Sunday, July 25, 2010

Character-Sketch of Mangu in the short story "The New Constitution" by Saadat Hassan

Mangu is a tongawala in Lahore. He stands for the common man of the sub-continent. He is keenly interested in the politics of the country. His political awareness comes from contact with educated people who sometimes happen to travel by his Tonga. He has heard a lot about the New Constitution, which is going to be promulgated on first April. This new constitution promises to ensure basic human rights for all the people in the country. Like every body else Mangu, too, is very hopeful. He hopes that the new constitution will bring the British rule to an end. Then no gora will be able to bully an Indian.

Mangu shares his awareness with other tongawalas on the Tonga stand. He tells them what he hears from his fares about the new constitution every day. This has made him quite a leader of his community.
Like every common man in our country Mangu too is very optimistic about the future of the nation. He hopes things will improve under the new setup. But when the setup comes he learns that he was mistaken. The promised change does not come with it. The alien rulers are still the masters. Every person of their nation still enjoys the same prestige. Mangu’s fight with the gora soldier brings this sad fact to light for him. We pity him for having fought with a member of the ruling nation. Mangu is not just a poor tongawala. He represents the Indian nation under the British rule. His hatred for the white rulers reflects the general hatred. It was this hatred that eventually led to the exit of the white rulers.
(In short Ustad Mangu is a wonderful character. He is a faithful representative of the slave nations who detest their foreign rulers but feel helpless against their inhuman treatment. He is a man who tries to look at the outside world in the light of his inner aspirations and expectations. This makes him ridiculous.)

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