Title: Toba Tek Singh
Author: Saadat Hasan Manto
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Toba Tek Singh (Urdu: ٹوبہ ٹیک سنگھ) is a short story written by Saadat Hasan Manto and published in 1955. It follows inmates in a Lahore asylum, some of whom are to be transferred to India following the independence of Pakistan in 1947. The story is a “powerful satire” on the relationship between India and Pakistan.
About the Author:
Saadat Hasan Manto (Urdu: سعادت حسن منٹو, 11 May 1912 – 18 January 1955) was a Pakistani writer, playwright, and author born in British India. Writing mainly in the Urdu language, he produced 22 collections of short stories, a novel, five series of radio plays, three collections of essays, two collections of personal sketches.
The story is set two or three years after the 1947 independence, when the governments of India and Pakistan decided to exchange some Muslim, Sikh and Hindu lunatics, and revolves around Bishan Singh, a Sikh inmate of an asylum in Lahore, who is from the town of Toba Tek Singh. As part of the exchange, Bishan Singh is sent under police escort to India, but upon being told that his hometown Toba Tek Singh is in Pakistan, he refuses to go. The story ends with Bishan lying down in the no man’s land between the two barbed wire fences: “There, behind barbed wire, was Hindustan. Here, behind the same kind of barbed wire, was Pakistan. In between, on that piece of ground that had no name, lay Toba Tek Singh.”