Harkening back to the turbulent times leading to Independence

New Delhi (IANS) In the months leading up to Independence, in Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel are engaged in deliberations with British Viceroy Louis Mountbatten over the fate of the country.

In Lahore, Sepoy Malik returns home from the Great War hoping to win his sweetheart Tara’s hand in marriage, only to find divide-and-rule holding sway, and love, friendships and familial bonds being tested.

Set in parallel threads across these two cities, “Lahore” (HarperCollins), part 1 of Manreet Sodhi Someshwar’s “The Partition Trilogy” is a behind-the-scenes look into the negotiations and the political skulduggery that gave India its freedom, the price for which was ‘batwara’. As the men make the decisions and wield the swords, the women bear the brunt of the carnage that tears through India in the sticky hot months of its cruellest summer ever.

Backed by astute research, “The Partition Trilogy” captures the frenzy of the times and takes readers back to an era of great upheaval and churn. It’s an exploration of the events, exigencies and decisions that led to the Independence of India, its concomitant partition, and the accession of princely states alongside.

A literary political thriller that captures the frenzy of the time, the series is set in Delhi, Lahore, Hyderabad and Kashmir. Covering a vast canvas, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Louis Mountbatten share space in the trilogy with the ordinary people from the cities that were affected by the partition and the reorganization of the states.

In its fresh, incisive and insightful portrayal of a cataclysm that haunts us to this day, “The Partition Trilogy” is both spellbinding and believable – a remarkable feat.

The trilogy, said Someshwar, “is the culmination of a two-decade quest to research and write about an event that is concomitant with independence, that has been pushed to the margins of our collective memory, yet one that is wholly resonant with our times. Set in the months leading up to independence, Lahore, Book 1 of the trilogy, will hurtle you towards 15 August – fasten your seatbelts”!

Udayan Mitra, Executive Publisher, HarperCollins India, said 1947 is “a year India will never forget: not only because it was the year that the nation attained freedom, but because it was a year that would change the individual lives and destinies of millions of people. As the country stumbles towards Independence and Partition, gripping personal stories take shape alongside the unfolding political drama. ‘Lahore’ is a joy to read and a wonderful book with which to revisit the most important year in India’s history”.

Prema Govindan, Senior Commissioning Editor, Literary, HarperCollins India, said: “Manreet’s writing has a special place in my heart, for she places the individual and the woman above all the politics and the violence. ‘The Partition Trilogy’, while being true to history, is a voicing of ‘her story’ too, and I am glad that we at HarperCollins India are the medium to tell it.”

Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is a bestselling writer of six books, including the award-winning “The Radiance of a Thousand Suns” and the critically acclaimed “The Long Walk Home”. Hailed as “a star on the literary horizon” by Khushwant Singh and garnering endorsement from Gulzar for two of her books, Someshwar and her work have featured at literary festivals. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, the South China Morning Post and several Indian publications. She lives in New York City with her husband, daughter and a cat.

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