It is sometime in the first decade of the 20th century. The British Imperialists have been in India for over 150 years. However life in the small village of Shahpur in undivided Punjab has remained largely unchanged. The menfolk look to the wealthy and worldly-wise Shahji and his benevolent younger brother Kashi for support and advice while it is Shahji's wife's home and hearth that is the centre of all celebrations for the women. Local disputes trade politics a trickling of news from the Lahore newspaper are all discussed every evening at the Shah's haveli. But as the Ghadar Movement gains momentum elsewhere in Punjab and in Bengal bringing into focus the excesses of the British the simple village of Shahpur cannot help looking at itself. The discontent has set in.
Krishna Sobti's magnum opus Zindaginama brilliantly captures the story of India through a village where people of both faiths coexisted peacefully living off the land. Detailing the intricately woven personal histories of a wide set of characters she imbues each with a unique voice enriching the text with their peculiar idiom. First published in Hindi in 1979 this is a magnificent portrait of India on the brink of its cataclysmic division.