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1839, Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, one of
’s greatest rulers, died and his empire was plunged into
chaos. A decade later, weakened by internecine rivalry and
fell into the waiting hands of the British. The ruler who signed
away the kingdom and its treasures, including the famed
Koh-i-noor diamond, was an eleven-year-old boy, Duleep Singh,
the youngest of Ranjit Singh's acknowledged sons.
In this nuanced and poignant novel that draws upon true events, Navtej Sarna tells the unusual story of the last Maharaja of Punjab. As the British annexed his kingdom, Duleep was separated from his mother and his people, taken under British guardianship and converted to Christianity. At sixteen, he was transported to England to live the life of a country squire—an exile that he had been schooled to seek himself. But disillusionment with the treatment meted out to him and a late realization of his lost legacy turned Duleep into a rebel. He became a Sikh again and sought unsuccessfully to return to India and lead his people. Dragged into the murky politics of nineteenth-century Europe, depleted and vulnerable to deceit and ridicule, he died a lonely man in a cheap hotel room in Paris.
in Duleep Singh’s own voice, and the voices of four characters
based on his contemporaries, The Exile is a compelling and
deeply moving portrait of one of the most tragic figures of Sikh
and Indian history. It is, equally, an unsparing examination of
British imperialism, and the greed of the Indian princes that
"In [The Exile] Navtej Sarna Presents a gripping tragedy: a sordid tale of intrigue, treachery and cold-blooded murders that greeted the end of the Sikh Kingdom, and of the exile to England of its last Maharaja, Duleep
Singh...A dextrous mix of fact and fiction by a master storyteller that holds the reader spellbound to the last page."
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Weren't Lovers Like That
Sarna has published stories in magazines and
journals in India and the UK. This is his first
the begining of the new millennium, Aftab's life
came undone. He turned forty, and his wife left
him for another man, taking their son with her.
And now he is on a train to Dehradun, the town of
his childhood, doing the one thing he feels he is
still good at : running away. He has broken with
his imperfect past. It is his way of getting his
own back at the world.
With rare sensitivity Sarna's debut novel details
a life of missed opportunities and approximate
written, deeply-felt, introspective and evocative,
Sarna's first novel marks an auspicious
Sarna's shimmering meditation on love and loss
becomes a compelling journey through the haunted
landscapes of memory. "