The banned poem ‘Khooni Vaisakhi’ on Jallianwala massacre to be now be published in English
Published: February 14, 2019
The poem ‘Khooni Vaisakhi’ was written by acclaimed Punjabi writer Nanak Singh on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, which was banned by the British after its publication in 1920. The poem was a scathing critique of the British Raj. Singh was present at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919. He was 22 years old at the time. As the British troops opened fire on the unarmed gathering protesting against the Rowlatt Act, killing hundreds, Singh fainted and his unconscious body was piled up among the corpses. After going through the traumatic experience, he proceeded to write “Khooni Vaisakhi”, a long poem that narrates the political events in the run-up to the massacre and its immediate aftermath. Its manuscript was subsequently lost. After long years, the poem has been rediscovered and now translated into English by the author’s grandson and diplomat, Navdeep Suri. It will be published by HarperCollins India next month to mark the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Nanak Singh (1897-1971) is widely regarded as the father of the Punjabi novel. With little formal education beyond the fourth grade, he wrote an astounding 59 books and received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1962.