Dear Friends,

I remember many years back when I was talking about my second book at Jamia Milia Islamia, a young man asked me a question: ‘Would the people you write about find themselves in your books?’

This is a question about reality vs representation. There are many genres of writing, many kinds of books, and each of them is important. It is just my intention to write about real people in real time.

I looked at the young man carefully. He was from Kashmir. I wondered if he ever feels his stories have been told. If he finds himself in those stories through which the world knows Kashmir. So much of our reportage, our writing, is about mis-representation for political ends or just out of ignorance.

I answered, ‘Yes, I hope so. You might not be able to identify the people I talk about because I often mask identities. But the people I write about can find themselves in my stories. I try to capture their essence. I may fail, but I try. At least, to not lie.’

One test of my writing is not just that I promote it, but the people who I talk about mention it to others. That people adopt the book, even own it, talk about it. The word of mouth travels.

That is why I am glad that now PANJAB: Journeys Through Fault Lines is being recommended by The Sikh Foundation International, USA. I recently received their news letter from Sonia Dhami with a list of excellent readings on Panjab and the Sikhs. My book is mentioned among other good ones.

Please see more here …

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Dear Friends,

ealrier this month, on March 12th, just before the Covid-19 contagion spread scare, the Prabha Khaitan Foundation invited me through The Write Circle to speak on PANJAB: Journeys Through Fault Lines at ITC Rajputana, Jaipur.

This invitation was from eminent publishing agent Mita Kapur of Siyahi fame. Mrs Simrat Sandhu aka Mini Sampatram facilitated the discussion. It was a great pleasure to meet lovely people and form new friendships.

Here are some reviews of the evening in Times of India and other publications and some photos.

A first! Never had hoardings displaying me and the book title.

Mrs Simrat Sandhu aka Mini Sampatram in discussion.

 

 

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29
Feb

The Times of India Interview PANJAB

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Dear Friends,

normally The Times of India does not talk about books but Chandigarh Resident Editor Ms Sarju Kaul read PANJAB: Journeys Through Fault Lines and we did an interview.

It appeared today nationwide, all editions. I woke up to calls from my neighbour, messages from my university friend from Delhi, from Kolkata, from Mumbai, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar … I am so pleased.

‘I believe Punjab needs to reclaim its Panjabiat, which derives from the language of the land of Punjab, both sides of the border. Panjabiat embodies the eclectic nature of the people and is the shared culture of the cauldron, which is the antithesis of fascism or narrow political boundaries.’

Please find the interview here…

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23
Feb

Punjab Today: DGP Gupta’s Statement Reeks of Bias

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Dear Friends,

Thanks to Punjab Today here is a fuller piece on Panjab Police chief DGP Gupta’s statement published yesterday.

‘Gupta’s bias remains and shows how the Sikh aspirations remain an expendable quantity in the national discourse and are abused in the fight for the DGP’s chair in Panjab.’

Read more here …

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23
Feb

With PANJAB’s Parents

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Dear Friends,

often books are known by their titles, subjects and writer’s name. However, the fact is there are many people who make the book. On Friday night I was happy to meet the three people who have held the book from idea to production to sales.

My chief editor Varthika VK, my editor Karthik Venkatesh, and my support editor Ajitha GS. We missed Gautam Padhmanabhan who owns Westland and made the book possible and Kanishka Gupta, my agent.

 

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20
Feb

PANJAB Review by Richa Mendiratta

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Dear Friends,

Art, any art, is a matter of seeing, experiencing the representation of reality. I have a simple definition of strong art – not good or bad art – but powerful art.

It is this: the experience of art causes a shift in the reader, audience, recipient from how they feel/think before they encounter the art to after they encounter the art.

Though many readers and reviewers have mentioned this earlier, in this super short review of ‘PANJAB: Journeys Through Fault Lines’ by Richa Mendirtta states this upfront. For better or for worse, PANJAB has caused a shift in how the reviewer now sees Panjab.

‘The only regret I have is, I would never see Panjab in the same way anymore.’

Please read more here …

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18
Feb

The Bookshop, Jorbagh, New Delhi showcases PANJAB

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Dear Friends,

I love it when an iconic bookstore such as The Bookshop, Jorbagh, New Delhi recommends my book on Instagram.

I love it that the shop has chosen to highlight the book as one talking about Conflict Zones. That is the central argument of the book – a need to acknowledge Panjab’s multiple conflicts and re-orient ourselves to look at Panjab as a post-conflict zone and adopt a humane process to engage with the region, people and state. The Bookshop gets PANJAB.

I am not on Instagram so thank you Guneet Kaur for pointing it out to me.

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Dear Friends,

I love it that St Joseph’s College, Bengaluru, is conducting Meta 2020 – a month long series of talks and interviews with writers, poets, editors. This helps students and staff interact with literature in small doses and gives each of us ample time to communicate, hold conversations.

Last evening, I was in conversation with the lovely and razor sharp Arul Mani at the Loyola Hall in the Joseph’s Auditorium Block. It was such a long way from when I used to audit Arul’s sessions on film studies in the late 90s.

Thank you Arul and St Joseph’s. Notice the poster in the background: that is about Jamia students protest against CAA/NRC. Me likes the student solidarity.

 

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15
Feb

Bilal Bagh: An Appeal to Bengaluru

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Dear Friends,

Kanwar Manjit Singh has been kind to push me to flesh out my mid-night ramble. Punjab Today has published the piece.

Here I appeal to Bengaluru to join the protests against NPR/NRC/CAA at Bilal Bagh.

‘When together, humans have a tendency to cast away the miasma of impending doom and seek each other out through smiles.’

Please read more here …

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Dear Friends,

I am so thankful that today Scroll carries PANJAB’s review by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar.

Manreet, thank you for picking on my ‘owing a debt to a land’ and discharging it through the book. I feel fellow Panjab companion Karthik Venkatesh, the editor of the book, too has done the same with PANJAB: Journeys Through Fault Lines – discharged a debt.

Even if I have to say it, this is perhaps the most comprehensive review of the book and sets it up in the context of current protests against NPR/NRC/CAA.

Please read more here …

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