Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar has turned novelist at 90. His debut Punjabi novel, 'Mainu Hanera Kyun Nahi Lagda' (Why I don't feel the darkness), will be released in New Delhi on Tuesday. It is also the first Punjabi book of his long and illustrious writing career.
"I keep talking
about Punjab and Punjabi language, but I have always written in English. I asked myself, why not write something in Punjabi," said Nayar while talking to HT on the phone from Delhi.
The novel's story begins before Operation Bluestar and concludes at the Gujarat riots of 2002.
"Through this book, I have tried to tell how politics and religion push people into a fire in which every truth, principle and neutrality are burnt," Nayar said.
While writing this book, he "experienced a unique pleasure which I have never felt with so many of my other books."
"I can't write in the Gurmukhi script, so I had to narrate it to a stenographer. Had I known the script, the book would have been much better," he said.
In his more than six-decade-long career, Nayar has authored around 15 books on politics and Partition.
Dr Mohinder Singh, Delhi-based scholar and director of Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan, said, "Besides analysing the novel as a literary work, it's more important to understand the spirit behind the novel. The story of the protagonist, Charan Singh, bears testimony to the fact that in its hundreds of years of history, Punjab has imbibed secular values in its culture and tradition." Delhi-based Punjabi publication house Navyug Publishers has published the book. Arjan Singh, Marshal of the Indian air force, will release it at Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan.
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