Writing on man-woman relationships so convincingly makes Punjabi writer Kartar Singh Duggal occupy a distinct place in Indian literature.
He tries to delve deep into women’s psyche and brings out rather untouched emotions to the fore related to their unrealised dreams, desires and longingness.
Here is one such story penned by KS Duggal,set in Lahore: Dhoya Hoyia Buha (Closed Door).
Durdana, a Muslim League supporter, ranted against Hindu’s dominance in undivided India at the top of her voice. But presence of her neigbhour Ashok would make her struggle for words.
Ashok was liked by her husband and her daughter and they lived in Lahore. Even though she wanted Pakistan to be created at any cost, when she heard of a riot in Ashok’s village, she used her clout to ensure that his parents are not harmed..
So when Ashok has to leave for Delhi on an official visit, she gets disturbed. Ashok will be back in Lahore in a day or two, her husband tries to assure her. But politically aware lady knew that this was not going to happen.
The day Ashok has to leave for Delhi, she helps him in packing his luggage as Ashok took care of her daughter. With her husband, she goes in their car to the railway station also.
Her eyes get wet as Ashok leaves Lahore. Pakistan was going to be created soon, but she was not happy. Ashok will not come back to Lahore, she was sure of it!
For any romantic literary creation to hog limelight, it must have content which may , while keeping freshness and genuineness of situations and characters, also bring forth complexities of a relationship into light..
Here is one of his popular stories- Bhabi Jaan in brief presented through a letter that main female protagonist writes to wife of the man whom she loved dearly but couldn’t express her feelings:
“Dear Poonam, I am sure Bharat has given this name to U. I am Roshni. Bharat was our immediate neighbour at Hyderabad.
My husband, two daughters and I were fond of him. He called me Bhabi Jaan. I responded him in same way.
I am sending you cloth for loose fitting Salwar and Kameez as gift on your marriage. You get it stitched. I will pay for the expenses.
Bharat has taken pics of me in the same outfit. He appreciated me a lot whenever he saw me in this dress.
I remember he came to us one morning and invited for dinner on his birthday. When he found me without my beautiful pendants, he stressed to know where it was.
We were going through financial crunch then and my husband had mortgaged it for needed money. He immediately went to money- lender, paid money and brought pendants back.
I went to dinner on his birthday wearing same salwar-kameez and pendants. I am sending you the pendants too. You are very fortunate to have husband like Bharat. May God bless your married life — Roshni.”
There are many other stories as well which every reader would like to go through again and again.
This collection of Kartar Singh Duggal ‘s Punjabi Stories in English translation has been brought out by National Book Trust India, Ministry of Education, Government of India.