Barely three months after acclaimed lyricist and poet Gulzars “Footprints on Zero Line: Writings on the Partition” hit the stands, he is out with another book on the “cataclysmic tragedy” — this time a full length novel.
Titled “Two,” the novel runs with a brief blurb on the cover that reads; “We were one people. One parted. Now we are Two”.
The novel, Gulzar notes in the foreword, was originally written in Urdu, the original medium of his writing, and had thus included many words and phrases in Punjabi, Saraiki and other dialects spoken in that area of Punjab which became Pakistan after partition.
“Translating the novel into English became bit of a hurdle. Sukrita Paul, a dear friend, took it upon herself to do it. But I was not at ease while reading it. Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, another friend, tried to improve on it. Being a professional editor and writer in English, he did the job well. But still I was not at ease. It didn’t read like it read in Urdu, blending the tones and dialogues I had used in the narrative,” he notes.
He maintains that through this novel, he wished to examine the status of the refugees after the partition. Cautioning the readers that they might not find “perfect” or “proper” English in it, he also points out that they will find stories of refugees and how life planted them all over the world.
The book is published by HarperCollins and carries an introduction by Pavan K Varma.