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punjabi Fiction ( #5) Samurai - Roop Dhillon

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For those of you who can read Punjabi (Gurmukhi version) or want to brush up on your skills or want an alternative text to the one your Punjabi School offers. This continues a series of posts that talk about books you can read and discuss with others who are interested in our literary Heritage and the direction it is going. All selected books are reviewed on basis on those that best fit the preferences of a western ( world) raised Punjabi reader.
We need to start reading more, unless we use the language and read the language our heritage language will weaken in this country
Punjabi Language Book Club
ਸਮੁਰਾਈ- ( Samurai) By Roop Dhillon
About the book
This book was written in 2012 and initially was published in 2014 coincidentally the same time the Current Indian Regime came to power. This is significant as the novel deals with two major themes. One as its title eludes to is the story of the Samurai in Japanese culture specifically following Miyamoto Mushashi a real life Samurai from the 16th Century, comparing and contrasting the Japanese warrior culture to Sikh warrior culture and Punjabi culture in general. The less obvious aspect is the part of the story set in a dystopian future a couple of centuries from now when the national mood has changed and extremist religious groups have taken over the Indian government. The book predicts if the path of Hindutva is followed to its natural conclusion than a dictatorship as were present in 1920s Europe could lead to ethnic minorities being suppressed and religious intolerance. In this book that happens with an extreme Hindu regime that bans all languages other than Hindi ( thus speaking Punjabi is illegal) and bans all other religions.
In this future the Goldern Temple is finally decimated and Pakistan no longer exists due to losing a nuclear war with India. Charda Punjab being geographically next to Pakistan suffers from the fallout. The regime rules India using a ruthless police force nick named the Samurai.
In this future the hero is in fact a reluctant heroine, Veena, who due to circumstances becomes the mother of the future hope..however it’s a bit more complex than that, as it involves time travel, rebirth of Miyamoto who again is a samurai unaware of his past life, now enforcing the law. Both he and Veena are destined to meet because if they don’t the future is doomed. However it is going to be the case for one of them anyhow.
Thus this novel is also a Sci Fi novel.
The odd thing was it predicted a future which even the author did not realise is having its seeds sown right now in the present.
About the author
Dhillon was born in West London and initially raised in Southall. He studied at Oxford Brookes University and De Montfort University and is an accountant. Originally intending to write an English novel based on the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the mode of Alexandre Dumas, Dhillon became interested in writing in Punjabi after learning the Gurmukhi alphabet in his thirties.[1] His debut novel, Neela Noor, was published in 2007. He writes in the locally spoken form of the language whose syntax is influenced by English;[1][2][3] sometimes called 'Punglish', it had not previously been written down.[4] His work is mainly influenced by Western literature and confronts social issues including racism, gender bias and incest.[1] Bharind (The Hornet) is a collection of short stories and poetry.[2] In his later novels such as the experimental gothic novel O, he employs a genre he calls Vachitarvaad, which encompasses science fiction, fantasy, horror and magical realism.[3][5]
Dhillon is a member of the Punjabi Writers Sahit Kendar in Southall and Baagi Batti, a British Asian group of writers who choose to write in their heritage language. He has been working on Chita Te Kala ( The White and The Black) for the last few years.
Further info
There are two editions available of the book
Indian one from Gracious Books, Patiala
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