I was exposed to these terrifying tales as a child: Arjun Raj Gaind on going back to the 1984 pogrom and penning The Anatomy of Loss

The Anatomy of Loss is the latest novel by author Arjun Raj Gaind . The novel takes place in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star in 1984 .

This year, author Arjun Raj Gaind returns with his latest novel The Anatomy of Loss.The novel takes place in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star in 1984, which resulted in social unrest in Punjab and the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.The story follows Himmat Singh, the protagonist, as he tries to cope with his childhood traumas and identity.Author Arjun Raj Gaind discusses his inspiration for writing this story, his research process, writing, and other topics in this interview with us.

It's about 40 years ago now.I wrote the first draft of The Anatomy of Death in my mid-twenties.It was a journey to find out what my ancestorry and cultural identity were like, as well as to see what it really meant to be Punjabi.It was also an attempt to face the horrors we'd all seen during the turbulent year, both physically and indirectly.

Though the novel was only acquired once, not twice, it was also beneficial to me as a writer that it never made it to print.Now, nearly two and a half decades later, I think I have the perspective and maturity to begin to see and, more importantly, accept the events of 1984.After all these years, my primary desire was to rethink my earlier draft and shepherd it into print, and that same sense of perspective was my primary motivation.For me, the process of editing and publishing the book became a form of expiation, of meditation, the logical conclusion to the journey I had begun so many years earlier.

Tell us about your writing process for this book, and how did you strike a balance between facts and fiction.The Anatomy of Death is a story about a young mans coming of age set against a period of significant socioeconomic and political turmoil.It is more about the journey from childhood to adulthood than about politics, and it aspires to discuss how we each wrestle with our personal demons and preconceived assumptions, as well as how our family irreversibly shapes the people we become as adults.Although some of the events in The Anatomy of Death are based on personal accounts, the bulk of them are based on the oral histories of relatives, friends, and classmates who were engulfed by the 1984 pandemonium.

para How long did it take you to write this book?What were the difficulties involved in writing this book?As I mentioned, it took more than 20 years for this book to be published.When I first wrote the manuscript, I thought it was a straightforward process, but it was more difficult to finish.

I eventually reduced the book from a mammoth 500+ pages to its current slim shape, thanks in no small part to my wonderful wife Masumeh, who is a superb editor.I took out acres of fine, descriptive writing.In addition, the original draft contained a great deal of adolescent angst, self-indulgent scream that made me cringe when I revisited it.I've found that pretty writing and effective writing clash a lot, and that is one of the most difficult decisions a writer must make.

As a child, I thought that good writing was about pyrotechnics, but now I am committed to simplicity.I think a tale that is originally and honestly told will always be more entertaining and entertaining.Good writing should always burn with a hard, gemlike flame, as Walter Pater says.For me, the greatest challenge was to strike a balance between story and didacticism.

Also, it is difficult to separate melodrama from drama, especially as a Punjabi person, and that was something I had to do for a long time to keep the story interesting and from becoming overwrought and overworked.para This is essentially a coming-of-age story about Himmat, the protagonist, as he comes to terms with his 1984 traumas.Do you think revisiting the past helps you move forward in life?How can writing assist in such situations?

Parts of it were political, parts of it were religious, but I think the most important component was fear.According to my conversations with scholars, the key catalyst for Punjabi secessionism was rooted in generations of festering resentment.Punjabism suffered a justed sense of disenfranchisement by the population.They had been devastated during Partition and then again as a result of the states' division.

Violence isn't a cure for social decay, and all it does is, as it did in Punjab in the 1980s, is to spark a whole new array of challenges, which have repercussions today.I believe that aside from a sense of shared history and antecedence, the thing that unites Indians, regardless of race, creed, or faith, is a sense of shared pain.I believe that before we can completely overcome the tragedy of the past, we must first try to comprehend its origins and causes.Hate only leads to more hatred, and while we must always remember, we must also learn to forgive.

After all, those who cannot learn from the experience are not permitted to repeat the same mistakes, according to Edmund Burke.para Have you read other books about the aftermath of the 1984 murder of Mrs. Gandhi?Which are your favourite books on this topic or those that have left a lasting impression on you?It's shocking how few books have been published about this event or the event itself, considering the fact that they are both crucial moments in India's history.

I also scoured a slew of primary sources, including newspapers and magazines from 1984.Nonetheless, a great deal of my research came in the form of interviews with people who had endured and survived the conflict themselves.I compiled nearly thirty interviews, which originally aimed to produce a book of oral histories, but I decided to turn it into a book instead.I took a lot of time and effort to recreate the same smooth sequence of events that Louis Malle achieved so effortlessly in a French film called Au Revoir les Enfants, and I took a lot of time and effort into it.

What excites you the most about writing?And why?It's a very difficult issue, like asking a parent to choose between their children.Each genre is satisfying to me in a different way.

Mysteries are a blast to write, and it's gratifying when you weave a story so complicated that your readers are unable to anticipate the revelation.Literary fiction is incredibly cathartic, and there are few things more fulfilling than simply allowing the words to pour out of you onto a blank page without worrying about commercial concerns.I'm trying to finish a short dystopian novel set in near-future India recently, and I'm particularly drawn to science fiction as a genre.para What are your next steps?

The first is a graphic novel about Indian Speculative Fiction called Third Eye, which I have edited for Graphic India.The second instalment of my Maharaja Mysteries, The Missing Memsahib, is long overdue for publication.The third book, which is my first non-fiction book, will be published sometime next year.CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION On Amitabh Bachchan's book recommendations.