Sep 23, 2012

Global Punjabi Milaap

Gurmukh Bhullar captivates as Baba Bulleh Shah in Global Punjabi Milaap5th Gobal Punjabi Milaap was held on Sept 15th, 2012 at Des Plaines Theater in Des Plaines to a packed auditorium. Program started at 1:45pm and lasted up to 5:30pm. Thakar S Basati welcomed the audience and shared why people from different parts of Punjab need to come together and forget the horrible time of partition of 1947. We lived for centuries as one nation, fought against the British as one why we can’t live as decent neighbors now. Sajid Chaudhry of PHACA (Pakistan Heritage and Cultural Association ) welcomed the audience and made people realize the loving nature of Punjabis, their rich culture and hospitality. Mr. Basati introduced Prof.Jagindar Singh Ramdev who welcomed the audience as President of AASA (Asian American Seniors Association) and shared some of his personal experiences with Punjabi people from all over the world. He invited Dr. Navdeep Kaur Sandhu of Sandhu Petroleum to be one of the guests of honor. Ravinder Kapoor President Delhi Association of North America and President of Parag International Wholesale Foods was another guest of honor. Sajid Chaudhry invited Ali Akhtar, a renowned Pakistani businessman and activist and also Dr.Ashraf Toor, who provides free medical services to needy people irrespective of their faith, origin or color, to be the guests of honor from their side of Punjab as everything is shared equally by both Punjabs for Milaap. Program started with moment of silence for people who were killed in Oak Creek, Milwaukee, In Karachi Industrial accident and in Khanna and other cities. Moment of silence also included Punabi people who left us last year. S Randhir Singh NY, Dr.Iftekhar Nasim Ifti, S Jagjit Singh and Mehdi Hasan. Madhu Uppal talked about her first Punjabi CD "Rang Punjabi" and recited a poem about richness of Punjabi language. She also presented her cd to chief guests. Sajid Chaudhry gave a brief introduction about Baba Bulleh Shah why he means so much to Punjabis, why his poetry is so revered even today. He introduced Dr. Tahir Rohail who talked about Baba Bulleh Shah place with his contemporary poets and writers in the world. Zafar Malik, Associate Dean from East West University Chicago talked about Baba Bulleh Shah’ views from literary aspect. He said Baba Bulleh Shah wrote what he felt without any fear of any rituals, caste or religious superiors. Ali Akhtar Sahib was one of the main sponsors of the program. He said his village is only 40-50 kilometers from Baba Bulleh Shah’s birth place village. He said that Baba Bulleh Shah wrote very frank and soul touching poetry. Dr.Sultan Akbar Hayat spoke about Baba Bulleh Shah’ secular opinions in his poetry. He belonged to all of us not to only people of his caste or tribe. He saw God in all of us. He didn’t shy from dance if it could please his teacher Shah Hussain,’Kanjri Banya saadi zat na ghatdi, saanu nachke yaar manawan de”. Dr. Javed Bhatty said,”Baba Bulleh Shah’s poetry was secular, bold yet very polite.” He didn’t like the ritualistic approach to reach God. He said God lives within and not in Jungles.” Je rab milda jungle belliyan taan milda gawoan bachhiyan...” After few speeches, short play was staged depicting the life of Baba Bulleh Shah.Gurmukh S Bhullar played the key role of Baba Bulleh Shah and Prof.Kulwant Singh Hundal said’” I never knew Gurmukh is such a talented actor.” S.Gursharanjit Singh (Gur Singh) said, “People who didn’t come for this show really missed a historic event.” S. Hardial Singh Deol said,”It was a great effort to put such a talent together.”. Madhu Arya, a TV, Film actress played the role of Bullah’ s Bhabi and Nachi (Dance teacher). Jassi Parmar of Desi Junction said,” They took us back in time to Baba Bulleh Shah’ pind (village).”Harpal Singh played the role of Sikh Saint, Narinderpal Singh Sood played the role of Guru, Dr. Tahir Rohail played the role of Sharabi (drunk) elder brother of Baba Bulleh Shah. Dr. Arif Agha played the role of Shah Inayat Quadri, Baba Bulleh Shah’ teacher and Sufi Saint. Kamlesh Gupta played the role of Malangni. Live Sufi Dhol was played by Dr. Sukhraaj S Basati. Jalil A Jalil was the background singer. Play was written by Freeda Baber and directed by Dr. Riaz Baber. Dr. Fariha Agha was the Assistant Director and Arshiya Hussnain was the Production In charge.Navraaz Kaur Wu (Basati) talked about her production company NKPI and sang few couplets of Folk Punjabi Songs. Speeches were continued after the play. Prof Jagindar Singh Ramdev spoke about the similarities found between Sufi Poetry of Baba Bulleh Shah and Sikh Gurus. He said,” Baba Bulleh Shah was very impressed by the 9th Sikh Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur Ji. He also admired the courage of 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.” . Like Sikh Gurus struggle with justice, Baba Bulleh Shah also condemned torture used by Mughal Emperor Aurangjeb.Dr. Swaranjit Singh of IFCAPS (Institute for Conflict and Peace Solutions) said there is some conflict and disagreement about some of Baba Bulleh Shah’ writings. Dr. Nabeel Rasheed who is an Attorney in Chicago spoke about the feministic views of Baba Bulleh Shah. She also admired the effort of putting this kind of programs to understand Punjabi Culture. One main attraction of this year’s Milaap was, there was big attendance by youth. People came with families to attend. Local organizations like Punjabi Cultural Society, Punjabi Heritage Organization fully supported the program. 3rd segment of the program was poetry by local poets. S Gur Singh recited his poem as a tribute to Baba Bulleh Shah. S Tejinder Singh Minhas, Ex President of PHO (Punjabi Heritage Organization ) recited Baba Bulleh Shah’ kaafi: Bullah ki jaana main koun.. in a melodious voice. Janab Yasin Chohan sang few kaafis in Taranum. Qaiser Syed, well known orator paid his tribute to Baba Bulleh Shah with his shaeerie. Two new entries were of S Gurnek Singh Jhawar who reminded us the value of Surma in Punjabi culture and its effect on young minds. Raj Lally Sharma paid tribute to Shri Shiv Batalvi as Raj belongs to Batala, birth place of Shiv Batalvi and recited one of his ghazal.Thakar S Basati appealed that both countries need to relax visa requirements and promote free visits, need to start building trust amongst each other. Unique feature of the program was that all sponsors, participants were introduced by their birth place so that if anyone wants to make connection they can relate to one another. Akbar Ali Sahib was born in Jalundhar and is going back to visit Jalundhar and he met few people from Jalundhar. Prof.Jagindar Singh Ramdev gave vote of thanks to the audience at the end of program.Thakar S Basati

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