Bhullar captivates as Bulleh Shah at Punjabi Milap

L to R Thakkar Basati and Sajjid Chaudhary at Baba Bulleh Shah event

CHICAGO: The three-hour fifth Global Punjabi Milap held on Saturday, Sept 15 at Des Plaines Theater in Des Plaines to a packed auditorium turned out to be a huge success
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. He introduced Prof. Jagindar Singh Ramdev, President of AASA (Asian American Seniors Association). He shared some of his personal experiences with Punjabi people from all over the world.
Dr. Navdeep Kaur Sandhu of Sandhu Petroleum and Ravinder Kapoor President Delhi Association of North America were guests of honor.
Sajid Chaudhry of PHACA (Pakistan Heritage and Cultural Association ) invited Ali Akhtar, a renowned Pakistani businessman and activist and also Dr. Ashraf Toor, who provides free medical services to needy people, to be the guests of honor from their side of Punjab.
The program started with a minute of silence for people who were killed in Oak Creek, Milwaukee, in Karachi industrial accident and in Khanna and other cities. The minute of silence included Punjabi people who left us last year – S Randhir Singh NY, Dr Iftekhar Nasim Ifti, Jagjit Singh and Mehdi Hasan.
Madhu Uppal talked about her first Punjabi CD “Rang Punjabi” and recited a poem about richness of Punjabi language. Sajid Chaudhry gave a brief talk on Baba Bulleh Shah who is loved by Punjabis across the globe. He introduced Dr. Tahir Rohail who talked about Bulleh Shah’s place with his contemporary poets and writers in the world.
Zafar Malik, Associate Dean from East West University Chicago, talked about Bulleh Shah’ views from literary aspect. He said Bulleh Shah wrote what he felt without any fear of any rituals, caste or religious superiors. Ali Akhtar Sahib, one of the main sponsors of the program, said that Bulleh Shah wrote very frank and soul touching poetry. Dr. Sultan Akbar Hayat said Bulleh Shah saw God in all of us. Dr. Javed Bhatty said, “Baba’s poetry was secular, bold yet very polite.” Baba didn’t like the ritualistic approach to reach God.
After few speeches, a short play was staged depicting the life of Baba Bulleh Shah. Gurmukh S Bhullar played the key role of Baba. Dr. Tahir Rohail played the role of Sharabi (drunk) elder brother of Bulleh Shah. Dr. Arif Agha played the role of Shah Inayat Quadri, Bulleh Shah’ teacher and Sufi Saint. Kamlesh Gupta played the role of Malangni. Live Sufi Dhol was played by Dr. Sukhraaj S Basati.
Navraaz Kaur Wu (Basati) talked about her production company NKPI and sang a few couplets of folk Punjabi songs. Speeches continued after the play. Dr. Nabeel Rasheed, who is an Attorney in Chicago, spoke about the feministic views of Bulleh Shah. The third segment of the program was poetry by local poets.
S Gur Singh recited his poem as a tribute to Bulleh Shah. S Tejinder Singh Minhas, Ex President of PHO (Punjabi Heritage Organization) recited Bulleh Shah’s kaafi: Bullah ki jaana main koun… in a melodious voice. Janab Yasin Chohan sang few kaafis in Taranum. Qaiser Syed paid his tribute to 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 Shiv Batalvi as Raj himself belongs to Batala, the birth place of Shiv Batalvi.
Thakar S Basati appealed that both countries need to relax visa requirements and promote free visits, need to start building trust amongst each other. Prof. Jagindar Singh Ramdev gave vote of thanks to the audience at the end of program.

Surendra Ullal

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