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Review Of O ( Punjabi Fiction #1)


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Originally Posted by Kulvanth Kaur in City Sikhs about my book. Now reposting this and the rest of the series that was posted here..

In an effort to keep our Punjabi Language in the 21st century, I am recommending the below. Please take a read, if you are a Punjabi lover, or a novice. Especially for Diaspora Sikhs in my view.
Punjabi Language Book Club
Synopsis Of Fiction written in the Punjabi language
ਓ (O) by Roop Dhillon
About the book
This is a rare Punjabi Novel. It is written almost exactly as Punjabi is spoken in the UK by British born and raised Punjabis ( in this case Sikhs) who speak Punjabi at home with their parents but were not formally educated in writing the language in Punjab or even in the UK. It is almost the creole of British Punjabi, but not quite as the author has attempted to capture enough correct Punjabi syntax and grammar to make it into an Upboli or a dialect of Punjabi. He clearly has not written it in standard Punjabi, but some of this is because instead of being in Taxila or Theth Punjabi it reflects his specific heritage, a mix of Malva and Doabl Punjabi as one of his Parents was a Doabi and his mother is a Malvain. It also has splattering of Majha and Lehnda punjabi whilst its syntax follows UK English.
The Chapters are also unique. Each chapter starting with Oorha, follows the Painti alphabet used by Sikhs to write Punjabi, with the first sentence of each chapter pretty much beginning with a word commencing with that same letter. Thus there are as many chapters as there are letters in the Gurmukhi script. The title also is unusual as it is the letter O or Oorha.
The title makes sense when you realise that the main protagonist is a Sikh Maharaja named Onkar. The thing is no one knows about him as he should have died 200 years ago but was cursed ( and his brother than becomes the Maharaja of Patiala) to live forever until someone who really loves him lifts the curse. On top of this ( as the book covers suggests) he is cursed to be a tiger by day and a man by night. This allows him to live through 1848, 1947 and 1984 which allows the author to have him witness all these key dates in Punjabi and Sikh history. So this side of the plot explores recent Sikh History but another side is a critique of modern Indian Punjabi society ( as opposed to those in the west) with all its flaws, such as the treatment of women, the caste system and religious intolerance. As he is a Weretiger, the story also explores a Chinese hunter named Han Ku who hunts him across northern India. This provides the plot. In terms of social commentary the book explores his relationship with Seema who becomes his wife by promise of a rich dowry to her greedy poor father Kumar. The fact that in this day and age women still have no value other than being men’s chattels is explored. But Seema unlike most Indian woman is tough and independent and knows her own mind. It is in effect a modern imagining of the Beauty and the Beast story. The author has written other similarly unique novels and short stories in Punjabi as well, many of them retreading these same themes and having the anger of 1984 simmering beneath the surface. This book however stands out as it is the first example of gothic fiction written in Punjabi.
About the author
Roop Dhillon’s real name is Rupinderpal Singh Dhillon, but he writes under the name Roop so he is not confused with another established Punjabi language writer. He was born in Hillingdon and bought up in Southall and Hounslow. He loved reading English fiction and when he turned thirty taught himself Punjabi. Then he decided to put it to use and write in Punjabi showing the British Punjabi experience from the perspective of those raised in the UK as a counter to the Parvasi or immigrant writers who pined for India in their books and only wrote about the Pind back home or immigration. Room has written Science fiction, Fantasy, Crime and Espionage as well as Magical realism. However he mixes it all up with punjabi themes in a style or literary movement he has created and he calls Vachitarvaad.
O would sit well as a reading text at UK GCSE level. It is also a good starting point for anyone raised in the UK who can read Punjabi to get themselves into Punjabi fiction.
Further info
For those who want to get hold of the book there are 2 publishers
In India there is Lokgeet Parkashan the imprint of Unistar Books
In Holland there is BLURB the printing provider for Khusjeevan Kitaaban
Links for info
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I just wondering if Roop's post might be better located in the Literature section?  

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2 hours ago, dalsingh101 said:

I'm going to read this one next. Seems shortish. 

There is a free online version, but it excludes the English sections ( The printed version of the book has sections written in English on purpose which make sense to the story)

The idea was given to me by Tolstoy, as the orginal War and Peace is 75% in Russian but 25% in French, as most Russians also spoke French in the way Punjabis speak English

See links

 

https://www.blurb.com/books/5057516

http://www.5abi.com/dharavahak/urra-onkar/01-onkar-dhillon-281211.htm

 

 

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18 hours ago, ਰੂਪ ਢਿੱਲੋਂ said:

There is a free online version, but it excludes the English sections ( The printed version of the book has sections written in English on purpose which make sense to the story)

The idea was given to me by Tolstoy, as the orginal War and Peace is 75% in Russian but 25% in French, as most Russians also spoke French in the way Punjabis speak English

See links

 

https://www.blurb.com/books/5057516

http://www.5abi.com/dharavahak/urra-onkar/01-onkar-dhillon-281211.htm

 

 

Will it make sense without the English bits? 

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