Satth and we are thankful to this family. I always say that if Punjab has to be saved, we have to begin from its villages and cultural fabric. ‘Pind Di Satth’ is one such essential fabric which is dying. Everyone cannot afford to fly away from this burning tree and some birds have to stay back and help in dousing the fire consuming their home.”

Village sarpanch Amarjit Singh, “It is a tribute to both Vivek and Punjab’s culture.”

Vivek Pandher Angdaan Lehar

Vivek was declared brain-dead on July 2, 2015, at the British Columbia General Hospital in Vancouver after he got seriously ill in June due to heat stroke.

His parents — Jaswant Singh Zafar and Balbir Kaur of Ludhiana — were not aware that their son, a final year student of electrical engineering at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, had signed up for organ donation. His kidneys, lungs, heart, liver and pancreas were donated and as a result, five Canadian residents got a fresh lease of life.

Three months after his cremation in Vancouver, an organ donation campaign was started in California (US) in his name. Now, the Vivek Pandher Angdaan Lehar (organ donation drive) is being run by several organisations in Punjab, Canada and the US. A camp was held at Gehlewal on Sunday too where around 25 people signed up for organ donation, said Zafar.

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