EXCERPT | No more partition, please…  

.

Did Partition divide only the geographical territory? Or, did it also fragment and brutalize our consciousness? We could not escape this question.

August 15, 1947: it was not just a day of joy and celebration; it was also a day of pain and loss. Did Partition divide only the geographical territory? Or, did it also fragment and brutalize our consciousness? We could not escape this question. And even after seventy years of Independence, the trauma of Partition continues to haunt us. Have we really learned any lesson? Or, is it that we are still thirsty for blood, and obsessed with narrow religious identities? 

Saadat Hasan Manto’s stories, essays and reflections—written with a splendid mix of hard realism and human sensitivity—make us realize what communal violence and politics of hatred could do to us—the way we lost humanism, and allowed the brute power to darken our consciousness. For our alert readers, we have chosen a set of four brief reflections made by one of the finest Urdu writers in the subcontinent.

JELLY


To retain our initiative towards free spirited and independent journalism we require your support |Pay Now


At six in the morning, the man who used to sell ice from a pushcart next to the service station was stabbed to death. His body lay on the road, while water kept falling on it in steady driblets from the melting ice.

At a quarter past seven, the police took him away. The ice and blood stayed on the road.

A mother and child rode past the spot in a tonga. The child noticed the coagulated blood on the road, tugged at his mother’s sleeve and said, ‘Look, mummy, jelly’. 

 PATHANISTAN

‘Hey, you there, speak at once, who are you?’ 

‘I…I…I’

‘You offshoot of the devil, at once…are you Indoo or Musalmeen?’ 

‘Musalmeen.’

‘Who is your Prophet?’

‘Mohammad Khan.’

‘OK, let him go.’ 

OUT OF CONSIDERATION

‘Don’t kill my daughter in front of my eyes.’

‘All right, all right. Peel off her clothes and shoo her aside.’ 

MODESTY

The rioters brought the train to a stop. Those who belonged to the other religion were methodically picked out and slaughtered. After it was all over, those who remained were treated to a feast of milk, custard pies and fresh fruit. 

Before the train moved off, the leader of the hosts addressed the passengers: ‘Brothers and sisters, since we were informed late of your train’s arrival time, we were not able to offer you the kind of hospitality we would have wished. 

SOURCE: Khalid Hasan (edited and translated), The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto, Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2008

Now that you are here...
From bottled water to oxygen cans, not even the basics are free in a market-driven world. Why then, do we take free and independent journalism for granted? We find ourselves at a time when more people like you, are reading and coming out in support of The New Leam’s independent, in-depth and throughly issue based journalism than ever before. From grassroot stories and field-reports, to in-depth analysis of the pertinent political issues of our times, to news on gender, culture and educational issues- The New Leam has been dedicated to bringing out stories that speak out the soul of India and take you beyond the propaganda-filled corridors of mainstream journalism in India. We have made an important choice of keeping our journalism free of vested political interests, commercial funding and influence of partisan stakeholders, so that we can bring forward news and stories based on facts and provide a platform where readers can find information with integrity and a journalism premised on honesty. 

Your support to The New Leam is your contribution towards giving a voice to the voiceless, going to the depths of issues that others shy away from and rigorously illuminating the flame of criticality and courage in dark times. We hope that you will come forward to support The New Leam today so that we can keep delivering quality-independent journalism to you and inform public opinion in the right direction. No matter how big or small your contribution may be, it is tremendously important. It takes only a moment, Support The New Leam now!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *