Manto on Partition

14th August was celebrated when I was in Bombay. Both Pakistan and India had been declared independent. People were immensely happy yet killings and arson did not stop. Cries of Pakistan Zindabad(Long live Pakistan) along side of Hindustan zindabad (Long live India) rent the air. One could see the Congress Tricolour as also the Islamic flag hoisted side by side. People shouted slogans in favour of both Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Qaid Azam Mohd Ali Jinnah in bazars as well as on roads. A person was at a loss to understand whether he belonged to India or Pakistan and whose blood was it that was continuously flowing on the streets? Where would those carcasses be buried or cremated whose sacred religious flesh had been eaten away by the carnivorous beasts? Now that we were free who would be our slaves? When we were slaves we used to think about freedom, now that we are free it would be unimaginable to think what slavery looks like. Yet the question arises whether we are really free or not? Both  Hindus and Muslims are being killed mercilessly in large numbers. How and Why…? These questions have different answers – the Indian answer, the Pakistani answer, and the English answer. Every one has an answer but fact remains if one tried to find out the real truth no answer could satisfy. Some one says you can find an answer in the ruins of Indian Mutiny. Another person does not agree and says that you can find an answer in the rule of East India Company. A third person moves further backwards in History and seeks an answer in the Mughal rule. Every one is going back into the past while only Criminals and Vandals are moving  ahead rapidly to write a bloody history of iron and blood which will be matchless in the entire history of mankind.

India has attained freedom. Pakistan too has come into existence immediately after being declared free. Still, however, the man in both these countries remains a slave…slave of prejudice….slave of religious fundamentalism….slave of bestiality and barbarianism. (Sa’adat Hassan Manto)

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