‘The Garland’ by Saadat Hasan Manto

‘The Garland’ is set in the frenzied days of Partition in Pakistan. A Muslim mob in Lahore attacks the statue of Sir Ganga Ram, a famous Hindu architect and philanthropist, pelting ‘him’ with sticks, bricks and stones. One man smears the statue with coal tar and another is shot by police as he places a garland of shoes around the monument’s neck. The satire closes with the injured man being rushed off, “to be bandaged at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital”, founded by the very same Ganga Ram whose image he had been wrecking. Manto allows the reader a quick apprehension of an ironic truth, but the characters remain unconscious.

First published in 1948 and collected in Bitter Fruit: The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto, Penguin Global, 2009

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