The Supreme Council of Navi Mumbai Gurudwaras, Sahit Academy Delhi, and Punjabi Cultural and Welfare Association (PCWA) organised a two days seminar on September 28-29 at Punjab Heritage Bhavan in Navi Mumbai to celebrate the birth centenary of Balraj Sahni -- the famous actor who belonged to a Punjabi family. Leading Punjabi and Urdu scholars presented their papers on the life and achievements of Sahni.
In memoriam: Filmmaker MS Sathyu spoke on the life and achievements of Sahni at the event
The inaugural session on September 28 was presided by Ashok Kumar Sharma, commissioner of police, Navi Mumbai. Secretary of Sahit Academy Delhi, K Nivasa Roa, introduced the guest speakers and gave an account of the topics that were to be discussed on the life, philosophy and contributions of Sahni to the society, film world and literature.
Dr Rawail Singh, convener, Punjabi Salahakar Board and Sahit Academy Delhi expressed his views on Sahni’s feats. A distinguished Punjabi poet in his keynote address shared with the audience the valuable contribution made by Sahni to Hindi cinema and to society at large. “His contribution to Punjabi literature with 20 books in his name on various subjects will always hold immense value in literature,” he said.
Another speaker at the event was MS Sathyu, film director and popular theatre personality who directed the film Garam Hawa where Sahni played a role of a Muslim caught in a migrant’s dilemma of moving to Pakistan along with his family or remain in India where his forefathers played a very significant role in the struggle for Independence.
In the following session, distinguished Punjabi scholars presented their papers on the literary contributions made by Sahni. “Based on the interest and appeal expressed by the gathering on the popularity of Sahni for his contributions to Punjabi literature and Punjabi culture, Supreme Council Navi Mumbai Gurudwaras plans to organise functions on Sahni’s Birthday every year,” said Mehar Singh Randhawa, general secretary of Supreme Council Navi Mumbai Gurudwaras, adding, “Sahit Academy Delhi and Punjabi Cultural and Welfare Association has surely added a new chapter in the cultural life of Navi Mumbai.”