Surjit Patar

Introduced by Amarjit Chandan in MPT 3/14 Polyphony

Surjit Patar and I are contemporaries. Patar excels in the ghazal genre and sings on the stage. Singing poetry in public without musical instruments is called tarranum (from the Arabic for ‘melody’) which is unique to Punjabi and Urdu poetry. The audience, unlike North Europeans, responds to the poet in a lively way. 

Surjit Patar has published four books of poems and has translated three tragedies of Lorca and poems by Brecht and Neruda into Punjabi. He has also adapted plays by Euripides, Racine and Giraudoux. In 1995, he was given the Sahitya Akademi (Indian Academy of Letters) Award, and the Saraswati Award by the KK Birla Foundation India in 2010.

– photo by Amarjit Chandan