Darpan comes alive

“Personal histories are also social histories, since we human beings are social animals,” said Mrs Inderjit Kaur, as she released the book, “Darpan,” an autobiography of the late Risaldar Sunder Singh, which portrayed both the society and history of his times (1895-1990).

Pankaj Singh of the Browser, Mrs Baljit Gandhi, Brig Gobindar Singh and Mrs Inderjit Kaur at the book launch of Darpan

“Darpan”, means a mirror. The book is written in Punjabi, is a first person account of the life experience of the author. “The soldiers fought for the freedom of others in World War I. When they came back, they saw the need for freedom in their country, and as such many who had been loyal warriors of the British Raj and became prisoners in British jails,” said Mrs Inderjit Kaur, former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University Patiala and former Chairperson, Staff Selection Commission, New Delhi, who released the book at Lounge, Browser’s-8, Chandigarh, on Saturday, December 19,2008.

Brig Gobindar Singh and Mrs Inderjit Kaur and Mr Pankaj Singh of the Browser at the book launch of Darpan

As she punctuated her talk by quoting extensively from the book, she brought alive the book and its author for the audience. An unkindly reference to his uncle, the well-known freedom fighter, Baba Kharak Singh, by his senior prompted Risaldar Sahib to leave the British Army and in time, join the movement to free Gurdwaras from the control of the hereditary mahants, and also to free India from the British Rule. In over three hundred pages, the author narrates his experiences on the French and Mesopotamian fronts. He especially mentions Basra in Iraq and Kurdish areas.

Brig Gobindar Singh looks as Mrs Inderjit Kaur addresses the audience

The author’s narrative of active participation in the freedom struggle during the Akali movement of the early 1920s is noteworthy. Among the distinguished guest present today were Brig Gobindar Singh, nephew of and Mrs Baljit Gandhi, grand-daughter of the author. Mrs Devi Gobinder Singh read from the manuscript.

The chapter on Baba Kharak Singh, who had the distinction of having been the President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee, Amritsar, as also the president of the Pradesh Congress, Punjab, is especially noteworthy for the human face it gives a legendary historical figure..

“The book is also an honest account of the out sensitivities in human relations and tragedies that he faced as in individual faced in his life, said Mrs Inderjit Kaur, who spoke in Punjabi, “it is an absorbing read.”

Mr Pankaj Singh, the owner of The Browser, said that the book had come alive after Mrs Inderjit Kaur’s talk, which aroused interest for reading the volume among all who were present at the book release function.

Punjabi Tribune

The event was well covered in the local media, including, the Lifestyle section of The Tribune, the HT Live section of Hindustan Times and the Punjabi Tribune.

Please click here to see the Doordarshan documentary on Mrs Inderjit Kaur.

Please click here to read about another book release by Mrs Inderjit Kaur.

Please click here to read my article about Baba Kharak Singh

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