Title: Curfew in the City Publisher: Penguin India
The brilliant Shahar Mein Curfew translated in English by eminent translator C.M. Naim. Vibhuti Narain Rai’s ‘Curfew in the City’ unravels a tapestry of human emotions in a fanatical communal setting. A moving story of a Muslim household of bidi-workers stuck in a claustrophobic city, this novella narrates how curfew affects simple and ordinary lives even as administrative authorities fan insecurities to further their own interest. The book unmasks the cold, calculated greed and blind, senseless hatred that wait for the opportune moment to strike, revealing the real, primal face of man.
Vibhuti Narain Rai, a social activist and educationist, completed his master’s in English literature from Allahabad University in 1971 and joined the Indian Police Service in 1975. In his thirty-six years’ eventful career, he was awarded the Police Medal for Meritorious Service and the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service, and was posted as senior sub-inspector and inspector general of police in several communally sensitive areas of Uttar Pradesh. An accomplished novelist, Rai’s Ghar, Kissa Loktantra, Tabadala and Prem Ki Bhootkatha received critical acclaim. Curfew in the City, originally published in Hindi as Shahar Mein Curfew, invited the wrath of Hindutva forces that even demanded a ban on it. Rai retired as the vice chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha.
C.M. Naim is professor emeritus of Urdu studies at the University of Chicago. He has also published translations of novellas by Qurratulain Hyder and satires by Harishankar Parsai.