Bhisham Sahni, born on August 8, 1915, in Rawalpindi of present-day Pakistan was among the greatest writers of Hindi literature. While his work in Hindi is celebrated, Sahni also worked in Punjabi and English. He lived through the era when India was going through a churn and was in the middle of the freedom struggle. Sahni evoked conscience through his work and took an active part in the freedom struggle by joining the Indian National Congress. After partition, he moved and settled in India where he continued his passion for writing while teaching at various colleges.
In his career, Sahni wrote short stories, plays and books that left a deep impact on his readers. His work earned him critical acclaim and many awards including the Padma Bhushan in 1998 and the Sahitya Akademi fellowship in 2002.
As we remember the legendary writer on his 106th birth anniversary, we look at some of the most popular books written by him.
Sahni wrote Tamas in response to series of communal violence in Maharashtra’s Bhiwandi in the early 1970s. The empty streets and ghostly silence of Bhiwandi reminded Sahni of the partition when Hindu, Muslims and Sikhs were killing each other.
Balraj, My Brother
Sahni wrote an ode to the life of his elder brother and actor Balraj with a fascinating portrayal in Balraj, My Brother. Through his writing, Sahni introduced readers to sources and strength that contributed to the radiant, charming personality of Balraj.
Jharokhe is a touching novel presenting the story of a small family. Sahni narrates the daily incidents happening in the family’s life through the eyes of a small child. Every incident leaves its impact on family’s children and shapes their future character.
With Basantii, Sahni narrates the story of a young village girl who has come to a big city with her family in hope of better life. However, with time, the problems in their life get bigger. The slums in the city where she lives are being removed to make space for colonies and big buildings. The novel captures the girl’s struggle of finding her way amid all the things happening around her.
Mansion or Mayyadas
The Mansion or Mayyadas tracks the history of a small town in Punjab that witnesses change in fortune and lives of the people over a period when old Khalsa Raj is defeated by British Rule. At the heart of the novel is the story of a mansion that witnesses the change in the pattern of lives over a period of 300 years.