PERSPECTIVE
‘THE RADIANCE OF A THOUSAND SUNS’
A sensitive intergenerational story of traumatic events in Punjab’s history
- AMANDEEP SANDHU
A sensitive intergenerational story of traumatic events in Punjab’s history



Manreet Sodhi Someshwar’s epic novel scores in bringing together narratives centred on Punjab that until now have almost always been viewed in isolation. This story about Bibi-ji, Nooran, Jyot and Niki travels across four countries and two continents as Sodhi weaves a rich tapestry of location, character and memory spanning four generations of women of the Nalwa family.

The novel opens with a scene from the days of militancy in Punjab. Ordinary people have come to ask Niki’s father, a human rights lawyer, to accompany them in filing habeas corpus petitions for their missing sons. This scene from the past plays in Niki’s memory as she works as a volunteer at a New York non-profit, which handles undocumented migrants from South Asia.

Thus a parallel is drawn between the two states — India and the U.S. — as they turn predator towards their people. This theme runs through the novel as Sodhi takes us through its chief events: the Partition, Emergency, Operation Blue Star, the anti-Sikh pogrom, the era of militancy in Punjab, and finally 9/11 on the world stage. 
 
The novel has three sections, with different kinds of numbering and style demarcating them. The chapters with the Hindu-Arabic numerals take the main story ahead but in a non-linear way, thus creating suspense; the chapters with the Roman numerals weave in the framework of the Mahabharata to suggest that the stories of our land have been playing in circles over many millennia. The chapters with Roman numerals and blank pages speak of the silences that mark Jyot’s experiences of Partition, which left her bereft of her family; of 1984, when her husband and children were murdered; and of post 9/11 New York, where she finds herself a vulnerable migrant.

The novel’s title comes from the creator of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita, but here it also stands for a grand sun that Niki’s daughter traces on an embroidery by Niki’s nanny which Niki carries with her wherever she travels.Sodhi’s dexterity lies in giving her characters interiority, illuminating the darkness inside victims’ minds. She makes the process seem natural as Niki and her father try to write a book stitching together the inter-generational trauma of Punjab. This meta-ness of the novel serves only to highlight the historical reality as experienced by the women of Punjab. (Courtesy: The Hindu)
 
The Radiance of a Thousand Suns; Manreet Sodhi Someshwar, HarperCollins, Rs 499

 
Amandeep Sandhu is working on a non-fiction on Panjab.
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT







Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*
 







MOST VISITED
YOU MAY LIKE

TOPIC CLOUD

TAGS CLOUD

ARCHIVE



Copyright © 2016-2017







NEWS LETTER