Bhisham Sahni

Bhisham Sahni

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Bhisham Sahni

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Bhisham Sahni भीष्म साहनी (8 August 1915 - 11 July 2003) was a Hindi writer, playwright, and actor, most famous for his novel and television screenplay Tamas ("Darkness"), a powerful and passionate account of the Partition of India. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan for literature in 1998, and Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2002.

He was the brother of the noted Hindi film actor, Balraj Sahni.


Bhisham Sahni was born on 8 August 1915 in Rawalpindi. He earned a master's degree in English at Government College in Lahore, and also attended Khalsa College, Amritsar.

He joined the struggle for Indian independence, and was jailed for his participation in the Quit India Movement of 1942. Upon Partition, he and his Punjabi Hindu family were forced to move to Amritsar.

In the late 1940s, he worked with his brother as a stage performer in Mumbai with the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA). In 1950, he became a lecturer in English at The Delhi College.

From 1957 to 1963, he lived in Moscow and worked as a translator from Russian to Hindi, during the period he translated twenty-five books from Russian into Hindi, including Tolstoy's Resurrection. In addition to those languages, Sahni was fluent in English, Urdu, Sanskrit, and Punjabi.

He was general secretary of the Progressive Writers Association, and was the founder and chairman of 'SAHMAT', an organization promoting cross-cultural understanding, founded in memory of the murdered theatre artist...
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