Sikh Authors at the Jaipur Literature Festival

I was excited to come across information about the Jaipur Literature Festival which will be held January 21st through the 25th in Rajasthan (mainly excited because itwill coincide with a trip I’m planning to take to the area!). The festival is directed by author and historian,William Dalrymple.

bluback.jpgEntering its fourth year, the festival will be hosting some of the best-known national and international writers including Vikram Seth, Michael Ondaatje, Pico Iyer, Simon Schama, Colin Thubron, Patrick French, Tariq Ali, Tina Brown, Mohammed Hanif, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Coleman Barks, Pankaj Mishra, Chetan Bhagat, Ahmed Rashid, Charles Nicholl, Hari Kunzru, Michael Wood, Nandan Nilkeni, Paul Zacharia, Prasoon Joshi, Shashi Tharoor, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Tarun Tejpal, Wendy Doniger, U R Ananthamurthy, among many others.

While perusing through their list of authors, Iwas surprised bythe smallnumber of Sikh writers who will be in attendance leading me to ask which (if any)other Sikh authors were invitedandwhether Sikh authors were, in general,being recognizedfor their work.While we attempt to address these questions,Iwanted to use this space to highlight a couple ofSikh authors who did show up on the list.

Iam currently reading Navtej Sarna’smost recent (and well-received) work, TheExile, about Maharaja Duleep Singh’s life.

“… this fictionalised account reveals the tragedy of a man who went from being a King to a supplicant, who changed his religion twice, who had a late realisation of his lost destiny and was ultimately unable to return to his land and people. His life is one of the most poignant chapters in Sikh history, as well as the history of British India.”

Navtej’s portrait of Duleep Singh is as much about the exile within as it is about his estrangement from his land.The novel is a highly recommendedread and I hope to post a review on the book as soon as I’m done! Navtej Sarna is currently India’s ambassador to Israel. His previous work includes TheBook of Nanak about Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life and teachings.

Another Sikh author listed to attend the festival is Navdeep Suri who translated Pavitra Paapi, one of the foremost Punjabi novels, written by Nanak Singh, into English. The book, with the title Saintly Sinner, has already been translated into various languages and also adapted into a film. Coincidentally, Nanak Singh, who died in 1971, was Suri’s grandfather.

Saintly Sinner is a moral tale, set in 1930s Amritsar, a bustling, precarious, Dickensian world of back alleys and tiny businesses, where teeming, dutiful masses struggle to support families by ingenuity and effort in a world without welfare, where a clerk or craftsman might find his wage cut by half overnight and still have to manage, and where girls dream of love and fret about dowries. [link]

I’d be curious to hear if any of you have read either authors’ work and what other Sikh authors you would have liked to see on the list?


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13 Responses to “Sikh Authors at the Jaipur Literature Festival”

  1. Harperet says:

    Nice! Looking forward to a review of The Exile. As far as authors, I would have liked to see Shawna Singh Baldwin listed. I didn't see any Sikh women authors on the list.

  2. Harperet says:

    Nice! Looking forward to a review of The Exile. As far as authors, I would have liked to see Shawna Singh Baldwin listed. I didn’t see any Sikh women authors on the list.

  3. Harperet says:

    Nice! Looking forward to a review of The Exile. As far as authors, I would have liked to see Shawna Singh Baldwin listed. I didn’t see any Sikh women authors on the list.

  4. Sundari says:

    You make a good point. In general we see a lack of Sikh authors who are women. I imagine if we formulate a list, it would be fairly short. What are names of some other Sikh women authors who perhaps are not well known?

  5. Sundari says:

    You make a good point. In general we see a lack of Sikh authors who are women. I imagine if we formulate a list, it would be fairly short. What are names of some other Sikh women authors who perhaps are not well known?

  6. Sundari says:

    You make a good point. In general we see a lack of Sikh authors who are women. I imagine if we formulate a list, it would be fairly short. What are names of some other Sikh women authors who perhaps are not well known?

  7. Tula says:

    I really enjoyed reading your insights and learning from your interesting and informative article. – Tula

  8. Tula says:

    I really enjoyed reading your insights and learning from your interesting and informative article. – Tula

  9. Tula says:

    I really enjoyed reading your insights and learning from your interesting and informative article. – Tula

  10. kaurasach says:

    There are Sikh women authors, mostly in Punjabi, though it is fact Punjabis sideline women, the autors are mostly men…Still venues such as Jaipur can be a good place to promote Punjabi

  11. kaurasach says:

    There are Sikh women authors, mostly in Punjabi, though it is fact Punjabis sideline women, the autors are mostly men…Still venues such as Jaipur can be a good place to promote Punjabi

  12. kaurasach says:

    There are Sikh women authors, mostly in Punjabi, though it is fact Punjabis sideline women, the autors are mostly men…Still venues such as Jaipur can be a good place to promote Punjabi