Navtej Sarna is a novelist and short story writer whose non-fiction works include ‘The Book of Nanak’ and translations of Guru Gobind Singh’s ‘Zafarnama’. He is also the author of ‘Indians at Herod’s Gate’, which finds him wandering through the timeless narrow lanes of Old Jerusalem, visited eight hundred years ago by Baba Farid who meditated there for forty days in an underground room.
Later, an Indian Hospice was born through a waqf endowment around that room and has welcomed Indian pilgrims and soldiers to Jerusalem ever since. For close to a century, through the tumultuous years of the British Mandate, the Second World War, the birth of Israel and the ensuing decades of conflict, the Hospice has been looked after by the Ansari family who hail originally from Saharanpur. ‘Indians at Herod’s Gate’ sifts through fact and fable to tease out their unique story.
A member of the Indian Foreign Service since 1980, Navtej Sarna is currently based in London as India’s High Commissioner to the UK.