‘Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do ingloriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple: who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?’
Launching soon, BLACK MARGINS celebrates artists creating works in all genres that challenge the norm. Work featured includes contemporary artists such as Salman Rushdie, Saadat Hasan Manto, through to the works of, John Milton, and Bulleh Shah.
The Benefit of Ignorance
The trigger was pressed and the bullet spun out ill-temperedly. The man leaning through the window doubled over without making a sound. The trigger was pressed a second time. The bullet swished through the air, puncturing the water-carrier’s goatskin. He fell on his face and his blood, mixing with water, began to flow across the road. The trigger was pressed a third time. The bullet missed, embedding itself into a mud wall. The fourth felled an old woman. She did not even scream. The fifth and sixth were wasted. Nobody got killed and nobody got wounded. The marksman looked frustrated, when suddenly a running child appeared on the road. He raised his gun and took aim.
“What are you doing?” his companion asked.
“You are out of bullets.”
“You keep quiet. What does a little child know?”
Saadat Hasan Manto
Both sketches appear in “Partition - Sketches and Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto”. Translated from the Urdu by Khalid Hasan and published by Viking Penguin Books India 1991.