Born in Amritsar in 1937, Afzal Ahsan Randhawa was a renowned Urdu and Punjabi writer. His fiction had a deep connection with the roots of culture and folklore of undivided Punjab, which explains his popularity across the borders in Indian Punjab as well. He started writing in Punjabi at a time when the language was seen suspiciously by the state, anxious to promote one national language, Urdu. He was awarded Adamjee Literary Prize for his first novel “Deeva Tey Darya”, which he refused to accept to protest against the Writer’s Guild’s neglect ion of Punjabi writers. This novel was also the first book by a Pakistani to be published in India. He was esteemed among the Sikh circles for penning down their pain during infamous Operation Blue Star of 1984. He described his epic poem Chekarli Cheekh as a sort of ‘death cry’ of Punjab. Randhawa also translated works of Chinua Achebe and Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Punjabi. Besides being a man of letters, Randhawa was also a law officer, legal practitioner, politician and a parliamentarian. He died in 2017 and was buried in Faisalabad.

Works and life of Afzal Ahsan Randhawa suggest a way to connect with our Punjabi heritage, cultures, literatures, a connection which does not need to be discarded as a result of the partition.