“Sidhu Moose Wala will be given the award posthumously."
Sidhu Moose Wala has been named a posthumous recipient of the Waris Shah International Award in Pakistan.
Punjabi Virsa has announced that it will honour the singer, poet Dr Surjit Singh Patar and writer Harjinder Pal.
The works of Waris Shah, the legendary Sufi poet, are revered both in India and Pakistan.
He is best known for his classic romantic saga Heer Ranjha, a masterpiece even after 250 years of its creation.
The 630 stanzas, written by Shah in 1766, featured a female protagonist who stood and died for her love for Ranjha.
To commemorate Shah’s 300th birth anniversary, several events are being held in India and Pakistan.
Ilyas Ghumman, a noted Pakistan-based Punjabi writer and president of the Waris Shah International Award Committee, said that the award will be given to Indian personalities for the second time.
Indian poet Amrita Pritam was given this honour in 2000.
He said: “Sidhu Moose Wala will be given the award posthumously.
“We had started this award in 2000 primarily for Punjabi writers and litterateurs whose works promote Punjabi culture and language but Moosewala is the first singer to be selected for the honour.”
While Waris Shah was known for spreading peace and love, Sidhu Moose Wala’s songs referenced gun culture.
Speaking about this, Ilyas Ghumman said:
“This point came up for discussion in our committee before selecting his name but it was agreed that Moose Wala played a major role in promoting Punjabi language and issues of the Punjabi community.
“He is considered an icon by the youths in Pakistan and they connect with him.”
“In Pakistan, Punjabi language still doesn’t get the respect it deserves.”
Dr Surjit Patar is known for his poetry and is a Padma Shri recipient. He is currently the chief of the Punjab Arts Council.
Harjinder Pal is a Punjabi short story writer who is also known for translating many Pakistani literary works from Shamukhi to Gurmukhi script of Punjabi language.
One writer said: “Amrita Pritam and Dr Surjit Patar are legends of Punjabi literature who deserve an honour.
“Moose Wala has become more of an emotion after his murder.
“Conferring the honour on him is too far-fetched as his songs openly promoted weapons, violence and bloodshed.”