"Discovery of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s pistol has been the defining moment in 22 years of my care



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jupinderjit Singh is an award winning journalist, writer and author based in Chandigarh, Punjab. This is his third book. He earlier co-authored, Justice for Jassi, a book based on real-life honour killing of Canadian born Indian girl, Jassi, in Punjab. Recently, he has authored, Years later… on Facebook, an anthology of short –stories and Middles. He is a Prem Bhatia Young Journalist Awardee in 2005 for his news-stories and research on the “Changing Demography of Punjab vis-à-vis the inflow of migrants from eastern and central states to Punjab and outflow of Punjabis’ to western countries” in 2005. He is also a Fellow with the Centre for Science and Environment on Forest Rights for the Tribal in Jammu and Kashmir.

INTERVIEW:

Q. Characterize yourself in one word?

Playful-seeker

Q. Please describe what the story/book is about in one sentence.

The book is about my discovery of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s pistol, lost for 85 years, and his unique and unsung preaching of non-violence.

Q. Briefly, what led up to this book? What were you writing (and getting published, if applicable) before breaking out with this book?

I never imagined I would be writing a book on Shaheed Bhagat Singh one day. I thought myself as someone who would be writing mainly on love, in all its beauty and fall. But then… can any love be higher than the love for one’s motherland…and those great heroes who laid down their lives for this love?

I had earlier penned a book on a true Honour Killing case of a Canadian born Indian girl, Jaswinder Kaur Jassi. She was killed in June 2000 near Malerkotla for daring to chose her life partner.

When I began writing the book on Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s missing pistol, I had just finished compiling an anthology of short-stories and Middles. The anthology was published under the title- Years later...on Facebook in January this year.

I wrote the book -Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s pistol and his Ahimsa-in a week only. But the research took more than a year. However, the idea of this book developed soon after I discovered the lost pistol of the great martyr in November 2016. Bhagat Singh had used it to kill a British Police Officer J. P. Saunders at Lahore in 1928. The last written record of the pistol was in 1931 when a Lahore court handed over it to police for safe keep.

But even though my mission in finding the pistol was accomplished, there was something still missing about the relevance of it all. I noticed Bhagat Singh never used this or any other weapon again in his life to kill someone. Why didn’t he? Was there a transition in him on how to achieve freedom for the country?

Q. What has been your biggest achievement?

The discovery of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s pistol has been the defining moment in nearly 22 years of my career as a journalist. I have had several moments that have given me a sense of achievement but none has given me satisfaction and recognition like the discovery of the pistol.


Q. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?

The journey of discovering the pistol as well as writing the book about it would not have been possible without the training and skills learnt over the years as an investigative journalist. The journey also became a deeper learning experience on how to have contacts at right places and how to win over adversaries posted at key positions for achieving your aim. I learnt never to give up. Just when I thought the research had hit a dead end, I found a new opening to move ahead.

Q. Did you have a platform in place? On this topic, what are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?

As this is my third book, I think I had the right platform on social media and among book lovers. However, this platform appeared quite small soon. It is here that I look forward to platforms like the Salismania.com, as they seem to offer a bigger platform to talk about one’s books.

Q. Favorite novel?

It is not possible to enlist just one. But surely on the top is Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Maddison County. Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha also inspired me a lot and so did books of Poele Coehlo, Khushwant Singh(especially his fiction novel-Burial at sea), William Dalrymple, Isabel Allende, Jhumpa Lahiri and Chitra Banerjee Divakurani and Elif Shafak besides Indian writers like Amrita Pritam, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Ninder Ghugianvi and Mohan Rakesh among Hindi writers.

Q. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I think I am an open book. I would rather let people find something unknown about me and get surprised!

Q. Future of Salismania.com through your eyes?

Salismania.com has already scaled virgin heights. It seems to be growing rapidly and carving a niche not just for itself but for others digital media platforms to look up to.

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