Best Hindi Literary Creations Depicting The Horror Of The Partition
Indian partition in 1947 was not just a geopolitical partition, it was a cataclysmic event that tore the socio-cultural fabric of centuries' assimilative nature. The chaotic picture was precisely described as "the central historical event in the 20th century South Asia" by the historians.
More than 15 million people had to leave their ancestral homes and take refuge in unknown lands, habitats were plundered, 1-2 million people were killed, and several million others were maimed physically and mentally. Those who survived partition had to bear the scar all through their lives.
Literary geniuses reciprocate the reality of that turmoil era in their stories as memoirs. Even after 70 years of freedom and partition, fictions are penned down to describe the human cost and misery of people.
Here's a list of some of the best Hindi Partition stories that narrate the harsh reality of the Partition with honesty and conviction.
Tamas by Bhisham Sahni
Sahni was inspired to write down a unique Hindi partition story clubbed in the context of Indian National Movement and the communal riots. He visited the riot-torn Bhiwandi during 1970 and realized the brutality of the violence. The fiction starts with a government staff asking a person to kill a pig for a British officer. That person finds that same crass of a pig on the compound of a mosque, as a trick to provoke people in the name of religion. The same trick was applied by throwing a cow-flesh in a Hindu temple. In 1972, Tamas was published and became immensely popular for its intricate texture of writing. Later this novel was adapted for a television series in Doordarshan amidst the protest of a Hindu political organization. Tamas manifested how the rumors play a nasty game in evoking fear, hatred and communal tension among people which is rumours relevant in our society.
Jhootha Sach by Yashpal
Jhootha Sach is probably the best Hindi Partition story ever written. It covered a period of almost 15 years from 1942-57 and gave a detailed view regarding the politico-historical acts that led to the vivisection of unified India. The first part, "Vatan aur Desh", locating in Lahorewas published during 1958 and the following part "Desh Ka Bhavishya" with the plot of Delhi appeared in 1960. The characters of this novel, Tara, a girl giving priority to education over marriage; Puri, an ideological person with distress; Asad, sacrificing love for the religious unity, were examples of millions of people who had to suffer miserably due to the Partition. Often being compared with the "War and Peace" by Tolstoy, "Jhootha Sach" explores the helplessness of common people not just during the partition but also after the event where corruption and opportunism fade away the political idealism of India. In 2010, this novel was translated into English with the title of "This is not that Dawn".
Kitne Pakistan by Kamleshwar
It is a documentary sort of fiction and opens up the pandora box of human struggles. Kamleshwar connects the dots of allegory of partition by expressing the ideas of nationalism, socialism, riots and bigotry, the futility of politics as well. It was begun in 1990 and after a decade the novel was the published in 2000. This is the latest addition to his "Nayi Kahani ka Daur" (since the 1950s) and gave him the Sahitya Akademi award.
Aadha Gaon by Rahi Masoom Raza
Half a village (Aadha Gaon) by Rahi Masoom Raza (1966) is an iconic Hindi story narrating the tragedy of the Partition. The backdrop of the story is in eastern Uttar Pradesh of India where people of a fictional village Gangauli are trapped in the communal politics. The author was associated with Aligarh Muslim University and he narrated beautifully the impassioned pleas of AMU people, affecting the mentality of the composite social fabric of that place. It is an absolutely "must-read" for those readers who want to comprehend the transformation of the psyche of Indian Muslims in the latter years of Indian National Movement that paved the way to Partition.
Pinjar by Amrita Pritam
Though originally written in Punjabi in 1950, Pinjar must be mentioned in this context due to its representation of the Partition from a woman's angle. Puro, the protagonist of the novel is abducted by a Muslim man, Rashid. Somehow she manages to run away from the captivity but her own parents refused to accept her due to the myth of a woman's lost respect after getting kidnapped. She understands her value and symbolises the wrecked condition of millions of women during that turmoil period.
Gujarat Pakistan Se Gujarat Hindustan by Krishna Sobti
This autobiographical novel of Sobti is the latest addition to the list of Hindi Partition stories. It narrates the personal fateful experiences of the author of becoming uprooted from Gujarat of West Pakistan and coming to Delhi as a refugee. She represents the grief and suffering of millions of people whose dreams and happiness of becoming independent from the colonial rule was shattered by the loss of land, honour, and self.
In this regard, it would be a crime not to mention the famous Urdu author Saadat Hasan Manto who lays bare the actual truth of that era as it is. His stories are translated into Hindi, English and other languages as well.
Toba Tek Singh by Saadat Hasan Manto
Manto's literary genius is reflected in many short stories among which this is a cult one. In the story, inmates of Lahore asylum are transported to India after partition. Bishan Singh, one of the inmates is reluctant to go to India when he realizes that his ancestral town, Toba Tek Singh is in Pakistan. In the end, the reader finds Bishan Singh lying down on a no man’s land, reflecting the situation of thousands of people migrating from own nation to a new land with empty heart and hands. Manto's "Thanda Gosht", "Khol do", "Tetwal ka kutta", "Khuda ki kasam" are some of the must-read stories depicting the Partition's horror.
- Article by LangÉcole® School of Languages
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