Threads of Karma – A Historical Factional Romance –
A Review by Gagandeep Kaur
Author: Dr Surinder Singh Kahlon
The novel is set in the early eighties, a most tumultuous period in the Punjab history. It’s thirty five years since the partition of India, or speaking of it ‘the Partition of Punjab’ and history seems to be repeating itself.
The story is set against the typical Punjabi milieu, life in the village. Right from page one the author hooks you with the brilliance of his prose. It’s lyrical, as one begins to see all the characters - sisters, parents, friends, the locale, the whole Punjabi farmstead come to life. The narrative fast forwards to Saran’s current job at the newspaper. The protagonist Saran Singh Gill, a journalist working for a Sikh daily out of Amritsar, is witnessing swift changes in the Punjabi fabric. Saran covers the political struggles of the Sikhs in 1980's and follows a series of events which breed religious hatred between Hindus and Sikhs.
Amidst all this arrives Kelly Smith, a fine looking girl from Los Angeles. She has joined a group of American Sikhs in search of a more stable and inspired life. Her talent as a singer brings her to Amritsar with her troupe to sing at the Golden Temple. Here she runs into Saran and it’s love at first sight for the two. Saran and Kelly are both inside the ‘Golden Temple’ complex when the Indian army is ordered to remove a charismatic, fundamentalist Sikh leader. They witness the ensuing blood bath and come away alive.
It is to the author’s credit that he has covered events from this period in chronological order in such great detail. All the factors leading to the ensuing anarchy, every incident, every leader and Baba, their ideology and background are well researched. For a person who lived and grew up in Punjab during this period, reading the book is like going through the live experience. It is all there. The book answers all the questions our friends, children, nieces and nephews ask us about this period, as they come of age. The passage of time clouds our memories. This book acts as ready reference which is authentic and the analysis is equally brilliant.
It is a treatise on the culture and history of Punjab, mellifluously woven with this east-west love story. So young and moving, you can’t help falling in love with the pair of them. Life in Punjab as also in America is portrayed realistically. With our current generation of youngsters and their parents and grandparents straddling two continents, this book will be a moving, enriching and inspirational experience. It will tug at your heartstrings, and have everyone agreeing. It’s what critics call unputdownable.
Brilliant all the way. Threads of Karma can be sourced from www.createspace.com.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2011, All