A Study on Insanity in Sadat Hasan Manto’s “Toba Tek Singh” - contd

by Sampurna Biswas
(Kolkata, India)

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Similar Partition-lured mental disorder has been represented in Joginder Paul’s story “Dera Baba Nanak” where a mentally disrupted refugee begins to collect body parts of the deads thinking to be his own. Manto through his short stories grab the “historical trauma of partition” (Saint 60) and echoes it through the “individual, social and cultural spaces” (60) thereby “generating counter-narratives through which the penumbral world of dissociation, moral ambiguity and inward decay, as well as the occasionally illuminating possibility of resistance, became visible” (Saint 60). Manto’s writings which are bitter in tones, coarse in articulation and the endlessly obnoxious scenes decline to offer a spiritual, constitutional or ethical solution to both physical and mental torment. Manto’s stories “reject man as a creature” (Bhalla 3123) which are evident in the above mentioned stories. The “historical trauma” (Saint 58) is symptomatic of Bishen Singh who experiences such pain and agony in an aggravated form.

Sadat Hasan Manto’s “Toba Tek Singh” finds a parallel in Istvan Orkeny’s “Revolution” which was “published in 1973” (Orkeny 2147). The writings of both Manto and Orkeny are “rooted in the event of Partition...” (Orkeny 2147). Orkeny’s “Revolution” which “tells about the escape of lunatics from an asylum, a vision of fascist takeover” (Orkeny 2147) casts a shadow of similarity in Manto’s “Toba Tek Singh”.

Bishen Singh in spite of being a victim of madness was the last man to retain “the values which once belonged to compassionate humanity” (Bhalla 3124) and Manto’s portrayal of Toba Tek Singh as a sufferer echoes Euripedes: “Alas, we look for good on earth and cannot recognise it when met, since all our human heritage runs mongrel” (Euripedes 227).

Works Cited
Bhalla, Alok. “Memory, History and Fictional Representations of the Partition”. Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 34, No. 44 (Oct. 30 – Nov.5, 1999), pp. 3119 – 3128

Hashmi, Ali Madeeh. “Manto: A Psychological Portrait”. Social Scientist, Vol. 40, No. 11/12 (November – December 2012), pp. 5 –15. WEB. JSTOR. 28 October 2016

Kumar, Amitava. “Splitting the Difference”, Indiana University Press on behalf of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, Transition, No. 89 (2001), pp. 44 – 55.WEB. JSTOR. 28 October 2016

Pandey, Birendra, (Lecture).“Trauma theory and the history if Partition”, Refresher in English: Ideology and Literature, Benaras Hindu University, Varanasi, 15 October 2014. WEB. JSTOR. 28 October 2016

Saint, Tarun K. “The Long Shadow of Manto’s Partition Narratives: ‘Fictive’ testimony to Historical Trauma”, Social Scientist, Vol. 40. No. 11/12 (November – December 2012), pp. 53 – 62. WEB. JSTOR. 28 October 2016

Singh, Neeti. “The ‘Sublime’ in Longinus, Burke and Kant, M.Phil Thesis, Dept. Of English, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. Guided by orof. PC Kar. 1994. WEB. JSTOR. 28 October 2016

Taseer, Aatish. MANTO Selected short stories. Published by Random House India in Hardback in 2008. This paperback edition published in 2012. Seventh impression in 2016, pp. 1 –10, 51 – 54. Print

The Indian Express. “Exploring the madness of Partition” through “Toba Tek Singh”. Seema Chisti, New Delhi, November 2012. WEB. JSTOR. 28 October 2016

Vermuele, Emily Townsed. Complete Greek Tragedies, vol 7, etd. David Greene and Richmond Lattimore, Random House, New York, 1960, p 227. WEB. JSTOR. 28 October 2016
Walker, R.B.J and Krishna, Sakaran, “Partition: On the Discriminations of Modernity”, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, Vol. 27, No. 2,Partition (Apr. – June 2002), pp. 143 – 146. WEB. JSTOR. 28 October 2016


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Dec 30, 2016
by: A.Roy

Keep up the good work

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