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Punjabi writer, activist Satnam 'Jangalnama' commits suicide

Satnam-Jangalnama-PunjabPatiala, April 28, 2016 (Yes Punjab News)

Punjabi writer and left-wing (ML) activist Satnam who penned the famous 'Jangalnama' committed suicide at his house.

Satnam-Jangalnama-Book-Cover-pun1

 

According to initial information, Satnam, in his early sixties, took the extreme step Wednesday night. He hanged himself to death. Satnam who originally hailed from Amritsar was now living in Patiala alone. He is survived by his wife and a daughter. 

 

His original name was Gurmit Singh. However, he became known by his pen name Satnam, the name he acquired as his identity during his association with the left movement which he remained committed since the 1970s until the end of his life.

 

'Jangalnama' was his only book which he authored in Punjabi but was later translated in Hindi and English by Punjab journalist Vishav Bharti. While the Punjabi version was published in 2004, the English book was published in the year 2010.

 

The English version, titled 'Jangalnama - Travels in a Maoist Guerilla Zone' was published by renowned publishers the Penguin Books. 

The book was his close observation of the guerrillas and Adivasis of Bastar which presented deep insights in the lives of guerillas always on the move, always on guard, living in the jungles of Bastar. 

 

Satnam spent two months in remarkable intimacy with the guerrillas, travelling with them, sharing their food and shelter and experiencing their lives first hand. 

 

It became the first public account of the lives of Maoist guerrillas and activist, author Arundhati Roy who later visited the area reportedly said she became interested after reading 'Jangalnama'.

 

He had also translated an English novel by Howard Fast.

 

Sanjay Kak, paying tribute to the departed soul, today commented on his FB page, "Some would have known him as Satnam, the author of Jangalnama, that beautifully observed, and transparently partisan account of his travels in the Maoist guerrilla zone. Friends would have known him as Gurmit, a comrade till his end, a brilliant and courageous mind, and a gentle soul. He passed away in Patiala sometime early this morning, took himself away, perhaps. What we can be certain about is his inability to reconcile to the brutalities of our time, and our failure to do too much about them. Zindabad, Comrade!"

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