by Bhisham Sahni
About the book: Translated by the author 'Tamasdrove the point home that ordinary people want to live in peace' The Guardian Set in a small-town frontier province in 1947, just before Partition, Tamas tells the story of a sweeper named Nathu who is bribed and deceived by a local Muslim politician to kill a pig, ostensibly for a veterinarian. The following morning, the carcass is discovered on the steps of the mosque and the town, already tension-ridden, erupts. Enraged Muslims massacre scores of Hindus and Sikhs, who, in turn, kill every Muslim they can find. Finally, the area's British administrators call out the army to prevent further violence. The killings stop but nothing can erase the awful memories from the minds of the survivors, nor will the various communities ever trust one another again. The events described in Tamas are based on true accounts of the riots of 1947 that Sahni was a witness to in Rawalpindi, and this new and sensitive translation by the author himself resurrects chilling memories of the consequences of communalism which are of immense relevance even today.
by Attia Hosain
About the book: ýMy life changed. It had been restricted by invisible barriers almost as effectively as the physically restricted lives of my aunts in the zenana. A window had opened here, a door there, a curtain had been drawn aside; but outside lay a world narrowed by oneýs field of vision.ý Laila, orphaned daughter of a distinguished Muslim family, is brought up in her grandfatherýs household by orthodox aunts who keep purdah. At fifteen she moves to the home of a ýliberalý but autocratic uncle in Lucknow. Here, during the 1930s, as the struggle for Indian independence sharpens, Laila is surrounded by relatives and university friends caught up in politics. But Laila is unable to commit herself to any cause: her own fight for independence is a struggle against the claustrophobia of traditional life, from which she can only break away when she falls in love with a man whom her family has not chosen for her. With its beautiful evocation of India, its political insight and unsentimental understanding of the human heart, Sunlight on a Broken Column (1961) is a classic of Muslim life.
by Zaheda Hina
About the book: In the mid-nineties Birjees Dawar Ali returns to Pakistan to seek out a history left unfinished long ago, a history from which, nursing heartbreak and betrayal, she had once earlier fled, back to her home in partitioned India. Will she find the family that so generously gave her succour, the home that became her own, the people who gave her unquestioning love? Or will all these certainties have fled with the march of history? A deeply moving narrative of love and loss, All Passion Spent focuses on the unresolved question of the 1947 Partition of India and the emergence of India and Pakistan as two separate countries. Zaheda Hina’s richly layered narrative, brought alive in this lyrical and poetic translation by Neelam Husain, touches on the many unanswered questions that surround this painful history—the profound sense of grief and displacement, the lives sundered midstream, the lost friendships and the quest for new roots and lands under different skies.
by Abdullah Hussein
About the book: Published ahead of Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet and long before Midnight’s Children, Abdullah Hussein’s ambitious saga of social struggle The Weary Generations was a bestseller in Urdu. Published in 1963 and now beyond its 40th edition, it has never been out of print. A vivid depiction of the widespread disillusionment and seismic upheavals of the Partition era that lead to the creation of Pakistan and Bangladesh, there has never been a more opportune time to discover one of the most important writings about the post-colonial trauma in the region. Naim, son of a peasant, marries Azra, the daughter of a rich landowner. Fighting for the British during World War I he loses an arm. Invalided home, he becomes angered at the subjugation of his countrymen under the Raj and aligns himself with the opposition. His ideals are swept away after Independence in 1947 when he realizes that, as Muslims, his family is no longer safe in their Indian home and that they must migrate to the newly created Pakistan. Regarded as one of the half-dozen most influential novels dealing with Partition or post-colonial malaise, this is an immensely powerful novel in its own right and is essential reading for English language readers seeking to comprehend the historical origins of the tensions in the Indian subcontinent.
by Yashpal,Anand (Trans.)
About the book: hootha Sach is arguably the most outstanding piece of Hindi literature written about the Partiton. Reviving life in Lahore as it was before 1947, the book opens on a nostalgic note, with vivid descriptions of the people that lived in the city's streets and lanes like Bhola Pandhe Ki Gali: Tara, who wanted an education above marriage; Puri, whose ideology and principles often came in the way of his impoverished circumstances; Asad, who was ready to sacrifice his love for the sake of communal harmony. Their lives-and those of other memorable characters-are forever altered as the carnage that ensues on the eve of Independence shatters the beauty and peace of the land, killing millions of Hindus and Muslims, and forcing others to leave their homes forever. Published in English translation for the first time, Yashpal's controversial novel is a politically charged, powerful tale of human suffering.
by Katharine A. Phillips
About the book: The story of Beero and his motley group friends is set against the impending partition of India. Beero’s passage through adolescence is told through a series of vignettes involving characters who are each more eccentric than the next—wrestler, quack, prostitute; Hindu, Muslim, Sikh. But when partition becomes a reality, in a time of terror and carnage, the insane turn out be the only ones sane.
by Manohar Malgonkar
About the book: When freedom came to India so did violence. Three hundred thousand were slaughtered,a hundred thousand women were raped, abducted, mutilated, twelve million people were rendered homeless. The theme of this powerful novel is how that violence erupted in the lives of ordinary men and women and in the lives of three brilliantly depicted central characters - Gian, a follower of Gandhi, Debi-dayal, an ardent terrorist, and Debi-Dayal's sister, Sundari, a ruthless woman who holds nothing sacred and is half in love with her own brother.
by Kamleshwar,Ameena Kazi Ansari (Trans.)
About the book: Kamleshwar&Rsquo;S Kitne Pakistan Enjoys Cult Status As A Novel That Dared To Ask Crucial Questions About The Making And Writing Of History. With India&Rsquo;S Partition In 1947 As Its Reference Point, The Novel Presents A Limitless Canvas Against Which The Most Extraordinary Trial In The History Of Mankind Runs Its Course. Present In A Court That Transcends Space And Time Are Mughal Emperors Babar And Aurangzeb, Spanish Adventurer Hernando Cortez, Lord Mountbatten, Adolf Hitler And Saddam Hussein. Along With Political Leaders, Religious Zealots And Scheming Gods Of Mythology, They Stand Accused Of Creating Countless Fractured Nations, Leaving A Never-Ending Trail Of Hatred And Distrust. The Arbiter For Suffering Humanity Is An Unnamed Adeeb Or LittÉRateur Who Must Sift Through The Testimony Of Casualties From The Killing Fields Of Injustice At Home And Abroad, Ranging From Kurukshetra To Kargil, Hiroshima To Bosnia. As Recorded History Unravels To Reveal The Sinister Realities That Lie Beneath, The Scholar Finds Himself Travelling Back Through The Centuries Over Oceans Of Blood, So That He May Carry Forward For Posterity The Enduring Lessons Of Love, Compassion, Peace And Hope. Translated Into English For The First Time, This Boldly Provocative Saga Is A Triumph Of Poetic Imagination That Relentlessly Probes Our Underlying Assumptions Of History And Truth, Religion And Nationalism. &Nbsp;
by Krishna Sobti
About the book: It is sometime in the first decade of the 20th century. The British Imperialists have been in India for over 150 years. However, life in the small village of Shahpur in undivided Punjab has remained largely unchanged. The menfolk look to the wealthy and worldly-wise Shahji and his benevolent younger brother Kashi for support and advice, while it is Shahji's wife's home and hearth that is the centre of all celebrations for the women. Local disputes, trade, politics, a trickling of news from the Lahore newspaper are all discussed every evening at the Shah's haveli. But as the Ghadar Movement gains momentum elsewhere in Punjab and in Bengal, bringing into focus the excesses of the British, the simple village of Shahpur cannot help looking at itself. The discontent has set in. Krishna Sobti's magnum opus, Zindaginama brilliantly captures the story of India through a village where people of both faiths coexisted peacefully, living off the land. Detailing the intricately woven personal histories of a wide set of characters, she imbues each with a unique voice, enriching the text with their peculiar idiom. First published in Hindi in 1979, this is a magnificent portrait of India on the brink of its cataclysmic division.