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Tuesday, June 1, 2010


This song poem written by my friend Shiv Kumar Batalvi has been sung by Rabbi Shergill, ''Notice for lost love- a girl straight and simple.''
Shiv fell in love with the daughter of an equally famous progressive Panjabi writer Gurbakhash Singh Preet Lari, but the family didn't approve of the liasion citing caste differences.
Shiv took to heavy drinking and died on 7 May 1973 at the young age of 37 of liver cirhossis.
He was the youngest award winner of the Akademy.
He used to come to Chandigarh quite often. At Chandigarh we had formed a literary club and had managed to procure a flat for all the visiting literary friends. We had the privilege of hosting big literary names like Devendar Satyarthi,Amrita Pritam and famous folk singer Surinder Kaur et al.
His hands used to perspire profusely because of his extremely sensitive nature and also maybe because of his heavy drinking habit. We jokingly used to call him 'sillhe hath' or wet hands.
One interesting incident which I can vividly recall is when we were rounded up by police on the roundabout of Sector 21 Chandigarh.
Shiv had come to participate in a programme organised by Panjabi Akademy in Sector 22. The programme ended quite late in the night.
In this programme two of our group including Shiv were awarded for their creations. After the programme we friends were very elated and were going back to our respective flats.
It was a cool moonlit night. We decided to hold an impromptu poem recital a 'mushaira'. The mushaira went on till about 2.30 a.m. We all were sitting in a circle on the grass and reciting poems when we were suddenly surrounded by the police night patrol. The police thought we were a thieves gang who were distributing the booty.
We were asked who was our 'sardar' or leader. Mohan Bhandari who was very street smart didn't lose his wits and pointed towards Shiv being the leader.
When they asked Shiv Batalvi to prove his identity he showed the memento which he had received in the function and gave his name. Shiv who was very famous by then convinced them that we were not thieves and were just enjoying the moonlit night having returned from the Panjabi Akademy awards. We were admonished and were very strictly told to go straight to our homes.
Shiv later got married to Aruna,under pressure and had two children,Meherban and Puja.
..... by Daman
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