India’s freedom came at many great costs. Communal riots and partition related violence preceded, as well as accompanied, independence in 1947. In Punjab, one of the provinces most plagued by rioting, violence was acute. Saadat Hasan Manto has bequeathed to us vivid sketches of the trauma. This article explores the complexity which imbues Manto’s post partition short stories, as well as uses oral testimonies of survivors to corroborate the narratives of agony. In the face of glaring silences and screaming voids that pervade official historiography of the event, literature and oral histories have both emerged as formidable archives. They tip the balance in favour of partition historiography which bares the horrors of murder, abduction, rape, and displacement; moving away from statist narratives which relegate the pain and agonies of people, especially women, to the background. This article will examine the role of Manto’s complex, imaginative and Kafkaesque literary works in recovering the trials of the marginalised and the voiceless, by reading them along with, and in the light of, Oral testimonies.
Sameera Chauhan, Panjab University, India
This paper is part of the ACAH2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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