Book Launch : Hymns in Blood

By Nanak Singh
Translated by Navdeep Suri
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1947, Chakri. An idyllic village on the banks of the Soan near Rawalpindi, surrounded by stalks of golden wheat and festive songs. Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs eagerly await the end of winter and get together to prepare for Lohri. Amidst this joyous bustle, Baba Bhana the erudite village elder, worries about the future of his foster daughter, Naseema, even as a tender love blossoms between Naseema and Yusuf, the errant son of the blacksmith.

Life comes to a halt when news of a possible partition of India reaches the village. Amid a frenzy of communal violence, Baba Bhana and his family must reluctantly leave their beloved village. They embark on a long and dangerous journey, slowly coming to terms with the fact that their lives may be changing forever.

Khoon de Sohile, first published in February 1948, and now translated for the first time into English, provides a timely reminder of the grief and trauma that a religious divide brings in its wake.

Nanak Singh (1897-1971) is widely regarded as the father of the Punjabi novel. With little formal education beyond the fourth grade, he wrote an astounding 59 books. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1962 for Ik Main Do Talwaraan.

Navdeep Suri is a former diplomat who has served in India’s diplomatic missions in Washington DC and London. Navdeep has been striving to preserve the literacy legacy of his grandfather Nanak Singh and bring his works to the wider audience. He has translated into English the classic 1930s Punjabi novels Pavitra Paapi (The Watchmaker) and Adh Khidya Phul (A Life Incomplete)