Iqbal Singh Ramoowalia immigrated to Canada in the mid-1970s and endured a succession of survival jobs. He attended the University of Waterloo, Dalhousie University and York University. Ramoowalia retired from teaching with the Peel Board of Education in Brampton, Ontario. Ramoowalia died in June, 2017. He wrote two novels in English but wrote poetry in Panjabi.
The Death of a Passport
[New Delhi, India]: Diamond Pocket Books, 2004.
A tale of travails of a Punjabi girl–an illegal immigrant in Canada.
The Midair Frown
[Chandigarh, India]: Unistar Books, 2006.
This is a revised version of: What the Judges Wouldn’t See.
The novel narrates the tale of Jasbir, an adolescent rural boy, who is forced by the death of his father and utter poverty to be given away to a gurdwara (Sikh temple) where the head priest sexually abuses the helpless lad. Later, to amass money, the crafty priest smuggles a contingent of fake preachers, including Jasbir, into Canada where the young boy succeeds in obtaining the much-coveted permanent landed status. Nevertheless, as he achieves manhood, the memory of the sexual abuse rankles Jasbir and he cultivates intense disdain for the entire priestly class.
However, after the destruction of his faith’s holiest shrine in India by the armed forces, Jasbir turns a religious fanatic. He joins another crafty sant in Toronto, and to avenge the destruction of their shrine, the due gets drawn into a conspiracy to blow up a couple of Air India planes in midair. Concurrently, to save the honor of his family, Jasbir architects elimination of his own daughter after she ignites his rage by developing an amorous relationship with a boy from her mother’s village while she is on a trip to India.
Selected Criticism and Interpretation
Chilana, Rajwant Singh. “Iqbal Ramoowalia.” In South Asian Writers in Canada: A Bio-Bibliographical Study. Surrey, BC: Asian Publications, 2017, 85.
Z1376 .S68 C45 2017