HarperCollins India is proud to announce
A Survivor’s Account of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
The great Punjabi writer Nanak Singh was present at Jallianwala Bagh on 13 April 1919 and twenty-two years old at the time. As the British troops opened fire on the unarmed gathering protesting against the Rowlatt Act, killing hundreds, Nanak Singh fainted and his unconscious body was piled up among the corpses. After going through the traumatic experience, he proceeded to write Khooni Vaisakhi, a long poem that narrates the political events in the run up to the massacre and its immediate aftermath. The poem was a scathing critique of the British Raj and was banned soon after its publication in May 1920.
After sixty long years, the poem was rediscovered; it has now been translated into English by the author’s grandson, Navdeep Suri, for the first time. Featuring the poem in translation and in original, the bilingual edition is accompanied by essays by Navdeep Suri, H.S. Bhatia and by Justin Rowlatt, whose great-grandfather, Sir Sydney Arthur Taylor Rowlatt, who drafted the Rowlatt Act.
Udayan Mitra, Publisher at HarperCollins says, “Nanak Singh’s powerful long poem Khooni Vaisakhi is a remarkable personal account of the Jalianwala Bagh massacre, which Nanak Singh was present at and survived. We at HarperCollins are truly privileged to publish this landmark work, which has been banned, lost, recovered, and now translated fluently into English by the author’s grandson Navdeep Suri. Khooni Vaisakhi is a testament to the suffering and resilience of the Indian people under British rule; its message of resistance and hope continues to be relevant in our times, and we are proud to be publishing this special bilingual edition under our prestigious Perennial imprint on the occasion of the centenary of the Jalianwala Bagh massacre.”
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 fifty-nine books and recieved the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1962.
Navdeep Suri is an Indian diplomat who is currently India’s Ambassador to the UAE. He has translated into English the classic Punjabi novels Pavitra Paapi and Adh Kidhiya Phool written by his grandfather.
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HB | Poetry | 152 pp | Rs 399