A Fine Family

Fine Family (Hindi)

A Fine Family
ISBN: 9780140122589
Publisher: Penguin Books India

Kahani Ek Parivar Ki
ISBN: 0-14-400158-6 (Hindi edition)
Publisher: Penguin Books India

A Fine family is the extraordinary chronicle "rich in passion and incident" of several generations of a Punjabi family. Bauji, a successful lawyer in Lyallpur (now in Pakistan) is forced to flee to India by the violence and instability unleashed by Partition. Bauji has lost everything in the transition, and when his daughter Tara gives birth to a son, Arjun, everyone's hopes are pinned on the child to revive the family's fortunes in an independent India. Together the voices of the various generations tell the story of a fine family and a great country as both struggle to build a new fortune in difficult circumstances.


Editorial Review From Publishers Weekly (Source: Amazon)

This novel set in India is the story of three generations of one family in the midst of a radically transforming world. The head of the household, Bauji, is a prominent lawyer in Lyallpur; he has a distaste for the "bazaar politics" of Mahatma Gandhi and believes in the British system of justice. Bauji is concerned about his favorite daughter, Tara, who chooses to work as a schoolteacher, much to her disadvantage in the marriage market. In 1947, when India gains its independence from Britain, violence breaks out in Lyallpur, situated in the newly created Muslim country of Pakistan. Bauji, his family and millions of non-Muslim Indians are forced to migrate, and thousands are left homeless, raped or dead. After the move, Tara, recently married, gives birth to a son, Arjun, who becomes the hope and the future for the dynasty in the new India. Giving each of the generations its distinct viewpoint, Das sensitively portrays both the life of a clan and a nation reluctantly, painfully, and, in the end, triumphantly adapting to change. First-novelist Das is a playwright and a professional manager of Procter & Gamble India in Bombay.

Customer Reviews (Source: Amazon)

A Remarkable Tale, January 3, 2003 By Udyan Khanna:
This is a remarkable book on Indian urban middle class. Indian urban middle class is one that has lost the most as they expected a lot from democratic India born out of the British Empire. The class of Indian society has given more than it has been rewarded but still, they are eternally hopeful. This book traces one such `khatri' family through World War I, the Rowlatt Act of 1919, the softening of British Empire, the Quit India Movement, the error of Gandhi and his time in jail, rise of Jinnah and the two nation theory, Lord Mountbatten and the Radcliffe Line, the ensuing riots/genocide on both sides of the border, the perceived loss of Hindu's, idealistic dreamer named Nehru, Indo-China ties, the rise of the Indian bureaucrats, the convoluted democracy led in succession by Nehru family, tyranny of Indira Gandhi, Sanjay inspired emergency and search for spirituality among the new Indian middle class.

Gurcharan Das relates the life of Bauji, a `khatri' lawyer from East Punjab who represented the pre-independence progressive Indians. The ones, who used education to further the development of their people, who will lead India from freedom to glory. But Bauji got caught on the wrong side of the Radcliffe Line and did not believe that his countrymen will turn the joyous occasion of their freedom to one of the most hateful episode of communal riots in the modern history. Like many other unfortunate but brave souls with similar experience, Bauji builds his life again in free India, better life than his more fortunate countrymen. Alas, he finds out that the country he dreamed about is being run as an inefficiency and bad politics. His grandson, Arjun, carries his torch of middle class honesty, stubborn sense of justice and good-natured industry. The boundaries of a rigid Hindu society are extended by these bold, sensuous `khatri' males.

I hope some day; all Indians are literate to read books like these. So that we can hang our head in shame for religion based politics and riots. This will stop politicians, from asking us to be Hindus, Tamil, Muslim, etc., before being human.

A family tragedy - full of suspence, November 28, 2003 By vw:
The story of three generations of a family in a drastically changing world. A prominent lawyer in Lyallpur than India, now Pakistan is drawn into the upheveal that comes with the creation of a new nation. Even more his daughter, Tara, who prefers to work as a schoolteacher, not quite the profession of a member of an upper class family. When India gains independence from Britain in 1947 Lyallpur becomes part of the new Muslim country of Pakistan. This family and millions of non-Muslim Indians must emigrate and adapt to a complete change in lifestyle. Can this story, so typical for the 20th century come to a happy end? Find out for yourself.