Bathinda: Sahitya Akademi and Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee eminent Punjabi playwright Ajmer Singh Aulakh passed away early Thursday morning at his residence in Mansa. Aulakh (74) was suffering from cancer. He is survived by his wife Manjit Kaur, three daughters Supandeep, Sohajdeep and Ajmeet Kaur and their families.
Besides late playwright Gursharan Singh aka Bhai Manna Singh, Aulakh is considered as the architect of rural theatre and staged plays in every nook and corner of the Malwa region. He even involved his wife Manjit Kaur, three daughters and sons-in-law in the theatre, said his friends.
Remembering his father-in-law, Subhash Bittu, the youngest-son-law, said, “His is the only family in Punjab where three generations were devoted to theatre. His wife daughters and two sons-in-law, grandsons Ivan Aulakh (11) and Nazar Nawaz (12) share his passion.”
Offering condolences, Sahitya Akademi award winner poet Surjit Patar said, “Aulakh was one of the finest playwrights of the masses, especially the poor and downtrodden. His work speak volumes about plight of marginal farmers. Ajmer’s commitment and contribution towards promoting Punjabi is unparalleled.”
Dr Atamjit, another of Aulakh’s award winning contemporaries, said, “Aulakh was the most acceptable voice in highlighting the plight of the small and marginal farmers and women though his plays, especially ‘Jhana Da Paani’. It’s tough to match his caliber.”
Aulakh was given Sahiyta Akademi award in 2006 for his play ‘Ishq Bajho Namaz Da Haj Nahi.’ A year earlier he was given Sangeet Natak Akademi award for performing arts.
Punjab Lok Sabhyacharak Manch president Amolak Singh said, “Ajmer spent his entire life promoting the rural theatre without any monetary considerations and had returned his awards when a debate over intolerance was raging in the country. His departure is an irreparable loss to literary world. Aulakh also did not shy away in supporting the adivasis (tribals) by taking part in anti-green hunt operation committee in Punjab.”
Wanted no religious ceremonies on his death
In his will dated November 29, 2013, Aulakh mentioned that his daughters should perform his last rites with no religious ceremony.
One act plays: ‘Arbad Narbad Dhundukara,’ ‘Begane Bohar Di Chhaan,’ ‘Anne Nishanchi,’ Gani
Plays: ‘Ek Ramayan Hor,’ ‘Satt Begaane,’ ‘Kehar Singh Di Maut,’ Ishaq Bajho Namaz Da Haj Nahi,’ ‘Bhajjian Baahan,’ ‘Jhana Da Paani,’ ‘Ikk Si Darya’