HarperCollins presents A Game of Fire by Nanak Singh Translated from the Punjabi by Navdeep Suri

NEW DELHI, Jan. 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- A classic novel by Nanak Singh, father of the Punjabi novel, of a city in turmoil and the unexpected heroes who rise from the catastrophe. A sequel to Hymns in Blood, its message is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1948.

' A must-read.' – Shashi Tharoor

' A chilling reminder of the depravity of communal violence.' – Navtej Sarna

Published by Harper Perennial

Paperback | Fiction | 344 pp | INR 499

Releasing 16 January 2024

About the Book

1947. Amritsar. Guru Ram Das Serai near the Golden Temple has become a temporary refuge for Hindu and Sikh families fleeing the communal terror and bloodbath of Partition. One of the legions of volunteers providing succour to the new arrivals is Satnam Singh, the leader of the local Unity Council. He is struck by the extraordinary calm of an erudite-looking old man with a long flowing beard, and his companion, a resolute young woman, whose eyes seem haunted by the tragedies they have witnessed.

Taking the story of the Partition forward from Hymns in Blood, A Game of Fire follows Satnam as he observes the rising tide of communal violence threaten his beloved Amritsar. His own friends abandon their beliefs to join the relentless cycle of revenge and retribution, determined to purge the city of its large Muslim population. Even as he shelters the elderly man and the young woman in his own home, his faith in placing humanity before religion is severely tested and he oscillates between steadfastness and deep despair. Against the backdrop of emerging fissures in a new country and its people, Agg di Khed paints the picture of a city in turmoil and the unexpected heroes who rise from this catastrophe, its message as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1948.

Navdeep Suri, translator of A Game of Fire, and grandson of author Nanak Singh, says, "Translating this book has taken me through a journey of the Amritsar of 1947, reminding me of the large and thriving Punjabi Muslim community that was woven into every part of the city's fabric. It has also made me aware of the intellectual honesty and courage of my grandfather Nanak Singh as he unflinchingly describes the cycle of violence that led to the exodus of Muslims out of Amritsar. And it provided a stark warning of the dangers that lurk around the corner when politicians start playing with religious emotions."

Udayan Mitra, Executive Publisher, HarperCollins India, says, "A Game of Fire, and Hymns in Blood which we published in 2022, constitute two parts of a powerful Partition narrative by Nanak Singh, one of the great modern novelists who wrote in Punjabi. This is a poignant, painful story of human beings whose lives are caught up in a defining, turbulent time in history -- and yet it is a story shot through with hope. Navdeep Suri's wonderful translations have made these twin novels available in English for the very first time. We at HarperCollins are very pleased to bring both these novels to readers with the hope that they will like to engage with these classic works."

Praise for A Game of Fire

'Written with the insight of an intellectual and the remarkable sensibility of a devout pluralist, A Game of Fire reminds us of the perils of communalism in our subcontinentally diverse polity—a must-read in a day and age where politically orchestrated religious polarization once again threatens India's hard-earned and intricately woven social fabric.' — Shashi Tharoor

'A chilling reminder of the depravity of communal frenzy, Nanak Singh's classic novel records the bestial orgy of murder and mayhem that played out in Amritsar's narrow lanes during Partition. And yet, it is a narrative of hope, of how essential goodness, humanity and love can overcome brutal barbarism. Translated from the Punjabi with deep empathy and fluid felicity by Navdeep Suri.' —Navtej Sarna

About the Author and the Translator

Nanak Singh (1897–1971) is widely regarded as the father of the Punjabi novel. Despite little formal education beyond the fourth grade, he wrote an astounding fifty-nine books, which included thirty-eight novels and an assortment of plays, short stories, poems, essays, and even a set of translations. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1962 for Ik Mian Do Talwaraan. His novel Pavitra Paapi was made into a film in 1968, while Chitta Lahu was translated into the Russian by Natasha Tolstoy.

Navdeep Suri is a former diplomat who has served in India's diplomatic missions in Washington, D.C. and London. He was India's Ambassador to Egypt and UAE, High Commissioner to Australia, and Consul General in Johannesburg. He has been striving to preserve the legacy of his grandfather Nanak Singh and to bring his works to a wider audience. He has translated into English the classic 1930s Punjabi novels Pavitra Paapi (The Watchmaker) and Adh Khidya Phul (A Life Incomplete). His translation of Nanak Singh's lost poem Khooni Vaisakhi was published in 2019 and of the novel Khoon de Sohile (Hymns in Blood) in 2022.

About HarperCollins India

HarperCollins is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, having begun publishing in India in 1992. HarperCollins India publishes some of the finest writers from the Indian Subcontinent and around the world, publishing approximately 200 new books every year, with a print and digital catalogue of more than 2,000 titles across 10 imprints. Its authors have won almost every major literary award including the Man Booker Prize, JCB Prize, DSC Prize, New India Foundation Award, Atta Galatta Prize, Shakti Bhatt Prize, Gourmand Cookbook Award, Publishing Next Award, Tata Literature Live! Award, Gaja Capital Business Book Prize, BICW Award, Sushila Devi Award, Sahitya Akademi Award and Crossword Book Award. HarperCollins India also represents some of the finest publishers in the world including Harvard University Press, Gallup Press, Oneworld, Bonnier Zaffre, Usborne, Dover and Lonely Planet. HarperCollins India has won the Publisher of the Year Award four times at Tata Literature Live! in 2022, 2021, 2018 and 2016, and at Publishing Next in 2021 and 2015. HarperCollins India is a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers.

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