This little book records the extraordinary ordinariness of life — less than a generation ago — in and around the small Punjabi town of Daska. In the course of a just few decades, that pristine ordinariness and simplicity has ebbed away into the realm of the exotic within today's dizzy life.

Opana describes a living community with its own homegrown tradition, its folklore, fairs, festivals, customs, myths and stories — and not least, the local characters each more peculiar and unique than the other, but assured of a niche in the space of old-fashioned society.

Opana's own story takes us through the land and its landscapes that nutured a vibrant culture. The land divided, the community scattered, the life-experience of a generation ago is now beyond the imagination and below the level vision of recorded history. Therefore, this simple narrative has immense value, recording the loves and hates, fraternal exchanges and fratricide, the small-scale cruelties and petty rivalries alongside greatness of heart and the earthiness of this valley with its legendary poetry and romance. It is a glimpse into the text of a people's history.

The Partition, which drew the line dividing the Indus Valley also, obliterated a way of life that evolved from its pre-historic source, down the many millennia in the land of five rivers, nay six.

To the men and women who were the children of the thirties in Punjab, the names of Daska, Kandan Sian and Gujranwalla will ring 

more true than the unreality of an altered life after the Partition. These men and women living as senior citizens in Pakistan, India or other countries of the world, will welcome this book that tells their story. All of us will cherish the snapshots of life it presents—a part of our heritage — the all but lost narrative of our yesterday.

1 August 2001

Seema Sharma