Novella on Delhi’s 1984 riots as ebook

sikh-rotsNEW DELHI: A fictionalized version of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi captured in a period of four days – between the assassination and the cremation of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – is now out in electronic book form.

Chandigarh-based writer and journalist Roopinder Singh, has in his novella “Delhi-84” captured through the eyes of a law student the trauma of the Sikh community.

“I was a student here during the time of the riots and soon after left for the US to pursue studies. It was only when I began to write about it that I realized that I had so many repressed memories and everything came pouring out,” says Singh.

The author narrates the story from the viewpoint of Gita, a law student who gets caught in the vortex that Delhi becomes between the assassination and the funeral of the Prime Minister.

“It has been a long time since the riots and for the story I deliberately stick to the four days from October 31, 1984. It took me a year of researching through old newspapers and magazines to recreate the trauma and grief faced by Sikhs,” says Singh.

The author recalls since he had been living in a relatively safe part in South Delhi he had been spared of the violence meted out to other members from his community.

“Once I was driving on my scooter and saw a mob attacking a Sardarji. We sped away to safety but I still can’t forget the image. Another incident I can’t forget is the burning down of a library that my father had set up. A mob set it on fire and it took a long time to burn, it was really heartrending,” recalls Singh.

The novella, says the author, also has people from other communities who chipped in to help the Sikhs.
After an initial conversation over a year ago that spurred Singh to begin the process of writing, the author says it was only during the past two months that the pace turned racy and he would “write almost all the time.”

Singh, 54, has previously authored a tome on Sikh history, “Sikh heritage: Ethos and Relics” as well as other books like
“Women: Many Hues, Many Shades” and “Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh.” He has also written a book in Hindi on Guru Nanak Dev.

For his first novella, Singh picked the eroute format over the printed book by recently releasing the book through Amazon and made available exclusively for a limited time on Kindle.

“I am fairly new to e-books. In fact, I was given a kindle around six months ago by my son and since that time I have been hooked and have been reading a lot. So this time when I wanted to publish I took the ebook route as it also frees me from the limitations of word counts,” says the author.

Singh, also says publishing electronically helps him to reach out to a wider audience spread across the world. -PTI