Inderjit Singh Hassanpuri (1932-2009)

2. 11. 2009 | Rubriky: Articles,Lives

[by Ken Hunt, London] On 6 October 2009 Punjab’s Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced that the State Government would pay for the medical expenses of the Punjabi poet, lyricist, singer and man of letters Inderjit Singh Hassanpuri. It is a feature of the Indian state’s policy of recognising people who have made outstanding contributions towards the promotion of Punjabi culture. In Hassanpuri’s case, it was for his contributions to language and literature in particular. Two days later, on 8 October 2009, he died in the Ludhiana hospital to which he had been admitted.

Hassanpuri was both a successful and popular lyricist in the northern Indian film industries – and internationally renowned in Punjabi domestic and diaspora circles. Although he was primarily toasted for his contributions to the regional Punjabi film industry, he also wrote for Hindi-language films. Hassanpuri’s further contribution to Punjabi culture included educational writings about Punjabi and Sikh matters aimed at schoolchildren.

He was born on 20 August 1932 in the village of Akalgarh in Ludhiana District and grew up in Delhi and Hassanpur, a lowly pind (village) near Ludhiana. The family suffered during Partition and the riots that marred the new era of self-rule, losing nearly everything but their lives. He became a sign-writer to help the family’s income and whilst still at school began to emerge as a singer-poet. In 1959 his first book of poetry titled Aunsian appeared followed by a trickle of poetry publications during the 1960s. Poetry blended with lyric writing and down the years many of the finest playback singers put voice to his lyrics, including Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, Mohd. Rafi, Surinder Shinda, Chitra Singh, Jagjit Singh and Malkit Singh. The films he contributed to included Daaj, Saada Pind, Teri Meri Ik Jindrri and Sukhi Parivaar.

After his death, The Tribune of Chandigarh reported a sizeable funding of Rs two lakhs (INR 200,000, approximately USD 4250 or EUR 2900) for a library to be built in Hassanpuri’s memory and promised the road from Ludhiana, Ferozepur Road to Hassanpur would be re-named in his honour.

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