ARC Review: From Quetta to Delhi, A Partition Story by Reena Nanda

The lilting rhythms of Punjabi folk songs, the Siapewalli, and Naani wailing about her bad kismet caused by the chudail and dain. Partition changed the old traditions of Punjabiyat but in the pages of this book they come alive … 
The invisible cost of the Partition of the Punjab in 1947 – besides the violence, loss of life and property – was that it destroyed the psychic equilibrium of the displaced population. This is the story of one such woman, Shakunt, who rebuilt her life but could never get over the trauma of losing her homes in Quetta and Jhang – not just the loss of a physical space but of the language, culture and ethos that it had embodied. A syncretic culture of multilingualism – Urdu, Persian and Punjabi – and of multiple identities of caste, mohalla and religion.
But then there was the disaster of the Quetta Earthquake of l935, and of Partition, which tore the family apart because her father chose to remain in Quetta as a member of the Pakistan Civil Service.
Shakunt coped with her mental distress by escaping into the past, reliving the memories of her life in Quetta and Jhang. Hers was a feminine recall of the perhaps insignificant yet poignant details of daily lives which hinged on the drama of the trivial – on food, rituals and neighbourhood bonding. Of an agnostic father, a mother who was a devotee of Guru Nanak, of pilgrimages to Sufi shrines. This is Shakunt’s story as recorded by her daughter.The lilting rhythms of Punjabi folk songs, the Siapewalli, and Naani wailing about her bad kismet caused by the chudail and dain. Partition changed the old traditions of Punjabiyat but in the pages of this book they come alive … 
The invisible cost of the Partition of the Punjab in 1947 – besides the violence, loss of life and property – was that it destroyed the psychic equilibrium of the displaced population. This is the story of one such woman, Shakunt, who rebuilt her life but could never get over the trauma of losing her homes in Quetta and Jhang – not just the loss of a physical space but of the language, culture and ethos that it had embodied. A syncretic culture of multilingualism – Urdu, Persian and Punjabi – and of multiple identities of caste, mohalla and religion.
But then there was the disaster of the Quetta Earthquake of l935, and of Partition, which tore the family apart because her father chose to remain in Quetta as a member of the Pakistan Civil Service.
Shakunt coped with her mental distress by escaping into the past, reliving the memories of her life in Quetta and Jhang. Hers was a feminine recall of the perhaps insignificant yet poignant details of daily lives which hinged on the drama of the trivial – on food, rituals and neighbourhood bonding. Of an agnostic father, a mother who was a devotee of Guru Nanak, of pilgrimages to Sufi shrines. This is Shakunt’s story as recorded by her daughter.

Disclaimer: I was provided with an ARC by Bloomsbury India in exchange for an honest review. However, all the thoughts, feelings and opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

I rarely can deal with stories about Partition of India; it isn’t an easy time to deal with in the present and I can’t imagine what our forefathers actual went through during that heartbreaking time!

Reena Nanda expertly weaves anecdotes and narrations about the Partition; around the author’s mother Shakunt and her immediate family – and the journey of Shakunt from the past of her family to the current trials and tribulations of their journey during the partition.

I adored the writing style of the author – she does a brilliant job of narrating the world of Punjabi traditions and identities.  Not only that she is also able to actually fire up my imagination and take me back to a time that has always been one of my favourite (not the right word; I know! but historical buff, it has be one of the richest moments in our country’s history!).

This book really needs to be relished – for every Indian will find a little glimpse of their family’s identity in each glimpse that the author gives the reader! 

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .5

AMAZON IN | AMAZON US

2 thoughts on “ARC Review: From Quetta to Delhi, A Partition Story by Reena Nanda

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.