Why Loona is a epitome of Feminist writing

I believe Shiv Kumar Batalvi along with being a fantastic poet was also a great feminist which is shown by one of his greatest literature pieces ‘Loona’ – Lūṇā – ਲੂਣਾ; The book that won Shiv Kumar Batalvi the Sahita Akademi Award, Loona is a play written in verse.

The king of Sialkot marries a young girl called Loona. She falls in love with the king’s son from his first marriage, Puran who is of her age. When Pooran repels her advances, she alleges misbehaviour by him to the king. Pooran is maimed and thrown into a well as a punishment. A sage rescues and treats him, and Pooran turns into a wandering ascetic himself – a Bhagat. Years later, a childless Loona comes to visit the famous Bhagat. When she realises his identity, she admits her mistake. Pooran forgives her and his father, and a child is later born to Loona.  – This is how this tale of Bhagat Puran has been told for centuries. 

Image result for loona shiv kumar

There is radical shift is seen in Shivs version from the male persona to a female protagonist . Batalvi openly addresses the concept of female desire and justifies the sexual attraction that Loona expresses. She is married to man the age of her father desiring the sexual attraction from her husbands son who is the same age as her.  Loona can be seen as a scapegoat to the situation. Every woman desires love, every woman has sexual wants and desires – And Batalavi makes it open for Loona to express her wants.

ਹਰ ਮਹਿਬੂਬਾ ਦੇ ਚਿਹਰੇ ਵਿਚ , ਮਾਂ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ, ਤੇ ਹਰ ਮਾਂ ਦੇ ਚਿਹਰੇ ਵਿਚ ਮਹਿਬੂਬਾ – har mehbooba de chihre vich, ma hondi hai, te har ma de chihre vich mehbooba –  every lover’s image exists a mother and in every mother’s image exists a lover.


Batalvi questions the system which does not object to this mismatched marriage but raises the sceptre of morality if she longs for fulfilment in a man equal in age and youth –

ਧਰਮੀ ਬਾਬਲ ਪਾਪ ਕਮਾਇਆ
ਲੜ ਲਾਇਆ ਸਾਡੇ ਫੁੱਲ ਕੁਮਲਾਇਆ
ਜਿਸ ਦਾ ਇੱਛਰਾਂ ਰੂਪ ਹੰਡਾਇਆ
ਮੈਂ ਪੂਰਨ ਦੀ ਮਾਂ ਪੂਰਨ ਦੇ ਹਾਣ ਦੀ

ਮੈਂ ਉਸ ਤੋਂ ਇਕ ਚੁੰਮਣ ਵਡੀ
ਪਰ ਮੈਂ ਕੀਕਣ ਮਾਂ ਉਹਦੀ ਲੱਗੀ
ਉਹ ਮੇਰੀ ਗਰਭ ਜੂਨ ਨਾ ਆਇਆ
ਲੋਕਾ ਵੇ ਮੈਂ ਧੀ ਵਰਗੀ ਸਲਵਾਣ ਦੀ

ਪਿਤਾ ਜੇ ਧੀ ਦਾ ਰੂਪ ਹੰਡਾਵੇ
ਲੋਕਾ ਵੇ ਤੈਨੂੰ ਲਾਜ ਨਾ ਆਵੇ
ਜੇ ਲੂਣਾ ਪੂਰਨ ਨੂੰ ਚਾਹਵੇ
ਚਰਿਤਰ ਹੀਣ ਕਵੇ ਕਿਉਂ ਜੀਭ ਜਹਾਨ ਦੀ

ਚਰਿਤਰ ਹੀਣ ਤੇ ਤਾਂ ਕੋਈ ਆਖੇ
ਜੇ ਕਰ ਲੂਣਾ ਵੇਚੇ ਹਾਸੇ
ਪਰ ਜੇ ਹਾਣ ਨਾ ਲੱਭਣ ਮਾਪੇ
ਹਾਣ ਲੱਭਣ ਵਿਚ ਗੱਲ ਕੀ ਹੈ ਅਪਮਾਨ ਦੀ

ਲੂਣਾ ਹੋਵੇ ਤਾਂ ਅਪਰਾਧਣ
ਜੇਕਰ ਅੰਦਰੋਂ ਹੋਏ ਸੁਹਾਗਣ
ਮਹਿਕ ਉਹਦੀ ਜੇ ਹੋਵੇ ਦਾਗਣ
ਮਹਿਕ ਮੇਰੀ ਤਾਂ ਕੰਜਕ ਮੈਂ ਹੀ ਜਾਣਦੀ

dharmi babal paap kamaya
larh laya mere phull kumlaya
jis da IchraaN roop handaya
mein Puran di maaN pooran de haan di

main uston ikk chumman vaddi
par main keekan maan uhdi laggi
uh meri garb joon na aaiya
loka ve maiN dhi vargi salvaan di

pita je dhi da roop handaave
loka ve tainu laaj na aave
je Loona Puran nu chaahve
charitarheen kave kion jeebh jahaan di

Loona hove taan apradhan
jekar androN hove suhagan
mehak ohdi je hove dagaan
mehak meri taaN kanjak main hi jaan-di

English Translation:

Honorable father committed a sin
Married me to a wilted flower
Whose youth IchrraaN had worn out
I am like Puran’s mother, Puran is my match

I am just one kiss elder than him
But how can I be called his mother
He is not born of my womb
World, I am like a daughter to Salvan

If a father marries his daughter
World, isn’t that shameful
If Loona desires Puran
Why is she called characterless by the world

She may be called characterless
If Loona trades in pleasures
But if the parents don’t find a match
What’s shameful in finding yourself a match

Loona would have been guilty
Had her heart accepted the marriage
Had her essence been permeated
My essence is chaste, only I know.


Even though Loona’s feelings and emotions are being conveyed through Batalvi – a man, he understands Loona.

Loona in Batalvi’s poem speaks and voices her concerns to the reader. ਅੱਗ ਕਿਉਂ ਨਾ ਬੋਲੇ ?
ਜੀਭ ਦਾ ਜੰਦਰਾਂ ਕਿਉਂ ਨਾ ਖੋਹਲੇ ? – aag kyu na bole? jeeb da jadraa kyu na khooley? – Why should fire not speak? Why should she not open the lock that seals her lips?

Batalvi’s kissa is modern because it explores a modern theme –  the condition of women in a male dominated society. While the old form was a narration of affirmation, the new is dramatic, disruptive and revolutionary. Shiv Kumar Batalvi has turned the tale of Bhagat Puran and Loona into a tale that questions the old legend, shifts the male society perspective and tells the story from the perspective of the woman. For Batalvi, it is the legend of Loona which is why it is called Loona – a girl of lower caste, married against her wishes, who falls in love with a man of her age. For this reason it is the epitome of Feminist writing despite it being written by a man.


online ebook of Loona – http://apnaorg.com/books/loonan/loonan.php?fldr=book

also available online at Punjabi kavita – https://www.punjabi-kavita.com/LoonaShivKumarBatalvi.php

online in shahmukhi at Punjabi kavita – http://www.punjabi-kavita.com/LoonaShivKumarBatalviShahmukhi.php

Mental Health

Every day you go on this war and no one understands
Why you are quite why you are silent
Why you still respond “yes I’m ok” when you’re really not.

– the inner war between self-destruction and self-love

Mental health is seen as taboo subject especially within the south Asian community it’s not something you would discuss with your parents over the dining table. If you say you’re under stress – often you will be told what stress, when I was your age I did this … I did that.
In our south Asian community, many people view mental health as “sharam”, meaning it is shameful so it is often ignored or not spoken about, as it brings shame to families.
I feel in our community people really don’t really understand that there is something called mental health. Just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Mental health is real, depression is real, anxiety is real and we need to talk about it and not avoid it.

There are many different types of categories of mental health – anxiety, panic attacks, stress, low self-esteem, depression, phobia, self-harm, suicidal feelings the list is pretty endless.
There have been times in the past when I have been under stress due to exams, things not going the way I hoped so. And I have had extremely low self-esteem I hated my appearance growing up that it made me depressed that I resulted to self-harm and had suicidal feelings.

And this past year I felt darkness once again… I wanted to run away from everything.  But I realised that wasn’t going to help me. The truth was I needed help. I needed to do something about this. I started writing deeper and deeper, writing everything I never thought I would – and yes that saved me. I spent time working myself, giving my mind a break from the usual trying to spend more time with nature and looking at Gods beauty and trying to understand the beauty of life.

The truth is we don’t appreciate the little accomplishments that we achieve. And sometimes we start to compare our lives with others and that’s when we make an mistake.

Sometimes we look at our-self in the mirror and constantly compare ourselves to models and celebs forgetting that they have Photoshop, they have so many people that make them look good. But we only have ourselves to make ourselves look and feel good.

But how can we become positive when we are drowning in negativity – small steps – learning to value and love ourselves.

Simple things such as a walk outside and connecting with nature – breathing and realising the beautiful existence of the world can help lift our mood and make us feel better.

Taking care of our mental health is just as important as our physical health. It can be incredibly hard to think positive and feel positive when you really don’t feel like that all. But one thing that has really been my saviour is having faith in God and trusting whatever God does is for the best. I know God helps me, supports me.

Whenever I do feel down God somehow sends blessings in the form of a person or just a conversation or just something that I read and makes me feel so much better.
Over the past year, I have changed a lot – be it my writing or as an individual.

This year has been the most important year, for making me realise how important mental health is. I could have been that 13 year old self-harming myself… but I understood what my body needed – it needed time to heal from everything, from every situation that I was placed in. Today I’ve really come out of my shell of having low self-esteem and zero confidence – to becoming someone who loves them self which I don’t think I don’t think is selfish. Self-love is one of the most important love that exists and I hope you all understand that too.

Take your time to heal
Realise what is important to you
Think about what makes you happy for once
Maybe go for a walk
Read a book
Write down everything you feel

Most importantly if something is making you depressed – leave it. If a relationship is causing pain – leave it. If you are unhappy with what you are doing – leave it.

If we don’t look after our health especially our mental health no one else is going too. We need to become our own best friends and understand what is good for our mind and body.

– mental health well-being 
is nothing to be ashamed off.