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Baba Nanak - Book By Harjeet Singh Gill
The Grand Narrative of Baba Nanak presented by Professor Harjeet Gill is based on the Janam Sakhis and the interpretations of the compositions of the Guru in the Adi Granth. These are reflections and meditations on the mysteries and the metaphysical complexities of the human and the divine universe. From the most mundane affairs of this world we move on to the dialectics of anthropology and cosmology in a language that is charged with a resonance and a rhythm that is both transcendental and allegoric.
The First edition of this text was highly appreciated by eminent scholars who were sensitive to the rhythmic articulation of the English language.
The second revised edition, prepared under a Senior Fellowship awarded by the Punjabi University, includes the revised versions of the translations of the four Banis : Japuji, Siri Rag, Siddh Gost and Bara Maha. It serves as an introduction to Nanak Bani interpreted in free verse.
|S. S. Boparai|
|Punjabi University, Patiala, 2007|
The Grand Narrative of Baba Nanak is based on the Janam Sakhis and the interpretations of his compositions in the Adi Granth. Amongst others they include Japuji, Sri Rag, Bara Maha and Sidh Gost. His reflections and meditations on the affairs of this and the other world are presented in the dialectics of anthropology and cosmology.
Harjeet Singh Gill is Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
'Oh no!' I thought as I opened Harjeet Singh Gill's Baba Nanak. 'Not another of these attempts to retell the story of Guru Nanak in what is meant to be English poetry.' These, it seems, almost invariably consist of dreary prose dressed up as flowery poetry. But I was wrong. But I was very wrong. Baba Nanak, far from being cast in the style which one normally associates with the 'poetry' of English translations of the Adi Granth, is in fact an excellent piece of work. The works that it paraphrases are some of the finest of Guru Nanak's works, set in the context of his life story and supported by passages from the janam-sakhis. Japuji naturally appears, as do portions of Siri Ragu, and the whole of Baramaha, and Siddh Gost.
The style in which the life and travels of Baba Nanak is recorded makes exceedingly pleasant reading and those who wish to have the story well told as simple but effective English poetry will find Gill's work a delight.
|W. H. Mcleod|
|International Journal of Punjab Studies, Oxford, 2003, 10 : 1-2.|
I do not know how Harjeet Singh Gill, Emeritus Professor of Semiotics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, was spurred into song when he elected to write in verse from the story of Guru Nanak, and of his divine hymns in a capsuled, simple, but effective style. Nothing, as far as I know, in Gill's past suggested such a "return of the native" to the faith of his ancestors, for in his long academic career, he remained involved in the study of semiotics and signification under the tutelage of his French mentors and theorists of linguistics.
Whatever the reason, this volume underscores the nature of his inner transformation - from a logician and sceptic to a seeker after truth, with Baba Nanak as his light and guiding star. I could stretch the argument and see how the science of languages, which invests all human thought and its highest reaches, possibly led Gill to apply his earned insights to the Sikh scriptures...Gill's rendering, thus, is simple, direct and nearer to fine prose. And he sustains this discourse with imagination and insight.
|Darshan Singh Maini|
|The Tribune, October 12, 2003.|