Geneva, Shimla, Paris, Moscow, Delhi and Bombay. Sarna in his new book winter evenings, released recently by external affairs minister Salman Khurshid, narrates how everyday people find or lose their way in life quietly, almost by accident. The other stories include the ghosts of partition return in 1984 to destroy the equilibrium of a tough Sikh matriarch, and an ageing widow finding freedom and peace in poetry.
“Navtej Sarna’s stories are keenly observed vignettes of ordinary lives, told with profound empathy, a keen eye for the telling detail, and economy of style”, says minister Shashi Tharoor.
A commerce and law student from the University of Delhi, Sarna is currently India’s Ambassador to Israel. Earlier, he had worked in Indian missions in Moscow, Warsaw, Thimphu, Geneva, Tehran and Washington DC. Most people remember him for his stint in Delhi when he was the spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs.
It’s however not the first time Sarna has experimented with literary adventure. His novel The Exile based on the life of Maharaja Duleep Singh was published by Penguin India in 2008. His other works included Folk Tales of Poland (1991), and We Weren’t Lovers Like That, a novel (2003) which was translated into Hindi and Arabic.
Any future literary venture? Yes, Sarna is completing The Zafarnama, a translation from Persian to English of Guru Gobind Singh’s letter to Aurungzeb.
With the concurrence of the governments of Bihar and Karnataka, the Central government has transferred Ramandeep Chowdhary, a 2008 batch Bihar cadre IAS from Bihar cadre to Karnataka cadre on the ground of marriage to Ms Khushboo Goel, a 2008 batch Karnataka cadre IAS.