I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale, Khushwant Singh's second novel, is set in Amritsar during the
height of India's freedom movement, when nationalists called upon the British to 'Quit India'. Sardar
Buta Singh, First Class Magistrate, a man whose family is known for its loyalty to the Raj, is close to
being nominated to the Queen's honours list that year. However, unknown to him, his son Sher Singh
has become the leader of a group of gun-wielding, anti- British revolutionaries. When the headman of
a nearby village, a police informer, goes missing, Sher Singh is arrested. If proved guilty of treason he
could be sentenced to death. A disgraced Buta Singh disowns his son in order to show his continuing
loyalty to the government, and his god-fearing wife Sabhrai turns to the Guru for guidance. The
kindly Deputy Commissioner, John Taylor, an Englishman who is sympathetic to Indians and
understands the family’s predicament, offers them two alternatives: Sher Singh can either betray his
comrades and save his life or else be hanged. Meanwhile, in Simla, Sher Singh's wife and sister are
involved in a parallel drama of their own with Madan, a revolutionary and a rake. A I Shall Not Hear
the Nightingale is widely acclaimed as Khushwant Singh's finest novel.
Back of the Book
Try to understand Zen through laughter, not through prayer. Try to understand Zen through flowers,
butterflies, sun, moon, children.
You are all Buddha - sleeping, dreaming, but you are Buddhas all the same. My function
is not to make Buddhas out of you, because you are already that, but just to help you remember it,
to remind you. That’s what enlightenment is… “Ah This”!
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