Saturday, 28 May 2016

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The New Constitution (Saadat Hassan Manto) Summary and Questions

BSc BA English Notes Short Stories The New Constitution (Saadat Hassan Manto) Summary and Question Answers



The story “The New Constitution” conveys the idea that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. It also tells the reader about the true feelings of the common people of India for the British.
Ustad Mangu is a tongawala and lives in Lahore. He is illiterate. He is in the habit of overhearing his fares. Once he overhears from his fares about the communal violence. He is worried and tells his friends about the reason of this communal violence.
He hates the English because of their arrogance and insulting behavior. Once a gora soldier insults him and Ustad bears the insult silently. In rage, he abuses the English.
Once he overhears about the introduction of the new constitution. He is very happy. He returns to the Tonga stand and tells his companions about the news. After that, he overhears about the changes. He overhears that the Indians would be free. He thought that the new constitution would force the English to go back to England. The Indian would have elected assemblies. They would have equal rights. He waits for the introduction of the new constitution very impatiently.
On 1 April, he gets up early in the morning and comes on road to see the new constitution in force. However, he is disappointed to see no change. He meets a Gora soldier there and picks up a quarrel with him. He beats the Gora soldier. Two police officers lock him up. They tell him that nothing has changed and it is the same old constitution.

Question Answers

Q. Narrate the story in your own words.
Ans: “The New Constitution” is a story of political awareness at the lowest level of our society. It is a powerful story that shows how the common man looks hopefully at every promise of a change in the political set up. The New Constitution means the Government of India  Act, 1935, which introduced a democratic setup in India. Mangu, a tongawala of Lahore eagerly listened to his educated fares talking about the new constitution. They said it would ensure equality of rights. The people of India would form their own Government under the new constitution. They would no longer be slaves to the British Rule. Mangu believed what he heard, so he was very happy and hopeful. The new constitution was introduced on the first April. Mangu hated the ruling nation. To his dismay he learnt that the promise of the New Constitution was a false promise. The promised change had not come.
The story also expressed the falsity of the promises made by politicians in general and alien rulers in particular. As Mr. White, the British Deputy Commissioner of Mayaour in Paul Scott?s novel said, “we were in India for what we could get out of it”. At the same time it tries to create awareness among the people to save them from further exploitation by their rulers in future.
Manto is famous for his excellent stories on the movement for Pakistan. He is also one of the outstanding critics of society. In this story he makes us realize that the Indians were no doubt against the British rule but they were easily deceived by false promises because of their simplicity and ignorance.

Irony in the Story

“The New Constitution” brings to light the irony of political situation in the sub-continent under the British rule. The rulers introduced the government of India act, 1935 with tall promises. But those promises were never fulfilled. The New Constitution promised self-government. But it was only a restricted self-government as it was under complete British control. It did not bring any profitable change for the people. They had been told that this New Constitution would make life easy and comfortable for them. It would ensure respect for the common man. It would give them all the rights which their rulers enjoyed. But all these promises turned out to be false.
The New Constitution was nothing more than a new political set up. It failed to fulfill the hopes of the common man. The story brings out the irony of politics very effectively.
The irony is brought out suddenly when Mangu finds himself arrested for beating a gora soldier. What he did was unfair. He should not have lost his temper. But he was a simple honest man. His feelings of hatred against the alien rulers got the better of his manners. The so-called new setup had given him the courage to avenge the insult and injury he had once suffered at the hands of a gora. His hatred against that gora was generalized to the whole gora nation. In beating the gora soldier he was encouraged by the concept of equality of rights promised by the new constitution. But he soon learnt that the promise was false. This lesson of irony came to him as a shock. His fond hopes about the future of his nation were shattered by this incident.

Character Sketch of Mangu

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.

Written by: Asad Hussain

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