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Scholarly Article

Sampuja Ganguly

Irreversibility of Loss without Recompense: A Study of Sadat Hasan Manto’s “Toba Tek Singh” and “Khol Do”


Irreversibility, loss, trauma, Partition, violence, Manto, Khol Do, Toba Tek Singh, women, insanity


Manto’s two short stories “Toba Tek Singh” and “Khol Do”, written in a period of time when the country was going through the post partition depression, dealt with a kind of realism which straightaway talks about a kind of reality that causes an irreplaceable trauma in the mind of the reader as well as in the people who witnessed it. The sense of loss, violence, barbarity as a byproduct of the 1947 Partition gave birth to such an irreversibility that is never going to be mended. For a number of years after the event, no writer of any renown on either side of the new border rescued an adequate sense of lucidity to approach the issue. Something had been permanently lost, and the inadequacy of mere words was discerned throughout the north of the country in an understood code of silent mourning. As Manto has had a first-hand experience of Partition and violence, therefore his stories make an analytical argument from the perspective of irreversibility. This irreversibility led to a kind of situation that can never be compensated in terms of loss of belongings, violence, trauma and also the physical loss. During the process of Partition, many Muslims were killed by Hindus and many Hindus were killed by Muslims. In this context we can consider religion as the dividing factor between the two Nations. Manto’s protagonists are majorly the women, children, lunatic, cattle and unusual things like bottle, burkha, meat and so on. He does so because former are the real victiom and later are the actual proof to imitate the pain and the suffering. The experience of the people, undergoing the partition trauma is irreversible because nothing can recompense the emotional and physical torture they faced which gave birth to insanity, molestation and many other brutalities. Therefore the aim of this paper is to probe into the psychological depths of Manto’s protagonists to evaluate the loss, caused by the Partition that is irreversible, irreplaceable and irremediable.

About the Author

Sampuja Ganguly has completed her Masters in English Literature from Calcutta University. Presently she is working as a Lecturer in English at Banipur Mahila Mahavidyalaya affiliated with West Bengal State University and Distance Education System of Rabindra Bharati University, Post Graduate Section, Study centre: Behala College. She has published her research articles in journals like “Literary Herald” (ISSN: 2454-3365) and "International Journal of Creative and Innovative Research in All Studies" (ISSN: 2581-5334). Two of her book chapters have also been published in the books entitled “Gender, Sexuality and Literature” (ISBN: 978-81-946799-0-5) and “Women Empowerment in India: Ancient and Modern Perspectives” (ISBN: 978-81-949251-1-8.) by Delhi based publishing house “Upanayan Publication”. Her article on Browning has also been published in e-journal named Erothanatos (E-ISSN 2457-0265). She has attended international conferences in institutions like IIT Mandi, Dumdum Motijheel College and presented her research paper there.

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