2016 Dhahan Prize Awards Ceremony
For the first time the B.C. Government proclaimed October 30, 2016 to November 5, 2016 as "Punjabi Literature Week", as announced at the 2016 Dhahan Prize Awards Gala by Scott Hamilton, BC MLA for Delta North. A fitting acknowledgement as we celebrated some of the best of Punjabi literature.
The winning authors, Jarnail Singh (Kaale Varke), Simran Dhaliwal (Us Pal) & Zahid Hassan (Tassi Dharti), were celebrated for their exellect works, chosen from an impressive list of submissions.
The keynote speaker, reknowned author, M.G. Vassanji, captured the spirit of the Dhahan Prize eloquently: "The Dhahan is an ambitious prize; dare I say, it is a hopeful prize; a generous prize, and broad-minded. While the mother countries are embroiled in squabbles and mutual threats, this prize reaches out across borders to the humanity in us all. ... Let's exchange our stories. They will bring us closer -- we may be different, but we are also the same. ...Through our literature and our art we speak to ourselves and to others. Literature bears witness to our presence and our history; it is a record, a way of saying I AM, or WE ARE. ...If you don't tell your stories, someone else will. And what they say you may not agree with. ...
The importance of literature is one thing, but why Punjabi? ...No amount of effort can reproduce the impact -- poetic, musical, hitorical, philosophical -- of the original [language]. A language bears the unique imprint, the DNA of its culture. ...
Every year several languages die. Animal and plant species die. While we don't expect Punjabi or Gujarati to disappear altogether, they can become lifeless. Death by asphyxiation -- when something is strangled, cannot breathe. ...Are we headed for uniformity? ...One hopes not. What would the world be with everyone looking alike? With one kind of apple, one kind of mango, one kind of rice? We all lose something. We lose meaning, music, varieties of thought. How more exciting the world is, with its diversity and contrasts. How exciting this nation is, celebrating its own diversity. The Dhahan Prize is therefore a collective shout and celebration: WE ARE STILL HERE!"
We look forward to the 2017 Dhahan Prize awards!