Amritsar, June 16
People’s writer, traditionalist and a humble soul, celebrated Punjabi playwright Ajmer Aulakh breathed his last on Thursday and his demise has left a void in the Punjabi literary community.
Giving voice to the marginalised community, he wrote about issues that others refrained from, without any subdued tones. Exposing tyrannies of state, religious intolerance and the perils of being lower middle class, his verses reflected his values and ideology unabashedly. Virsa Vihar held a condolence meeting and tributes were paid to the Punjabi playwright and writer.
His connection with Amritsar being intimate, Aulakh was deeply involved with the city’s literary culture, even helped give it its character. On his demise, we talk to city literary fraternity about what his loss means to them.
Kewal Dhaliwal, theatre person
He was the first playwright from the Malwa region to have found international fame, so his demise has cost the region the loss of a powerful voice. It’s a big loss to the Malwai dialect as well, as his writings made the language popular internationally.
He used to write about the lower middle class and the beauty of his work was in its simplicity. After Gursharan Singh, Ajmer Aulakh was a name to reckon with and his demise has caused a deep void.
Charanjit Sohal, writer, editor, ‘Wagah’ magazine
His greatness was in his humility. Ideologically, his demise would mean that a traditionalist movement in theatre that started with Gursharan Singh, will now take a turn and what is likely to come is an onslaught of Punjabi literature in the contemporary context. Also, since he was a people’s writer, the rural and the downtrodden have lost their voice. His writings had impact, talked about hinterland rather than superficial issues, unlike the modern Punjabi writers, who focus on global trends and issues.
Sohan Singh, writer
He was a humble man, a true voice of common man, who did not mince his words. His writings inspired and will keep on inspiring the young generation while also giving a reality check when required. His plays were staged in Preet Nagar, Punjab Natshala and most of the time, theatre and art students, thronged the auditoriums to watch them. — TNS