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In 1948, a year after the violent Partition of India, Punjabi writer Nanak Singh wrote Khoon de Sohile, a novel about how a peaceful village is torn asunder because of communal hatred.
Now, almost 75 years later, his grandson Navdeep Suri has translated the novel as Hymns of Blood. In a podcast interview with Sidharth Bhatia, Suri, a former Indian diplomat, says that the book shows how “there are no winners” in such situations.
“It is depressing to see what kind of issues we talk about today.”
He points out that in Amritsar, where Nanak Singh was based and where Suri grew up, there were a lot of Muslims visible at one time. “But the city has completely lost its Muslim identity,” he says. Yet, interestingly, Punjab, which suffered the most during that period, “has moved on, but other parts of the country haven’t”.