A Strip’ of Land Two Yards Long (Do Gaz Zameen), a novel set in Bihar
(India), Bangladesh and Pakistan deals with the life of a cross-section
of people in the Indian sub-continent and the complex issue of loyalty
they face. The novel is significant for its characterization, its
lucidity of style and portrayal of problems.
The novel is the story of a small but respectable family of a
town in Bihar with feudal links. Caught in the vortex of the
pre-Partition politics of the Congress and the Muslim League, the
family disintegrates as a result of the riots, migration to East
Pakistan (later Bangladesh), the abolition of Zamindari, and the
confiscation of urban property by the custodians as evacuee property.
All this not only reduces the family to destitution but also makes it
alien to its homeland.
For its perception of cultural identity as shaped by emotional,
intellectual and historical compulsions, this novel is regarded as an
outstanding contribution to Indian literature in Urdu and won the
Sahitya Akademi Award in 1990.
About the Author
Abdus Samad (b. 1952) was born in Nalanda in Bihar in a Zamindar
family and did M.A., Ph D in Political Science. He is proficient in
Urdu, English and Hindi and has three collections of short stories,
three novels, and two translations to his credit.
He has been a recipient of several honours and awards including
Bihar and U.P. Urdu Academy awards besides of course the Sahitya
Akademi Award. He enjoys fruitful association with a number of literary
and educational institutions like Bihar Urdu Academy, Magadh University
and was the convener of Sahitya Akademi’s Urdu Advisory Board
(1992-97). Widely traveled in India and abroad, he is, at present
Principal, Oriental College, Patna.
Jai Ratan, the translator, was born in Ludhiana in 1917
and now lives in Gurgaon. Apart from writings of his own, he has
translated extensively from Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi into English. He
has over three dozen translations to his credit. He has also edited
several anthologies. He is the recipient of the ‘Dwivagish’ Award
(1991) and very recently the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Translation
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