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Be proud of your hertiage, says Rabbi

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Be proud of your heritage, says Rabbi

Jun 3, 2005, 16:26

Rabbi Shergill of Bullah fame says he wants to see a culturally resurgent Punjab. Rabbi was in town yesterday to participate in a musical tour. Talking to Newsline, Rabbi said, ‘‘I have toured many countries and have even gone to some of the most isolated islands. Just as I see it here in Punjab, a pan-American wave is sweeping the world. This death of cultural diversity is making us homogenous and making us compromise with our cultural diversity.’’

Singer Rabbi Shergill

The popular singer regrets that while the Sikhs have the ability to retain their culture, they have lost it. And he is excited about his dream of a new dawn for Punjab. ‘‘I want to see a Punjab which is culturally strong. Where the Chinese and the Japanese swim across shark-infested, ice-cold waters to work in our land, rather than our youth mopping the airports in some foreign lands or dying in the icy cold waters of Malta Strait. When I read these kind of news, something within me cringes,’’ he says passionately.

Referring to the richness of Punjabi literature, Rabbi says the language used in Guru Granth Sahib is not Punjabi. ‘‘It is an amalgamation of so many languages. This is Punjabiyat, which respects all the cultures, a unity in diversity.’’

Rabbi adds that the next wars are going to be the wars of intellectuals. ‘‘I want to see Punjab produce a Stayajit Ray. We have to produce sophisticated, world-class poetry, cinema and music, so that we can conquer the world even as we keep our diversity intact.’’

Talking about his music, Rabbi says, ‘‘My music is not all Sufi. It is just a label given to me by the media, which finds it easier to identify and name Baba Bulleshah.’’

Rabbi highlights that his first album had just one Sufi song. ‘‘Another song was by Shiv Kumar Batalvi, and six were written by me. Neither is Batalvi Sufi, nor me. And then, I cannot be tied down to one genre. I have to stretch my boundaries. My next album may be totally different from Bullah or Sufisim.’

Rabbi’s favourite Punjabi poets make for an interesting read. These include Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Gobind Singh, Dr Harbhajan Singh, Prof Mohan Singh, Shiv Kumar Batalvi and his mother Dr Mohinder Kaur Gill.

Rabbi says he is reading Dr Surjit Patar’s poetry too, though he is yet to decide whether he will sing it. ‘‘I want to experiment now. Maybe my next album has a few lines of some of my favourite poets, rather than a complete poem. I want to sing the complete genre of Punjabi poetry which is very rich.’’

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