Toba Tek Singh

Topics: Saadat Hasan Manto, Toba Tek Singh, Urdu Pages: 4 (1273 words) Published: October 18, 2012
Toba Tek Singh is a satire on partition and its repercussions. The narration is reliable but not omniscient as the narrator is unaware of the motives and unspoken thoughts of various characters in the story. The story is set up in a time frame of two or three years after partition. The language is simple and deliberately repetitive. Toba Tek Singh is one of the most famous stories by Manto on partition and is among his last ones. It was published in Maktab-e-Jadid in Lahore in 1955. Toba Tek Singh is a district in Punjab Province of Pakistan. The town and district is named after a Sikh religious figure Tek Singh. Legend has it that Mr. Singh, a kind hearted man served water and provided shelter to the worn out and thirsty travellers passing by a small pond ("TOBA" in Punjabi) which eventually was called Toba Tek Singh, and the surrounding settlement acquired the same name. There is also a park here named after the Sardar Tek Singh. Every reader at once realizes that it is a powerful satire, and also a bitter indictment of the political process and behavior patterns that brought up the Partition. But Manto`s magic lies in the fact that there is not a single word in the story that tells us so directly. Manto just ushers his readers onto the road and leaves the rest to their vivid imagination. The first sentence of the story tells us that it takes place two or three years after the partition, dropping us abruptly to a very long flashback. The Narrator at the end locates Bishan Singh (Toba Tek Singh) in a No-Man’s-Land between the barbed boundaries of the two nations. As the story takes place after two three years of Partition, it seems highly unbelievable that not only the lunatics, but the people around as well can’t figure out where the place is now. That’s the irony of the partition, where things got so mixed up was that no one in fact knew well where India ends and where Pakistan begins. The point to be taken into account is that “partition” came up with...
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