The Rape of Women in “Open It,” by Saadat Hasan Manto
Where there is war, there is the rape and abuse of women. From the Trojan War to the Middle East conflict, rape has been a tactic of war. Rape is commonly viewed by society as a symbol of female degradation, female submission, and the stripping of honor and humanity. “OpenIt,” by Saadat Hasan Manto, the rape of women is a common theme. In Manto’s “Open It,” a young girl, Sakina, is raped by young men of her community. the author uses the disrobing of garments to create a dramatic climax. However, the respective climaxes convey contrasting ideas about the rape and degradation of women. In “Open It,” the disrobing of garments reveals helpless female submission. the act of disrobing result in a striking male reaction and symbolize the remarkable survival of this battered and abused woman.
, a father is desperately looking for his daughter, Sakina, in the midst of the chaos and disorder of Partition. He asks self appointed social workers of the community to help him find Sakina. When Sakina is approached by these men, her initial reaction is one of fright: “The moment she heard the truck, she began to run” (Manto 360). She agrees to go along with the men, only after being repeatedly reassured and treated kindly by them. Despite her reluctant compliance she still feels uncomfortable for “she tried to cover her breasts again and again with her hands” (Manto 361). In this context, Sakina sees her bareness as a weakness and a symbol of her submissiveness. The author’s initial presentation of Sakina as a terrified, hesitant young girl trying to cover herself in front of intimidating men is dramatically contrasted with her behavior at the end of the story.
In the last scene of “Open It,” Manto presents an extremely powerful and climactic conclusion. Sakina, only half conscious and barely alive, responds to the doctor’s command (referring to the opening of a window), “open it” by unveiling herself: “The...
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