Dhahan Youth Award is sponsored by:
Surrey, B.C. (November 18, 2022) – Eight British Columbia youth were presented with the Dhahan Youth Award for writing stories in Punjabi and English. They also received framed certificates, $500 cheques and the publication of their work in an anthology called Lofty Heights.
2022 Dhahan Youth Award Winners:
‘Stars on Earth’ by Aikam Kaur Samra, Dasmesh Punjabi School, Abbotsford
ਜ਼ਮੀਨ ‘ਤੇ ਤਾਰੇ, ਏਕਮ ਕੌਰ ਸਮਰਾ, ਦਸਮੇਸ਼ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਸਕੂਲ, ਐਬਟਸਫੋਰਡ
زمین تے تارے, یکم کور سمرا, دمیش پنجابی سکول،ایبٹس فورڈ
‘My Village, My Punjab’ by Kirandeep Kaur Dhillon, Dasmesh Punjabi School, Abbotsford
ਮੇਰਾ ਪਿੰਡ, ਮੇਰਾ ਪੰਜਾਬ, ਕਿਰਨਦੀਪ ਕੌਰ ਢਿੱਲੋਂ, ਦਸਮੇਸ਼ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਸਕੂਲ, ਐਬਟਸਫੋਰਡ
میرا پنڈ، میرا پنجاب, کرندیپ کور ڈھلوں, دمیش پنجابی سکول ایبٹس فورڈ
‘Hope’ by Gurkirt Kaur Manhas, L.A. Matheson Secondary, Surrey
ਆਸ, ਗੁਰਕੀਰਤ ਕੌਰ ਮਨਹਾਸ, ਐੱਲ ਏ ਮੈਥੇਸਨ ਸੈਕੰਡਰੀ, ਸਰੀ
آس, گُرکیرت کور منہاس, ایل اے میتھیسن سیکنڈری سری
‘Decisions’ by Balreet Kaur Randhawa, L.A. Matheson Secondary School, Surrey
ਫੈਸਲੇ, ਬਲਰੀਤ ਕੌਰ ਰੰਧਾਵਾ, ਐੱਲ ਏ ਮੈਥੇਸਨ ਸੈਕੰਡਰੀ, ਸਰੀ
فیصلے, بلریت کور رندھاوا, ایل اے میتھیسن سیکنڈری سری
‘Bitter Truth’ by Prabhseeret Kaur Aulakh, Princess Margaret Secondary, Surrey
ਕੌੜਾ ਸੱਚ, ਪ੍ਰਬਸੀਰਤ ਕੌਰ ਔਲ਼ਖ, ਪ੍ਰਿੰਸੈੱਸ ਮਾਰਗ੍ਰਟ ਸੈਕੰਡਰੀ, ਸਰੀ
کوڑا سچ, پربسیرت کور اولکھ, پرنسیس مارگریٹ سیکنڈری سری
‘Cage’ by Sukhleen Kaur, Princess Margaret Secondary, Surrey
ਪਿੰਜਰਾ, ਸੁਖਲੀਨ ਕੌਰ, ਪ੍ਰਿੰਸੈੱਸ ਮਾਰਗ੍ਰਟ ਸੈਕੰਡਰੀ, ਸਰੀ
پنجرا, سُکھلین کور, پرنسیس مارگریٹ سیکنڈری سری
‘Lost Jewels by Hmeet Kaur Rai, Queen Elizabeth Secondary, Surrey
ਗੁਆਚੇ ਹੀਰੇ, ਹਮੀਤ ਕੌਰ ਰਾਏ, ਕੁਈਨ ਐਲਿਜ਼ਾਬੈੱਥ ਸੇਕੰਡਰੀ, ਸਰੀ
گُواچے ہیرے, ہمیت کور رائے, کوئین الزبیتھ سکینڈری سری
Alongside the Punjabi and English writers were three Indigenous youth who submitted poems to be published in Lofty Heights.
“This year, we wanted to heighten the awareness around the responsibility that immigrant communities have to participate in Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation efforts,” said Barj Dhahan, founder of the award. “It was only fitting that we include Indigenous voices in this year’s anthology.”
To win, students are tasked with writing a short story in Punjabi, in either Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi script, and translating it into English, without any help. The award is open to grade 11 and 12 applicants from any school in British Columbia.
This year, awardees were recognized from Surrey’s L.A. Matheson Secondary, Princess Margaret Secondary, Queen Elizabeth Secondary and Dasmesh Punjabi School in Abbotsford.
The goal of the initiative is to inspire young people to not only learn their mother tongue verbally, but to know how to read and write in it as well.
“As children of immigrants, it’s easy to lose the language of our ancestors,” explains Dhahan. “We wanted a youth award to keep the Punjabi language alive. We also wanted our community to know that we are happy to be participants in Canada’s diverse fabric, without losing who we are as Canadians – that’s why the book is translated into Canada’s official languages: English and French.”
Students were presented their awards at the 9th annual Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature ceremonies, held November 17, 2022, at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, Surrey.
“For many students here at L.A. Matheson, a course like Punjabi encourages the exploration of one’s own identity and when kids see good things happening like these awards that celebrate that language, they make a deeper connection to it,” said Sunny Deol, principal of L.A. Matheson Secondary, to the Surrey Leader.
The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature, geared to adult writers, awards $45,000 cumulatively to three authors yearly. It is the world’s richest literary prize among South Asia’s indigenous languages.
About The Dhahan Youth Award: https://dhahanprize.com/dhahan-prize-youth-award/
Notice of disclaimer
The Dhahan Prize would like to acknowledge that after print publication of the Lofty Heights anthology, it was discovered that the story, ‘A Hundred Dresses‘ was plagiarized by the student who submitted the work. The issue has been rectified through the school, and Dhahan Prize subsequently rescinded the award. The student has issued an apology.