Known for his literary works that mostly speak about people led movements in Punjab, legendary author and Sahitya Akademy Award winner Jaswant Singh Kanwal turned 101 on June 27. His birthday celebrations were marked with a five-day literary fest – ‘Puranmashi-Punjabi Jor Mela’ at his native village Dhudike in Moga from June 26-30.
During the fest a group of 25 youths was honored with ‘Sardar Jaswant Singh Kanwal Purnamashi Sanman’, an honor given in the author’s name, for saving at least 11,000 acres of fields from stubble burning across 11 villages of Raikot block of Ludhiana by providing stubble management machinery to farmers at cost of Rs 100 per hour only. The youth belong to Gadri Baba Dula Singh Giani Nihal Singh Foundation.
Tying up with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the youths adopted 11 villages in Raikot block – Dadahur, Shahbazpura, Boparai Khurd, Sivian, Rajgarh, Gobindgarh, Jalaldiwal, Dhurkot, Bassian, Kalsan and Shahjahanpur- and ensured that all farmers got the machinery to manage stubble, by paying minimum maintenance charges.
Tota Singh Dina (32), director of the Foundation, said that he first started with Happy Seeder to sow paddy in his one-acre field at village Dina of Moga. “To stop farmers from stubble burning, there is a way to train them with live demonstration of machines. Farmers hesitate to use them because they haven’t experienced it. They only believe what they see so we arranged their trips to farms where machines were already being used. Last year we adopted 11 villages in Raikot where 85 per cent farmers did not burn paddy stubble and we saved 11,000 acres from burning. This season the target is to make entire Raikot block stubble burning free,” he said.
“Each village was given 5-7 machines like Happy Seeders, rotavators, mulchers, choppers, and shredders and we charged Rs 100 per hour maintenance cost for a machine. We also provided trained drivers to farmers who could not use the machines themselves,” he said.
The group is also running a brand, ‘Vachan’ (Promise), for organic farming and produce of 45 organic farmers is sold at three outlets – one at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and two at Raikot. “Fresh vegetables, fruits, pulses, pickles, jaggery – farmers can sell their organic produce at our Vachan stores,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kanwal, whose 100 years were celebrated through the literary fest, could not attend it owing to his ailing health. His son Sarabjit Singh said, “He hardly remembers the names of his own books now and doesn’t talk much. He is unwell.”
Kanwal’s most acclaimed works include Sach Nu Phansi, Lahu Di Lau (Dawn of the Blood), Raat Baaki Hai, Mukti Maarg, Ainion Chon Utho Surma and Toshali Di Hanso (for which he won Sahitya Akademy Award).
Rs 5 lakh aid for Kanwal: CM
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Tuesday announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh for Punjabi writer Jaswant Singh Kanwal, who is suffering from age-related illness.
A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that Amarinder has directed the Deputy Commissioner to personally hand over the amount to the family of the novelist at his native village Dhudike in Moga.