Book Review: ‘A Game of Fire’ by Nanak Singh and Navdeep Suri

A timeless tale of courage, compassion, and unexpected heroism


Book Title: A Game of Fire
Author: Nanak Singh
Translator: Navdeep Suri
Publisher: Harper Perennial India
Number of Pages: 344
ISBN: 978-9356996267
Date Published: Jan. 16, 2024
Price: INR 381

A Game of Fire by Nanak Singh and Navdeep Suri Book Cover

Book Review

India’s tumultuous history, marked by colonial oppression and independence struggle, reached its zenith with the tragic events of partition in 1947. The two centuries of British monarchy have left deep scars on the national consciousness, ending in violence in the divisions that separated families, causing widespread suffering and loss. The horrors of the bloody partition and displacement reverberate today and are a stark reminder of the dangers of religious division and discrimination. As we consider this dark chapter through the books of Exodus, we get insight into the tremendous impact of group conflict and the importance of promoting cooperation.

Fictional works like Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh, Pinjar with the aid of Amrita Pritamand, and Remnants of a Separation by Aanchal Malhotra to non-fiction narratives like Nisid Hajari’s and Amrita Pritamand’s Partition fiction, which includes Ice-Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa, additionally titled Cracking India, have assisted generations in making sense of a difficult-to-realise historical moment in the subcontinent. Being a Sikh, Nanak Singh observed Gandhism, which was well-matched with Sikh humanism. He reacted to the growing social surroundings around him in this dual spirit and wrote his novels.

After some different novels, Nanak Singh was immortalized as a Punjabi novelist. With books like Tutti Vina (1945), Ganga Jal wich sharab (1947), and Dur Kinara (1948), he touches on 1947, the fateful 12 months of independence and bloody partition. Partition and its tragic outcomes threatened Nanak Singh’s indomitable optimism. But he refused to surrender his desire. Khun de Sohile (1949) and Agg di Khed (1948), both written just after Partition, are two connected novels. In them, Nanak Singh’s heroic Sikh and Muslim characters fight remaining ditch battles against overwhelming odds and might, as a substitute, perish rather than give in to inhumanity. From 1947 on, Nanak Singh changed into a shaken guy, trying to uphold his idealism in opposition to mounting odds.

Similarly, “A Game of Fire,” a Punjabi novel written by the famous author Nanak Singh and translated via Navedep Suri, is taken into consideration as traditional Punjabi literature and is trendy for its wealthy storytelling, historic placement, and exploration of social subject matters. Set against the Partition of India backdrop, “A Game of Fire” portrays a city in turmoil. The novel introduces us to unexpected heroes who rise from the catastrophe, their actions and struggles echoing the challenges faced during those tumultuous times. Nanak Singh’s characters, both Sikh and Muslim, engage in last-ditch battles against overwhelming odds. Their unwavering resolve leads them to choose fighting over surrendering to inhumanity.

The story follows like this: in the chaos of partition, amidst the refuge of Guru Ram Das Serai in Amritsar, Satnam Singh emerges as a beacon of hope. Leading the Unity Council, he tirelessly aids Hindu and Sikh families fleeing communal violence. Amidst the throngs of distressed souls, Satnam’s attention is drawn to an elderly man and a young woman, their demeanor suggesting a burden of sorrow from the horrors they’ve encountered. As Satnam shelters them in his own home, he finds himself grappling with the escalating communal tensions that threaten to engulf his beloved city.

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In “A Game of Fire,” the sequel to “Hymns in Blood,” Satnam’s unwavering commitment to humanity is put to the test as he witnesses the disintegration of communal harmony in Amritsar. Despite his efforts, friends turn to vengeance, seeking to cleanse the city of its Muslim population. Satnam’s resolve falters as he confronts the stark reality of religious animosity, yet he persists in his mission to uphold the values of compassion and unity. Against the backdrop of a country torn apart through violence, “A Game of Fire” paints a poignant portrait of resilience and surprising heroism, reminding readers of the long-lasting relevance of its message in trendy, turbulent times.

The message of “A Game of Fire” remains as relevant nowadays as it was when it was first published in 1948. It serves as a powerful reminder of the human spirit’s resilience in the face of adversity. The novel captures the rising fissures in a new us and the profound effect on its human beings, making it a compelling read for those interested in ancient narratives. The book explores topics of non-secular concord, personal struggles against societal norms, and the impact of historical activities on people and groups. The novel is understood for its vibrant characters, sensible portrayal of society, and attractive tale.

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