Ba Mulahaza Hoshiar (1976)
By Narenderpal Singh
Translated into English as Trapped (1978)
This novel has the unique distinction of being the most controversial novel in the annals of Punjabi fiction and at the same time, it has been extolled as a sensitive, poignant depiction of the existentialist enigma of man, of his sense of inner void and his outer purposelessness. The main scene of the novel opens up at the Kennedy International Airport where thousands of passengers and visitors got stranded due to heavy snow fall that blocked all air and ground traffic. The hero of the novel, Avtar Singh, is one of the trapped persons in the terminal buildings. The author, through Avtar Singh and other characters trapped in the airport, seems to perceive the lop-sidedness of the materialistic civilization. It won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1976, following which the Punjab Government imposed a ban on the novel in 1978 on charges of ‘obscenity and hurting religious feelings’.
About the Author
Narenderpal Singh is one of the leading novelists of the Punjabi language. He was born at Kama Bungalow in District Lyallpur (now in Pakistan). Formerly in Defence Services, he retired as Brigadier in 1972. He is known for depicting Sikh history after Bhai Vir Singh. He has to his credit about twenty novels including Baa Mulahaza Hoshiar which won for him the Sahitya Akademi Award for 1976. Starting from romantic novels like Mallah, Sainapati and Untali varhe, Narenderpal Singh has written historical novels like Khanneo tikhi, Valon nikki, Eti marg jana and Ikk sarkar bajhon.