Daya Varma and Vinod Mubayi


The Communist Party of India (CPI) was at the heart of initiating a revolutionary cultural movement in pre-independence  India through IPTA (Indian People’s Theatrical Association) and PWA (Progressive Writers’ Association), which produced such great writers, poets, and artists as Munshi Premchand, Ismat Chugtai, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Balraj Sahani and numerous others. The decline in the communist movement naturally resulted in a dissipation of the revolutionary cultural movement but it never quite ended. Of the ones who carried this torch, the name of Gursharan Singh will always be remembered.


As the article by Harinder Mahil and his comrades (see under Obit) reveals, Gursharan Singh’s was a messenger of the revolutionary spirit of India through his numerous plays, which he  managed to display not only in Punjab and India but in the UK, USA and Canada and elsewhere. Not only did he present his own plays but inspired others to emulate revolutionary culture.


It can be inferred that Gursharan Singh was disillusioned by the politics followed by CPI and CPI (Marxist) and sympathetic to the Naxalite movement but he never waged a war against any fraction of the Communist movement. If any one of stature commanded respect of all shades of communist revolutionaries, Gursharan Singh stand tall and high.


And this respect to him was displayed in January 2006 when all left groups in Punjab got together to confer on him “Inqualabi Nehcha Samman” (revolutionary commitment honour). Some 40,000 workers, peasants, progressive writers, poets, dramatists, artistes congregated at Kussa village in Moga district to confer this honour on him. A small procession in cars and jeeps began from Gursharan Suingh’s  house in Chandigarh and joined by hundreds of people on way to Moga and Kussa.  From Moga to Kussa he was taken in an open truck with singers who sang revolutionary songs on the beat of drums. At Kussa all present took a beautifully worded oath that they will not forget his contribution to revolutionary culture and his commitment to people.


A similar thing was repeated on October 9 after he passed away again at  Kussa once again. Thousands of people came together to pay tributes and repeat the oath. Many came from outside Punjab including Arundhati Roy and talked about his fearlessness and relentless fight for revolutionary culture and social justice.


We in Canada had the privilege of honoring Gursharan Singh’s theatrical troupe on many occasions on behalf of Indian People’s Association in North America (IPANA) and its other incarnations in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and New York.


Together with thousands of others, we mourn the death of Shri Gursharan Singh.  His daughter Navsharan wrote  to us “I miss my papa”; we  miss him too. Our sympathy with Gursharan Ji’s daughters Navsharan,  Dr. Areet Kaur, granddaughter Nadia Singh and Navsharan’s husband Atul Sood.

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