Sukhbir, (July 9, 1925 – February 22, 2012), alias Balbir Singh is a Punjabi novelist, short-story writer, poet and an essayist. He was born on 9 July 1925 to S. Mansha Singh and Smt. Shiv Kaur in Mumbai, India. He was suffering from multiple complications after severe cardiac arrest and died on February 22, 2012.
Sukhbir has been writing and publishing for the last fifty years. He has authored 7 novels, 11 short story collections, 5 poetry collections among many translations of world literature, essays, letters and book reviews. He is the only Punjabi writer to have written in the stream-of-consciousness genre.
Sukhbir’s major literary influences have been John Steinbeck, Anton Chekhov, Irving Stone, Sigmund Freud, T. S. Eliot, Pablo Neruda, Sardar Jafri, Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi and he in turn, influenced a whole generation of writers after him.
He was greatly influenced by the philosophy of Gautama Buddha and Portuguese philosopher Baruch Spinoza. His writings depicted the inner travails of the human mind as a significant aspect of the life of the characters, and these thinkers dwelt upon the ambiguous nature of mental processes. He also studied the works of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung to understand the inner workings of the mind to add psychological dimensions to the characters of his novels and short stories.Karl Marx’s life and works also had an everlasting influence on him, as Sukhbir identified with his empathy and concern for the underprivileged in society.
Sukhbir was an avid reader of biographies of great writers and other personalities because he believed that an understanding and appreciation of their work is not complete unless one has studied the background contexts in which they lived and worked.