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Toba Tek Singh: Stories

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,460 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Paperback, 160 pages
Published by Penguin Books India (first published July 7th 2008)
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Kanwarpal Singh
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review: This books talks about the 1947 partition time, and place in Pakistan , a mental hospital that is home for many hindu, sikh mental patients, there is one sikh from toba tek Singh who is there due mental imbalance, and stand all the time and didn't sleep from the time he is here and speak utter gibberish all the time, so from that time when news reach about they are shifted to Hindustan they don't know what is Pakistan and Hindustan.

The characters of the novel are too good to believe its
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A perfect read for those who look for deep meanings in the most simplest of of writings. Through very ordinary stories but very powerful and elegant metaphors, he makes you read the entire story in one breath! Most of the stories revolve around the partition of India {Toba Tek Singh, my personal favourite}. The hardships, confusion, self-conflict and inhumane conditions people had to suffer during and after the partition. Reading Manto Sahab's story is like looking curiously through a key-hole a ...more
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge
I have only read the short story 'Toba Tek Singh', which can be found online here - not the book of short stories. The story, in a subtle way, is a massive indictment of the horrors that took place during and following the partition of a India in 1947. It is well worth reading, and if you know little about this time in 20th century history, I hope that it encourages you to find out more.

I recommend this story.
I am starting to love Manto's writing but I would really like to read the original version of this book. (especially the Toba Tek Singh)
It is always painful for me to read about the partition stories but the way Manto wrote these stories makes them readable.
Toba Tek Singh is my favorite in this one!

One Muslim lunatic, who every day for twelve years had regularly read the "Zamindar," was asked by a friend, "Molbi Saab, what's this 'Pakistan'?"; after much thought and reflection he answered, "It'
Sabita Bhattarai
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Established now; i love this writer. I have no words. Simple yet subtle, deep! Wow wow!
Yeshi Dolma
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories by Manto was a joy/a heaviness/a weird emptiness to read. Each short story ended with me realizing the darkness it silently built, which is nothing but truth in some corner of the world and time. Most of the stories are set at the time of Indian independence or rather India-Pakistan partition. Toba Tek Singh, which is also the title of the book stands out. The story leaves a deep sense of emptiness. The story itself is 5/5 on its own. Very simply written and
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who's ever landed in India or Pak.
I've read only a few stories from Manto and his 'Toba Tek Singh' is a doubtless masterpiece.
Lunatics explain the pain of partition. They feel it and make it feel to the reader. As per my reading, this is absolutely the best piece describing the grasping pain non-violently in minimum words.
"He roundly abused all the Hindu and Muslim leaders who had conspired to divide India into two, thus making his beloved an Indian and him a Pakistani."

"If they were in India, then where was Pakistan? If they we
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian-fiction
I labelled this book as a work of fiction, but quite a few of the stories in this collection seem to have been inspired by true incidents. I came to know about Manto quite recently, only when a certain Bengali director acknowledged his works in the opening credits of his movie. And I picked up his work even later, only when the promo of a certain Hindi movie based on his life appeared on-line. Strange, but yes, movies got me back to books in this case.

Now coming to the book, it is a really slim
Pushpam Singh
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of short stories by a very famous and critically acclaimed urdu writer - saadat hasan. This book basically focuses on the time around partition of india in 1947. From various stories that feature in the book, he tries to portray the social class, economic situation, beliefs and various other taboo that existed during that time.
There are few stories on lives of ladies who possibly lived during those days and sustained the blows of brutalities of partition.
The author ha
Ajitabh Pandey
Translated from Urdu, most of these stories are from the times of India-Pakistan partition. Too much on the negative side of the partition, I did not find them appealing.
Rania Abdullah Gandapur
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Toba Tek Singh ♥️♥️
Manto is a gem ♥️
The original Urdu script just takes away your heart ♥️
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poco, south-asian
The stories speak for themselves, and remain powerful and relevant years later. Unlike others, I also found the translation perfectly serviceable.

Like many authors of his generation, Manto grapples with the profound disillusionment with the national projects of India and Pakistan given that both were revealed as a lie by the events of Partition. The texts are refreshingly frank in their treatment of sex, death, atrocities, and violence — there’s a reason both the pre and post independence state
Ankita  Khanna
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
About Toba Tek Singh:

Imagine having to wake up one day with the realisation that everything you have called yours, the land, the home, even people, are going to be taken away from you. You might never get to see them again. You have to make it across a new imaginary border. There is violence and chaos, you might die there or you might survive. If you survive you now belong to the other side, to what some powerful people decided would be your new home. You didn't want this. You just want to be
Siddharth Singh
I picked up this work of Manto more out of curiosity than anything else, a local radio channel had run a month long feature on Manto and I just wanted to see what was the hype all about.

Some of the hype was certainly justified, Manto's writing is very provocative in nature and certainly not for the faint at heart. His stories cover topics that are almost certainly not discussed in polite company and he doesn't shy away from highlighting the dark side of human nature. Manto's caliber as a writer
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Saadat Hasan Manto is an amazing writer and when it comes to describing partition and the pain, he becomes unbeatable. Toba Tek Singh is a masterpiece from him.
The story dates back to the time of Indo-Pak partition and takes you to a mental asylum where Toba Tek Singh (a name given by his inmates) lives.
People in that asylum have their own perspectives for this partition. It is when both countries' governments decide to exchange madmen on the basis of their current nationality.
What happens nex
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian-authors
When I picked up the book, it was the name Toba Tek Singh that led me to believe that I was going to read some quaint simple Indian stories. What it actually had was completely different - and I guess not having any background on Manto was a big part of not knowing what to expect.
However, though the initial few stories were unsettling, I really liked almost every story after the first few once i got the hang of Manto's way of writing.
Though he wrote in urdu, the english translation of his stor
Nishant Gupta
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book by Manto, and I like his style. There are no protagonists or heroes in his stories. The characters are ordinary and grappling with life. These stories give a peek into their lives. There's nothing extraordinary or mind-boggling, but at the same time the humanity of the characters stands out.
The only disappointment I've is that I read it in Hindi, while Manto wrote these stories in Urdu. Some poetry of emotion gets lost in translation. Unfortunately, my understanding of Urd
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first piece of Hindi literature I've read since passing 10th standard. Even though my speed was barely middling, the whole affair was worth it. This is not the cruel injustice of a lifetime a la Roy or the fantastic lament of Rushdie, but it is an epitome of Indian literature nonetheless. Starting off with highly depressing stories of the partition, to the stories of Bombay's prostitutes which made him infamous, all the way to fascinating tales about banal insecurities that lead peo ...more
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I'll be honest I just read the English translation of the story "Toba Tek Singh" from this book because that was the only story I knew in it's original format. From that alone I would say do not get this if you can read Devanagri or Urdu script. Most of Manto's stories were satire of the highest quality, that depth is just not there in the translation. For Devanagari readers this might serve better Manto ki Kahanian. And for those of us who want to read all of Saadat Hasan Manto's works, it seem ...more
Avirup Chakraborty
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Manto takes you through a smooth uphill climb, and then pushes you off the cliff with an abrupt showcase of reality. The Dog of Titwal or An Old Fashioned Man exposes Manto's hatred towards shallow social/political constructs in an utmost caustic manner. The irremediable wounds of a forced partition are portrayed in Toba Tek Singh and A Tale of 1947. And Manto's characteristic exploration of sexuality is presented in A Wet Afternoon and Odour.

The translation is really fluid, although there are c
5 stars for Manto's stories
3 stars for the translation

I have colloquial knowledge of Hindi and Urdu (which is essentially the same language at spoken level – literary Hindi and Urdu draw on Sanskrit and Arabic-Persian respectively). After having read M. Asaduddin's criticism of Khalid Hasan's translations of Manto's stories, I listened to Toba Tek Singh in Urdu. Hasan's translations fail to capture the subtle nuances, the immediacy, the essence of Manto's prose. Thankfully, most of Manto's stori
This is a little collection of 11 short stories by Saadat Hassan Manto, an Indian writer (1912-1955) who moved to Pakistan after India's independence and Partition. Although considered obscene by standards of pre-Independence India (Manto was tried several times for obscenity), these and other stories tackle human emotions in a pretty frank manner. I gave it 3 stars as I think the stories were too short and didn't allow fuller development of characters. At the end of day, these stories shine a u ...more
Jul 30, 2014 rated it liked it
"There, behind barbed wire, on one side, lay India and behind more barbed wire, on the other side, lay Pakistan. In between, on a bit of earth, which had no name, lay Toba Tek Singh."

Toba Tek Singh is the only story I've read in this collection and it beautifully captures the madness that was the partition. But even in the breadth of this short story, I could sense the nuance I was missing by reading the English translation. If you can, read the original.
Amulya Neelam
Jan 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Quaint collection of stories set during the partition time; the most exemplifying one being ‘the price of freedom’. Evokes a whole range of emotions, albeit mostly only the negative ones. A simple narrative with no flairs and flounces and no forced messages – the reader is left to make her own takeaway. The overtly hard-hitting view of the human nature in the stories might leave one wishing for a different taste though.
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Short stories with a whole lot of punch in each one. Although they are set during partition and they have no electronics mentioned, the messages ring in as surprisingly contemporary.

I only disliked the story about the dog, because of the ending. But that isn't a reflection on the writing, more of a personal distaste for animal cruelty.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
The bloody history of one nation torn apart in 1947 can best be understood within Manto's elemental TOBA TEK SINGH. But there's also an important connection to the present. The lunatic in the story dies on "a bit of earth" between the barbed wires of India and Pakistan. That lunatic might as well be the modern expat, belonging to a no man's land. ...more
Souvik Khamrui
Unbound, Explosive & Spectacular - The bold in its boldest form.
Sep 06, 2019 added it
I am getting a bit tired of Manto and his partition stories.
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
cut one star off simply because of the inevitable sadness which comes with realizing how much is lost in translation
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Writing is incredibly vivid !
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Reader's Paradise: Hindi BR - Manto Short Stories 605 74 Feb 15, 2017 04:41AM  

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Saadat Hasan Manto (Urdu: سعادت حسن منٹو, Hindi: सआदत हसन मंटो), the most widely read and the most controversial short-story writer in Urdu, was born on 11 May 1912 at Sambrala in Punjab's Ludhiana District. In a writing career spanning over two decades he produced twenty-two collections of short stories, one novel, five collections of radio plays, three collections of essays, two collections of r ...more

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