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For other uses, see Pash (disambiguation).
Avtar Singh Sandhu
Personal details
Born (1950-09-09)9 September 1950
Died 23 March 1988(1988-03-23) (aged 37)
Nationality Indian
Occupation Poet/Activist

Pash or Paash (ਅਵਤਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਪਾਸ਼; September 9, 1950 – March 23, 1988) was the pen name of Avtar Singh Sandhu,[1] one of the major poets of the Naxalite movement in the Punjabi literature of the 1970s. He was killed by Khalistani extremists on March 23, 1988.[2] His strongly left-wing views were reflected in his poetry.

Early life and activism[edit]

He was born in Talwandi Salem, Jalandhar, Punjab, growing up in the midst of Naxalite; a revolutionary movement waged in Punjab against the landlords, industrialists, traders, etc. who control the means of production. He published his first book of revolutionary poems, Loh-Katha (Iron Tale), in 1970. His militant and provocative tone raised the ire of the establishment and a murder charge was brought against him. He spent nearly two years in jail, before being finally acquitted.

On acquittal, he became involved in Punjab's maoist front, editing a literary magazine, Siarh (The Plow Line). He became a popular political figure on the left during this period, and was awarded a fellowship at the Punjabi Academy of Letters in 1985. He toured the United Kingdom and the United States the following year; while in U.S., he became involved with the Anti-47 Front, opposing Sikh extremist violence.


In the beginning of 1988 Pash was in Punjab for the renewal of his visa from the United States.[3] A day before leaving for Delhi, however, he was gunned down by Khalistani militants in his village on March 23, 1988

Literary works[edit]

  • Loh-katha (Iron-Tale) (1970),
  • Uddian Bazan Magar (Following The Flying Hawks) (1973),
  • Saadey Samiyaan Vich (In Our Times) (1978), and
  • Khilre Hoey Varkey (Scattered pages) (1989)

Khilre Hoey Varkey was posthumously published in 1989 after his death, followed by his journals and letters. A selection of his poems in Punjabi, Inkar, was published in Lahore in 1997. His poems have been translated in many languages including other Indian languages, Nepali and English.


  1. ^ Tejawanta Siṅgha Gill (1999). Pash. Sahitya Akademi. p. 1. ISBN 9788126007769. 
  2. ^ "Pash's father passes away in California". Hindustan Times. July 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ Amrita Chaudhry (September 9, 2006). "BJP’s rant against Paash earns it intellectual ridicule". Indian Express. 

External links[edit]