Navtej Sarna

Navtej Singh Sarna (born 1957) is an Indian author-columnist, diplomat and former Indian Ambassador to the United States.[2] He previously served as the High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom, and the Ambassador to Israel.[3][4]

Navtej Sarna
Navtej Sarna at US DOE 2017 (cropped).jpg
Indian Ambassador to the United States
In office
November 2016 – December 2018
Preceded byArun Kumar Singh
Succeeded byHarsh Vardhan Shringla
High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom
In office
January 2016 – December 2016
Preceded byRanjan Mathai
Succeeded byYashvardhan Kumar Sinha
Ambassador of India to Israel
In office
November 2008 – August 2012
Preceded byArun Kumar Singh
Personal details
Born1957 (age 63–64)
Jalandhar, Punjab, India
ParentsMohinder Singh Sarna and Surjit Sarna
EducationB.Com Hons; LL.B.
Alma materSt.Joseph's Academy, Dehradun; Shriram College of Commerce; Faculty of Law, Delhi University
OccupationDiplomat and Author

Early life and careerEdit

He was born in Jalandhar, India to noted writer in Punjabi, Mohinder Singh Sarna and Punjabi poetess and translator Surjit Sarna, and did his schooling from St. Joseph's Academy, Dehradun. Later he joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1980.[5] He was the longest-serving spokesperson of the Indian Foreign Ministry (six years),[3] under two prime ministers, three foreign ministers and four foreign secretaries, till the end of his term in September, 2008.[6]

Previously as a diplomat served in Moscow, Warsaw, Thimphu, Geneva, Teheran and Washington, DC.[7] He Served as India's ambassador to Israel from 2008 to 2012, High Commissioner to the UK 2016 and as India's ambassador to the United States from November 2016 to December 2018 and retired from the Indian Foreign Service on Dec 31, 2018 after serving his country for over 36 years.

Writing careerEdit

Navtej Sarna first novel published was We Weren't Lovers Like That in 2003,[8] followed by The Book of Nanak was published in the same year.'The Exile' published in 2008, is a novel based on the life of Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, and son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.[9] His short stories which have appeared earlier in the London Magazine and broadcast over BBC have been put together in the collection 'Winter Evenings.' He translated the 'Zafarnama', the letter written in Persian verse by Guru Gobind Singh to emperor Aurungzeb. 'Savage Harvest' is Sarna's translation of thirty of his father's short stories on partition of India from Punjabi to English. Sarna has also contributed extensively to journals and newspapers in India and abroad including The Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, etc. His literary columns written over seven years for The Hindu have now appeared as a book entitled 'Second Thoughts on Books, Authors and the Writerly Life.'

Personal lifeEdit

Ambassador Sarna speaks English, Hindi, Punjabi and has knowledge of Russian and Polish languages also. He is married to Dr. Avina Sarna and has one son and one daughter.[10]


  • Folk Tales of Poland, Sterling Publications, 1991. ISBN 81-207-1072-X.[8]
  • We Weren't Lovers Like That. Penguin, May 2003. ISBN 0-14-302961-4.
  • The Book of Nanak, Penguin, September 2003. ISBN 0-670-04978-6.[11]
  • The Exile. Penguin, 2008. ISBN 978-0-670-08208-7.
  • 'Zafarnama'- a translation, Penguin 2011
  • 'Winter Evenings'- a collection of short stories, Rupa Rainlight 2012
  • 'Savage Harvest'- a translation of partition stories of Mohinder Singh Sarna, Rupa 2013.
  • 'Indians at Herod's Gate'- a Jerusalem narrative, Rupa Rainlight 2014.
  • 'Second Thoughts- on books, authors and the writerly life'- Harper Collins 2015

Within anthologiesEdit

  • Journeys : Heroes, Pilgrims, Explores, edited by Geeti Sen and Molly Kaushal. New Delhi, Penguin, 2004. ISBN 0-670-05796-7. 2. And the Baba went along the way, by Navtej Sarna.
  • The Harper Collins Book of New Indian Fiction : Contemporary Writing in English, edited by Khushwant Singh. New Delhi, Harper Collins, 2005, . ISBN 81-7223-584-4. 5. Madame Kitty by Navtej Sarna.
  • 'Signals', a London Magazine anthology, UK

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit