Rooh

Rooh

– 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 – https://vervepoetrypress.com/product/rupinder-kaur-rooh-pre-order-numbered-and-signed-by-the-author-postage-free/

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rooh-Rupinder-Kaur/dp/1912565080

Foyles – https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/rooh,rupinder-kaur-9781912565085

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/rooh/rupinder-kaur/9781912565085

Book Depository – https://www.bookdepository.com/Rooh-Rupinder-Kaur/9781912565085

Poetry

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 – rupinderkw@hotmail.com

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.

https://www.creativeblackcountry.co.uk
https://www.creativeml.ox.ac.uk

Workshops

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 – rupinderkw@hotmail.com for more information.