The madmen are a representation of those marginalized people, who were kept at bay from the mainstream political arena but whose fates were decided by the ones at the centre. The partition, the most barbaric event in the history of the subcontinent, was a well thought out bargain, just like the feigned madness of the murderers who were put in the asylum to escape the death sentence, for the parties with vested interests. The communal agenda was flared to light up the narrow corridors of power. But the madness was real — for, it was madness to be intoxicated with unbridled power to decide the fate of millions of people; it was madness to drag people out of their homes and hurl them into the furnace of rape and murder; it was maddening to be uprooted from the homeland.
Translated by Tahira Naqvi bio Two or three years after the Partition, it occurred to the governments of India and Pakistan that along with the transfer of the civilian prisoners, a transfer of the inmates of the lunatic asylums should Toba tek singh be made.
In other words, Muslim lunatics from Indian institutions should be sent over to Pakistan, and Hindu and Sikh lunatics from Pakistani asylums should be allowed to go to India. It is debatable whether this was Toba tek singh judicious step.
Nonetheless, several high-level conferences took place, and the day of the transfer was fixed. Following a great deal of initial investigation, those inmates who had relatives in India were retained there, while the rest were transported to the border.
Since there were no Hindus or Sikhs in Pakistan, the question of retaining anyone there did not arise. All the Hindus and Sikhs in the asylums were taken to the border in the custody of the police.
What happened in India is not known. But here, in the Lahore asylum, the news of the transfer resulted in interesting speculation among the inmates. One man, who had been reading Zamindar regularly for nearly twelve years, was approached by a friend.
His friend appeared to be satisfied by the answer. A Sikh lunatic asked another Sikh, "Sardarji, why are we being sent to Hindustan?
We can't even speak their language. Some of the inmates were not deranged at all. Many of them were murderers whose relatives had bribed the asylum authorities to keep them there so that they would be safe from the hangman's noose.
These men had some idea of what was going on and knew something about Pakistan. But they did not have all the facts. Not much could be ascertained from newspapers [End Page 14] alone, and since the guards on duty were illiterate for the most part, little information could be gained by talking to them.
All they knew was that there was a man, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who was known as Quaid-e-Azam, and that he had founded, for the Muslims, a separate country called Pakistan. What were its boundaries? They did not know. For this very reason all the inmates who were altogether mad found themselves in a quandary; they could not figure out whether they were in Pakistan or India, and if they were in Pakistan, then how was it possible that only a short while ago they had been in India when they had not moved from the asylum at all?
For one lunatic, the entire issue of Hindustan-Pakistan and Pakistan-Hindustan resulted in further disorientation.
One day, while he was sweeping the floor, he suddenly suspended his task and climbed onto a tree, where he remained for nearly two hours.
During that time, he lectured extensively and nonstop on the matter of Pakistan versus Hindustan. When ordered by the guards to come down, he climbed higher still; when threatened with force, he said, "I want to live neither in Pakistan nor in Hindustan—I will live on this tree.
He was saddened by the thought of their impending departure to India. One morning, a Muslim engineer who used to spend most of his time walking back and forth in a particular part of the garden suddenly took off his clothes and began running about naked.
A fat Muslim from Chiniot, who had once been an active member of the Muslim League and who bathed at least fifteen times during the day, suddenly gave up bathing altogether.
His name was Mohammed Ali.
Following his example, a Sikh in his enclosure announced that he was Master Tara Singh. Blood would have been spilled, but luckily both men were declared to be dangerous and were confined to separate quarters.
There was a lawyer in the asylum, a young man from Lahore who had lost his sanity over a tragic love affair. He was deeply grieved when he discovered that Amritsar had become part of India, because the girl he had been in love with was from there. She had rejected this young lawyer, but despite his mental state, he still cared for her.
And he cursed all the leaders, both Muslim and Hindu, who were responsible for splitting Hindustan in two. His beloved had become a Hindustani while he was now a Pakistani. Some of the other inmates tried to comfort the lawyer. They told him he would be sent to Hindustan, where his beloved lived.
But he did not wish to leave Lahore, for he felt that his practice would not thrive in Amritsar. In the European Ward were two Anglo-Indians. When they heard that the English had given Hindustan freedom and then left, they were devastated.
In the course of several secret meetings, they discussed the future of [End Page 15] their status in the asylum. Would the European Ward be retained?Islamic Prayer Times in Toba Tek Singh and Athan (Azan) with Namaz Time of Muslim Prayer Times (Salah Times) i.e.
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