Precarity in the Times of Partition: Personal vs Communal Love in Khushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan and Saadat Hasan Manto's "Gurmukh Singh ki Wasiyat".

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Author: Ayesha Perveen
Date: June 2022
Publisher: Purdue University Press
Document Type: Report
Length: 5,988 words
Lexile Measure: 1400L

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Abstract :

The paper studies how various shades of love respond to precarity in anarchic times by comparing the narrative representation of the aftermath of the Partition of the British colonized Subcontinent into independent countries of India and Pakistan in 1947 with particular focus on Sikh-Muslim relationships in Punjab as presented in Khushwant Singh's novel Train to Pakistan and Saadat Hasan Manto's short story "Gurmukh Singh ki Wasiyat." Employing Judith Butler's concept of precarity, the paper analyzes how both the writers sketch precarity in partition times ensuing in post-Partition communal violence and effacement of love. The selection of the texts is significant because Singh presents precarity in the multi-ethnic village of Mano Majra whereas Manto presents the city of Amritsar on fire, thus encompassing rural and urban life. Both the texts gradually unleash how the love between communities fades away precipitated by the increasing violence while personal love unflinchingly last even during the times of anarchy, irrespective of communal and religious differences. Jugga who is a Sikh by ethnicity sacrifices his life for his Muslim beloved Nooran and Gurmukh Sing assigns the responsibility of his unflinching gratitude for Mr Abdul Hayee to his son after his death. Whereas before the Partition personal and communal commitments were equally strong, the divergence takes place between the two due to the precarity after Partition that rifts communities apart but personal love remains resilient to socio-political pressures.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A708008178