“This is the story of an ex­tra­or­di­nary and charis­matic leader whose teach­ings were mag­i­cal”

India Today - - SIMPLY PUNJABI - ■ by Ravneet Kaur

Aca­demic, ad­min­is­tra­tor and author Har­ish Dhillon’s, lat­est work is an at­temp to retelling the Janam Saakhis of Guru Nanak Dev. Q. Why is there a need to retell Janam Saakhis ?

A. I saw that most of the books per­tain­ing to sto­ries of Guru Nanak aimed at at­tract­ing buy­ers through il­lus­tra­tions, min­i­mal text and high­light­ing Guru Nanak Dev as a mag­i­cal be­ing. Through my book, I in­tend to share the story of an ex­tra­or­di­nary and charis­matic leader whose teach­ings were mag­i­cal. Q. Was it easy to retell those sto­ries? A. No. In fact it is more dif­fi­cult, es­pe­cially retelling the re­li­gious tales. I walk a tight rope here. There are very few facts and dates on which I can build the story of Guru Nanak Dev. Q. So what is your ver­sion of Janam Saakhis built on?

A. I have tried to build the sto­ries in the con­text of the so­cial con­di­tions of that time. Thus the Saakhi’s are in a way the ba­sis to de­ci­pher the un­der­pin­nings of the teach­ings of Guru Nanak Dev. His con­flict with his fa­ther, the visit to Haridwar and other jour­neys that he un­der­took have a ground­ing in his mes­sages that were trans­formed into hymns and verses later. Q. Are you writ­ing with a tar­get au­di­ence in mind?

A. Not re­ally. I love to write sto­ries in a way that are eas­ily com­pre­hendible by all. I never write a com­plex sen­tence or use un­fa­mil­iar words. I am a sto­ry­teller. My mo­tive is to en­ter­tain first. How­ever, if a reader learns any lessons or gains any kind of in­sight from my sto­ries then I am happy to have done more than my bit.

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