I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale

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9780144000845: I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale

Khushwant Singh's phenomenal success as a writer springs from a most unwriterly virtue: he writes for the reader, not for himself. He has the knack of seeming to speak directly to the reader, shrugging himself out of the confines of the written page' Times of India I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale, Khushwant Singh's second novel, is set in Amritsar during the height of India's freedom movement, when nationalists called upon the British to -Quit India'. Sardar Buta Singh, First Class Magistrate, a man whose family is known for its loyalty to the Raj, is close to being nominated to the Queen's honours list that year. However, unknown to him, his son Sher Singh has become the leader of a group of gun-wielding, anti-British revolutionaries. When the headman of a nearby village, a police informer, goes missing, Sher Singh is arrested. If proved guilty of treason he could be sentenced to death. A disgraced Buta Singh disowns his son in order to show his continuing loyalty to the government, and his god-fearing wife Sabhrai turns to the Guru for guidance. The kindly Deputy Commissioner, John Taylor, an Englishman who is sympathetic to Indians and understands the family's predicament, offers them two alternatives: Sher Singh can either betray his comrades and save his life or else be hanged. Meanwhile, in Simla, Sher Singh's wife and sister are involved in a parallel drama of their own with Madan, a revolutionary and a rake. I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale has been widely acclaimed as Khushwant Singh's finest novel.

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Review:

Singh recently died and thus this review would be aptly timed as a tribute. This piece and his other much celebrated book "A Train to pakistan" are the two best books I have read through and trust me, I have read many. The fine fettle description of events , the emotional jibes and the conversation.... just makes this piece a masterpiece indeed! --Amitabh Dutta Mar 22, 2014

Khushwant Singh's genius is in plain view. This is a story of a Sikh family in the days before India's independence. The father is a minor official, a loyal servant of the British. The son is a hot blooded young revolutionary, but emotionally still a child. I Shall Not Hear The Nightingale gives the reader a window into the world of this family caught up in changing times and the turmoil they endure. It is a unique look at the relationship of the British masters with those Indians who were loyal to them, at the unravelling of that relationship, and at the heartbreaking devastation it brought to the families of Punjab. This book is a must read for those interested in Indian history, culture, and psyche. All Britishers, Indians and Pakistanis should read it, as should students of the social impact of decolonization. --By haru 25 October 2000

Like Train to Pakistan, this book explores a side of Indias history that was very very painful. It is a towering achievement in storytelling, and is a compulsively readable book. Khushwant Singh is a well known Delhi based journalist who views India with an unflinching eye, and populates his stories with utterly believable characters and situations.There is much tragedy, and much humour throughout the book. Do not be surprised if you shed a tear reading this one. --By "dmtsymphony" 30 November 2002

About the Author:

Khushwant Singh (2 February 1915 20 March 2014) was an Indian novelist, lawyer, politician and journalist. An Indo-Anglian writer, Singh was best known for his trenchant secularism,[1] his humour, and an abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behavioural characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit. He served as the editor of several literary and news magazines, as well as two newspapers, through the 1970s and 1980s. He was the recipient of Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India.

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