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Title: Aabgeena – آبگینہ
Author: Balwant Singh, ed. by Jameel Akhtar
Year of Publication: 2017
Number of Pages: 328
Balwant Singh, Jameel Akhtar
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komal_hashmi (verified owner) – April 22, 2019
Book Review: #balwantsingh wrote novels & short stories at the time when Manto, Ismat Chughtai, Rajinder Singh Bedi & Krishan Chandar were quite popular. He didn’t get the same recognition as them but his stories were still read with interest because his style was unique & intriguing. This collection of stories includes a detailed introduction about the author & his life on the whole. I was devastated to read that no renowned figure from the world of literature was present at the funeral of a writer who wrote almost 50 books (both in Hindi & Urdu). #aabgeena is a collection of his 40 short stories (afsaanas) which have not been published in any of his previous books. There were 70 stories that were left unpublished in any book at the time of his death, out of which 40 are published in Aabgeena. One of the stories is added twice with some new lines & different titles. These stories revolve around various people living in the villages of Punjab especially those belonging to the Sikh community. There is no element of hatred between the different communities or religions but these tales cater to the basic human emotions & instincts. There are no extraordinary events except the fundamental relationships, associations & traditional lifestyle of the old days. The way these tales capture the sentiments of love, hate, enmity, friendship, attachments, sacrifice, honor & rural life keeps the reader hooked to the end. Some stories left me hanging & wanting to know more, some of them were just too good to be true & some were boring. However, the essence of the village culture was prominent in all. The scenic descriptions have the ability to create vivid images of the situation in one’s mind. In these stories, you will find unexpected endings, people forgiving their enemies, friends standing up for friends, lovers meeting their beloveds, suppressed emotions, longings of the lovers, wisdom of the elders, some extramarital affairs, workings of the elite class & thieves along with run-of-the-mill situations in the life of an ordinary human being. It was a quick read & I enjoyed it thoroughly.
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