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Navtej Sarna’s ‘Crimson Spring’ relives holocast of Jallianwallah Bagh massacre

Chandigarh, August 13, 2022 (Yes Punjab News)
Writing about Jallianwala Bagh massacre was one of my persistent aspiration and for long I wished to write about it, and all the people during those times, and the revolutionaries who died for India’s freedom, said Navtej Sarna, author of highly acclaimed historic nove, Crimson Spring.

Navej Sarna was in the city on an invitation from Chandigarh Literary Society (CLS) which organized its launch at the UT Guest House here today.

Former Chief Secretary Punjab Mr RI Singh, ex IAS officer, author and TEDx speaker Mr Vivek Atray, author and moderator Col Avnish Sharma, and several other luminaries from the city, released Navtej Sarna’s Crimson Spring.

In an animate discussion with the moderator Col Avinash Sharma, took the author on a nostalgic journey of “death and despair that dots the Indian history”, and as Sarna writes in the Prologue to his book “For every event in history is, at heart, made up of the acts of human beings and its telling is inevitably coloured with the differing shades of pride, regret, ambition, love, pain, courage, and longing that human beings carry within themselves.”

On the use of fiction, Navtej Sarna explained that one cannot take liberty with history and historic characters in it, but it is the emotional turmoil of that times that can be depicted through the fictional characters in this story, who too have been inspired many real-life players in history.

The massacre was condemned universally by all Indians and even shocked many Britains who considered it one of the worst outrages in all of British history, Navtej Sarna said.

Crimson Spring brings the horror of the atrocity to life by viewing it through the eyes of nine characters—Indians and Britons, ordinary people and powerful officials, the innocent and the guilty, whose lives are changed forever by the events of that fateful day.

Set against the epic backdrop of India’s freedom struggle, World War I, and the Ghadar movement, Crimson Spring is not just a powerful, unsettling look at a barbarous act, but also a wider meditation on the costs of colonialism and the sacrifices and heroism of ordinary men and women at a time of great cruelty and injustice.

Navtej Sarna, the Indian diplomat who has served in various diplomatic posts in Mosco, Poland, Bhutan, Iran, Geneva, UK, and USA, and had a longest stint as India’s foreign office spokesperson has remained a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction, is now a full-time writer.

As an established author of fiction and non-fiction, Sarna’s work includes the novels The Exile and We Weren’t Lovers Like That, the short story collection Winter Evenings, non-fiction works The Book of Nanak, Second Thoughts and Indians at Herod’s Gate, as well as two translations, Zafarnama (Guru Gobind Singh) and Savage Harvest (Mohinder Singh Sarna).

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