– A word which unites Panjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic and Persian meaning soul

The soul sees no religion. The soul sees no border. The soul is free.

“In Rooh, her debut poetry collection, she takes us on a poetic journey that transcends borders and arbitrary boundaries. Her work straddles English and Punjabi culture – fusing words from Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu and English. They look at love, religion, identity, politics, history, taboos, society – often questioning orthodox views, particularly around the roles that different genders are expected to adopt. Rooh has a grand scope and stares unblinkingly at the world. It is a stunning first collection from this young, intelligent poet.” – Verve Poetry Press

“Rupinder’s poetry is at once electrifying, heartbreaking and uplifting. She writes truthfully and with care, as if feeding you these lovingly crafted words with her own hands. A must read” – Amani Saeed.

Available to purchase now :

Verve poetry press website –

Amazon –

Foyles –,rupinder-kaur-9781912565085

Waterstones –

Book Depository –


Putting my salwar on
I play Surinder Kaur’s
ek meri akh kashni
written my favourite poet
Shiv Kumar Batalvi
that carries too much language
that can’t be translated.

As I put my kameez on
it lines my body’s curves
coming down with Lahore and Amritsar
a bit like my mother’s salwar kameez from an old photo
where she stands in-between
as she is the middle child
that has the worry of all.
The photo brings old Delhi
where poetry lingers
and Sanskrit-Latin
origin washes away -no foeticide or qurbanis.

I remember my Nani Ji holding me,
calling me a ray of light – Kiran.
I see my Daadi Ji looking at me
through the mirror smiling –
she lost her husband so young
yet she remained so strong
and raised two sons by herself
working hard day and night.

And as I place my dupatta by my side
I feel my ancestors next to me
traveling through
two worlds of life and death
coming at the platform of reality.

And I stand between two parallel lines
bringing a fusion of language
from every mohalla, area
that they set foot on
from Lahore-Delhi-Amritsar
and finally Birmingham.

Yes, sometimes I write for myself
but mostly I write for my mother.
I write for my ancestors that spill ink in every poem.

Part of Pass the Mic for festival of audacity part of beatfreaks, September 2018.
This was held celebrating 100 years of women getting the vote. The tram relay went from Wolverhampton to Birmingham.

Jugni is a poem that is featured in Rupinder Kaur’s debut poetry book Rooh

o mereya jugni, jugni
o mereya jugni, jugni

jugni travels from Delhi to Amritsar
across to England
jungi; the essence of life,
the spirit of life comes inside my rooh

jugni comes and dances in my dreams
jugni makes me fly

jugni takes me across borders
taking me to Lahore

jugni removes the radcliffe line
and I see my five rivers flowing together

jugni sees me read and write poetry
jugni tells me to light the candle

jugni watches me apply kohl
jugni watches me paint my lips

jugni looks at me and smiles
jugni tells me to fall in love with myself

jugni is no kafir or fakir
jugni is azaad, jugni is azaad

and jugni makes me free
jugni sets my rooh free

the jugni becomes me…
and the jugni becomes me…

o mereya jugni, jugni…
o mereya jugni, jugni

These two poems are from Rupinder’s debut poetry book Rooh with Verve Poetry Press

Sada chidiyan da chamba – Our temporary nest of birds

Sada chidiyan da chamba- Our temporary nest of birds, is a project that aims explore the female narrative of Panjabi wedding folk songs in Panjab and the diaspora over the past years with a focus on Birmingham and The Black Country. Research will be done through oral history, wedding archives from photographs and items.

Sada chidiyan da chamba ve babla
Asan ud jana, asan ud jana

This was our temporary nest of birds,
O father Tomorrow I will fly, I will fly…

What unites Panjabis across the world is the language itself along with its traditional folk songs. Panjabi Wedding folk songs are an element of the different types of the various different Panjabi folk songs.

Balbir Kaur on her Wedding day, July 1995

Wedding folk songs from Suhag, Sitniyan, Tappe, Mahiye and Ghoriyan are the artistic expressions of Panjabi women. Suhag in particular is the direct female perspective of brides. They have been passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation as outlets containing the feelings, sentiments, emotions and desires of Panjabi women.

Throughout the project there will also be creative writing workshops held with women of all ages, to explore and write responses and even to rewrite the folk songs. The workshops will be held in November in Birmingham and Wolverhampton along with a Giddha workshop.

If you have any favourite wedding folk songs, or have wedding stories, photographs and items that you would like to share and contribute towards this project please get in contact with myself –

With all research collated there is an aim of an exhibition in Spring/Summer 2020.

This project is being kindly supported by Creative Black Country Open Access Seed Award and is being co-produced by Professor Rajinder Dudrah’s research at Slanguages, Creative Multingualism (Oxford University) and Birmingham City University.


Rupinder had led workshops across Birmingham and nationally working with various organisations and schools. She has experience with students aged from 15- 50.

She generally carries out these workshops- Introduction to Panjabi poetry, Introduction to South Asian poetry, Introduction to South Asian Writers (these can also be made specific e.g. just focusing on one writer or a theme) Azaad Lafz (Free verse poetry writing) and Finding your voice through spoken word.

” I was able to reconnect with the arts, I never knew that there are so many South Asian poets”

“I realised that poetry is such an empowering outlet”

testimonies after workshops

If you are interested in speaking to Rupinder about workshops please email – for more information.

ਯਾਦਾਂ – yaadan – memories

•••• ਯਾਦਾਂ – yaadan – memories ••••


The life of a woman… or is it the life of a girl that becomes a woman. When does a girl become a woman? After she hits 16… 18. After marriage? After giving birth to children? Then what happens? Society gives her names of a daughter then a wife then a mother… Does she not have her own “identity”… will society forever only call her names..? And never call her “her” by “her” own identity. When a woman reflects back on her life remembering her yaadan as a young girl, a daughter, then wife and then mother… what does she think…

Was a moment in her yaadan that she lived for herself…? Since a child, she is told you must behave a certain way… you abide to these rules and customs… you must know how to **cook and clean*** or else what will your in-laws say. She wants to study but is told the worth of an educated woman is nothing. If she wants to do something for herself she is told you do this only once you are married. And once she is married she told, well you should done whatever you wanted before you were married… Then she has children and her life becomes her children she never thinks anything else could be her life aside from her children. Her happiness comes from her husband and children.
She spends her time with children and doesn’t realise when they grow and become young adults. And now she sits remembering her days looking through her yaadan. Taking a deep breath… holding the photograph of when she was a girl reflecting she thinks… now I must live and live for myself and fulfill my own dreams.



Yaadan satrangi ne puttar, yaadan ehsaas ne, jazbaat ne…they are various different thoughts. Yaadan kadi vich kar nai hondi’aa they are always either good or bad. Yaadan kadi dukh deni’aa ne te kadi sukh…. depend karda yaad kis naal joori aa …koyi shehr di yaad… kisi insaan di yaad… kado, te kis tarah us di yaad aa jaye koi pata ni… ik geet… ik tasvaar tanu us pal di yaad karva denda hai te oh pal twade akhan moreh aa janda… 

– Balbir Kaur, my mother. 

mum looking











Rooh- Soul. I describe Rooh as a journey for me it is not a book but it is like a river that flows and flows.  It is azaad – free, free from barriers and borders it is simply just the Rooh- soul. I started putting together my poems for a potential collection together just a year ago, around this time.  The poems range from many different things from being in the diaspora to Panjab across to India and beyond man-made borders with history, politics, taboos and love with an emphasis on the roles of genders.

In most of my poems I always use words from – Panjabi-Hindi-Urdu, this is something that just comes natural being a lover of poetry that comes from India more so before it’s partition, the poetry in Panjabi/ Hindi/Urdu is just so beautiful and full of so much language. I hope one day I can write fully and properly in each language as I love them all.
The canals by Brindley place

become a prayer for Jhelum.

The library becomes a home for reading Faiz and Iqbal

with Lahore coming so close

yet so far away.

I write half ghazals thinking of Amritsar and Delhi,

languages spin intermingling Hindi Panjabi Urdu English.

Which is mine?/ when all four are mine…

(poem from Rooh)

book cover rooh

I came across the artwork of a Pakistani artist called Maryam Mughal and I just fell in love with her art, and style…and then I saw this painting and I just wanted it… I didn’t want anything else after as I felt it was perfect for Rooh. I felt it captures the essence of Rooh completely. And everything about it is just what I am… my mum actually thinks the painting looks like me lol. So after trying to get her contact details for so long, my publisher was able to get in contact with her and we got the rights for this beautiful beautiful painting for my cover. Please do check out her other work too, it’s absolutely beautiful you can search her on google. She isn’t on social media expect Facebook.

Now, coming to the title – I decided on the name Rooh for my poetry book — firstly because poetry is literally my Rooh (soul) and because it is a word which unites languages – Languages that are so rich in heritage and culture, words that are literally poetry.

Rooh (soul) is originated from Arabic but is used by many languages such as mentioned. Panjabi and Urdu are two languages in particular that I love, Panjabi being my mother tongue and Urdu the language that I literally fell in love with.

Rooh is available for pre orders and it will shipped world wide see links below. And thank you to those that have been giving a lot of love and appreciation I can’t describe how it all feels to see your dream coming true. At the age of just 22 I would have never imagined to be a published poet!

I can’t thank my publisher enough, for being so patient and understanding with my work. I am truly grateful to Stuart who is the co-founder of Verve Poetry Press along with Amerah Saleh.

Please do pre-order and come down to Waterstones if you can!!!

link for pre-orders;


ticket link for launch at Waterstones in Birmingham ;