Prem Kahani: EDITOR
Stories of Love & Romance
One of the best kept secrets of Punjabi and Sikh culture is its rich, age-old repertoire of full-throated songs of two-fisted love. There are more timeless love-epics in popular lore from the ‘land of the five rivers’ than in any other language and literature.
Heer Ranjha. Sassi Pannu. Sohni Mahival. Mirza Sahiban …
Though the Punjabi character is oft described as high-testosterone and macho, its love poetry is intimate and tender; it drips with romance; it is existential in content, and therefore, not surprisingly, liberally laced with tragedy.
The culture of love and passion in Punjab stands apart from all others on the sub-continent for other reasons as well: most importantly, the unique role of men and women in society, the balance of equality reinforced by our Gurus with no ifs and buts.
In the modern era, however, as English has taken over as the lingua franca, the same confidence and ease in presenting our love stories has been noticeably absent amongst Punjabis and Sikhs.
India had become, under the influence of short-sighted and narrow-minded religious bigots, a prudish society which, at least, on the surface, pretended as if sex simply did not exist anywhere. All of this despite, for example, the explicit images of the Ajanta and Elora temples, or the fact that the population of the land has been burgeoning at the speed of a runaway train.
Surely, in vitro fertilzation had not been invented too, had it, along with the airplane, the space rocket, the nuclear bomb and the laser beam during the vedic period?
The prudishness has created a new culture of prurience in India, and deep distortions and aberrations in both the public and private relations between the sexes. Bollywood not only reflects that prurient sub-culture of India but, in turn, infects it with a whole string of psychoses.
Though Sikh and Punjabi culture are well reinforced against such societal aberrations by our secular literature and our spiritual teachings, being a minority, we have experienced an overwhelming influence of the majority culture and a resulting dampening of our own traits.
Here at sikhchic.com, we find it most visible in the poetry and prose emanating from the diaspora.
There is a reluctance - strange to the Sikh and Punjabi character - to publicly talk about human love and romance, of the universal sexual attraction, of worldly passion. We seem to have lost the connection with our own love poetry, and we appear to make a conscious attempt to overlook the beautiful passages referring to human love that appear as metaphors within our scripture.
This concerns us at sikhchic.com because this attitude is clearly artificial and contrary to what we as a world-wide community are, and what we aspire to be.
It is time for us to break away from India’s perennial swing back-and-forth between the prudish and the prurient.
We invite you, our readers, to send us your prem kahanees, stories of love and romance.
Personal stories of wooing and courting, of falling in love … of pleasure and pain. Of winning and losing, of triumph and tragedy. Of passion and lust.
No, we are not looking for soft porn, just simple, straightforward, honest expressions of how you’ve loved and won, or loved and lost, or just loved, or hope to love and be loved …
Yes, tell us your personal stories, real ones. Or fictionalize them, if you will. Put them down in prose or poetry.
If you are uncomfortable with going public, send them under a pen name and we’ll honour that.
Share with us your tender and intimate moments. Not unlike the way our Guru Granth sings of pining and yearning for a lover, or preparing oneself for a tryst by self-adorning and decorating the bridal chamber with flowers and fragrances.
Send us your his-and-her stories: how you were introduced for an arranged marriage, and how you first met, and how matters progressed from there. His version and … her version.
Tell us about your first love. The one that got away. The one that you still dream about and wonder. Or the one you still love, decades later.
Tell us about your love for your spouse, of how it all began, and how you have kept things afresh between yourselves. Of how you still date, and sneak away from your children for a night out alone together.
Tell us of times when hearts were broken and things didn’t work out. Of runaway grooms and brides … but keep within the bounds of a love story. [This is not meant to be a ‘Dear Abby’ column, or “Tell us your Nightmares”.]
And one final word: we’re looking for stories of two-fisted love. Between man and woman.
Yes, there are beautiful stories about a mother’s love and a child‘s love, of parental love, of sisterly and brotherly love, of spiritual love between man and God, and we have told them every day for years, and will continue to do so.
But THIS project is unabashedly about human love.
It needn’t be thrown into a basket of multiple loves and sneaked by, like an omnibus bill that our dishonest politicians use to sneak unsavoury or crooked legislation past us.
We have to learn that love and sex are not sins, not if you are a Sikh, and they needn’t be disguised or camouflaged in any manner.
And it is open to one and all, anywhere, everywhere.
Send your stories, please, and if they fit the bill, we’ll publish them on sikhchic.com.
Octobber 1, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Jasmeet Kaur (Chandigarh, Punjab), October 01, 2012, 11:15 AM.
About time! I've had it up to here with the same old, same old -- people writing about what is Sikhism, and what is a gurdwara, and who are the Gurus. Yes, those subjects are important, and we do need them to be written about even better, but if done in isolation - without the context of our daily lives - they do not stick, and fall away meaningless, unread, unheeded. Wonderful to see sikhchic.com bring real-life love stories alive, and not nimble-footing around it either by bunching it with mother-and-child love or with our love for God, etc. We need to first talk about and experience love, worldly love, before we can understand its metaphorical value. Have enjoying reading the Jugnu story today ... and can't wait for more.
2: Harnek Kaur (Illinois, USA), October 01, 2012, 12:04 PM.
Love it! We are a red-blooded people and our lives would be incomplete without our love stories. Yes, I agree, it's about time! We live well, and we love well, let's be more open about it and explore our issues.
3: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), October 01, 2012, 2:07 PM.
There is nothing better, other than Naam, than the chemistry which causes butterflies in your stomach and legs to turn to jelly ... when you stand in front of the man or woman of your dreams! More love and romance on sikchic.com, please.
4: Izhaarbir Singh (Wisconsin, USA), October 01, 2012, 2:25 PM.
I wish there was more of the following type of passages readily available to be read by Sikhs, because human love, in all of its splendor and aspects, is a topic overflowing in the imagination of the Guru as well as Guru's devotees. "Her moon-round breasts pointed to the youth its fruits, the dazzle of her face was naked, sun-like; She showered on him the half-opened buds of her starry smiles ... She loved him, over-stepping all borders of self-restraint, like a fountain that flows." - Prof. Puran Singh, "The Bride of the Sky"
5: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), October 02, 2012, 7:23 PM.
A distinguished visitor was being taken on tour of the lunatic asylum by the superintendent. The first padded cell had a forlorn lad banging his head. The girl he loved had spurned him and he had become raving mad. The next padded cell had a similar mad man. This was the one who had married that same girl. The very first love usually for a young tyke is the pretty school teacher. It is later that he goes for the pigtails as the testosterones start coursing. At that moment it does not matter if the object of love is short, plump or not highly educated. "chivai kiaam na puchai jat" [GGS:137.18] - "In his lust he does not respect any social customs.". How often we have thanked Waheguru for saving us from that first imagined episode. Two friends were discussing their marital problems. "My wife has not spoken to me for six months. I am thinking of a divorce." His friend's advice: "Please think this out carefully. It is difficult to get such a wife!"