Thursday, January 25, 2007

Toba Tek Singh


While browsing government branch library last week, 'Toba Tek Singh' caught my sight. This is a collection of short stories by Saadat Hasan Manto, I have read this book few years back and I just wanted to read it again. Books and articles related to partition or similar times always attract me mysteriously.


Manto was forced to migrate from his beloved Bombay to Lahore at the time of partition and the pain inked down in his writings. He died at the age of 47 while drinking and writing. He wrote good amount of short stories filled with rage, pity, grief, bloodshed, inhumanity and disturbed mental position of people on Indian partition.


"........The biggest incident in my life was my birth. I born at an unknown village 'Samrala' of Punjab. If anyone could have interested in my date of birth, it was my mother, which is dead now. Second incident was in 1931 when I cleared my 10th standard from Panjab University after continuous failure of three years in a row. Third incident was when I got married in 1939, but this was not an accident and still it is not. There are many other incidents but these incidents caused suffering to others and not to me. For instant, my starting of writing was a big incident which gave pain to 'honored' writers and also to 'honored' readers.


I spent few years in Bombay and wrote some film stories. These days I am in Lahore and not writing films but only simple stories. Almost two dozens of my story collections has been published which I don't wanna name here to make you trouble. And I am not writing my current address here because I don't wanna get trouble...................."


This was an introduction Saadat Hasan Manto wrote to a publisher who asked him to write down his brief introduction for a book on Mantoo's short stories. Mantoo was a rare writer who was read largely by the critics who hate him. Some called him sadist, some said he was porn writer and some called him cynic. But I think he wrote everything without fearing of court cases he faced, on the characters which were/are not owned by 'Civilized' society in the light of sun. But surprisingly these characters are non other than the unholy and unlawful production of the same 'Civilized' society.