A new book explores how the Jallianwala Bagh massacre has reflected in Indian literature and in English and reached the nooks and crannies of the popular imagination filtered through the mind of the creative writer.
Jallianwala Bagh: Literary Responses in Prose & Poetry is a selection of prose and poetry, edited by literary historian Rakhshanda Jalil that traces the history of events leading to the massacre.
The book attempts to open a window into the world of possibilities that literature offers to reflect, interpret and analyse events of momentous historical import.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre on April 13, 1919 saw the butchering of unarmed innocents - hundreds of bullets fired in a matter of 10 minutes, the blocking of exits, preventing help reaching the injured are all acts of unmitigated bestiality.
The selection offers ways of seeing' history, of exploring how an incident that stirred the conscience of millions, found its way through pen and paper to reach popular imagination filtered through the mind of the creative writer.
According to Jalil, the prose and poetry included in the book, published by Niyogi, offers ways of seeing' history.
I was curious to see how an incident that stirred the conscience of millions, one that had far-reaching implications for the national freedom struggle, that made British colonial interests in India morally untenable, found its way through pen and paper to reach the nooks and crannies of the popular imagination filtered through the mind of the creative writer, she says.
While a great deal of scholarly work has been done on the Jallianwala Bagh, Jalil says its reflection in Indian literature in the different Indian languages and also in English has been overlooked.
The works of literature featured in this volume include those of Saadat Hasan Manto, Mulk Raj Anand, Krishan Chander, Abdullah Hussein, Bhisham Sahni, Ghulam Abbas, Subadhra Kumari Chauhan, Sarojini Naidu, Sohan Singh Misha, Muhammad Iqbal, Josh Malihabadi and Nanak Singh.
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