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Contesting Imagi-Nations of Nation and Region Through the use of Language in Saadat Hasan Manto’s Toba Tek Singh

Prakriti Arora
International Journal of English and Comparative Literary Studies , Volume 1, pp 21-28; doi:10.47631/ijecls.v1i1.145

Abstract: Purpose: This research paper is an attempt to examine the themes of colonialism, diaspora, and sufferance caused by the partition of India and Pakistan through the lens of language and conflict in identities. The paper also seeks to delve deeper upon the consequent breakdown of language as depicted in the short-story Toba Tek Singh. Methodology/ Approach: Textual analysis of mixed modes of reading. Findings: The short story effectively traced the turmoil and clamour enveloping the people afflicted by the events that followed the partition. Rich with the themes of colonialism, diaspora and the horrors of the partition, the text brought the issues being faced by the people in a way that they were subtly intermeshed within the discourses of the inmates of the mental asylum, which was where the story was situated. The text, characteristically a short story, reflects the feelings of the people that sprouted during and after the partition in a nonchalant way. This subtlety and novelty of expression questions the basis of a ‘nation’. Conclusion: The short-story revolves around the accounts of a number of inmates who are seemingly devastated by the new changes and the new ways of labelling lands. Even if they are able to make sense of this imposed change, they refuse to reason with it completely as a few of them must be relocated, which would consequently distance them from their friends.
Keywords: story / language / partition / diaspora / text / inmates / Tek / themes / Toba / Singh

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