“I am a Hindu”

Indscribe has a post on the controversy in the Hindi blogosphere on the collection of short stories Main Hindu Hoon (I am a Hindu) by Asghar Wajahat. Shah Alam Camp ki ruhain (The Spirits of Shah Alam Camp, pdf) is a collection of mini stories about the Shah Alam Camp set up in Ahmedabad after the Gujarat pogrom in 2002. Asghar Wajahat’s play directed by Habib Tanvir Jis Lahore Nahin Vekhiya, o jamiya nahin (One that has not seen the grand city of Lahore, is not yet born) was a scathing indictment of the the partition and the frenzy that followed it.

One of the mini stories from The Spirits of Shah Alam Camp:

A political leader asks a spirit who has come to visit Shah Alam Camp: “Do you have a father and mother?”

“No, they were both killed.”

“What about brothers and sisters?”

“No.”

“Any other relatives alive?’

“No, they’re all dead.”

“Are you comfortable here?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Do you get enough to eat?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Do you have clothes on your back?”

“I do.”

“Do you need anything else?”

“No, nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“Nothing.”

The leader is pleased. He says to himself, “The lad is bright. Not like other Muslims.”

Translated by Rakshanda Jalil at The Little Magazine

Another short story from a different collection by Wajahat:

Hariram: Gurudev, is Pakistan our enemy?

Gurudev: Yes, child, it is our enemy.

Hariram: What does Pakistan want?

Gurudev: It wants to destroy us.

Hariram: And what do we want?

Gurudev: We want to destroy Pakistan.

Hariram: Then we are friends, not enemies.

Gurudev: How Hariram?

Hariram: We have the same intentions.

Lies Half Told

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6 thoughts on ““I am a Hindu”

  1. Bhaswati

    Chilling and so effective in indictment. The mark of good writing.

    Watching “Jis Lahore…” performed had a similar impact on me years ago.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. suparna

    Had found a story called ‘Gangu’ in Katha’s translated edition of Uday Prakash’s stories.. was wonderful, with the protagonist concluding that Hindus live in Pakistan, and Gangus live in Hindustan. Dont think i should give away more about the story – but that collection is a must-read. A lot of the flavour that Manto’s writings have i think ..

    Reply
  3. Martha Hillarry

    Yes, Suparna, I’ve also read ‘Gangu’ in Uday Prakash’ anthology ‘Short Shorts Long Shots’……He is a wonderfull writer. ‘Gangu’ is also translated in German and Hungarian beside English..
    Martha

    Reply

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