Fiction Books

India at 75 | What would a conclave of Partition writers look like?

‘Zindaginama’ (1979) by Krishna Sobti

(Published in English under the same name, translated by Neer Kanwal Mani)

The magnum opus of one of the all-time great Hindi writers, this novel eschews traditional plot structures and character development to deliver a stunning, wide-angle view of both Partition and Indian society in general.

‘Basti’ (1979) by Intizar Hussain

(Published in English under the same name, translated by Frances W. Pritchett)

Intizar Hussain is one of the most important Pakistani writers of all time and Basti was the work that brought him onto the world map (it’s now in a New York Review of Books edition).

‘Toba Tek Singh’ (1955) by Saadat Hasan Manto

(Several translations available)

The definitive Partition short story by Manto, the plot follows a deranged man at the border who cannot remember which country he belongs to. If Kafka underwent the Partition, he’d have written something a lot like ‘Toba Tek Singh’.

Tamas by Bhisham Sahni

No list of Partition fiction is complete without Tamas, the harrowing story of a group of Sikh and Hindu families in Pakistan, forced to migrate to India overnight thanks to the events of the Partition. The Govind Nihalani film of the same name is every bit as devastating as the novel.


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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 5:14:14 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/books/zindaginama-tamas-toba-tek-singh-what-would-a-conclave-of-partition-writers-look-like/article65760676.ece