Skip to content

Per Diem for April 2019: Punjabi Language Haiku



This month, Arvinder Kaur introduces us to the world of Punjabi haiku. Collected and translated by Kaur herself, this is a wide ranging and modern selection that gives us a taste of yet another current in the ever-expanding pond of world haiku.

Punjabi Haiku  

Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language, the native language of over 130 million people worldwide. It is the 10th most spoken language of the world. Most of the people who speak this language live in the Punjab region and other northern states of  India and in Pakistan. But Punjabis have emigrated to many countries and as a result Punjabi language also has a minority status in these countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada.

Haiku came to Punjab through one such emigrant, Parminder Sodhi, who moved to Japan with his wife and translated Japanese haiku into Punjabi and published his book ‘Punjabi haiku Shairi’ in 2001. Although there might not be an official date when haiku was first written in Punjabi, one can say with a fair amount of certainty that this book created a wave of interest in haiku in Punjabi.

Since then, Punjabi haiku has gained a tremendous amount of popularity and is being keenly practised by many Punjabi writers and speakers. Punjabis are known to be bold and brave and, as a race, are very proud of their roots and culture which they have fiercely guarded against centuries of foreign invasions. The short form of haiku has given a new lease of life to many a cultural trope that were on the verge of being forgotten. A plethora of haiku books and anthologies have flooded the literary scene.

The way this genre has taken root in the region seems to represent not just the way life lived here, but also gives a glimpse of how people connect with the larger world and with nature. Like all other forms of literature it encapsulates the hopes and fears of its people and connects them to their roots.The translations in this collection are mine and I have tried to include as wide a sampler of the genre as possible.

– Arvinder Kaur

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. It also seems pertinent to mention here that Prof. Puran Singh is an important name in the history of Punjabi haiku. In his book,’The Spirit of Oriental Poetry’,he wrote about hokku,” hokku or epigrams are little voices of the birds sitting on our trees. They are small ,they have tiny nests in our literature”. Mr. Kashmiri Lal Chawla also started writing haiku in 1957. Though we may not fully accept his version of haiku yet in some way he did pave the way for Punjabi haiku. Punjabi haiku blog which was started in 2007 has had a tremendous influence on aspiring Punjabi haiku writers and readers. However Punjabi haiku group on Facebook has gone a long way in making haiku a household name in Punjab.

  2. today’s haiku:

    dust and footprints
    left behind

    Inderjit Singh Purewal

    sparse and elegant, yet saying so much…very powerful. my appreciation to you Arvinder for translating and sharing these. I look forward to the rest of the month.

  3. I love reading your haiku. Would like to read this translated version.

  4. Punjab is amazing of it’s rich culture, harvest, patriotism, bold attitude, humour too!
    Congrats to share!

  5. Dear Arvinder Kaur,
    Greetings! Very much delighted to read the journey of Punjabi haiku, tracing its origin and development,establishing its connectivity with larger world and nature. would love to read your translations How haiku is poly vocal!.
    with regards

    1. Dear Radhami

      Thank you for your comment. Its a pleasure to share Punjabi haiku with you all ! I am grateful to the Haiku Foundation for this splendid opportunity !

  6. Congratulations, Arvinder.
    Would love to read your translations.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you Kala ! I am so delighted to be able to do this for Punjabi Haiku and am so grateful to THF !

  7. oh, this is wonderful. I will love reading the collection, Arvinder good luck and great fun !!!!

    1. I tried to see if I could comment on individual poems on the Per Diem. I don’t know if I could not because I do not know how to navigate or because there is no facility to do so. Wish there was a way to reach out and respond to the poems themselves

Comments are closed.

Back To Top