Short Story: The Decolonization Of India

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The decolonization of India in 1947 was accompanied by geographical partition into two nations – India and Pakistan – based on religious differences and anxieties. In the nine months between August 1947 and the following year at least 28 million people --- Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims --- were forced to flee from their homes and became refugees; at least a million were killed in communal violence.Partition is central to modern identity in the Indian subcontinent, as the Holocaust is the identity among the Jews. The well-known Pakistani historian Ayesha Jalal has called partition, “the central historical event in twentieth century South Asia.” She writes, “A defining moment that is neither beginning nor end, partition continues to influence how the people and states of…show more content…
The story is narrated by a reliable but not omniscient narrator who speaks like a Pakistani, and seems to be Lahori. The story dates to the historic Indo-Pak partition and mental asylum where the protagonist of the story is kept. The story revolves around Bishan Singh, a Sikh inmate of Lahore asylum. The story takes us to Lahore asylum, ‘taking the notion of victimhood to its extreme” and gradually focuses on one old Sikh inmate named Bishan Singh, but who is called Toba Tek Singh because he had been a wealthy land owner in a town of that name. Although unable to speak except in nonsense syllables, upon hearing of intended transfer, he tries to find out whether Toba Tek Singh is in India or Pakistan. He can’t understand why he is being uprooted from his home. That was the question over two million people asked their governments during partition. At the border, Bishan Singh learns from a liaison officer that Toba Tek Singh is in Pakistan and he refuses to cross. When all persuasion fails, he is left standing by himself between the two border stations. (Tiwari, S.

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