Rupinder is a University student from Birmingham who is a spoken word artist and hopes to share her passion of Panjab through her writing and through her current project Rooh Panjabi.
When did your passion for writing poetry begin?
“I have always loved poetry from a young age particularly Sufi Poetry. My passion for writing just happened. I never knew thoughts could be transformed into poetry and how much was inside me waiting to be written until I began writing.”
How long did it take for you to learn to write poetry in Panjabi?
“It’s been about 2 years since I have been able to read and write but I still have a long way to go. I learnt how to read Panjabi through Kirtan which my Nanaji taught me. The poti (book) that I would read shabads from was in Gurmukhi so I literally would join each together to make words.”
“My greatest inspiration and influence lies from the teaching of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji – where poetry becomes a prayer. Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not merely a Holy Book for Sikhs but it is the living Guru for us. The words of Guru give me the power and courage not just to write but also live. Inspiration to write comes from literally anything such as nature, real life incidents that I see and from my own personal life.”
How long have you been writing for?
“I have been writing for nearly three years.”
What does being a British Asian poet mean to you?
“Being a British Asian poet means I get to explore my culture and my heritage within my writing.”
When you are not writing what do you do in your spare time? Work, University? And how do you manage to juggle this?
“I am a university student I study biomedical science. It’s important to be organised so I have a diary to keep up with my events and what I am doing on a daily basis that’s how I manage my time.”
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
“In the next 5 years I hope to attain my degree in biomedical science and hopefully be working in that sector. But I also hope to publish my English and Panjabi poetry and to have successfully established Rooh Panjabi.”
Tell us about Rooh Panjabi what made you decide to set it up?
“I decided to set up Rooh Panjabi for love I have for Panjab it is literally my soul. I am highly passionate about Panjabi heritage and culture, in particular the literature. Panjab is so rich in poetry and I feel as time is passing it is getting lost and I hope to reconnect it to the youth and bring back the glory of the beautiful Panjabi poetry. https://roohpanjabi.com/
What are your goals for Rooh Panjabi and what does Rooh mean?
“My main goal is to create awareness of Panjabi heritage and culture through art, poetry and photography. I am hoping to organise events across the year which will give insights about Panjab. Rooh means soul and for me Panjab is quite literally my soul. I might be away from Panjab but it exists within my soul.”
Tell us about your recent spoken poetry event you last participated in?
“The last event where I performed, was at the SOAS University in London for an event organised by myself and the Sikh Society- Kaurs of the Kaum”
What made you decide to go into spoken poetry and do you ever get nervous?
“I decided to get into spoken word to connect more to the audience and get a live reaction of what they might think. Posting your work online and getting comments is quite different to a real life reaction. I was highly nervous for my first performance but before starting I did a short prayer something I do before every performance. I felt so alive getting on stage it gave an adrenaline rush like no other and now I love performing.”
What are some of your favourite poetry that you have written?
“One of my favourite poem is ‘Lost Punjab’ it is written in English it talks about the Panjab that existed pre-partition and how over time Panjab is getting lost. Another favourite is ‘Maybe one day’ which again is about Panjab and talks about how I wish to go to places that are in Panjab past the existence of the border that exists. One of my favourite Panjabi poems that I have written is a recent one called ‘Ma Boli’ as it is about how writing in Panjabi gives me so much peace and another poem which is a favourite is called ‘Mere rooh roohvich’ which was actually one of my first Panjabi poems.”
Which poets influence your work and who are some of your favourites?
“My favourite poets are the Panjabi poets Shiv Kumar Batalvi and Amrita Pritam. I read a lot of Panjabi from Bulleh Shah, Waris Shah, Sultan Bahu, Paash, Professor Puran Singh, Bhai Vir Singh and many others the list is endless as I love reading my mother tongue. I see Amrita Pritam as a great inspiration as she was Panjab’s first predominant female poet and as being a female I relate closely to work.”
How long does it normally take to write a poem and how do you know where and when to begin?
“Writing a poem does not take long it literally takes a few minutes; I just listen to the voice of my heart and write it. I could just be walking home or even at lectures at university and words just appear in my head so I just jot them down and get back to them later when I write.”
To keep up to date with upcoming events that Rupinder will be performing at and if you want to read and see more of her work then click on the following links- https://rupinderkw.wordpress.com/ https://roohpanjabi.com/
Jessica is a Third Year Journalism Birmingham City University student. Check out her WordPress site and keep up with her blogs: Jessicaschumber.WordPress.com