Like most, and perhaps due to the innate lethargy when it comes to articulating thoughts that in any case, given the output, may not meet with approval of those who set their eyes or ears on it…in printed or aural word, I am inclined to subscribe to the saw that, whatever may or may not be silver, that silence is most certainly golden, even if today as you read this, the price of gold, has not just split the roof over one’s head, but made a Chaplinesque travesty ( am referring to his ultimate legendary movie Gold Rush ) today of the metal that was earlier made renowned by Fort Knox in Uncle Sam’s region.

But there’s another travesty that I fulminate on here. Turn of mid-last-century writer, Saadat Hasan Manto whose story of Toba Tek Singh will forever capture the imagination of the countries that got split according to whim, and as the incipient schizophrenia continues and perhaps snowballs today, good old Manto resorted to Bacchus and his Pards, in a vain attempt to reconcile the schism, and the perpetual oxymoronic loop, which  ( inevitably?) cost him his life.

And then again, was it a whim, in which those who could envision the future of millions in an entire sub-continent, took decisions that had to have an inexorable bearing on the larger aspirations, of the millions who inhabit it?

Now to the foolhardy question – should we still mourn veritable lotus-eaters like Manto, when well-read, and often incarcerated, legal luminaries of founding fathers of the begotten nations, thought otherwise ?

We need to look long and hard, at this.  Politics is a numbers game, and then, so it is for its twin sister, economics. One has never co-existed without the other. The only question worth asking is, did we really achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, after all these years ? I confess that this question troubles me, when I see the kids on the street…….

On that note, let me wish the Memory of  Bishen Singh, a.k.a.  Toba Tek Singh, Sat Sri Akal !

And well may have the much-battered Manto said today of the goings on, whether he was high or otherwise:  “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t ; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”

Rushdie:  I am happy to be mentioned in the same breath as Manto !

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