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The Wheel Of Surya
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If You Had to Choose, What would you do?
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Tuntuni’s Tales – Retold
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The Wheel Of Surya
Author - Jamila Gavin

A brother and sister set out on a daunting task- they have to find their father about whom they know nothing except that he lives somewhere in England. The Wheel of Surya is a story about Marvinder who is about 13 and her brother Jaspal about 10. The setting is in 1947, during partition and India’s independence. It is a time of turbulence and civil war and Punjab is badly affected, as the people do not know whether they will belong to India or Pakistan.
After losing their family and village in the riots Marvinder and Jaspal set off with their mother, Jhoti for Bombay. They plan to get on a ship sailing to England where they hope to find their father Govind. With an old frayed photograph and a few rupees, the children have a traumatic journey first on the train and then on the ship, which takes them to England. They lose their mother tragically in a crowded railway station and have to make the perilous journey to England by themselves.
Many adventures and hardships later, they land on the shores of England only to find that this was not the Father they see is not the father they remember. The story comes full circle when Marvinder is reunited with friends she knew long ago in India.
The Wheel of Surya written by Jamila Gavin was the runner up for the 1993 Guardian Newspaper Children’s Fiction Award. The author was born in India at the foothills of the Himalayas . Many of her books are set in both, Engalnd and India, and she says that, “…although it is sometimes expected that people like me will be confused or torn between two very different cultures, I was brought up to value and admire my dual inheritance and I only feel enriched.'

Excerpt :
Jaspal and Marvinder had to force their bodies backwards to avoid being pushed on to the track and under the wheels. With the cruel selfishness of desperate people, there was laughing and fighting to get some kind of foothold.
Jaspal and Marvinder found themselves swept away and shoved onto the train, but with such ferocity that they couldn’t look back to see what had happened to their mother and grandmother.
“Ma, Ma!” Marvinder began to scream with panic.
Jaspal struggled to a window. The train began to move again, very, very slowly, as if overburdened with the weight of humanity.

Book Facts
Published By: Egmont Books
ISBN CODE : 07497 47447
Format : Paperback
Category : Young Fiction
No. Of Pages : 288
Published in :2001

Review - Shoma Mittra

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