Gandhi, Jinnah and Novels on Partition of India

Many novels have been written on partition on India. While stories differ, theme remains same- prior to partition Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were living in harmony, then partition was declared and situation changed, Muslims fell in love with League and enamoured with idea of Pakistan, while Hindus soon realised that partition was not a short term arrangement, and from citizens they had become unwanted guests. Muslims didn’t want Hindus and Sikhs in their “pure land”, while Hindus and Sikhs wanted to get rid of Muslims, so that their land could be given to refugees. People who suffered were those who had to leave their possessions overnight and flee to either India or Pakistan.


Transfer of population was not confined to just sane people, even insane were classified as per their religion. In Saadat Hasan Manto’s Toba Tek Singh, lunatics in Lahore’s asylum are divided into Hindus and Muslims for transfer of population. Bishan Singh a Sikh lunatic is to be transferred to India. But his village Toba Tek Singh is in Pakistan, so he refused to leave Pakistan and dies on the border of two countries.

toba tek singh

“There, behind barbed wire, was Hindustan. Here, behind the same kind of barbed wire, was Pakistan. In between, on that piece of ground that had no name, lay Toba Tek Singh”

-Saadat Hasan Manto in Toba Tek Singh

train to pakistan

Khuswant Singh’s novel “Train to Pakistan” deals with relations between Sikhs and Muslims in a village called Mano Majra in India. While Sikhs consider Muslims as their brothers, situation changes after train full of massacred Sikhs comes to Mano Majra, Sikhs now want Muslims to leave.

“Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started the killing. According to the Hindus, the Muslims were to blame. The fact is, both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped” 

-Khuswant Singh in Train to Pakistan

Unfortunately, the transfer of population was not smooth. British bureaucracy and army did nothing to handle the situation, they were keen to leave India and anyway, the problem was beyond their capacity.


“Yes, they (the British) are the real villains, they had let the country down, and they had let him down, he who put such faith in them”

-Chaman Nahal in Azadi

If British were incompetent then other two players Congress and League were no better.  So dynamics of transfer of population was left to people. People decided to do it in their own style- murders, rapes, looting etc. Thousands were killed or died during journey, women were kidnapped, raped and killed, and people lost their property- Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and Muslims in India.

In Chaman Nahal’s “Azadi” , the central character Lala Kanshi Ram is resident of Sialkot, he has a well settled business there and believes in Gandhi. He feels that Congress will prevent partition. But subsequent events show that Gandhi was helpless to prevent partition and killing of Hindus.

Lala also has great faith in British, but soon realises that they too are unable to do anything. From heroes they become villains.

“They are a nation which cannot be easily beaten, he thought. A handful of them have kept us under their feet for over two hundred years And now that Hitler too has met the same fate at their hands-An absolutely invincible race. Lala Kanshi Ram also praised the controlling power of the British rule and police officers.”

-Chaman Nahal in Azadi

Bhisam Sahni’s novel “Tamas” tell us about the modus operandi of starting riots. The principal character of novel Nathu is asked by Muslim to kill a pig, Nathu does it and gives it to someone and next morning the dead pig is found near mosque- riots start.


All novels cover these aspects of partition but some also comment on Gandhi and Jinnah through characters in their novels.


Bend in the Ganges is written by Manohar Malgonkar. The novel mainly focusses on the transformation of three young men—Gian Talwar, Debi Dayal and Shafi Usman—as a result of their involvement in the events of the years preceding and following the Partition of India.

bend in ganges

Gian is Gandhian and believes in non-violence whereas Debi and Shafi, members of a terrorist outfit called the “Freedom Fighters”, believe in violence. Shafi is critical of Gandhian style nonviolence.

“Freedom has to be won; it has to be won by sacrifice; by giving blood, not by giving up the good things of life and wearing white caps and going to jail. Look at America—the United States! They went to war. Turkey! Even our own Shivaji. Non-violence is the philosophy of sheep, a creed for cowards. It is the greatest danger to this country”

-Shafi Usman in Bend in the Ganges

Though three are friends, soon Shafi feels that Pakistan is a necessity for Muslims if they wish to live dignified life post independence.

“…We don’t want freedom if it means our living here as slaves of the Hindus. If we succeed in driving out the British, it is the Hindus who will inherit power. Then what happens to us? We are heading for a slavery far more degrading … struggling for it. That’s what Jinnah is worried about. That’s what all of us are worried about”

-Bend in Ganges

Another hard hitting novel on partition is Raj Gill’s “The Rape”.

Dalipjit, the hero of the novel, dislikes Gandhi for accepting the partition of the country. He dreams of shooting him and so later on the news of Gandhi’s assassination greatly agitates him and he does not believe it.

“How could Gandhi be shot dead? He was not living. I had shot Gandhi long back, years ago. They could not shoot a dead Gandhi. It was nonsense. He chuckled to himself in his unchallenged superiority over the men around him who were gullible enough to believe in someone’s claim who just craved the credit that he already held. He chuckled again and swam around gleefully in this ocean of warmth”.

-Raj Gill in The Rape

Dalipjit is in love with a Muslim girl Leila. While Leila is saved from Hindu mob, danger comes from within family; she gets raped by Dalipjit’s father.

“Ashes be on the head of such independence… they burn your houses, they take your women and they kill your women and they kill your children, and you call it independence. Making people homeless is independence!”

Raj Gill in The Rape

Authors mentioned so far are from India. It will be interesting to examine how Pakistani authors viewed partition. Bapsi Sidwa has written about partition in her book “Ice candy man”. It is about relationship between people of various religions in city of Lahore. Story is told by a young Parsi girl Lenny- central characters are Lenny’s eighteen years old maid Shanta and man who lusts for her, the Ice candy man.

ice candy man

But more interesting here is views of Bapsi Sidwa about Gandhi. Gandhi is no longer a great leader, but an expert on giving enemas.

“Flush your system with an enema, daughter…Look at these girls, says Gandhijee, indicating the lean women flanking him. I give them enemas myself there is no shame in it- I am like their mother you can see how smooth and moist their skin is look at their shining eyes! Flush your stomach! Your skin will bloom like roses.”

-Bapsi Sidwa in Ice Candy Man

Her character Lenny finds Gandhi clownish.

“Lenny fails to understand as to why people call him a saint. To her, he appears to be ‘half clown and half-demon’.”

-Bapsi Sidwa in Ice Candy Man


While critical of Gandhi, she has high regards for Jinnah.

“Within three months seven million Muslims and five million Hindus and Sikhs are uprooted in the largest and most terrible exchange of population known to history. The Punjab has been divided by the icy cards- sharks dealing out the land village by village, city by city, wheeling and dealing and doling out favors……..For now the tide is turned- and the Hindus are being avourd over the Muslims by the remnants of the Raj. Now that its objective to divide India is achieved, the British avour Nehru over Jinnah. Nehru is Kashmiri; they grant him Kashmir……they grant Nehru Gurdaspur and Pathankot, without which Muslim Kashmir cannot be secured. ”

-Bapsi Sidwa


While novels mentioned above deal with Punjab, Bengali film maker Ritwik Ghatak made three films – Meghe Dhaka Tara, Komal Gandhar and Subarnarekha , on condition of refugees who had to leave their home in East Pakistan ( now Bangladesh) and settle down in West Bengal.




Ismat Chughtai, Qurratulain Hyder and Amrita Pritam

 “Life is like a cake. It has layers (tiers) of memories. We keep the better ones on top.”

-Quratulaain Hyder

Three women novelist have left behind lot of literature on pre and post partition of India.

amrita pritam

Amrita Pritam born in 1919 was Punjabi. She wrote in Punjabi. Partition of India and subsequent communal riots had deep impact on her. She wrote sad poem on partition and fate of women during riots. Waris Shah was a Sufi Punjabi poet who wrote about a beautiful woman Heer and her futile attempt to marry her lover Ranjha.

Today, I call Waris Shah, “Speak from your grave,”

 And turn to the next page in your book of love,

 Once, a daughter of Punjab cried and you wrote an entire saga (i.e. Heer Ranjha),

 Today, a million daughters cry out to you, Waris Shah,

 Rise! O’ narrator of the grieving! Look at your Punjab,

 Today, fields are lined with corpses, and blood fills the Chenab.

-Amrita Pritam


She wrote novel on partition called Pinjar (Skeleton), it is about a Hindu girl called Puro, who is kidnapped (and later married) to Muslim called Rashid. It depicts helplessness of woman during partition. While Rashid helps her family to shift to India, she stays back in Pakistan and converts to Islam.

Amrita fell in love with Urdu poet Sahir Ludhianvi, but they never got married. She has written about her love for Sahir in her autobiography called Raseedi Ticket ( Revenue Stamp)

revenue stamp

“Posing for a picture of me at work, I was asked to sit and write on a paper with a pen in my hand. When I saw the paper later, I realised that absentmindedly I had written Sahir, Sahir, Sahir across the sheet”

-Amrita Pritam in her autobiography Raseedi Ticket

Ismat Chughtai (born in 1915) and Qurratulain Hyder ( born in 1927) were born in Uttar Pradesh and wrote in Urdu.


Ismat was feminist and a fearless writer. Her book “Lihaf” (Quilt) is about a lady Begam Jan and her husband Nawab, the story is told from perspective of nine years old girl who is niece of Begam Jan. The novel was banned because it dealt with subject of homosexuality and Ismat was asked to apologize. Ismat refused to apologize and won the case in Lahore court.

the quilt

“Women cook food Ismat. When you go to your in-laws what will you feed them?” he asked gently after the crisis was explained to him.

“If my husband is poor, then we will make khichdi and eat it and if he is rich, we will hire a cook,” I answered.

My father realised his daughter was a terror and that there wasn’t a thing he could do about it.”

 ― Ismat Chughtai

Ismat Chughtai wrote about partition in her book “Garam Hawa”, which is about Salim Mirza and his family, who decide to stay back in India instead of going to Pakistan.

gram hawa

Unlike Ismat Chughtai’s hero Salim Mirza, Qurratulain Hyder, also called Annie Appa by her friends, decided to shift to Pakistan after partition. But after spending some years in Pakistan, she decided to go back to India and took Indian citizenship.


During her stay in Pakistan she wrote novel called “Aag ka Darya” or River of Fire. Like “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez which deals with story of seven generations of the Buendía Family in the town of Macondo, Aag ka Darya covers period from Maurya to post partition of India. The novel has four characters, Gautam, Champa, Kamal and Cyril, who keep coming back in different historical periods in different avatars.

aag ka dariya

“It was the season of beerbahutis and rainclouds, some time in the 4th century B.C. In a cool grotto Gautam Nilamber, a final year student at the Forest University of Shravasti chances upon Hari Shankar, a princeling yearning to be a Buddhist monk. He falls in love with the beautiful, sharp-witted Champak.

And thus begins a magnificent tale that flows through Time, through Maghadhan Pataliputra, the Kingdom of Oudh, the British Raj, and into a Time of Independence. This fiery river of Time flows along the banks of their lives as they are reborn and recreated, weaving through twists and turns, the flows and eddies, keeping them together, keeping them apart.

-Publisher’s note on Quratulaain Hyder’s  Aag ka Dariya

Her work was criticised in Pakistan for showing Muslim as weak characters. Many Pakistani authors felt that while Quratulaain Hyder lived in Pakistan, her heart was always in India.

“I am unable to comprehend the decision to write Aag ka Darya while living in Pakistan. Right from the beginning to the end, the novel portrays Muslims as weak in their character and ideology. It is next to impossible to know what Qurratulain wants to say.

I believe although Kamaal migrates to Pakistan, he leaves his heart in India. Here he finds himself insecure. It is the Pakistan of 1957. Migrants do not feel themselves at home. They are living in this region but their minds go to their ancestral homes.

“Qurratulain Hyder excellently paints this spiritual vacuum. It appears that the same spiritual vacuum took her to India. Her [character] Kamaal Raza returns back after visiting India, but she was left there like her heroine Champa Ahmed.”

-Akhtar Zaman Khan in Chand Tabsiray


But main reason why Quratulaain Hyder left Pakistan was she did not like lack of freedom and censorship in Pakistan. She was not alone, other famous personalities like actress Begum Para, singer Bade Gulam Ali Khan and poet Sahir Ludhianvi (mentioned earlier as love interest of Amrita Pritam) too left Pakistan to take back their Indian citizenship.

  “‘So now one is not even allowed to bark.’ Annie was in pain.

“When I went on to explain the consequences of barking under the Martial Law Regulations, Annie’s eyes brimmed with tears. To hide the emotions, she put on a brave smile, sighed and pretended not to care, ‘Oh dear, who wants to bark every day; it is just a sense of being free to bark that matters.’

“I believe it was then and there that Qurratulain Hyder’s subconscious decided to quit Pakistan.”

– Qudrat ullah Shahab



Iris Chang, Nanking Massacre, Bataan March

Iris Chang was American journalist who wrote book called “The Rape of Nanking” on invasion of China by Japanese during Second World War. In 1937 Japan captured city of Nanking which was then capital of China. The invasion resulted in rape, loot and killing of citizens of Nanking. Thousands of people were killed and women were raped.


“Two Japanese soldiers have climbed over the garden wall and are about to break into our house. When I appear they give the excuse that they saw two Chinese soldiers climb over the wall. When I show them my party badge, they return the same way. In one of the houses in the narrow street behind my garden wall, a woman was raped, and then wounded in the neck with a bayonet. I managed to get an ambulance so we can take her to Kulou Hospital… Last night up to 1,000 women and girls are said to have been raped, about 100 girls at Ginling Girls’ College alone. You hear nothing but rape. If husbands or brothers intervene, they’re shot. What you hear and see on all sides is the brutality and bestiality of the Japanese soldiers”

-John Heinrich Detlev Rabe, German businessman in Nanking

Japanese army kept a contest for soldiers called “Kill 100 people with sword”. Two lieutenants won.


“Actually, I didn’t kill more than four or five people in hand-to hand combat… We’d face an enemy trench that we’d captured, and when we called out, ‘Ni, Lai-Lai!’ (You, come on!), the Chinese soldiers were so stupid, they’d rush toward us all at once. Then we’d line them up and cut them down, from one end of the line to the other. I was praised for having killed a hundred people; but actually, almost all of them were killed in this way. The two of us did have a contest, but afterward, I was often asked whether it was a big deal, and I said it was no big deal…”

-Tsuyoshi Noda, winner of contest to kill 100 people with sword

Unlike Nazi holocaust, atrocities on citizens of Nanking didn’t get much publicity. It was only after Iris Chang wrote this book, the awareness of Nanking massacre increased.

“The Rape of Nanking did not penetrate the world consciousness in the same manner as the Holocaust or Hiroshima because the victims themselves had remained silent.”

 ― Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking


John Rabe was a Nazi party member who was doing business in China. But Rabe was different from other party members. He played important role in saving lives of hundreds of Chinese, by protecting them from Japanese.

“Perhaps the most fascinating character to emerge from the history of the Rape of Nanking is the German businessman John Rabe. To most of the Chinese in the city, he was a hero, “the living Buddha of Nanking,” the legendary head of the International Safety Zone who saved hundreds of thousands of Chinese lives.”

 ― Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking

Iris Chang then started writing book on Bataan Death March.

Japanese invaded Philippines, and captured hundreds of Filipino and American prisoners of war.   On April 9, 1942 the prisoners were asked to march from province of Batan to province of Tarlac. The march went from Mariveles in Bataan, to San Fernando in Pampanga. From San Fernando, survivors were loaded to a box train and were brought to Camp O’Donnell in Capas in Tarlac. During this forced marched the prisoners were beaten and ill-treated, and hundreds died before reaching Camp O’Donnell.


“They were beaten, and they were starved as they marched. Those who fell were bayoneted. Some of those who fell were beheaded by Japanese officers who were practicing with their samurai swords from horseback. The Japanese culture at that time reflected the view that any warrior who surrendered had no honor; thus was not to be treated like a human being.”

-Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher, U.S. Representative on Batan March.


One of the survivors of Bataan death march was Filipino Indian Ramon Bagatsing, who later became Mayor of city of Manila.

Research related to books on Nanking massacre and Batang death march resulted in depression for Iris. Inspite of psychiatric treatment, things did not improve and Iris committed suicide on 9th November 2004. She was 36 years old.

“When you believe you have a future, you think in terms of generations and years. When you do not, you live not just by the day — but by the minute… Each breath is becoming difficult for me to take—the anxiety can be compared to drowning in an open sea. I know that my actions will transfer some of this pain to others, indeed those who love me the most. Please forgive me.”

-Suicide note by Iris Chang







Gallows Humour, Jews and Nazism

German language has two interesting words- schadenfreude and galgenhumour.

Schadenfreude is seeking pleasure at the misfortune of others, while galgenhumour is cynical humour that derives from stressful or traumatic situations.

Example of schadenfreude is when Second World War ended, some French women were accused of being Nazi collaborators and their hair were shaved, other women instead of helping them enjoyed their misery.


Jokes Jews told each other during holocaust are examples of galgenhumour.

In Treblinka, where a day’s food was some stale bread and a cup of rotting soup, one prisoner cautions a fellow inmate against gluttony. “Hey Moshe, don’t overeat. Think of us who will have to carry you.”

Another one is

“Two Jews are about to be shot. Suddenly the order comes to hang them instead. One says to the other “You see, they’re running out of bullets.”

During Nazism galgenhumour thrived due to treatment of Jews before and during Second World War. Many psychologists explain galgenhumour or gallows humour as coping mechanism used by Jews to survive atrocities of Nazis and terrible condition of concentration camp.


“When I was interviewed for Spielberg and they asked me, what I thought was the reason I survived, they probably expected me to answer good fortune or other things I said that I thought it was laughter and humour, not to take things the way we were living but to dress them up as something different. That was what helped me I wasn’t thinking about miracles and wasn’t thinking anything”

-Holocaust survivor

Jews had faced persecution for hundreds of years; it got severe under Nazis who wanted to eliminate Jews from this planet. This factor is directly linked to abundance of gallows humour among Jews.

“Gallows humour is an index of strength or morale on the part of oppressed peoples… it has historically been associated with the persecuted and condemned.”

-Antonin Obrdlik

Nazis did lot of experiments on Jews, one of them was to extract human fat to make soaps.

Two Jews meet in Warsaw and one of them is eating perfumed soap, the other asks: ‘Moyshe, why are you eating soap with such a scent’? He answers: ‘If they turn me into soap, I might as well smell nice’.


Nazis tried to portray Jews as rich people trying to control economy of world and in process weakening Germany of proud Aryans.

Rabbi Altmann and his secretary were sitting in a coffeehouse in Berlin in 1935. “Herr Altmann,” said his secretary, “I notice you’re reading Der Stürmer! I can’t understand why. A Nazi libel sheet! Are you some kind of masochist, or, God forbid, a self-hating Jew?”

“On the contrary, Frau Epstein. When I used to read the Jewish papers, all I learned about were pogroms, riots in Palestine, and assimilation in America. But now that I read Der Stürmer, I see so much more: that the Jews control all the banks, that we dominate in the arts, and that we’re on the verge of taking over the entire world. You know – it makes me feel a whole lot better!”

Even in Russia the situation was not very different. Treatment given to Jews in Russia and Ukraine was not very different from that in Germany.

During the days of oppression and poverty of the Russian shtetls ( Jewish ghetto) , one village had a rumour going around: a Christian girl was found murdered near their village. Fearing a pogrom, they gathered at the synagogue. Suddenly, the rabbi came running up, and cried, “Wonderful news! The murdered girl was Jewish!”

Situation was not very different after war ended.

As World War II ended, the advancing Russians came upon a town recently vacated by the retreating Germans. They went to the Jewish ghetto and found that every single Jew, man woman and child, had been hung from hastily erected gallows. As they stared in silence, one Russian soldier said to another, “Look what a horrible thing those barbaric Germans have done; they have hung every single Jew in town.” “Yes,” said the other, “it is terrible. They didn’t leave a single one for us to hang.”

Towards end of war Germany started losing their land to allied troops, humiliation of defeat and fear of future created gallows humour among Germans.

What will you do after the war?”

“I’ll finally go on a holiday and will take a trip round Greater Germany!”

“And what will you do in the afternoon?”



Magician, Alchemist and Song of Solomon

“It must be pointed out that just as the human body shows a common anatomy over and above all racial differences, so, too, the psyche possesses a common substratum transcending all differences in culture and consciousness. I have called this substratum the collective unconscious.”

-Carl Jung

Sigmund Freud was interested in unconscious mind- thoughts that are stored in some part of brain about which we are not aware while in conscious state; such thoughts creep into our conscious mind through dreams or Freudian slip. Carl Jung too believed in unconscious mind, but he believed that it is not at individual level but at collective level i.e. there are some things children all over the world are aware of ex. mother, father, child, devil, god, wise old man, wise old woman, the trickster, the hero. Jung called them archetypes. This perhaps explains universal appeal of Harry Potter novels.


Psychologist Carol Pearson and Hugh Marr designed a psychometric test based on archetypes to identify which archetype dominates your thinking, it is called The Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator. There are twelve such archetypes. One of them is magician.



Magician is one who believes in changing what happens by altering his own thoughts and behaviour. He believes in transformative, catalytic and healing power. He believes that he can transform reality by changing consciousness changing- what I think can change my reality.

They also believe that everything is interconnected and in transformation of lesser into better realities- whatever I need I can make it happen.

Such characters can be found in two novels- Alchemist by Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho and Song of Solomon by American novelist Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison won Noble Prize for her work.


Hero of Paulo Coelho’s novel is shepherd called Santiago, every time he sleeps under a sycamore tree that grows out of the ruins of a church, he has a dream, and in dream a child tells him that there is treasure at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids.


And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

 ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Santiago decides to follow his dream; he leaves Spain and goes to Egypt. During travel, he faces lot of hardships, but he also meets alchemist and a lady whom he falls in love.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure…The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

 ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

On reaching pyramids he starts digging at the foot of the pyramids, but finds nothing, there is no treasure. To make matters worse, two thieves beat him up. Santiago tells them about his dream, to which one of thief replies not to waste time on such dreams, as he too had a dream that there is some treasure buried in an abandoned church in Spain where a sycamore tree grows. Santiago now knows where treasure is buried.

Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked.

“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.”

 ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Santiago after coming back to Spain goes back to place where he had dream and finds treasure there.

Santiago is magician, who follows a dream, doesn’t give up and in process transforms himself.

toni morrison

The central character in Toni Morrison’s novel is Milkman Dead. Milkman is son of Ruth and Macon Junior. While Macon Jr. is ruthless and greedy, the female characters in novel love Milkman, these include, in addition to his mother, his sisters Corinthians and Magdalene, his cousin and lover Hagar, his aunt Pilate (sister of Macon Jr.)

song of soloman

You wanna fly; you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

 ― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Milkman like his father is selfish and doesn’t care for people who love him. He has a friend called Guitar, whose aim in life is to get rid of whites who he believes commit atrocities on Afro-Americans.

Father of Macon Jr. and Pilate was Macon, a landowner who was killed by whites to grab his land. Macon Jr. tells Milkman that Pilate has hidden gold in land of his father. Milkman decides to search for gold, so Milkman and Guitar reach land of Milkman’s grandfather, but don’t find any gold, instead find skeleton of Macon Dead Sr.

“He can’t value you more than you value yourself.”

 ― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Disappointed, Guitar decides to return, but Milkman is now interested in knowing about his family background, he decides to go to place called Shalimar, where Macon’s father lived. Before starting his journey he breaks his relationship with Hagar.

“You think because he doesn’t love you that you are worthless. You think because he doesn’t want you anymore that he is right- that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Hagar, don’t. It’s a bad word, ‘belong.’ Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn’t be like that.”

 ― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

On reaching Shalimar, he finds out that his grandfather’s real name was Jake. Jake was son of Solomon and Ryna. Solomon was an innovative person, he designed wings and using them he flew back to Africa to get out of life of slavery. He left behind Ryna who died heart broken. Jake married an Indian girl Sing, and had two children Macon and Pilate.

This discovery of his family roots transforms Milkman and he becomes more caring.

Milkman’s transformation takes place on reaching Shalimar, where he becomes aware of his roots, he hears children sing Solomon’s song; he also participates in rituals of men of Shalimar.

But novel ends with a tragic note with Hagar committing suicide and Pilate gets killed by Guitar (Guitar’s actual target was Milkman, who Guitar believes has found gold but is not sharing with him.)





Wayne Huizenga, Waste Management and Arthur Andersen

“There I was with no money, and had to run the business. That’s how it got started. But it wasn’t because I had a vision. It wasn’t because I wanted to be in the trucking business or the garbage business or anything like that. It just was a coincidence… “

-Wayne Huizenga


In 1968, Wayne Huizenga brought a garbage truck and started business of garbage hauling. Over a period of time he brought more trucks and also started acquiring other companies in similar business. His company Waste Management Inc. became a fortune 500 company.

“Our business team has been fortunate to be involved in more than one thousand deals, both buying and selling companies over the last forty years. During one nine-month period while we were building Waste Management, we bought one hundred companies. “

-Wayne Huizenga

Wayne Huizenga later moved to other businesses and made millions.


Decades earlier, an orphan called Arthur E Andersen was working as mail boy in day and attending school in night. He graduated from Kellogg School with degree in management. Later he became certified public accountant. In 1918 he started an audit firm called Arthur Andersen & Company.

“To preserve the integrity of the reports, the accountant must insist upon absolute independence of judgment and action”

-Arthur E Andersen


Auditors of Arthur Andersen were known for their expertise and honesty. Motto of organisation was “Think straight. Talk straight”.

“There was not enough money in the city of Chicago to make me approve the bad bookkeeping.”

-Arthur E Andersen


Arthur E Andersen died in 1947; Wayne then was 10 years old. By then Arthur Andersen has become one of the major audit firms of US.

During era of computerisation, Arthur Andersen became consultants to many organisation in area of automation of accounting system. Soon this practice became a major revenue earner for the company. Over a period of time the auditors started losing their importance and consultants started gaining importance. Consultancy was now not just confined to automation; they also gave advice on how to manage accounts. Many companies were hiring Arthur Andersen as consultants as well as auditors. This contradictory roles resulted in downfall of company. Now their employees were neither thinking straight, nor talking straight.


“If you were an auditor, you were relegated to second-class status. If you were a consultant, you were the top of the heap.”

-Harvey Kapnick, ex-employee, Arthur Andersen

Waste Management was on such company who had hired Arthur Andersen. The consultants helped them in committing accounting frauds to make company look more profitable. This could not go on for long, soon fraud was discovered and Arthur Andersen lost its reputation.

waste mgmt

Andersen was involved in some more scams- Worldcom, Sunbeam, Enron etc. Today Arthur Andersen is an insignificant company.