Rate The Review  

1 2 3 4 5

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


By Nivedita Giri 


Title: Zindaginama; Author: Krishna Sobti (Translated from Hindi by Neer Kanwal Mani with Moyna Mazumdar); Publisher: Harper Collins; Pages: 452; Price: Rs 550

 

"One fateful morning, I woke up with the echoes of azaan in my ears, and before my eyes stood one minaret of the village mosque. I knew instinctively that I was committed to carry the powerful internal echo of this voice through the century.

"While writing Zindaginama, I tried to focus on a precise and dramatic recall of peasant speech. The simple use of the visible and the audible created a world of its own. All I wanted was to paint the surge of humanity -- their strong rustic faces, their noise. Yes, I had to create their speech -- rough, potent, verbal -- with the help of their spoken words and diction," writes Sobti, 91, in a kind of Foreword to this book, originally published in Hindi in 1979 and faithfully translated to the T.

Thus, sample this: "Shut up, oye, ishqi tiday, you lovelorn pipsqueak, countless manhoods have been vanquished in pussy worship; what then are you?"

Even if you can't translate this into Punjabi, you can get a gist of what village dialogues are all about.

It is this attention to detail that makes Zindaginama such a gem, set as it is in a small village of Shahpur and how the Ghadar movement, a planned mutiny against colonial rule, and the First World War changed it all.

Till then, life was simple and easy. The womenfolk would busy themselves in gossip and household chores at Shahni's kitchen. The menfolk would indulge in long discussions and debates over current issues and stories from neighbouring areas referred to in the newspapers as well as settling disputes over land and property at Shah's havelli.

The author relies in a big way on the dialogues of the characters and, through their rustic conversations, takes the reader through the twists and turns of the tale, which keeps her engaged.

At the same time, Sobti has also linked certain instances and emotions of the villagers with folklore and short poems, and these further focus on the rich culture and traditions of the people of those times still retained and valued as an important part of their daily lives.

Sample this:

The soft glow of diyas,

Colourful charkhas bright,

Milk-white maidens

Fair as moonlight

The frost-sting of winter dawn

Shahni spinning in the morn.

Shah, owner of the well,

Brings bucketsful of water

Shahni, queen of his hearth,

Uses as she pleases...

Then comes the Ghadar movement and the villagers begin to look inward. Discontent sets in.

There is also the question of sending the village boys to fight for the British in the Great War. Initially, the people eagerly send their children, but as the conflict grows, especially after being inspired by the "Inqualabis" of Bengal, there is incremental government suspicion and surveillance over the village.

There is a growing movement for change and the book tantalisingly ends here.

Says translator Neer Kanwal Mani: "Zindaginama was originally conceived as a trilogy chronicling the life and times of the people of Punjab before, during and after the partition of India. The first part, comprising this volume, was called 'Zinda Rukh', The Living Tree. The latter two parts were never written, but the blueprint for the original triology has been outlined in the prologue, written in poetic form. It describes a land blessed with plenty, a land of doughty men and women, who gave the fight to the British, wrested Independence from them, and yet, sadly, acquiesced to Partition."

Winner of a host of awards, Sobti was offered the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award, in 2010 but declined, saying: "As a writer, I have to keep a distance from the establishment. I think I did the right thing."

That's what character is all about.

(Nivedita Giri can be contacted at nivedita.g@ians.in)

 

© 2017 IANS India Private Limited. All Rights Reserved.
The reproduction of the story/photograph in any form will be liable for legal action.

For news, views and gossips, follow @IANSLIVE at Twitter. Find us on Facebook too!

REVIEW

Books

An Indus Valley city's end and its shadow on the present

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


This historical/conspiracy thriller is a major departure for the Karachi-born, financial journalist-turned-author, whose debut, "Beautiful from the Angle" (2010), initially seemed a chick-lit look at high-society Karachi before revealing itself as a masterful blend of politics, terrorism, social repression and media (manipulation), with an explosive finale when Benazir Bhutto returns, but she well holds her own in the genre.

A man born of the soil returns to the soil

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


The text was originally written in Odia language, named ‘Matira Manisha' in 1934. The translator, Bikram Das deliberately retained certain Odia words used in daily colloquial diction like, ‘jaa' (sister in-law), ‘bhauja' (wife of one's elder brother) and numerous others, to ensure the essence of the narrative intact within the natural flow of words.

A 'spirited' history of the British empire and its 'high' legacy

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


There are also many revealing facts about alcohol -- how its use grew from the calorific benefits it provides, how a beer had the first recognised global trademark, and how a whiskey was the first product to be advertised in cinemas, and so on.

Love in different age

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


The author has appropriatley depicted the internal emptiness within the two souls that remain unfulfilled till the end in spite of they being a family.

An ode to life at the turn of the previous century

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


It is this attention to detail that makes Zindaginama such a gem, set as it is in a small village of Shahpur and how the Ghadar movement, a planned mutiny against colonial rule, and the First World War changed it all. 

India's original and abiding 'He-Man' and his eventful life

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


It was a tale that wouldn't seem amiss in Bollywood. A boy is pulled out of school and put to work on his family's farmlands, married off at a young age, gets frustrated at the bickering between wife and mother and leaves home for foreign climes to make his career. In a few short years, he is a celebrity sportsman, and a popular film star.

An Arab Spring version of Aladdin?

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Braswell's version of the Aladdin story is a tribute to the old stories' capability to be timeless and flexible enough to serve as a mirror, by accommodating notable features of the times they are told -- even the Arab Spring.

Making a difference in our world - the third Clinton's ideas

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


"Knowing what was in the newspaper meant I didn't have to wait for my parents to explain everything to me. I could ask questions to start conversations about the world too," she says, but also revealing that the "newspaper helped hide how much honey I poured on top of my Cheerios" as "my mom wouldn't let me have sugary cereal.."

The ISI, Pakistan and South Asia: A dark, intertwined history

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Having forged close contacts among political, military and intelligence elites of Pakistan, where he lived during a crucial decade (1989-2002) when it lurched from military rule to democracy and back, became an overt nuclear power, and faced consequences of 9/11, he "seeks to present an objective history of the ISI, its origin and development, tasks and objectives, successes and failures". 

The life and times of women who influenced Tagore

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


The book is a sequel to the author's Jorasanko, published in 2013. Both are part-fictional accounts of life and times of Tagore and the many women who influenced him in the ancestral mansion. 

Movies

'Passengers': Remarkable for its attempt rather than success

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


"Passengers" gives us a lot to be happy about. While the leads impress us with their proclivity to seem preoccupied when they have nothing to do, Michael Sheen as a robotic bartender on board the ship gets the best lines and the most impassive attitude to the absurd proceedings. He actually makes it all seem tenable.By the time Laurence Fishburne shows up as the wheezing dying captain of the ship,we are already half asleep and well on the way to joining the spaceship voyagers in their lengthy slumber.

'Dangal': Strong performances and Aamir expectedly shine

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


As a biopic, though one-dimensional, the film is well-packaged and presented in a realistic manner. Apart from a few predictable cinematic liberties, it lacks high-voltage drama and the entertainment quotient is dutifully obligatory. The plot keeps you engrossed right till the end and the climax, with the slow-motion shot of Geeta toppling her opponent, is exhilarating.

'Kahaani 2': Forced yet convincing

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Vidya once again in a new avatar as Durga Rani Singh delivers a power-packed performance with a broad spectrum of emotions ranging from a happy single mother taking care of her paraplegic daughter to a horrified and traumatised victim. There is just one scene, which deals with the sensitive issue of opening up to the abused child, where she falters and that too, because the scene is awkwardly handled by the director.

'Dear Zindagi': Lengthy life lessons sans drama

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


The film lacks drama and is stretched to over 2.5 hours on a wafer-thin plot, making for tedious viewing. Humour comes in the form of some light-hearted moments but is not enough to give respite.

'Rock On 2': A rocking sequel

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Come to think of it, "Rock On 2" is pretty much the most engaging and authentic sequel I've seen coming out of Bollywood in recent times. If as William Shakespeare volunteered, music is actually the food of love, then this film is a feast.

'My Father Iqbal': Does not rise to expectations

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Set in Bani, a small town on the border of Himanchal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, "My Father Iqbal" is based on a true incident. It is the story of a conscientious engineer, Iqbal Khan, who sacrifices his life for his family, country and his own integrity.

'31st October': A cathartic experience

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


The script written by Producer Harry Sachdeva is blatantly straightforward and basic. It effectively shows the organised massacre along with plight and helplessness of the Sikhs. And it is astutely mounted with moderate production values.

'Train To Busan': Thrilling with meaningful lessons

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


The film serves as a potent allegory to portray a dog-eat-dog world, where humans are just another lot of selfish animals.

'Jack Reacher...': Tom Cruise's finest film in years

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


vIt's like watching three strangers playing ‘housie' on a particularly exciting day when the Gods have decided to rain an unseasonal harvest. As the awkward trio tries to create an inhabitable space for themselves within the given ambit of their shared awkwardness, a deadly assassin (Patrick Heusinger) hunts them down until the young girl is left to fend for herself.

'Love Day: Pyar Ka Din': Tedious and uninspiring

IANS Rating  

User Rating  


Technically, the film is poorly mounted, in all respects.

VIDEO GALLERY

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

© 2017 IANS India Private Limited.
Don't forget to bookmark us! (CTRL-D)
Site designed by IANS