Monday, October 07, 2019

Reader's Diary #2090- Sadat Hasan Manto: Toba Tek Singh

Sadat Hasan Manto's short story Toba Tek Singh is about an insane asylum patient (the titular character) who has heard news that the inmates are either going to be moved to Pakistan or to India based on whether they are Muslim or Sikh. Toba Tek Singh however is very stressed and perplexed by this info as he has no idea where the place her previously called home was considered Pakistan or India. Finally the answer is revealed to put Toba in conflict.

It's as relevant now and here as it any time, any place as we, as a species, love to draw political maps that don't always coincide with cultures. It's a curious story though and I feel that perhaps some of the finer satirical points are lost on me, perhaps due to its translation. Why, for example, did it need to be set in asylum?

No comments: