Azadi : A novel by Chaman Nahal
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975. First American edition, first printing. Hardcover. 371 pages ; 22 cm. $8.95 dust jacket with minimal wear to jacket. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
AZADI — Freedom — is the keynote of this splendid and moving novel of India's undeclared civil war when British rule ended in 1947.
With this first work of fiction by Chaman Nahal, Indian writer, and scholar, Houghton Mifflin introduces an important new novelist with all the gifts of the true storyteller.
The rending events of Partition are seen in the lives and hopes of one family caught in the firestorm of civil war. Around the central figure of Lala Kanshi Ram, secure in his position as grain merchant in the little city of Sialkot, are grouped the family and friends of a lifetime — a small world whose fate reflects the true dimensions of these terrible events.
Partition comes suddenly and sets Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh at each other's throats. Murder, arson, and looting become nightly events. At last the family and friends flee out of the newly created Pakistan into India. On foot, attacked on all sides, the refugee convoy stumbles on in a memorable and tragic journey. Yet hope and renewal are mingled with horror. The reader is moved but heartened, terrified but uplifted.
Chaman Nahal, who heads the English Department at Delhi University's Institute of Postgraduate Studies, has written critical studies of Hemingway and D. H. Lawrence, a book on Krishnamurti, and a volume of short stories. He edited "Drugs and the Other Self" published in 1971. He has taught at several universities in the United States, including the. C W. Post Center of Long Island University, and has lectured in Malaysia and in Japan. His novel Azadi is being published in England by Andre Deutsch and in India by Arnold-Heine-mann. Educated in India and England, Chaman Nahal has traveled extensively. He lives in New Delhi with his wife, Sudarshna, and his two daughters, Ajanta and Anita.
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