Who was Dr. Surjit Patar? Padma Shri recipient Punjabi poet dies aged 79

Dr. Surjit Patar was found unresponsive this Saturday morning; he is survived by his wife and 2 sons

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Dr. Surjit Patar, a revered Punjabi poet and writer, died in his sleep on Saturday at his residence in Ludhiana. As per reports, he was in fine health on Friday evening however, he did not wake up in the morning on Saturday. His cause of death is being reported to be a cardiac arrest. He was 79 years old at the time of his death. Dr. Patar is survived by his wife, Bhupinder Kaur Patar, and his two sons, Manraj Patar and Ankuj Patar.


Dr. Surjit Patar was revered for his beautiful and moving poetry. His poems enjoy immense popularity with the public and have won high acclaim from critics. For the unversed, Dr. Surjit Patar was a prominent figure in Punjabi literature with a lasting legacy that will be revered for generations. Here is all about Dr. Surjit Patar:


Who was Dr. Surjit Patar?

Dr. Surjit Patar was born on January 14, 1945 in the Patar Kalan village in Jalandhar. His surname comes from his birthplace. Dr. Patar graduated from Randhir College in Kapurthal and earned his Master’s degree in Punjabi from Punjabi University, Patiala. He went on to earn his PhD in literature from GNDU Amritsar. 


Dr. Patar was serving as a professor in Punjabi University when he delved into writing poetry in mid-1960s. His most popular poetry works include, “Hawa vich likhe Harf”, Birkh Arz Kare (Thus Spake the Tree), Hanere Vich Sulagdi Varnmala (Words Smouldering in the Dark), Lafzaan Di Dargah (Shrine of Words), Patjhar Di Pazeb (Anklet of Autumn) and Surzameen (Music Land). He was also the president of Punjab Arts Council.


Dr. Surjit Patar was awarded the Padma Shri Award for literature and education in 2012. However, during the farmers’ protest in 2020, he returned the civilian honor in solidarity with the protest farmers protesting against the now repealed farm laws. He had made a poignant declaration while returning the award: ““Amrhi mainu aakhan laggi, tu dharti da gert rahenga…padam shri ho ke vi patar tu Mera surjit rahenga”.


Along with his own poignant poetry, Dr. Surjit Patar has also translated the works of prominent figures in literature like Federico García Lorca, Girish Karnad, Bertolt Brecht and Pablo Neruda into Punjabi. He has also written tele-scripts for other eminent Punjabi poets from Sheikh Farid to Shiv Kumar Batalvi. He has received various awards along with the Padma Shri including the Gangadhar National Award for Poetry, Sambalpur University, Orissa in 2009 to the Kudumagraj Literary Award in 2014.