Saadat Hassan Manto ( May22, 1912-January18, 1955) was a short story writer of the Urdu Language. He is best known for his short stories, ‘Bu’ (Odour), ‘Khol Do’ (Open It), ‘Thanda Gosht’ (Cold Meat), and his magnum opus, ‘Toba Tek Singh’.
Toba Tek Singh is a short story written by Manto about the India and Pakistan partition. He was greatly affected by it.
Gulzar has written a beautiful poem based on this story.
Gulzar on Toba Tek Singh
mujhe wagah pe toba tek singh wale ‘bishan’ se ja ke milna hai
suna ha woh abhi tak suuje paeroon per khada hai
jis jagah ‘munto’ ne choda tha use
woh aab tak boodbadata hai
‘uppar di gur gur di moong di daal di laalten’
pata lena hai us pagal ka
oonchi daal per chad kar jo kehta hai
khuda hai woh use faisla karna hai kis ka gaon kis ke hisse mein ayega woh kab ootrega apni daal se us ko batana ha
abhi kuch aur bhi dil hain k jin ko baantne ka, kaatne ka kaam zari hai woh batwara toh pehle tha abhi kuch aur batware baki hain
mujhe wagah pe toba tek singh wale bishan se milna hai
khabar deni hai us ke dost afzal ko
woh ‘lehna singh’,’wadawa singh’ woh ‘bhen amrit’ woh saare qatl ho kar is tarf aye the
un ki gardnein saman hi mein lutt gayeein peeche zabih kar de woh ’bhoori’ ab koi leene na ayega
woh ladki ik oongli jo badi hoti thi her barah mahine mein woh ab har ik bars ik pota pota ghatti rehti ha
batana ha k sab pagal poohche nahin apne thikanoon per bahut se is taraf bhi hain bahut se us taraf bhi hai
mujhe wagah pe toba tek singh wala bishan aksar yehi keh ke bolata hai
“uppar di gurr gurr di moong daal di laltein di hinustan te pakistan di durr fithe moonh”
TRANSLATION by Anisur Rahman (from Translating Partition, Ed. Ravikant and Tarun K. Saint).
I’ve to go and meet Toba Tek Singh’s Bishan at Wagah
I’m told he still stands on his swollen feet Where Manto had left him, He still mutters: Opad di gud gud di moong di dal di laltain
I’ve to locate that mad fellow Who used to speak up from a branch high above: “He’s god He alone has to decide – whose village to whose side.”
When will he move down that branch He is to be told: “There are some more – left still Who are being divided, made into pieces - There are some more Partitions to be done That Partition was only the first one.”
I’ve to go and meet Toba Tek Singh’s Bishan at Wagah, His friend Afzal has to be informed - Lahna Singh, Wadhwa Singh, Bheen Amrit Had arrived here butchered - Their heads were looted with the luggage on the way behind.
Slay that “Bhuri”, none will come to claim her now. That girl who grew one finger every twelve months, Now shortens one phalanx each year.
It’s to be told that all the mad ones haven’t yet reached their destinations There are many on that side And many on this.
Toba Tek Singhís Bishan beckons me often to say: “Opad di gud gud di moong di dal di laltain di Hindustan te Pakistan di dur fitey munh.“
To read Toba Tek Singh the story :
To hear Toba Tek Singh the story :
Urduwallahs celebrate One Hundred Years of Saadat Hasan Manto!