A Flight of Pigeons

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A Flight of Pigeons
A Flight of Pigeons (Ruskin Bond novel - cover art).jpg
Author Ruskin Bond
Original title ahilan
Country India
Language English
Genre Novella
Published 2003 (Penguin Books)
Media type Print
Pages 144 pp (hardcover)
ISBN ISBN 0-670-04927-1 (Penguin edition, hardcover)

A Flight of Pigeons is a novella by Indian author, Ruskin Bond. The story is set in 1857, and is about Ruth Labadoor and her family (who are British) who take help of Hindus and Muslims to reach their relatives when the family's patriarch is killed in a church by the Indian rebels. The novella is a mix of fiction and non fiction and was made into a film in 1978 called Junoon by Shyam Benegal, starring Shashi Kapoor, his wife Jennifer Kendal, and Nafisa Ali.

Plot[edit]

The Novel starts with the death of the father of Ruth Labadoor in front of her eyes in a church. This murder is committed by the Indian rebels who are a part of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and who have decided to kill all the Britishers of the small town of Shahjahanpur. It is then that Mariam Labadoor, who is the mother of the narrator, Ruth, comes into action. She takes their entire family of 6 to their trusted friend Lala Ramjimal who keeps them at his home and gives them security and shelter. The Pathan leader Javed Khan comes to know that there are a few foreigners living in Lala's home and he comes into his house unannounced and forcefully takes away Ruth and Mariam Labadoor to his home. The rest of the book talks of the various incidents experienced by the Labadoor family, who are very warmly welcomed by family members of Javed Khan. Javed Khan himself is a cunning man and he pleads to marry Ruth. Mariam opposes the proposition many times as she does not want Ruth to marry Javed Khan. She keeps the condition that if the British are able to defeat the Indian rebels, then Javed Khan will not marry her daughter. But if they are defeated by the rebels, then she would give her daughter to him. The British are able to take the hold of the country and Javed Khan is killed in one of the fights with the Britishers. With lot of help and support, the Labadoor family finally reaches their relatives.

Main characters[edit]

Ruth Labadoor[edit] She is the narrator of the novel and witnesses the killing of her father.

Mariam Labadoor[edit]

She is a strong lady and saves her family from any harm. It is her stern behaviour that makes Javed Khan change his mind about killing the Labadoor family. She also saves her daughter from being married to Javed Khan. She is a very good knitter and knits beautiful clothes for the kind family members of Javed Khan. She is a very courageous, smart and kind woman.

Lala Ramjimal[edit]

He is the most trusted friend of the Labadoor family and he gives them shelter when Mr. Labadoor is killed.

Javed Khan[edit]

He is a courageous Pathan. He loses focus on his commitment when he sees Ruth Labadoor and falls in love with her. Despite many attempts, he is not able to please Mariam Labadoor to let him marry her daughter.