Rampur, a small village near Ludhiana, is contributing to the enrichment of the literary circuit of Punjab. The village has a population of about ten thousand, but is known for producing more than its fair share of published Punjabi language authors. Today Rampur is home to twenty-three published writers, with a further seven waiting to be published imminently, providing a positive example of what can be achieved in the villages of Punjab.
The villagers of Rampur formed a rural literary association as early as 1953, the Punjabi Likhari Sabha Rampur (PLSR) which was highly visionary for a village so soon after the Partition of Punjab. Initially starting with just eight members, the group now boasts members ranging in age from 18 to 80 years old and has given an otherwise unlikely opportunity to local people to develop writing skills and achieve published status. Prominent members of this society include the late Surjit Rampuri, Gurcharan Rampuri, Dr Joginder Singh, Surinder Rampuri, Sukhminder Rampuri, Sadhu Ram Sood, Baba Gurmail, Mall Singh and Professor Gagandeep Sharma. Several female members also belong to the PLSR, namely Dalwinder Kaur Rampuri who has already been published, and other up-and-coming writers such as Anudeep Sharma and Kirandeep Kaur Mangat, based in Canada.
The talented members of this village have proved that there is no reason why villagers cannot achieve the same as their city-dwelling neighbours and it is likely Rampur will continue to turn out poets, authors and writers of religious literature for some time to come, thanks to the PLSR. This association has published ten books itself and even has a Russian citizen as it’s member! Some members have been awarded renown literary awards and the PLSR continues to grow by connecting with other literary associations dealing in Punjabi literature. Following the Rampur example, other villages have taken encouragement and begun to form literary societies in their own villages in districts as far apart as Barnala and Amritsar. This has enhanced the level of awareness about the Punjabi language and wealth of literature.
There is a couplet written by Surjeet Rampuri depicting this village:
Jehra panni peenda shear ban janda,
enniyann sachet sazavaan mere Pindar divan.
Whosoever drinks the water of my village becomes a poet.
The Punjabi Likhari Sabha Rampur is now also doing it’s best to promote painting, theatre and music – quite fitting as the famous Punjabi singer Mohammed Siddiq is from this village. The association is now being taken forward by the next generation and is helping in the development and growth of Punjabi literature across the region. This is one of the positive sides of our decaying village life, something I have discussed and written of earlier. To enrich our roots in the countryside we have to start somewhere. I hope this story of Rampur village will encourage visitors to Naujawani.com to start a similar society and the native roots of our learned members can flourish further still.