Tag Archives: Pav Singh

Book Review: 1984: India’s Guilty Secret by Pav Singh

By Nilesh Mondal

1984 India's Guilty Secret

 

Title: 1984: India’s Guilty Secret
Publisher: Rupa Publications India (2017)
Pages: 295
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1984: India’s Guilty Secret does something most books in its genre can’t – it keeps its promise. It’s a scathing and almost brutal journalistic read rich with data and mention of instances that have become a permanent fixture in the memories of one of the largest communities of our country, unfortunately. While most books in the genre of journalism either manage to alienate their readers by the use of jargon or disappoint by eventually turning out to be shallow fluff pieces lacking anything of relevance, this book by Pav Singh fulfils on both counts. It manages to pull in the reader by the sheer honesty that leaps out of every page, and keeps them firmly invested by a streamlined account of facts and discussions which affirm the need to learn more about our history in order to understand the present scenario in our country.

In the foreword, the author apologises for and justifies the use of gory and violent details, and it is an apology made for a reason – this book contains distinct and often detailed descriptions of the atrocities committed against the Sikh community in the wake of the infamous 1984 riots. However, the real horror of the incidents discussed in this book, does not come from the details but rather from the calm way in which the author chooses to talk about them. Pav Singh plays both roles to perfection here, as a narrator who isn’t divorced from the trials and tribulations of the Sikh community as a whole, at the same time, as a journalist, focussing more on facts to support his arguments, relying on the readers’ understanding of the truth and not just their sympathy. At recurring intervals the author reminds us that it’d be a grave error on our part to call the chaos that unfolded in those four days, a riot. Riot is spontaneous, he reminds us, but what happened in 1984 was something that had been planned well in advance, against a community which had no idea what violence awaits it and was thus unable to either fight back or even defend itself; massive propaganda and media blackouts were used by the forces in power to make sure there was no escape from the death and destruction that’d follow, making it in essence, something much closer to the genocide initiated by Hitler during WW II. Indeed, stories from the Nazi camps and inhuman circumstances that had plagued Germany are used at many instances, as a method of drawing parallels between these two occurrences separated by time and space but brought together by intent and its fallout.

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The next big thing: Books to look forward to in 2017

What will be in, what will be out, what’s going to be hot and what’s not, experts tell us about books that threaten to stir a storm in 2017

R. Sivapriya, Executive Editor, Juggernaut Books

2017 looks like it will be the year of women writers. At Juggernaut, we are publishing impressive debuts by three young women — Anita Sivakumaran, Tashan Mehta and Devi Yesodharan. And the new novels of two of the most promising voices in the Indian literary landscape — Meena Kandasamy and Parvati Sharma.

And of course, 2017 will be the year of Arundhati Roy. I am hugely curious to read the new novel. It is certainly going to be the most talked about book of the year. Seriously, women writers are all set to own the year.

I am also looking forward to Ali Akbar Natiq’s first novel (in English from Urdu) and Aniruddan Vasudevan’s debut short story collection (in Tamil). I know they are both in work in progress and should be in print later this year. And I also can’t wait for the new China Mieville – The Last Days Of New Paris to reach India.

Kapish Mehra, Managing Director, Rupa

It’s hard to be crystal ball gazing, but I think 2017 will be an interesting year for Indian publishing. Among genres, I see that non-fiction will further consolidate in the market, as it has for the past few years even as fiction — both literary and commercial — continue to.

Children’s fiction too looks like it’s going to be a promising space in the coming year. We at Rupa are coming out with a series of Mighty Raju pictorial books, combining educational content with entertainment. Read more

Source: DNA India