(Last Updated on : 28-01-2009)
Harcharan Singh was a Punjabi dramatist of twenty full-length plays. Born in 1914 he began his writing career with Jivan It la i.e. 'Life's Game' in 1940. This was an anthology of reformist one-act scripts composed in the realistic mode. This was also composed with a sharp sense of prevalent stage conditions in Punjabi theatre
. He reverted to this form again in the 1970s and produced two more collections. The names can be mentioned as Murkke di khushbu i.e. 'Fragrance of Sweat' in 1974 and Punch pradhan i.e. 'Five Elders' in 1976. The six long works which he composed before Independence were either reformist or melodramatic in tenor. Jivan lila in 1938, Raja Poms in 1938, Dur durade shahron i.e. 'From a Distant Town' in 1942, and Khedan de din char i.e. 'The Few Days of Child's Play' in 1942 rhetorically celebrate both the individual and racial past.
After 1947, the lives of the Sikh Gurus and heroes came to the centre of Harcharan Singh's plays. Punnya da chanan i.e. 'Full Moon's Light' in 1969 and Mitt dhund jag chanan hoa i.e. 'Light Breaks through Mist'' in 1970 express earnest feelings for Guru Nanak. Itihas jawab mangda hai or 'History Demands a Reply' in 1968 and Chamkaur di garhi i.e. 'Fortress of Chamkaur' in 1969 eulogize Guru Gobind Singh's heroic battles against the Mughals. While Hinddi chadar i.e. 'Shield of India' in 1975 commemorates Guru Teg Bahadur's martyrdom, Punjab di ikko ikk mard Rani Jindan i.e. 'Rani Jindan, the Only Man in Punjab' in 1981 laments the defeat of Sikh armies by the British.
Harcharan Singh wrote many full-length texts. Rattasalu i.e. 'Red Headgear' in 1967 discloses a landlord's evil intentions toward women of peasant stock. Shobha Shakti or. 'Goodness and Power' in 1968 deals with the difficulties that women face at the hands of their own gender. Aj kal te bhalak or 'Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow' in 1972 metes out similar treatment to the priestly class. Capable of tapping history and society in equal measure, and sometimes turning symbolical, Harcharan Singh shows no lack of themes or styles.