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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009

I wish all the readers, visitors, commentators, and coauthors of this blog, because of whom this sacred space exists, a happy and fulfilling New Year 2009.


National Conference on Religion: Function and Dysfunctions

St. Aloysius College Mangalore and Mangalore Sociology Association are organizing a national level conference on Religion: Function and Dysfunctions in the month February.

Papers are being invited by members of Mangalore Sociology Association, Sociologists and the public on the main theme or any of the sub-themes. The sub-themes are: Religion and Social Mobility, Conversion and Social Mobility, Constitution and Conversion, Dysfunctions of Communal Violence, Hinduism as a way of life, Islam and Peace and Christian Humanism.

Those who wish to present the papers are requested to send an abstract of 300 to 400 words to the Organizing secretary so as to reach him before January 20. Selected papers will be published in a book.

To send the abstract and for further queries one is expected to contact the Organizing Secretary, St. Aloysius College, Mangalore- 575003, Mobile: 9945413289, E-Mail:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Second Coming - Notes

1. E-Notes
2. Readers Feedback
3. Does 'The Second Coming' Realy Talk About The Iraq War?
4. Sparknotes
5. Essay1
6. Essay2
7. Authority In 'Ozymandias' And 'The Second Coming'
8. 'The Second Coming' Compared To Things Fall Apart
9. Answer.Com

Thirteenth National Workshop Perspectives on Caste and Gender in Early India

Thirteenth National Workshop

Perspectives on Caste and Gender in Early India

2 – 5 February 2009


Centre for Contemporary Theory and General Semantics, Baroda

For details click here

or visit the forum site by clicking here

Thursday, December 18, 2008

National Seminar on Subaltern Encounters in Indian English Literature and Translation

St Aloysius College (Autonomous)

Mangalore, Karnataka, India

is organising a UGC Sponsored National Seminar on

Subaltern Encounters in

Indian English Literature and Translation


9&10 January 2009

For details of the Seminar click here

For the registration form - Click here for Pdf / Click for MSWord

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Animal Farm - Notes

hey y'all...please do give in your inputs on the subject in the comments sure everyone has a little bit to add..happy reading!
1. Wikipedia
2. The Literature Network
3. Background
4. Study Guide
5. Interpretations
6. E-Zine
7. Some Important Questions
8. Some Quotes
9. E-notes
10. Novel Guide
11. Background Essays-Good Read
Animal Farm-The Fable ,The Satire , The Allegory
13. Spark Notes
14. More Notes
15. Cummingstudy
16. Gradesaver
17. An Amazing Test To See If You Have Really Understood

PS :As usual id say concentrate on the themes and interpretations provided. look for more background information and do post the links.

14th December 2008- motif

1. What is a motif?
A: A Motif is a recurring structure, contrast, or literary device that can help to develop and inform about the text's major themes.

2. What are the motifs in the novel 'Animal Farm'?
A: Songs-Animal Farm is filled with songs, poems, and slogans, including Major's stirring “Beasts of England,” Minimus's ode to Napoleon, the sheep's chants, and Minimus's revised anthem, “Animal Farm, Animal Farm.” All of these songs serve as propaganda, one of the major conduits of social control. By making the working-class animals speak the same words at the same time, the pigs evoke an atmosphere of grandeur and nobility associated with the recited text's subject matter. The songs also erode the animals' sense of individuality and keep them focused on the tasks by which they will purportedly achieve freedom.
State Ritual-As Animal Farm shifts gears from its early revolutionary fervor to a phase of consolidation of power in the hands of the few, national rituals become an ever more common part of the farm's social life. Military awards, large parades, and new songs all proliferate as the state attempts to reinforce the loyalty of the animals. The increasing frequency of the rituals bespeaks the extent to which the working class in the novella becomes ever more reliant on the ruling class to define their group identity and values.


3. Difference between motive and motif-
A: Motive is the reason for doing something. Motif is a reoccurring theme within a novel.



Pinto,Anil. Class Lecture.Animal Farm.Owell,George.Xhrist University,Bangalore,India 14 Dec 2008

13th December- Allegories in Animal Farm-presentations

1. Definition of Allegory
2.Why is George Orwell's novel 'Animal Farm' an allegory?
3.What is it an allegory of?
A: It is an allegory of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
Presentation summaries-
1. Siddharth Venkatasubramaniam spoke about how Squealer is an allegory of Stalin.

  • Squealer was the propaganda chief for Napolean
  • He tries to change the negative attitude of people towards Napolean
  • His role in the novel is similar to that of the KGB in the revolution.

2. Joshi spoke about how Moses the raven is an allegory of the Russian Orthodox Church

  • Moses the raven represents the Russian Orthodox church
  • It is an analogy of how Stalin was against the Russian Orthodox Church
  • The Soviet Government suppressed religion

Discussion that followed the presentation-

1. Possible significance of the name-

  • The name is criticizing a particular class of the society. It satirizes the orthodox church and the religious group who had false consciousness
  • It criticizes the niche of Christianity which potrays two types of Christ

3. Hima Mammen spoke about Mollie the horse which is a representation of the class of aristocrats to whom the political situation makes no difference

  • Mollie is the pet of the human beings
  • She is very feminine in her characteristics
  • She is dependent and materialistic
  • She gives away her freedom for small things that make a huge difference to her (ribbon)
  • She is indifferent to the troubles of the farm and represents the class of society whch remained unaffected by the revolution and the political situation prevelant at that time.
  • She represents the class of society that have found another world (the old order and the new order) that they cannot give up.
  • Extra information discussed- 'The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian' by Nirad C. Chaudhuri talks about an Indian who cannot get over the fact that India is no more ruled by the British. A man who believes that during the British rule, there was a class, order, sophistication, discipline etc.Finally, not being able to handle it anymore, the man goes and settles down in England which is similar to the situation Mollie undergoes in Animal Farm. She runs away!
  • The character of Mollie is similar to that of Marie Antoinnette in the French Revolution.

4. Abhishek Chaudhari spoke about how Snowball is an allegory of Trotsky-

  • Trotsky formed the South Russian Labur Party
  • Ideas of Stalin and Trotsky were always in conflict and similarly in the novel, the ideas of Napolean and Snowball are always contradicting.
  • Trotsky was sent into exile and in the novel Snowball escapes
  • Extra information- In the actual revolution, Stalin sent the KGB to murder Trotsky but this detail is not mentioned in the novel. This shows that no writing can be a perfect representation of reality. It has the style, creativity, angle and ideas of the writer who moulds the characters and incidents.In writing, a real life character is moulded in such a way that it has some relation with the other characters.
  • Question raised after this discussion-(a)Is there anything in the revolution that is a representation of the windmill incident?(b) Is there anything in the novel that is a representation of the South Russian Labour Party?

5. Titto spoke about Boxer and Clover-

  • Represent the working class of society.
  • In Animal Farm, Snowball and Benjamin can be said to represent the Intelligensia while Bozer and Clover represent the ignorant and unaware working class.
  • Question raised by Alan Polson- Why was education necessary? A:- To raise awareness and to unite them for revolution.
  • Mr. Pinto's question- Is working class equal to the peasants? A:- Anybody who works for a wage is part of the 'working class'.
  • Generally the working class is aware of the political situation but in the novel, though Boxer and Clover are part of the working class, they are oblivious to the conditions.

6. Shalini Chandy spoke about Benjamin the donkey-

  • Benjamin represents the older population of Russia.
  • There is a possibility that Benjamin represents the Jewish people as he has the same intelligence as the pigs but is not a leader as one would expect a charactr of equal calibre to be.
  • Benjamin neither adviced nor criticized. He represents those people who had no expectations from the revolution.
  • Question raised by Alan Polson- Could Benjami be some sort of an advisor to the Czar? A:- He couldn't be because as mentioned earlier, the characterof Benjamin neither advised nor criticised.
  • Point discussed with regard to the above question- Mr.Jones represents the Czar, so if Mr. Jones was dependent on Benjamin in any way, he could be considered an advisor to the Czar.
  • Discussion/ Point to be verified- Why is Benjamin compared to a donkey and not any other animal? The doubt arises because a donkey is generally an animal of slavery, so why the donkey?


Pinto,Anil.Class discussions and presentations.Animal Farm.Owell,George.Christ University,Bangalore,India.13 Dec 2009

Sunday, December 07, 2008

2nd December 2008-Defintion of story

What is a story?
-Sanyogeeta Chavan (1st FEP)

What's a story? A story in its broadest sense is anything told or recounted, more narrowly and more usually something told or recounted in the form of a casually linked set of events; account, tale, the telling of a happening or connected series of happenings, whether true or fictitious really good story has a sense of truth and resonates with some basic universal aspects of being human. It does not have to be profound, a good story should move the readers, make him/her laugh, think, and ponder over it afterwards. A story should have substance. its the skeleton of the story. A good story needs conflict and resolution. Stories are made up of people, places, and happenings. Strong stories usually have a well defined main character a he, a she, an animal, a machine or whatever that encounters some kind of conflict or trouble. It is the believable action moving the story from beginning to middle to end that keeps the audience entertained. They want to know what is going to happen. A story creates vivid images. This is the part that makes interaction so important. Stories help the reader/listener to think of his/her own stories.

Writer Edgar Allan Poe's definition of a short story-

A short story is a brief tale that can be read in one sitting. He believed that such a story could have a more powerful impact and give greater pleasure than a longer tale read at different sittings.


Chavan,Sanyogeetha.Classroom presentation.Defintion of a story. Christ University, Bangalore,India. 2 Dec 2008

11th November 2008 notes and discussions - II Sem FEP

Frameworks chosen- Industrialisation, Patriarchal States, and their Discontents
Novel being discussed- Animal Farm by George Orwell
Points discussed :-
  1. Republic- Ideal state that Plato wants to construct
  2. 15th century-Thomas More's book Utopia- contains notions of an ideal state
  3. Utopias are the flipside of society.Utopias are constructed and the reverse happens.
  4. 20th century- Animal Farm- an example of Dystopia.
  5. Dystopias do not engage in poetic justice.
  6. The concept of Poetic Justice


Pinto,Anil.Class Lecture.Animal Farm.Owell,George.Christ University,Bangalore,India. 11 Dec 2008

Welcome Vani to this blog as a co-author

Dear readers, visitors, and followers of this blog,

Vani Subramaniam of II Sem FEP is joining this blog as a co-author. She will be posting the classroom discussion on British Literature paper that I facilitate in that class.

A warm welcome to her. I request you to extend your cooperation and encouragement to her.


Violence - an old response, mine

On 10 June 2007 I received a forward with the subject line "these are the worlds most wicked people - Have No Words To Describe".

The email had seven photographs of a six or seven year old-looking boy being punished, perhaps for 'stealing', by making a jeep run over his hands. The images were brutal. But the fact that the script on the pictures which was in Arabic and photos indicated that there was an obvious reference made to Islam. This made me to look at other details in the forward. The forward showed that the mail had originated on 21 July 2006 , almost a year before, and had been forwarded to 213 people before it reached me. The mail created a series of thoughts in me and I decided to give a response and emailed the response to all the 213 email addresses on the very day I received the email. There was only one reply with two words "Thank You"

The recent violence in Mumbai and the subsequent demand for retaliation reminded me of the email and the response I had written and thought I must reproduce it here.

It has been a little difficult to make this post here, because, for the last three years that I have been experimenting with blogs in education, I have kept this blog strictly for 'academic' purposes and have tried to refrain from my 'personal views on contemporary issues' creeping in here. Hence, it is with a lot of hesitation, that I am making this post.

If you are a person who completely supports violence in the name of nation, religion, better society, better future, 'enough is enough rhetoric', then in your own interest and that of mine you may avoid reading further.

Following is the response I emailed on 10 June 2007 to the 213 emails I had found in the forward.

HI all
I received this following email forward asking me/us to condemn 'violence in the name of religion'. If we are to condemn only Islam and Islamic countries for it, I think we are victimizing Islam, thereby perpetuating our own hidden agenda of becoming self-proclaimed promoters of our religion at the cost of other religions.

We also need to condemn violence in the name of religion that happens in the case of Bush who attacked Iraq in the name of God (by which he obviously meant a Christian god) and by extension all self-declared American wars, and victimization of Islamic counties by the US. Closer home we need to condemn violence that happened in south canara in the name of cow protection/slaughter, Vadodara incident where Hindutva forces ransacked university campus, even when there are constitutional provisions to address ones grievances.

Instead of condemning violence in other religions it is important that we condemn violence carried by the religious and community leaders of our own religions and communities- Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jains. If we do not condemn violence by our own religions, then, let us accept that we too are communal deep within us.

Violence has different expressions. When it happens in the name of religion we call it religious-sponsored or communal. But what about domestic violence against women and children, what about the violence in the name of dresscode, better grades, Indian culture, linguistic identity, beyond-the-reach-of the-poor education that we see in our institutions and society, displacement in the name of industrialization, dams, IT that we keep tolerating? Shall we also condemn that?

Violence in any form, in all places, and in all times should be condemned- most importantly in our immediate places- house, schools and colleges, neighborhood, city in our own little ways.

As we become conscious of physical violence we also need to become aware of psychological violence. While it is easy to represent physical violence through photographs like the ones sent to me, it is extremely difficult to represent as well as understand invisible violence in the form of psychological violence. The immediate examples that come to my mind are one of parent imposed violence on children and the other management-teacher-imposed violence in schools, through assignments, exams, nicknames, passing remarks which create wounds that are difficult to heal.

The psychological violence we inflict on other communities, people by stereotyping or calling names is also a issue to be worried about. By visual violence i refer to the huge banners, buntings that 'decorate' all our public places put up by political parties, religious groups in the name of morhcas, conferences, rallies. They also need to be paid attention to and condemned.

May I now request you to spread this nuanced understanding of violence with the same enthusiasm with which you forward some unknown landscapes of the US or Canada or the morphed faces of our cricket players post-world cup?

Anil Pinto

Friday, December 05, 2008

'Toba Tek Singh' - Notes and Analysis by Vidhya Bilwal

Following is the presentation notes on Perspective IV Semester lesson 'Toba Tek Singh' a short story by Saadat Hasan Manto. The presentation was made for II year JPEng class by Vidhya Bilwal on 4 Dec.



• Introduction:
The short story “TOBA TEK SINGH” written by Saadat Hasan Manto has its deep foundation on the tragic event which India and Pakistan faced before, during and after independence in the form of ‘Partition’. Since the story has its root in partition and its aftermath, let me brief you first with; reason, causes and consequences of Partition.

In 1937 at the 19th session of the Hindu Mahasabha (one of the existing parties during independence) held at Ahamedabad, Veer Sawarkar in his presidential address made a statement before the public, “ India cannot be assumed today to be the Unitarian and homogeneous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main- the Hindus and the Muslims.

The statement reflects the prevailing tension and estrangement between so called the two major religions; Hindu and Muslim.

• Before Independence:
The partition was not a sudden division of the country and its leaders, which found its strong expression at the time of independence.

The tension and social turmoil had already spread long before it came into surface.
In 1906, a group of Muslims formed All India Muslim League (AIML) in Dhaka. They were suspicious of the Hindu majority Indian National Congress (INC) the ruling party at that time. Their complain was that they were not given same rights as a Muslim member compared to Hindu members. The whole reason behind this, seemed to be ‘ power politics’

Anyway, among the first to make the demand for a separate state was the writer and philosopher Allama Iqbal. Later on in 1935 when Sindh Assembly passed a resolution making it a demand, Iqbal, Jouhar and many others then worked hard to draft Mohammad Ali Jinnah who had till then worked for Hindu- Muslim unity and was an active member in INC.

So under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah the AIML went ahead and consequently ended up in partition of India – an event known for its massive migration and displacement in the world history.

However not all supported the division. On hearing this Gandhiji said, “ my whole soul rebels against the idea that Hinduism and Islam represent two antagonistic cultures and doctrines. To assent to such a doctrine is for me a denial of God”.
Therefore leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Allama Mashriqi etc. struggled to keep Hindu Muslim unity which finally ended with assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by one of the Hindu Nationalists.

• 1942- 1947
As we all know that the British colonial administration did not directly rule all of India. There were several political arrangements and also parties in existence.
Among them were;
ALML (All India Muslim League)
CPI (Communist Party Of India)
HM (Hindu Mahasabha)
INC (Indian National Congress)
UML (Unionist Muslim League)

And Mohammad Jinnah was the main figure along with Sikh leader Tara Singh who were involved directly in the Partition- in the lesson we come across these two names considered to be ‘dangerous.’

• Partition- 1947
The actual division between the two new dominions was done according to what has come to be known as the 3rd June Plan or Mountbatten Plan.

The border between India and Pakistan was determined by a British Government- commission report usually referred to as the Radcliff Line.

Pakistan came into being with two enclaves, East Pakistan (today Bangladesh) and West Pakistan, separated geographically by India. The rest belonged to India.

• Independence and population exchange
With the agreement on partition both the governments of the new countries decided to transfer the people based on the religion, therefore massive population exchange occurred between tow newly formed states in the months immediately following partition. Once the lines were established, about 14.5 million people crossed the borders to what they hoped was a relative safety of religious majority.

Based on 1951 census of displaced persons 72 lakh 26 thousand Muslims went to Pakistan from India while 72 lakh 49 thousand Hindus and Sikhs moved to India from Pakistan. About 78% of the population transfer took place in the west itself. Therefore it was the greatest ever heard massive migration in the world history.

• Refugees settled in India and Pakistan
Many Sikhs and Hindu Punjabis settled in Indian parts of Punjab and Delhi. Hindus migrating from east Pakistan ( now Bangladesh) settled across Eastern India and North Eastern India like West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. Some were sent to Andaman islands.

Refugees in Pakistan came from various parts of India. East Punjabis found there way out and had no much problems in adjusting themselves. However Muslims there were many Muslims migrated to Pakistan from other Indian parts. These refugees came from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar and even Hyderabad.

• Consequences
Marred with death and violence
Increase of homeless people
Tragedy continues…
Because independence was declared prior to the actual Partition, it was up to the new government of India and Pakistan to keep public order. No large population movements were contemplated; the plan called for safeguards for minorities on both sides of the new state line.

It was an impossible task, at which both states failed. There was a complete breakdown of law and order;Many died in riots, massacre or just from the hardships of their flight to safety.

The partition was tragically marred with death and violence. The estimates of how many people died vary immensely, generally estimating somewhere 1.5 million.
In what is termed as the greatest human migration, some 15 million people were displaced over night from their homes as a result of partition. Not only that the displacement did not assure them safety and house on the other side. People lay on the road, camps and public places for days and months till they found their way out, ‘Without any fault of theirs’!

According to Richard Symonds, “ at the lowest estimate, half a million people perished and 12 million out of 15 became homeless.”

Uncertainty was another reality faced by those people grated from their homes only because they were either Hindus or Muslims, nothing more than that.

Many of them never received any compensation or support form the government who took up their responsibility.

Therefore the partition of Indian subcontinent in 1947, following World War 2nd is perhaps the most tragic of all political event in the Indian history.

The partition divided Hindus and Muslims who had lived together for hundred of years. It led to endless boundary disputes, three wars between the two neighbors, a nuclear powered arms race and a state sponsored terrorism.

The consequences of partition are continued to be seen in the form of terrorist attacks, bomb blasts; tension on the LoC and Kashmir still remains a point of hatred between two nations.

Saadat Hasan Manto (1912- 55)
We read in the first paragraph of the chapter about the author. I will add some more facts and point to that.

Saadat began his writing in a period that was marked with:
British rule
Social turmoil
Struggle for independence

• He is most widely read and controversial Urdu short story writer of the 20th century
• Born in a Muslim Kashmiri family in 1912 in Punjab.
• Lived in Bombay, but was forced to immigrate to Pakistan during partition.
• Published 22 collections of short stories, 7 collections of radio plays, 3 collections of essays and 1 novel.
• Wrote about social taboos in South Asian societies, such as; socio- economic, injustice, love, sex, prostitution, hypocrisy etc.

• Manto’s writings
• His subject and themes are marked by originality and simplicity.
• Focused on story’s structure and finely thought out details.
• Have shocking and surprising endings.
• Toba tek singh is the masterpiece about tragic theme of horrors of separation
• Exposes hollowness of middle class morality.
• Characters usually from fallen and rejected sections of the society.

• About the story
Satire – On partition?
Narration – A reliable but not omniscient narrator
Time – Two or three years after partition
Structure – First two Para- earlier time- back to first two Para
Language – Simple and deliberately repetitive language.
Ending – No-man’s land between two new nations
Characters –Nameless…

“Toba Tek Singh” is surely the most famous story about Partition, and very possibly the best one. This story was one of manto’s last one; it was published in Maktabah-e-jadid, Lahore) in 1955.
Some of the underlying aspects of the story are:

• As a satire-
Every reader at one realizes that it’s a powerful satire, and also a bitter indictment of the political process and behavior patterns that produced Partition. But the author’s brilliant mind lies in the fact that there is not a single word in the story that tells us so.

The story in fact presents itself a non- judgmental chronicle of the behaviors of certain lunatics in an insane asylum in Lahore.

It thus share a very subtle yet simple form of presentation
• Narration-
A reliable but not omniscient narrator who speaks as a Pakistani, and seems to be a Lahori tells narration- the story. The narrator reports to us with apparent matter-of-factness a series of event s that are not quite as straightforward as they appear.
In the first sight everything seems very casual of daily conversations or say behavior of mad people. But then through the conversations of these lunatics that the author wants to put forward his message.

• Structure and Time-
We are told in the first sentence that it takes place’ two or three years after Partition. Then the first two paragraphs takes us to the Wagah border itself, were the lunatics are described as having already arrived. Then we drop abruptly into a very long flashback. We return to an earlier time, when the inmates in Lahore asylum first learned of the proposed exchange. We follow their reactions and behavior until at the very end of the story we once again arrive at the time and place of the first two paragraphs.

• Characters –
The whole aspect of the idea of the nationality is beautifully brought about through the conversation of those lunatics.
Manto penetrates into human psychology
The characters are presented without names; they are neither Hindus nor Muslims but are human beings belonging to nowhere yet existing.
Therefore whole aspect of identity is being questioned here which I will talk a little later.

• Language-
Because of its simple and deliberately repetitive use of language the original form of the story provides excellent reading practice for those learning Urdu. Otherwise the whole structure is simple and direct translation form the vernacular language

• Ending-
The narrator at the end locates Bashan Singh( Toba Tek Sigh) in a no man’s land between the two nations barbed-wire borders. Again affirms Manto’s style of writing with a surprising or shocking ending.

• Origin of the name: Toba Tek Singh
The title of the story itself has its own historical significance
Toba is a word in Punjabi that means ‘Pond’
It is a district in the Punjab province of Pakistan.
The town and district is named after a Sikh religious figure Tek Singh. Legend has it that Mr. Singh a kind hearted man served water and provided shelter to the worn out and thirsty travelers irrespective of any cast or creed who passed by a small pond (called TOBA in Punjabi), which eventually was called Toba Tek Singh and surrounding settlement acquired the same name.
Toba Tek Singh was developed by British toward the end of the 18th century when a canal system was built. People from all over Punjab moved there as farmlands were allotted to them.
Bishan Singh apparently might have been one of those migrated to this place

Therefore Toba Tek Singh as a place has its own history. Because the story takes place after two three years of Partition, it seems highly unbelievable that not only the lunatics, but the people around as well can’t figure out where the place is now. That’s the irony of the partition where things got so mixed up that no one in fact knew well that where India ends and where Pakistan begins.

And as a person reflect the same attitude of the people towards the name
Here in the story the name Toba Tek Singh is being given to the main character
Whose real name appears to be Bishan Singh.

We do not meet this main character until we have gone into detail over other lunatics of the asylum. Eventually with a small description the narrator introduces us with Bishan Singh whom every one calls as Toba Tek Singh. Rest, we come to know about him and his early life form the story itself, which very briefly yet clearly speaks about him.

What really makes a difference or say provides a climax for the story is Bishan’s death on a piece of land that ahs no name. He prefers to die on a place, which do not belong to anyone than struggle to decide where he really belongs.

That’s what exactly happened to all those who were forced to leave their land., home and dear ones in the process of partition. The hurts and the loss still remains in the hearts of all those who have passed through this agony.

The ending of the story or say Bishan’s fate resonates with at least one event in modern European history, the philosopher Walter Benjamin’s 1940 suicide on the border between France and Spain. He was a German Jew who had lived in France. In Sep. 1940 he fled to Paris ahead of Nazi advance. At the Spanish border one official claimed that the refugees would be forced to return to France. Hearing that Benjamin took an overdose of morphine and died during the night. Next morning everyone was allowed to proceed through Spanish territory.

• Binarism
The concept of Binorism can be seen in this short story. It is the distinction between the two extremes; either here or there, no in between. It is a choice between two politics, religion, race and creed. Legally speaking, one can’t be in two states at once, just as, in other modes of social distinction, one can’t have two religions or two color skins. Like Benjamin, Bishan achieves ultimate marginality by dying on the border between two states, thus opting for neither.

Manto might well have chosen the same fate, given the opportunity. Both as a man and the writer, he was constantly in revolt against the binary choices that religion and politics impose on human beings. But unfortunately he died in Lahore itself.

• Themes
• Individual identity crisis.
• Set in a madhouse it uses madness as a metaphor for sanity, that if you were sane enough you would have not gone ahead for such division that has lasting effects.

• The ambiguity of the nationhood is expressed when we are told that one madman got caught up in this whole confusion of Pakistan and Hindustan and Hindustan and Pakistan that he ended up considerably madder than before.
• The madmen in the Lahore asylum are a microcosm of the society. Through them all sections of the society and targeted and satirized and amidst them is Bihsan Singh who successfully resists all such identities thrust upon them by choosing something that belongs to no one.

Manto therefore is not just questioning just two-nation theory but also the very idea of nationhood as the basis of one’s identity.

Therefore Bishan would rather die in no man’s land than make a choice between Hindustan and Pakistan


Questions on ‘Toba Tek Singh’

i. Explain how the story ‘Toba Tek Singh is used as a metaphor for sanity.

ii. Discuss the question of Identity expressed in Toba Tek Singh.

iii. “But I know the language of the Hindustanis,” the first one interjected with a smile adding,” Hindustanis are devilish, they strut about haughtily…”how does this sentence work as a mouthpiece of Saadat Hasan Manto’s own experience and struggles?

iv. Explain the title of the short story and its significance. Why did author choose ‘ Toba Tek Singh, as the center of his story?

v. Why does the author choose an asylum as the locus for the story?

vi. What do we learn about Partition from this narrative?

vii. Why did Manto choose a Sikh as protagonist for his tale?

viii. What is the significance of the title, both as a place and as a name?

ix. Discuss some of the underlying aspects of the story.

x. Explain the concept of ‘Binarism’ in the story.

xi. What are some of the consequences reflected in the story as a result of partition?

xii. “ In the middle, on the stretch land which has no name, lay Toba Tek singh.” Discuss the whole issue of nationhood and identity struggle expressed through the ending of the story. Relate it to the experience of those who passed through the agony of partition.

VI Semester FEP Questions on Theatre

Dear III Year FEPians/ites,

  • You may post on any term or concept related to theatre or drama.
  • Please avoid posts on terms or concepts already posted on unless you can justify that previous post is wrong or inadequate
  • In case you are taking the material from websites or books, please provide the reference.
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  • Please make your posts before 10 December.
  • Please leave your register no, if not name with your posts.
  • If you need any clarification please approach Shruti P or contact me via blog or email.