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Two Gulzar

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We were One people. One parted. Now we are Two. It s the winter of 1946. A truck leaves the village of Campbellpur after news of the impending Partition starts pouring in. Its motley crew comprises a dhaba owner, a kothewali, a Rai Bahadur and his family, a young widow and her child. On the way, they pick up sundry other people a young boy and his grandfather, and Two Gulzar sisters all displaced by a destiny they did not choose. They have just heard words like border and refugee , and are struggling to understand how drawing a line might carve out Pakistan from Hindustan. As they reach close to where they imagine the border will be drawn, the caravan disperses and people go their own ways. The passage to the border, fraught with danger and despair as it is, is not an end. It is what follows that lends their journey the nature of an odyssey one that has not stopped. Gulzar s first novel tracks the lives of these people up to the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and the Kargil War in the 1990s. Written in Gulzar s inimitable riveting style, and drawing from his personal memories of the Partition, Two Gulzar is as much about what it entailed for ordinary people as it is a meditation on the fact that the division of India, once set into motion, kept happening inexorably and ceaselessly. Uprooted from the only place they knew as home, the refugees have kept travelling physically and metaphorically in search of roots, in search of a place called home.

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