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Love in the time of honour killing.

FRIENDS and admirers of Manjul Bajaj gathered on Monday evening at the Epicentre, Gurgaon, to hear her read from her debut novel, Come, Before Evening Falls . Daman Singh, the author of Nine by Nine, joined her in a conversation on the book, which is a love story set in Haryana against the backdrop of the Khap Panchayat politics.

Manjul set many a female hearts racing when she described the male protagonist of the story as ' the Jat Heathcliff'. " He is the quintessential bad boy who every good girl falls in love with", she said.

" I took bits from people like Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan for this particular character." At this point, Singh ( who is also the daughter of the prime minister Manmohan Singh), asked Bajaj if her characters in the book were ' a bit over the top.' Nodding her head in agreement, Bajaj said that the female lead was, " the version of the best of our dreams." The book throws light on issues such as honour killing and identity politics. " The novel is set in 1920s, but the topic of honour killings is still relevant," said Bajaj.

She referred to the case of Aqsa Parvez, the 16- year- old girl who was allegedly killed by her father in Toronto after she refused to wear a hijab in 2007. Shivmeet Deol, a commissioning editor with Hachette, pitched the book as one which had a bit for everyone.

" It has been reprinted once and going by the way it's been flying off the shelves, we expect another reprint soon."

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Feb 24, 2010
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