Bhupinder Singh Raina is a versatile writer in Punjabi, who has contributed eight novels and two dramas to Punjabi Literature. His journey with pen commenced at a very young age about fifty years before when he wrote his first novel Sadhran di Doli in 1973 followed by Dhuankhi dhup in 1976 along with two dramas Saver Hon Tak 1976 and Nirdhan ke palati in 1976 .
It is strange that his pen came to halt for about four decades putting him in oblivion in literary circles .But somehow his second venture started with more enthusiasm and his pen kept moving with surprising speed contributing one novel after another and he could get published those six novels in a span of less than three years. His novels Benam Rishtey, Ik Hor Luna, Adhe Adhoore, Nadi Te Nari are well acclaimed. His reprinted novel Dhuankhi dhup also fetched the attention of readers being written in a different form of letter writing .And now his novel Pap di Pand has been well received and created stir with encouraging reviews .
Being an ardent reader of Bhupinder Singh Raina’s novels I have observed that his novels are mostly focussed on women who are the creator of human life yet suffer a lot in our social set up. Mostly he presents woman as a strong character, struggling through the pitiable plight and atrocities of men and society yet emerging out stronger in love, in sacrifices, in exposing absurd state of affairs and finding a way out.But this novel ‘Pap di Pand’ is completely different focused on the weakness of a woman who is tempted by gifts and falls in sexual pleasure with Lala ji despite having two children of her own and living a life of comfort with her teacher husband and owner of land.
The story of the novel revolves around this incident and exposes various aspects of human psychology . The self respect and determination of Shinda, the son of Parkasho who caught his mother red handed with Lala ji is commendable.He didn’t reveal it to anyone but kept the burning in his heart .
He is firm and contented at his father’s killing Lala for the sake of his honour.His confidence to face the situation may not seem normal among the children of his age, but the author has created an exception to give momentum to the story with a message that there is power to overcome every situation in human mind. Shinda brings up his three years old sister with affection and care of mother and father under the guardianship of his uncle but doesn’t depend on his mercy and educates himself to be administrator in Indian Oil and his sister to be a doctor. While narrating, the author has mentioned small incidents reflecting their inner heart bondage of affection.
The author has juxtaposed the other side of the character of a woman against misguided and weak character of Parkash to reassure the readers that all women are not licentious. Surjit, the wife of Shinda suffers silently the suspicion created in her husband as the eyewitness of her mother’s immoral act. He is not ready to own his son as his wife conceived in a single togetherness.Surjit is supported by her father in law and sister in law Manjit. Surjit looks after her father in law and her son waiting for her husband to realize the truth .As there is always a sunshine after sunset , Manjit brought that sunshine with DNA test of Pammi her nephew ,proving that he was the son of Sharanjit her brother ,who accepts her being guilty conscious at the revealed truth.
The motive of the author in writing this novel is obvious that if a woman once tumbles down she tumbles out of life . That’s what happened with Parkash who had to leave Lala’s house after his murder and had no place to go.She grew old and neglected after being torn to shreds in her youth. Therefore she took refuge at Pingalwara at Amritsar .
The author has very well concluded the novel with mother’s death in son’s hand after confession of her blunder with a message that best place for a woman is her home with her husband and children. Outside that there is crowd of hawks chewing her flesh only.
In a way the author has tried to establish moral values and eulogise the Indian culture of monogamy with bondage of sincerity, trust , understanding and concern .The rural background in the novel with agriculturist family has given momentum to the events in novel as Mother Earth supported the struggle of Shinda in the absence of his parents .
The novel Pap di Pand is another captivating narration by Bhupinder Singh Raina with different aspects of woman’s character in different perspectives of life.
He deserves acclamation and congratulations for this novel . May his relentless journey of pen continue.I do expect his anthology of poems in near future .
(The author is a former Principal)