mobile navigation
Blog - Kuli Kohli

Punjabi Women’s Writing Group

FacebookTwitter

May 2018 was the start to something new, something quite out of the ordinary… it was the start to Wolverhampton’s first ever Punjabi Women’s Writing Group.

There are a few Punjabi Shyiaree (poetry) groups around but none which is dedicated to and run by Punjabi Women.

Kuli Kohli, Kumlaish Kumari, Nirmal Orjally, Santosh Kumari

Offa’s Press manager, Simon Fletcher, has played an active role in encouraging and promoting multi-cultural writing in the West Midlands. Simon is part of a multi-cultural poetry group ‘Mini Mushira’ which consists of 3 poets from very different backgrounds – Debjani Chatterjee, from Delhi, Basir Sultan Kazmi, from Lahore & Simon who’s originally from rural Worcestershire.

Simon has actively worked in the writing scene for over 20 years and encouraged people from all cultures and backgrounds in the north of England and the West Midlands to write and perform their work. He noticed an absence of Punjabi women writers and performers and has tried to encourage these women for a long time. It has been a bit of a struggle, perhaps a forlorn hope, because Punjabi women are attached and deeply involved with family life, being wives, mothers, sisters etc. Writing their stories and poems isn’t seen as something important.

When I was published by Offa’s Press, it was a very good opportunity for Simon to get something new sorted out for Punjabi women, to see if there was genuine interest to get the untold stories of Punjabi lives out in the open. After many discussions and months of getting people involved in writing, it became an urgent desire to know what Punjabi women were experiencing and of course to get their stories written.

photo of the poet sat in a chair, reading while two other Asian women look on

Kuli Kohli

I was asked by Simon to see if Punjabi women wanted to come together and form a writing group one way or another. It was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, because these women had devoted their lives to serving their direct families, husbands, children, extended families, etc. To be let out of the house for a couple of hours to chat and write seemed to be impossible!

However, I managed to round up some women who were interested in writing and telling their stories. Getting them together to meet up at first was very challenging. However, I managed it. Then, finding a suitable location, we found an ideal Indian coffee shop, Zuri’s in Wolverhampton city centre. Choosing a day to meet was also very frustrating so in the end we chose the last Thursday of the month. Although not everyone could attend on this day, it was the best we could do.

In the last few months, the ladies in the group found it very challenging and inspiring to get something written down on paper and I would meet up with them separately via email or on a one to one basis and go through the work they had written.

We were working towards producing some work which could be performed at a Diwali event at Central Library in Wolverhampton (but they didn’t know this). I had faith in my ladies and little by little they all began to produce some good pieces of work.

On the 19 October 2018, Wolverhampton saw its first ever Punjabi Women’s Writing Group performance: stories and poetry with art works from Komlaish Achall. We were very well received by an excellent audience. Although it was a short event, we needed to test the water to see the quality of it. We received very good and positive feedback from the audience and library staff involved. Our next appearance will be at the Wolverhampton Original Literature Festival (WOLF3) in February 2019.

Portraits of three young Aisan women superimposed on maps, rests on stands within a library

Komlaish Achall’s artwork

I am proud to include some examples of the new writings of the Punjabi Women’s Writing Group members:

Tug of War written by Nirmal Orjally

…she’s married to a family…
in her dreams she’s married to one,
the one, who’d be the love of her life.

Yet her life belongs not to him,
she belongs to a chain
not of gold, but of relatives.

Stretched like an elastic band,
one day she’ll snap!

Weaving Dreams written by Santosh Kumari

For no found reason, I begin to weave,
removing the layers of ‘if and buts’,
mulling over the maybes, possibilities,
gliding through darkness to find dawn.

For no found reason, I begin to weave
in the rain, happy rainbows.
Stars sparkling like my koka,
treading on thorns to enchanted places.

For no found reason, I begin to weave;
reaching out, boundless, limitless
like the seconds on a clock.
My bindi smiles as I fly on magic rugs.

For no found reason – I have woven,
dropped stitches, stained with loss,
held together with fine golden thread.
Done! My dreams have been woven.

Punjabi words –
Koka – Nose jewel
Bindi – Forehead jewel

Photo of 3 women from the writing group with a white man - posing in the library

Santosh Kumari, Kuli Kohli, Simon Fletcher, Komlaish Achall

The Gift (extract from story) written by Kumlaish Kumari
Self-love is hard to teach, I found mine grew in a pool of water surrounded by compassion, care and determination, that’s what fed and nurtured me, that’s what taught me to grapple with being the focus of attention, and to be comfortable with someone determined to do something for me. This was water therapy of the best kind.

My daughters gift to me, has taken on a different purpose, as I now cope with a physically challenging disability. Swimming is something I can do when I can’t do much else. Keeping me whole, independent, lifting my mood, satisfying my desire to move freely, elegantly, gracefully, to move fast or slow, back stroke or crawl. To do aqua aerobics or not, the choice is mine. I have choices.

Happy Diwali to all!!

47
Leave a comment

avatar
45 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
45 Comment authors
Jas KakkarSatwant . SagooPriya MinhasJeevan KumariMaya m. Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Cherry Doyle
Guest
Cherry Doyle

So lovely to see all these glittery ladies telling their colourful stories. It was such an interesting because the female Punjabi voice is often missing from our literature scenes. Great work! Xx

Elaine Jones
Guest
Elaine Jones

Well done all of you, hopefully your work will encourage others to put pen to paper. Keep it up ladies I look forward to reading more of your work soon. Well done Kuli using your determination to get others involved I hope your group grows.

Kumlaish Kumari
Guest

I really enjoy being part of the Punjabi Women’s Group. Being able to express your innermost emotional experiences is both therapeutic and healing. Thank you Kuli You’re work is perceptive and transformative. You are a great wordsmith!! Looking forward to exciting times ahead for our group.

Kapoor
Guest
Kapoor

Kully i have always enjoyed reading your work and its great to see you are also inspiring other asian women to express themselves by writing and reaching out to an audience from different backgrounds.
Keep up the good work kully.

Parveen Brigue
Guest
Parveen Brigue

Thank you Santosh ji for forwarding the link and I am so pleased to be given an opportunity to make some comments
This is my first time I have been exposed to this and it is so heartening to read such beautiful words expressing ones inner strength.
I am proud of my sisters and and have full confidence in that others will join to keep this going well done
Parveen brigue

Pummi
Guest

Its inspiring to read and understand how challenges are overcome and dealt with. And how we should savour each day and make the most of what we have . Thank you Kuli and everyone involved for getting it out to the public.

Dalvir Gill
Guest
Dalvir Gill

Thank you ladies. This is fantastic. Wolves Punjabi women expressing cultural stories through creative writing. The Postcolonial writer Gayatri Spivak wrote, “Can the Subaltern Speak?”. I’m so proud to hear the voices of Punjabi women sharing rich and inspiring stories. You are helping many silenced voices to be heard. Looking forward to reading many more.

Jaspal Kohli
Guest
Jaspal Kohli

Well done Kuli, I know how hard it is for Punjabi women to speak up for what they believe in. Keep the faith and keep rising and inspiring all around you.

Roshan Kohli
Guest
Roshan Kohli

Well done, proud of you Mom. Keep up the good work.

Jyoti Daddar
Guest
Jyoti Daddar

Congratulations to the Punjabi Women of Wolverhampton. It’s very inspiring to read your poems. It shows one different strength and to show that you should reach out and achieve what you desire. Age is not a limit.

Santosh, I admire your strength and thank you for informing me about the link.

Best wishes.

Jeet Ratnam
Guest

First of all thank you Santosh Kumari for giving me the opportunity to express my views about this blog.

Poetry is the best way to condense a huge volume of emotion into few verses.

Well done to all the ladies who have put together their life experiences in the form of poetry.

A big thumbs up to Kulli Kohli for taking the initiative. I am sure many more Punjabi Women will be encouraged to come on board and share their personal or even tell their mothers life experiences.

Wish you all the best in your future publications. God bless.

Santosh Kumari
Guest
Santosh Kumari

I feel very encouraged by the comments received so far. Finding the time to write my stories in poetry form is a challenge due to family related commitments and responsibilities. However, I find myself stealing time whatever the time of the day to fulfill the desire to write. I am immensely inspired by Kuli. She is my Guru and a great support. Thank you Kuli.

Jas Kakkar
Guest
Jas Kakkar

Excellent poetry, it’s good to see Asian women having a platform to express their thoughts and experience through poetry. I hope this is the first of many. Looking forward to reading more …

Raminder Rait
Guest
Raminder Rait

Congratulations Punjabi Wolves ladies! Thank you for sharing your talent and beautiful poetry with us. You all deserve to be very proud of your achievement. May the future of Punjabi Wolves Ladies be equally bright, successful and rewarding.

Rita Rani
Guest
Rita Rani

How wonderful to see these lovely ladies achieve something so amazing. It’s great that boundaries have been broken down and the natural talent of these writers is now shining. Continue with the good work! And a extra special well done to Kuli as I have known this wonderful woman since we were children and I have seen her grow from strength to strength in all aspects of her life and the one thing that has driven her…….. her love of writing x

Sukhchandan Kaur
Guest
Sukhchandan Kaur

My sincere and heartfelt congratulations to all the participants for putting in beautiful words that most of us only think of and haven’t got the gift of writing poetry.
I would love to see more opportunities like this for you lovely women and for me to take part as audience. So proud of you all.
Keep up the good work and keep the trandition of Punjabi poetry alive for generations to come. Lots of love And best wishes
Sukhchandan Kaur

Tina
Guest
Tina

Many thanks to all hard working ladies, this is fantastic, expressing culture stories through creative writing. I am very proud of you all wonderful ladies x

PRITHVI KOHLI
Guest
PRITHVI KOHLI

Well done Mom

Diya
Guest
Diya

Wow to Punjabi women writers! Did not know they existed. Keep up the good work. We want to hear more of your stories. Bhujee – I love your Weaving Dreams poem!

Love Diya xx

Surina
Guest
Surina

Wonderful!! Keep it up love it all xx
From surina

Jaya
Guest
Jaya

Well done keep it up what an inspirational message xx
From Jaya x

Rosie
Guest
Rosie

I’d love to see more!!!!!

Karan Dary
Guest
Karan Dary

Left extremely impressed by the Punjabi women’s writing group. Heartfelt words that have been beautifully written.

Well done to all and a special shout out to my mother, author of Weaving Dreams 🙂

Sukhchandan Kaur
Guest
Sukhchandan Kaur

Karan
Your mum is a legend

Anisha Kainth
Guest
Anisha Kainth

Very proud to hear all these stories/poems it’s so nice to hear real life events come out In such a poetic way that we can all relate to at some point in our lives. Very Much proud of Santosh (Mom In Law) who put together some lovely words in different aspects of her life and those around.
I look foward to hearing some more from the Punjabi women’s writing group.

Devina
Guest
Devina

It was amazing to read and was very inspirational. I would love to see more xx

Diya
Guest
Diya

Beautifully written Santosh. Such a fantastic way for Wolves Punjabi women to express their stories and be heard x

Ranjana
Guest
Ranjana

Well done Punjabi’s women’s group from Wolverhampton for writing such inspirational blog. Keep up the good work.

Bijay
Guest
Bijay

Love your story of ‘The Gift’ Kumlaish , I can totally relate to the joys of being taught invaluable life learnings from our daughters.

This is a wonderful initiative and greatly needed to reflect the diverse tapestry of Punjabi women’s Stories. I look forward to seeing and reading more. Thank you all!

Kal
Guest
Kal

This is lovely, so expressive, the indian community should be encouraged to be more passionate and real about life. This is an excellent way of connecting.

Avtar
Guest
Avtar

It was lovely being there on the 19th October and listen to beautiful and very inspiring poetry.
Well done to you all and keep up the good work.
Lot’s of love and best wishes
Avtar

Promila
Guest
Promila

Very inspiring poetry from beautiful women.. so proud to be a part of it as audiences keep up the good work and please keep on inviting me.. see you all soon

Harjinder Mangat
Guest
Harjinder Mangat

Wow amazing expressions and feelings described in the writings . Look forward to seeing further work and wish you great success in your new interest.

Hema Sungha
Guest
Hema Sungha

What a brilliant idea to form and create the Punjabi women’s writing group! For society to grow and develop it is always good to learn from different cultures and backgrounds. These very talented women are doing a phenomenal job. A very special shout out to my very talented Massi (Santosh Kumari). Keep up the great work ladies and I look forward to reading some more.

Ravi Kale
Guest
Ravi Kale

This is so inspiring. Such hidden talents this wonderful ladies have. It is great they have been given a platform to share their wonderful work. Well done and may it long continue. Thanks for sharing. x

Harpaul
Guest
Harpaul

Congratulations and well done to all members of the Punjabi women’s group. Your poems are truly inspiring. Well done to my dear sister Santosh Kumari on your poem weaving dreams. It is really nice.

Iqbal Kaur
Guest
Iqbal Kaur

Well done lovely ladies. I am so pleased to hear creative ladies. Keep it up.

Kuldeep K Dary
Guest
Kuldeep K Dary

A very big well done to the Punjabi Women’s Writing Group for making this a success. It was very inspirational to be part of the event that took place recently, where I had an opportunity to hear strong brave women express themselves through their writing. A big well done to Santosh (mother in law) for her writing Weaving Dreams. I know how much this means to her, and I hope with everyone’s encouragement that she continues to follow her dreams. Also a special well done to Kuli for making this happen, you are a true inspiration to all x

Kalpna
Guest
Kalpna

Creative, amazing, unique, impressive, and inspirational are just some of the words that come into my mind when I read and hear the poems/short stories you ladies are producing. They make me think about my own life experiences. Mother (Aka Santosh) you are wonderful and talented in everything you do. I like the way you combine letters and words and I am happy that you are part of the Punjabi women group to show off this talent. Your writing is beautiful and I wish I could write just like you x

Shashi Sharma
Guest
Shashi Sharma

Absolutely brilliant, very inspirational. So proud of my sisters as their words and feelings touches my heart with emotions and happiness. Wishing you a future of further successful poems that we can all relate to through our journey in life. Well done and good luck to you all

Richard Downes
Member

This is such fantastic news and such a brilliant response. Best wishes Wolves Punjabi Ladies

Santos Dosanjh
Guest
Santos Dosanjh

It is so inspirational to hear the voice and challenges asian women face and the conflicts they battle with daily. This is a theautpic way for women to express themselves and their inner, hidden talent. I feel proud and honoured that my sister kumalish is involved in this. Well done and thank for opening another door to us women.

santosh Dosanjh

Maya m.
Guest

So lovely to *finally* hear the voices of Punjabi women, especially with such nuanced perspectives. Kumlaish’s piece is so important and relevant to not only the community, but also to the vast culture and experiences of women around the world. As self-care is being increasingly discussed on larger platforms, it’s so important that we elevate and support voices such as yours. Thank you for sharing!

Jeevan Kumari
Guest
Jeevan Kumari

Thank you all for taking the time to share so freely your inner most thoughts and experiences in such a beautiful, thought provoking way. I am sure this group will inspire others to do so too. The different styles of expression are testament to the beauty of the written word and showcase the hidden talents of Women who have remained silent… I hope this initiative grows from strength to strength so we can enjoy and be moved by more. Mum ( Kumlaish Kumari) I am so proud of you, of all of your achievements and your determination to grow and… Read more »

Priya Minhas
Guest
Priya Minhas

I cannot stress how important and powerful it is to see Punjabi women sharing and nurturing their work with one another. The act of writing sometimes requires a lot of things women are not traditionally encouraged to do – take time for yourself and believe that your emotions, your story and ideas are important enough to share, and to have confidence in your ability to commit them to paper. Kumlaish’s story about self-care and the relationship between mothers and daughters really resonated with me and I’m excited to read more. There are so many incredible stories that go untold in… Read more »

Satwant . Sagoo
Guest
Satwant . Sagoo

I have throughly enjoyed their personal stories. Congratulations to this group for good performance. I loved it wish them good luck for future

Satwant . Sagoo
Guest
Satwant . Sagoo

It was excellent show really enjoyed. Well to their hard work and look forward to see some more. Good luck in the future.