Archive for January, 2020

22
Jan

Punjab Today: What Use Are Protests?

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Dear Friends,

Punjab Today has been kind to pick my morning post on the significance of the anti-CAA/NRC protests all over the country, update it with the Supreme Court judgement today, and publish it as an article.

Thank you Kanwar Manjit Singh.

Please read here …

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21
Jan

An Excellent Initiative by Muslims

   Posted by: aman    in Other

In an excellent inter-community educational initiative, the Bengaluru based Rahmath Group has initiated a Mosque visit for people from other faiths. This visit is to Modi Masjid, Shivaji Nagar.

Bismillah e Rehman e Rahim.

Here is me in my Amanullah avtar. 

Please read more here …

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12
Jan

The Tribune review: Account of Turbulence

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Dear Friends,

PANJAB is a gift that keeps giving. Thank you Aneet Randhawa for this lovely review in The Tribune. Thank you Roopinder Singh.

‘Punjab emerges as a land of paradoxes.’

Please read here …

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Dear Friends,

my friend Hema Gopinathan has assessed my book Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines in the context of my earlier works Sepia Leaves and Roll of Honour.

It is interesting to me, as a friend of the author, that Amandeep Sandhu’s latest book is a non-fictional account of the whys of Panjab. His earlier works were autobiographical fiction of his childhood through the lens of mental health and his formative years as a student in a boarding school during the violent insurgency days.

This one, Panjab – Journeys Through Fault Lines, though seemingly a travelogue/ reportage of the ground reality of Panjab, feels like the third part of a trilogy of self-examination as the canvas broadens and the author goes deeper within himself. While the earlier two dug deep into the private, personal surface, it is only logical that the author would not find the encompassing truth in the inner landscape of memories and would have to make the journey to the outer, the land of his foremothers and forefathers.

The book begins with the haunting line, ‘If you want to understand Punjab, be ready to count it’s corpses’. A few millenia ago another man, Vikramaditya went looking to retrieve a corpse, but that was only possible once he answered the corpse’s twenty-four questions. Our wholeness is dependent on the acceptance and integration of all our parts, not just the good but also the dead, decaying bits.

Panjab… examines 16, Satt, Berukhi, Rosh, Rog, Astha, Mardangi, Dawa, Paani, Zameen, Karza, Jaat, Patit, Bardr, Sikhya, Lashaan, Janamdin. The solah anna that make up the kadwa sach of Panjab today.

It’s a searing often disturbing narrative, the author keen on neither sparing himself nor us the readers as he dissects the complex 16 layered wound, each exposing the next.

There is something to be said about the clear dispassionate eye of the critic, standing tall, giving us a sweeping view of all that they think is wrong with the system and how to fix it. The way the British ran a sharp knife right across body of Punjab with the cool eye of a surgeon, in what they thought was the least painful way to bisect a nation, a people.

But this is not that book, for Amandeep is not that writer. While he writes with the clarity of the outsider, he also writes with the longing of a long-lost son returning home to embrace his slightly dented, damaged mother. It is in many ways more a pilgrimage than a travelogue.

The rips and tears across fabric of Punjab match the ones that were etched on his soul by the inter-generational trauma of his ancestors and you watch as he carefully examines and matches the two seams hoping to find answers that would if not heal, provide a voice for himself and a people whose suffering has been ignored from time immemorial.

 

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5
Jan

Deccan Herald Reviews PANJAB

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Dear friends,

I am mighty pleased that the main newspaper of my adopted city Deccan Herald has reviewed Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines. A few weeks ago, when the book released, the owner of my favourite bookshop, Mr Venkatesh of Nagasri told me, ‘We will be able to sell the once a review appears in the Deccan Herald.’

I am so glad the review has appeared today, the first Sunday of the year. ‘The outcome (book) is a unique account of contemporary Punjab with a historical backdrop… It adds to our knowledge of Punjab with a wealth of well-researched data peppered with anecdotes.’

Please read more here …

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Dear Friends,

last week a review of Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines by Yadwinder Singh appeared in the Punjabi Tribune (29.12.2019). I loved Yadwinder’s language and his content. It isn’t very often that one reads very fine Panjabi outside of books, in columns, in reviews.

What I also loved was how Yadwinder guides the readers to read the book by providing clues from within the book. That, to me, is an important aspect of reviews. Finally what I loved is, how Yadwinder highlights the photograph by Satpal Danish on the endsheets of the book and compares it with the legendary Ship of Theseus. I found it a brilliant allegory that lifts the review to a philosophical question applied to Panjab.

I felt, here is a review that truly adds to the book. I spoke to Kanwar Manjit Singh and very kindly he showcases the Panjabi review in English translation on Punjab Today.

Thank you! Please read here …

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3
Jan

Sheila Kumar on PANJAB

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab, Sepia Leaves

Dear Friends,

I love it when friends and readers respond to Panjab: Journeys Through Fault Lines. As a gift in the new year, Sheila Kumar responds to the book. Sheila is an old Panjab hand. She was in Panjab in the early 80s. In fact, in Kapurthala, when I was in school there. Thank you! Means a lot!

I open my New Year account of book reviews with a book I read slowly, attentively, absorbing everything it had to give.

Amandeep Sandhu`s PANJAB is many things to many readers.

There are those like me, who was once familiar with the pinds and the jind of what Sandhu calls the outlier state (and you must read the book to know why he does so). For us, the book is an updated ready reckoner, albeit in prose, of how things were and how things are.

Then there are people for whom the state stands for paranthas and lassi, juttis and parandis, bhangra and Lohri bonfires. This is based partly on perception, partly on stereotyped images. The book is an eye-opener for them, debunking several public perceptions and exposing the grim reality. On how bad the drugs situation is, on the ground. On the Land of the Five Waters being severely strapped for clean water. On its various deras (socio-religious organisations), the people who flock to them and the powers that control them. On the Khalistan movement, on Operation Bluestar, the last a sorrowful refrain which the author keeps returning to. On the Dalits of Punjab. And much more.

The past, historical and political, impacts this frontier state like few other states. Sandhu, who is a Sikh, yet stands at one remove from Punjab, trains an impartial but deeply compassionate gaze on all issues concerning the faith and the faithful.

Such an informative read. At the end of it, one wishes to unknow what one has just learned, to go back to dreaming of mustard fields, a boisterous people and a land of plenty. But reality is alas, reality.

A special hat-tip to Orijit Sen’s stark and compelling cover design.

Note: Below the review, look for Sheila’s review and Q&A with me on Sepia Leaves. This is a triple treat. 

Please read more here …

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