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'Toba Tek Sing' by Sadat Hasan Manto is an instance of keeping the Legacy of Communal Harmony Alive

 Toba Tek Singh

Sadat Hasan Manto

'Toba Tek Sing' by Sadat Hasan Manto

Q. Toba Tek Singh is an instance of keeping the Legacy of Communal Harmony Alive – Discuss in details with reference to the story Toba Tek Singh

Answer: Toba Tek Singh is popularly known as one of the tragic stories about partition. We know Toba Tek Singh in India through the legendary storyteller Sadat Hasan Manto. The story deals with the migration of Hindu and Sikh mentally ill patients from Lahore to India. This raised significant questions about the meaningful definition and the thinning of the boundaries between the ‘crazy’ and the intelligent world. Toba Tek Singh is the place where the hero was. Bijan Singh wanted to stay in Toba Tek Singh, but due to his Sikh identity, when he found out that he was being sent to India, he found it difficult to recover from the injury and died in the Indo-Pakistani territory. The story is boring for any ‘intelligent’ person.

Although the story and characters are fictional, the place Toba Tek Singh still exists. Toba Tek Singh is a city and a tehsil (district) in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The history of Toba Tek Singh is found with a man named Tek Singh who assisted travelers and pedestrians traveling in the area, as it is located in a place where many routes converged. Tek Singh used to serve them water from a cow pot pond - which was called Toba in Urdu. Over time, it became the identity of the place and was renamed Toba Tek Singh.

Toba Tek Sing - Pond

The partition did not leave this place untouched and unscrewed. Being an important railway station, Toba Tek Singh not only witnessed the violence, but also the trains carrying the bodies. Even after independence, many attempts have been made to rename the place.

Umayer Ahmed, a lawyer and activist for Toba Tek Singh, says, “Radicals have repeatedly tried to name this place. They proposed to keep it as "Dar-ul-Islam" for its naming, but it was protested by the people of Toba and defended the heritage of the place.” Residents of Toba Tek Singh are also trying to preserve the legacy. The main essence of it can be found in seclusion, communal harmony and peace.

Ahmed is part of a number of peace and human rights organizations, including the Indo-Pak initiative Agaj-e-Dosti. As coordinator of Toba Tek Singh, he publishes a peace calendar in the city every year. The calendar is drawn by school children in India and Pakistan. Ahmed organizes a drawing competition at Toba Tek Singh's school and publishes a calendar at an event that promotes not only peace, but also inter-faith harmony as he ensures the participation of speakers from different religions. 

The beautiful history of Toba Tek Singh, which is a primary source of pride for the townsfolk, is not just what they have inherited; rather it is the source for which they are struggling to reserve. Their struggle is a source of hope. We cannot undo the past, the trauma of partition continues in various forms, but we can certainly embrace it by sowing the seeds of peace and harmony.

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