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I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale
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I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  450 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale is a colorful and moving pageant of an ancient people about to throw off the yoke of foreign rule. Essentially, it is the story of Buta Singh, a shrewd and wily official working with the British, and of Sher Singh, his vain and ambitious son driven to rebellion against the foreign master. It is also the story of the women of the family—Cham ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published September 15th 2004 by Viking India (first published 1959)
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Gorab Jain
Jun 26, 2016 Gorab Jain rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian, 2016
A masterpiece of simple narration by Khushwant uncle. Set in 1942-43 Punjab with a Sikh family facing multiple dilemmas. Father Buta Singh, being a very loyal magistrate of British, having conflicting ideologies with his son Sher Singh, being a youth rebellion leader against the British. All other family members are also great characters, each with his or her own individuality and each reacting differently to the same situation.

Like in Train to Pakistan, the title of this book also makes an impa
Tushar Rastogi
May 09, 2014 Tushar Rastogi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I shall Not Hear the Nightingale
After a very long time i have read such fine novelty by Late. Mr. Khushwant Singh. One of the finest stories i have read so far told with such ease and simplicity. What a writer, what command over the language, bluntness, openness, situations, characters, narration and spellbinding story telling.

The novel was all set to convey the story of a family where each family member have got their own independent thinking a
Dec 14, 2014 Lester rated it really liked it
This is a bitter-sweet tale of a Sikh family struggling to come to terms with the decline of the Raj in the Punjab. Like other books from Singh, he has chosen this time in history to good effect, as it was a time of turbulence, where Sikh, Hindu and Muslim began to feel less united than ever, and yet were unsure as to whether they were united against the British. At the same time, loyal subjects to the Raj (in this case, a Sikh magistrate) who were respected but also potentially reviled by their ...more
Mar 06, 2016 Aravind rated it really liked it
In my limited exposure to works of Indian writers, I can safely state that there is nobody like Khushwant Singh. His flowing language and gripping narrative make the most commonplace of stories memorable. This one, in spite of its somewhat loose plot, touches the reader's heart due to the sheer brilliance of the author. In so little a number of pages, he has told the story of an era through characters that are well etched out, and dialogues that are very sharp. A true winner from the master!
Suraj Das
Sep 26, 2014 Suraj Das rated it really liked it
A fine display of the human fallibility during independence and which even stands true today. Khushwant Singh, novel well describes the basic nature of humanity in its primitive form, in an uncomplicated way.
John Eliot
Jul 06, 2016 John Eliot rated it it was amazing
I hadn't heard of Kushwant Singh until I recently visited India. This is an excellent novel. A great story telling of British occupation of India during the Second World War. For those interested in history, broadening their knowledge about religion and having a good story, this is a must read.
Ramneet Kaur
Dec 02, 2016 Ramneet Kaur rated it it was ok
The book has all elements typical to any Khushwant Singh novel. However, the story seems to be very loosely tied together. only in the end does it gain momentum. A simple story has been made long by inclusion of unnecessary description of small stories within the main story. The writer fails to grasp the emotional content of readers. Khushwant Singh has tried to portray the spiritual connection of main character and her implication on the people around. But it is visible only in the last few ...more
Jun 18, 2014 Athira rated it really liked it
Khushwant Singh apparently needs no introduction to an average Indian and his manner of constructing an Indian sensibility has got few parallels. The book sketches out a panoramic view of British India, close to its end of colonialism. The central characters include Buta Singh, a faithful Government servant, caught between loyalty for the British Raj and the new ideals of freedom and independence, which in fact are represented by his ow son, Sher Singh. Making up the picture, we have Sabhrai, ...more
Chinmay Hota
Aug 23, 2016 Chinmay Hota rated it really liked it
The book depicts the Indian family and society caught in the whirlwind of rapid change brought about by the nationalist movement and a high-strung British administration. The year is 1942 and freedom struggle is at its climax while the British are pushed to the wall in their WW II war effort. Values such as loyalty, patriotism, courage and integrity are now subject to deep scrutiny, and it is obvious that moral dilemmas come to the fore as individuals confront decisive moments of their lives.

Sagar Shirodkar
Dec 03, 2015 Sagar Shirodkar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My First read of Khushwant Singh in the form of "I shall not hear the nightingale".
I regret why I took so long to start with his books.

This is a story dating to the pre-independence era consisting of a high class Punjabi family serving as
loyal officers to the British Dynasty for as good as 3 generations with Buta Singh as juggling his roles of the family head and the Judge in the British Raj. His wife Sabhrai a typical religious home maker , however surprisingly she does dominate the climax of
Sachit Sehgal
Mar 01, 2015 Sachit Sehgal rated it really liked it
I would say 3.5 stars

I read this book instantly after finishing Train to Pakistan. It is a completely different kind of work, where
Train to Pakistan stood out because of Khushwant Singh's deep insight into the psychology of Indians during Partition, This novel stands out because of the way it approaches the pre-independence era. The writing is powerful to the extent that you feel you can understand what the character are going through. The best part is the way it shows the conundrum Indians, sp
Sep 07, 2016 JUST SOMEONE rated it it was ok
A story that portrays the life of a normal household in Punjab during partition. Well, it's not that normal. The book comprises of - A man who serves the British and only looks forward to his promotion, although a very honest serviceman; his wife who is a typical housewife and extremely religious; his son who is a political representative in his university and his daughter who is still studying. The book revolves around the lives of these people wherein the man supports the British rule while ...more
Mar 26, 2013 Ymazing rated it really liked it
Steller portrayal of the pre independence affluent families - their values, priorities, outlook and lifestyle in 1940s - their allegiance to the British ( for material progress ) without loosing face within local community ( to maintain social ties) strikes me as a huge insight into the Our Indian mindset and social values of that era
So well written - so reminiscent of an India that existed before Sheila and Munni took over
A must read
Khushwant Singh is absolutely brilliant!
An Open minded and h
Sonia Dhami
Apr 09, 2015 Sonia Dhami rated it liked it
Like some movies that are character driven and have no specific story, so can be novels. They might not have a story in particular but something special to say by the events that happen in the life of characters and how their life develops or deteriorates. Such novels are basically emotional sort of stories that tell about human emotions and that sort of soft values.
Sep 03, 2014 Helen rated it liked it
This little book, purchased in India in 1970 for 5 rupees, surfaced when I was cleaning out my books from my childhood home. It is worthy of a "re-read."

Kushwant Singh is most famous for his Train to Pakistan and this book also is set around the tumultuous end of the British Raj. It tells the story of a Punjabi Sikh family, the father loyal to the British and the son, a Nationalist.
Jatinder Pal Singh Sandhu
Feb 06, 2015 Jatinder Pal Singh Sandhu rated it it was amazing
khushwant singh was great write with his majestic ability to represent a simple storyline as epic genius work. This novel is full of family emotions and most of the chapter are set according to the sikh calendar starting with Basakhi (new year) along with passage from Guru Grant sahib for each season.
Mohsin Reza
Sep 10, 2014 Mohsin Reza rated it liked it
Liked this book. Especially the character development. Some dissatisfaction prevailed while reading because of some loose story orientation. When Sher Sing was arrested then there should have some reactions of his friends but there was none. Nonetheless it was a fine book to read. Sabhrai the character I liked most.
Tamanjit Bindra
Dec 24, 2014 Tamanjit Bindra rated it liked it
Shelves: indian-fiction
the plot for me starts in one place and ends in the other end of the world taking many detours in the way. Khushwant Singh (god bless his soul) tends to do a lot with the plot. He manages to engage to certain extent, but then loses his way in between. The ending is disappointing though unpredictable.
Jan 12, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it
My first time reading Singh. The characters of the book were well-drawn in their flaws, and the setting - the height of India's freedom movement - is fascinating. Read this in a single sitting, unexpectedly drawn into the (bleak) world Singh painted.
Anant Bhatti
May 10, 2013 Anant Bhatti rated it it was ok
I felt it somewhat incomplete as I was hoping for an episode between Sher Singh, Champak and Beena for what happened in Shimla. But that never came up.

Apart from this, Khushwant Singh always leaves one fascinating with his writing.
Nov 30, 2013 Prateek rated it really liked it
The plot is little weak and predictable.

But when it comes to the character of Sarbhai, Khushwant Singh has surely done a good job in capturing the usual flooded love of an Indian mother for her children.
Apr 28, 2014 Subu rated it really liked it
Absolutely stunning...i cannot beleive indian literature has disintegerated from novels like this to the hopeless things that are peddled these days.

This is one of the coolest books i have read. So much is said in simple's wonderful.
May 28, 2014 readermaverick rated it really liked it
Very well written story of a family in pre-independence India, depicting the moral dilemma of choosing between loyalty to the British Government as an official, and responding to the urge for revolution.
Sachin Kamboj
Apr 30, 2015 Sachin Kamboj rated it liked it
As Khushwant Singh style which keeps you indulge in the story, which proceeds slowly-slowly and also amuses you time to time with amorous feelings.
Shashi bhushan
Dec 09, 2012 Shashi bhushan rated it really liked it
Shelves: khushwant
a book which narrates the story of a fine family with their interest so varying but at last conclusive in a way that they wants to be in a family that protects even they are not trust worthy
Dec 04, 2010 Lydia rated it really liked it
This book is so beautiful and lyrical. I am awed. I wonder how close it is to the reality of the time - I'm very much interested in the time of the British Raj and its aftermath.
Apr 26, 2013 Irfan rated it it was amazing
Why this dude isn't well known outside India and perhaps the UK beats me. He is funny and irreverent. Vivid characters.
Ck Vinod
Mar 30, 2013 Ck Vinod rated it really liked it
An excellent account of why devotion triumphs in the hours of adversity. To me, the character of Sabhrai appealed the mist. A rare mixture of purity in soul and deed. Thanks KS.
Mar 15, 2015 Manu rated it really liked it
This is the first time an Indian novel brought tears to my eyes. Simple but beautifully narrated story.
Dhruv Bhandula
A simple but strongly written tale of pre-independence era. Strongly written characters with shades of grey in almost every written. Very realistic characters with whom you can easily relate with.
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Khushwant Singh, (Punjabi: ਖੁਸਵੰਤ ਸਿੰਘ, Hindi: खुशवंत सिंह) born on 2 February 1915 in Hadali, British India, now a part of Punjab, Pakistan, was a prominent Indian novelist and journalist. Singh's weekly column, "With Malice towards One and All", carried by several Indian newspapers, was among the most widely-read columns in the country.

An important post-colonial novelist writing in English, Sing
More about Khushwant Singh...

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“To know India and her peoples, one has to know the monsoon. one has to know the monsoon. It is not enough to read about it in books, or see it on the cinema screen, or hear someone talk about it. It has to be a personal experience because nothing short of living through it can fully convey all it means to a people for whom it is not only the source of life, but also their most exciting impact with nature.” 1 likes
“What the four seasons of the year mean to the European, the one season of monsoon means to the Indian.” 0 likes
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