Dr. Dalip Kaur Tiwana is universally regarded as one of the leading Punjabi novelists of today and has published twenty seven novels, seven collections of short stories, the first part of her autobiography and a literary biography She has won awards, both regional and national, and is widely translated author.
Born on May 4, 1935 in Village Rabbon of Ludhiana district in a well-to-do land-owing family, she was educated at Patiala where her uncle, Sardar Sahib Sardar Tara Singh Sidhu was Inspector General of Prisons. She had a distinguished academic career, getting a first class first M.A., and the first woman in the region to get the Ph.D. degree from Punjab University in 1963, Dr. Dalip Kaur Tiwana joined the Punjabi University at Patiala, as a Lecturer and then went on to become Professor and Head of the Department of Punjabi and Dean, Faculty of Languages. She was a brilliant teacher and researcher and made a significant contributions to literary and critical studies in Punjabi. She was also a UGC National Lecturer for a year.
Dr. Dalip Kaur's literary career as a creative writer commenced with the publication of her first book of short stories Sadhna in 1961, which was declared the best book in its genre by the Department of Languages, Government of Punjab. She produced seven collections of short stories before switching over to novel-writing, in which art-form she was destined to achieve great eminence. Her second novel Eho Hamara ZeeUna won her the Sahitya Akademy Award in 1972. Thereafter, virtually every one of her works won her an award. The Ministry of Education and Social Welfare honoured her book of stories for children called pa11jan IJiCh Parmeshwar in 1975, while the Department of Languages, Government of Punjab, conferred the "Nanak Singh Puruskar" on her novel Peele Patian di Dastan in 1980 and "Gurmukh Singh Mu safir Puruskar" on her autobiography Nange pa rion da Safa r in 1 982. Awards and honours have flowed from outside the Punjab as well. In 1985, the International Association of Punjabi Artists and Authors (IAAPA) based in Canada honoured her with an award in 1985. "Nanjanagudu Thirumalamba" award for her novel Katha Kuknoos Di came from Shashwathi, Karnataka and "Vagdevi" award for Duni Suhava Bagh was given by Bhartiya Bhasha Parishad, Calcutta, in 1998.
For her outstanding contribution to Punjabi literature, Dr. Dalip Kaur received the "Shiromani Sahityakar" award from the Punajb Government in 1987, the "Best Novelist of the Decade" award from Punjabi Academy, Delhi, in 1994 and the "Kartar Singh Dhaliwal" award from Punjabi Sahit Academy, Ludhiana. She was among the distinguished Sikh personalities who were honoured on the occasion of the Tricentenary Celebrations of the Birth of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib in 1999.
A List of Literary Awards:
Many of Dr. Dalip Kaur Tiwana's short stories and novels have been translated into Hindi and other Indian languages, and English. Such is her Fate (Punjabi University), Journey on bare feet (Orient Longman), Gone are the Rivers (Macmillan) are some of the English translations, which are readily available. The Tale of the Phoenix (Ajanta) translated by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh and Bhupinder Singh and Elizabeth Siler of the USA will soon be out. Urvaslu is being rendered into English by Prof Jasbir Jain. Khushwant Singh, Jai Rattan and Danielle Gill from Paris are some the other translators of Dr. Tiwana's works. Doordarshan has also telecast a few serials based on her writings.
Dr. Daiip Kaur has played important roles in distinguished bodies, both academic and literary. Currently, she is associated with the Sahitya Academy (Delhi), Punjab Arts Council (Chandigarh), Punjab Sahit Academy (Chandigarh), Punjabi Sahit Academy (Ludhiana), National Book Trust of India, Bhartiya Janapith, K K. Birla Folmdation, Kendn Punjabi Lekhak Sabha in various capacities. She is President of the Punjabi Sahit Academy, Chandigarh and Life-Fellow auld nominated Senator of the Punjabi University.
During the course of her career as writer and academician, she visited several countries to preside over or participate in important international conferences. For example, she chaired sessions at the International Punjabi Conference held in U.K. in 1980, participated in International Writing Together anal Women in the 20th Century held in Scotland in 1990 and presided over an international literary meet organised by California Sahit Sabha in the U.S.A. in 2000.
By common or general consent, Dr. Dalip Kaur Tiwana is the leading, most productive and most popular Punjabi novelist of our Ages. For the last forty years or more, she has been engaged in creative writing without any major interruption. There is thematic and formal variety in her writings. Her language in particular is spontaneous, lyrical and compressed to the point of being a marvel of economy and elegance.
Over the years, she has moved from a preoccupation with gender issues to intellectual contemplation of fundamental human problem, and from there to spiritual transcendence. While negotiating the problems of life and death, tradition and modernity, men and women, towns and villages in her works, she remains committed to the Indian spiritual and ethical vision. One could say of her that she combines European energy with Asiatic calm in her life and thought.
Excerpts taken from
Taken from Nishaan, II/2002 issue.
Dr. Dalip Kaur Tiwana: The leading Punjabi Novelist of our Times