Gurmani Centre Scholar Wins Prize for Punjabi Fiction

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - 5am

Mr. Zahid Hassan, Research Associate at the Gurmani Centre for Languages and Literature has been awarded the 2nd prize in Punjabi Fiction under the auspices of the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Fiction, for his book "Tassi Dharti". The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Fiction which will be awarded later this month in Vancouver, Canada has been established by the Canada India Education Society in partnership with the Department of Asian Studies in the Faculty of Arts at University of British Columbia.

Below is the official announcement and details of the prize and Mr. Zahid Hassan's award winning work in fiction. 


Vancouver – The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature has announced the 2016 winners awarded for "excellence in the Punjabi literary community". It is given $25,000 annually to the best book of fiction published in either Gurmukhi or Farsi scripts, along with two additional second prizes of $5,000 CDN.

2016 Winners of the Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature are:

• First Prize - $25,000 Kaale Varke (Black Pages), Short story collection by Jarnail Singh
• Second Prize - $5,000 x 2 Tassi Dharti (Thirsty Land), Novel, by Zahid Hassan 

Since 1985 Zahid Hassan has worked with various newspapers, periodicals and publishing houses in Lahore including Punjabi Adabi Board. In addition he has worked with the Democratic Commission for Human Development. He has served as editor of Punjabi and Urdu magazines like, “Punjabi Adab’, ‘Adab-e lateef’, and ‘Kahani Ghar’.

He has published twelve books of fiction, poetry, research and literary criticism in Punjabi which include four novels, ‘Ishaq lataare Aadmi’, ‘Ghalichaa Unnan Wali’, ‘Qissa Aashiqaan’, Tassi Dharti’, and a short story collection, ‘Panjah Varhian di Udaasi’. He is a recipient of numerous literary awards which include the prestigious Pakistan Academy of Letters ‘Waris Shah Award’ and ‘Masood Khaddarposh Award’, among others.

‘Tassi Dharti’ (Thirsty Land) is a novel penned by Zahid Hassan. Published in Farsi script, the story deals with the land and people of the geographical region of the undivided Punjab, known as Bar. It tries to recapture the changing historical and socio-cultural reality of this region over the last two hundred years.

Tassi Dharti is a gripping representation of existential concerns of the valiant people of this region and their hardy struggles in the context of evolving social and political environment during the colonial period and beyond. As a regional novel, it employs the language and idiom of the regional dialect and focuses on the folk tradition and cultural practices of the people. Throughout the narrative the secular fabric of pre-partition Punjab emerges wonderfully.

It is a valuable literary work relating to a rather under-represented cultural region of Punjab.

For more, see Mushtaq Soofi on 'Tassi Dharti':