Punjabi writer Bhandari, Prof Yashpal among 12 to be honoured today

The UT Administration will honour 12 people, including three in the field of art and culture, by awarding them commendation certificates for rendering outstanding service in their respective areas, at the Republic Day function on Saturday.

Among those who are being awarded is Mohan Bhandari, the noted Punjabi short story writer and Sahitya Akademi award winner for his book entitled "Eye of the Doe". Considered to be a close associate of Shiv Kumar Batalvi, he has translated Manto's short stories. He has been residing in Chandigarh at his Sector 44 residence since the early 80s and is not keeping well these days.

Harinder Pal Singh, a resident of Sector 22, is a source of inspiration for everyone. Despite 70% disability in his left leg due to polio, Harinder Pal had the grit to form the first bhangra group of India with physically challenged people as members. His group has performed in India and abroad. To save the folk dance forms of Punjab, Harinder Pal also teaches youngsters various dance forms like luddi and gidha in colleges in Chandigarh and Mohali.

Despite his physical disability, this adventure sports enthusiast and social worker is a great bhangra dancer. In recognition of his work for the physically challenged and his determination to form the bhangra group, he was awarded Mind of Steel Award by Godfrey Phillips in Chandigarh two years back.

After coming to Chandigarh, he learnt the basics of bhangra through observation. In 1989, a bhangra group fell short of a member and Harinder Pal volunteered to dance but he was subjected to humiliation for being physically challenged.

Living in the city since 1988, Harinder Pal originally hails from Malout Mandi in Muktsar district of Punjab and is employed with the architecture department, Punjab. In 1999, he was awarded by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for being an outstanding creative person with disabilities while a year later the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs awarded him the national youth award.

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