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The changes, however, do not diminish the epochal tale that Fireflies is. In fact, they make it richer and easier for someone unfamiliar with the multi-layered complexity of a land and its diversities. Through short crisp chapters, the tale carries you on a journey of discovery and realisation. The rather detailed scene descriptions are not there just for atmosphere but are crucial to the tale. They are also a testimony to how deeply Qurratulain Hyder, whose own milieu was Urdu and East UP, knew and understood Bengal and its pain.
Fireflies is about three generations of Bengalis, one born around the time of the Bengal partition, the next growing into youth when India is partitioned and the last growing up with the emergence of Bangladesh. It is also about the shared heritage of the subcontinent and the artificial cleavages that politics created.
Hyder’s finest, undoubtedly, is Aag ka Darya and Akhir-e-Shab is in many ways a sequel to that magnum opus. It is a book to buy, read, keep and most importantly to gift to your children.