THE literary tradition of South Asia is well represented, preserved and promoted generally in BC and particularly in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver. Obviously, numerous mother tongues are spoken by the writers who immigrated to Canada. South Asian Canadians (including people with origins in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Maldives and Indian Diasporas from Africa, Fiji and the Caribbean) are a major part of the Canadian cultural mosaic.
Foreign-born South Asians have very diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. While they can speak English, however the most common languages amongst them are Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali and Gujarati. Culturally, many South Asian Canadians maintain strong bonds to their community and their heritage and try to adhere to Canadian social norms.
There are a couple of literary organizations such as South Asian Literary Society of Canada (SALSOC) and Writers International Network (WIN) which attempt to bring South Asian writers together.
Recently a meeting was called by Acharya S. Dwivedi, President of SALSOC, to explore the possibility of publishing an anthology of original poetry of South Asian writers in English with the intention of introducing it to mainstream Canadians.
The prominent writers of various South Asian literary groups met on May17 in Surrey and worked out some of the details. It was decided that the forthcoming anthology should include poetry of young South Asian writers too in a separate section.
South Asian writers are invited to submit their original works translated into English to Acharya Dwivedi at [email protected] ( 604-507-3099), M. Rafiq at [email protected] (604 596 7781), Nadeem Parmar at [email protected] (604 298 2920), Mohan Gill at [email protected] (604 590 0914) or Ashok Bhargava at [email protected] (604 327 6040).
The meeting was followed by a Kavi Darbar in which well-known poets Gurcharan S. Gill ‘Mansoor”, Nadeem Parmar, Hafeez Quadri, Nachtar Singh Brar, Jarnail Singh Sekha, Ashok Bhagava and Acharya Dwivedi took part. Participants paid homage to a pioneer and prominent leader of our community, Jack (Jagat) Uppal, who recently passed away.