By Niranjan Singh Tasneem
Translated into English as The Lost Meaning by the author himself for Sahitya Akademi (2006)
The novel depicts the trauma of terrorism in Punjab in the background of the holocaust of communal riots during the 1984 Anti-Sikh violence. This novel is a sequel to Singh’s critically-acclaimed novel Jadon Sawer Hoi (When Dawn Happened) as the protagonist in both these period novels is the same. In the former, there is an irony of situation whereas in the latter there is an irony of circumstances. The primary concern of Gawache Arth is the communal divide of the eighties and the triumph of the cohesive forces of love, harmony and mutual understanding. It won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1999. Talking about the novel in an interview, Tasneem had said that he tried to write about Operation Bluestar, anti-Sikh pogrom and the lives of Punjabis thereafter in the most emotional and explanatory way possible. He said that he named it ‘Gawache Arth’ because “once came a time when Punjabis lost the meaning of their lives”.
About the Author
Niranjan Singh Tasneem, born in 1929 in Punjab, is a Punjabi novelist. He wrote his first Punjabi novel Parchhawen that appeared in 1996. Earlier, his two Urdu novels, Sogwar (1960) and Mona Lisa (1962), had been acclaimed on both the sides of the border for their unconventional treatment of the man-woman relationship. He was awarded Punjab’s highest literary honour – Punjabi Sahit Rattan – in 2015.