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Publisher: Amazon; 1 edition (August 5, 2009)
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The author was nurtured on stories of his grandfather’s trials and tribulations as a young immigrant to Africa and his subsequent rise to political fame. His curiosity led him to painstaking research of his grandfather's journals as well as the research notes left by his father. This resulted in the riveting African historical saga , a homage to the resilient spirit of his grandfather, Mehar Singh Dhillon.
Kijabe is a small village just off the road from Nairobi to Nakuru, in Kenya, one of the countries in East Africa. It is at the edge of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment where the most spectacular scenery overlooks the valley, with animals roaming freely under the open blue skies. The valley’s awe-inspiring view stretches for miles and miles. The winds and dust often blow at a strong pace here, accounting for the name “Kijabe “ which in Maasai dialect means “ windy.
Mehar Singh arrived in Mombasa in a dhow in March 1916. He was instantly awed by the raw beauty of Africa as he inhaled the intoxicating scents of the vast scenic African landscape. But he soon learnt that beauty exacts its price. He experienced the harsh realities as he began his journey in the hinterland- the hot sweltering African sun, the scorching red dust, anthills, thorny bushes, wild animals, the killer tse-tse flies, swarming malarious mosquitoes, tropical diseases and death. He also witnessed at close hand , a lioness killing a zebra. But fiercely determined, tall, turbaned Sikh pioneer, Mehar Singh remained undaunted.
After a couple of years of backbreaking work on construction of the railroad, he quit his job and ventured into a “duka” ( a small grocery shop) and later on formed a partnership to start a novel form of duka on wheels, where they hawked blankets, sugar, flour, etc. to the Maasais in exchange for live goats and sheep ! The business flourished and they opened more dukas.
He sent for his wife Satbir Kaur to join him-he was only ten years old when he had married her ! She was not only beautiful but also a wonderful cook and a gracious hostess. Together they had four sons and a daughter.
During the Second World War, they experienced a setback as marauding tribesmen looted and burnt Asian shops. To overcome the food shortage during the war years, Mehar Singh started a 250 acre maize farm and also built a mill to grind the corn, while his sons set up retail shops. Later, the family set up Tourist Lodges in the game reserves and safari adventure parks. Even the former Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi stayed at their tourist lodge in Ngorongoro. She wrote in the Guest book at the lodge, “ If there is a heaven on earth and if it’s not this spot in Ngorongoro, then it must be somewhere near here. “ .
Mehar Singh was persuaded by his friend, a British District Commissioner to jump into politics as by now he was very popular among Africans and also articulate in African dialects. He got elected as a Member of Parliament and later as a Secretary of the powerful political party, Kenya African National Union, reporting directly to the President of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. He wielded lot of political influence and gained respect of the President. But eventually he became a prey of the scheming, ambitious African politicians and was murdered.
The murder trial and subsequent hunt of the real perpetrators of the murder, by his grandson Akash and the beautiful Moslem girl Anar are gripping. The murder provides a surprise plot twist that transforms the family saga into a political thriller.