Jai Birdi


I am very saddened to hear the news about the loss of a renowned poet and a stalwart of literary works of the peasants- Mr. Lal Singh Dil.  He will be missed but his legacy will undoubtedly be cherished for generations to come.


 “Dil is the man who wrote immortal lines like When the labourer woman, Roasts her heart on the tawa, The moon laughs from behind the tree, The father amuses the younger one, Making music with bowl and plate, The older one tinkles the bells, Tied to his waist, And he dances, These songs do not die…. (Poem titled Dance translated by Nirupama Dutt). He is a contemporary of poets like Amarjit Chandan, Paash, Surjit Patar and Sant Ram Udasi (Years ago, Indian People’s Association in North America [IPANA]  had invited Udasi to Canada on a few  occasions. Ed.)


 In the early 60s, this Dalit poet was in Class X when his first poem appeared in the famous Punjabi literary journal Preetlari. In the early 70s, he compiled an anthology of poems titled ‘Satluj di Hawa’ (The Winds of Satluj), which is considered an epoch in the history of Punjabi revolutionary poetry.


 An active member of the Naxal movement, Dil had to flee Punjab after police excesses. For over two decades his lived in Uttar Pradesh, converted to Islam and worked as farm labourer. In the 80s, Dil returned to his home land and was cared for by his elder brother Amar Singh and his family. Dil ran a roadside tea shop, which he had to close down about three years ago, due to failing health.” (

Top - Home