Author : Bhisham Sahni
Translator : Daisy Rockwell

9780143441243 | PB | pp. 345 | 2016 | Penguin Modern Classics

Tamas by Bhisham Sahni is Winner of the Sahitya Aakdemi Award tells the tale of an unfolding riot from different vantage points. In Daisy Rockwell’s definitive translation, this magnificent work comes vividly to life.

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In a city in undivided Punjab, Nathu, a tanner, is bribed to kill a pig. When the animal’s carcass is discovered on the steps of the local mosque the next morning, simmering tensions explode into an orgy of bloodlust. But in the midst of the ensuing carnage, despite the darkness of the times, rare moments of unexpected friendship and love also surface.

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Bhisham Sahni
Translator : Daisy Rockwell




Penguin Modern Classics





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About the Author

Bhisham Sahni (1915-2003) was an iconic writer who transformed the landscape of Hindi literature. Sahni was fluent in several languages-Punjabi, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu and English-and his oeuvre encompassed a wide range of literary forms: novels, short stories, plays, essays. Tamas, his best known novel, won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1975 and was subsequently adapted into a National Award-winning film by Govind Nihalani. His other well-known novels include Jharokhe (published in Penguin Classics as Boyhood), Basanti and Mayyadas Ki Marhi (published in Penguin Classics as Mansion). Sahni also wrote numerous short stories (a selection of which has been published in Penguin Classics as Middle India), six plays and a biography of his brother, the eminent film and stage actor Balraj Sahni. His autobiography, Aaj Ke Ateet, is published in Penguin Classics as Today’s Pasts.

Born in Rawalpindi, Sahni later went to college in Lahore. In his youth he became involved with the Indian People’s Theatre Association as well as the Indian National Congress. After Partition, he settled down in Delhi and began to teach at Delhi University. From 1957-63, he moved to the USSR to work as a translator at the Foreign Languages Publishing House, before returning to Delhi. He edited the literary journal, Nayi Kahaniyan, from 1965-67, and was the general secretary of the All-India Progressive Writers’ Association from 1975-85. Sahni was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1998, and the Shalaka Award, the Delhi government’s highest literary prize, in 1999.



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