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Making Citizenship Familiar: ‘Truth’ Tales and the Partition Archive(s)

Anupama Roy Affiliation: Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Oxford University Press
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Naya Kanoon, a short story written by Saadat Hasan Manto in the 1930s, narrates Ustad Mango’s (a tongawala) enchantment with the idea of freedom, which the new constitution was to usher in. The story essays Mango’s bewitchment and subsequent disenchantment with the new constitution, springing from its failure to transform him into a sovereign political subject, so that Mango remains a stranger in his own home. Mango’s estrangement is indicative of the powerful affective appeal of the individual and collective transitions into the camaraderie of equals in a political community, a promise which lies at the heart of the transformative moment of citizenship. It also displays the paradox of the transformative, which maps itself on a temporal register of the future, but remains burdened by the past, which persists in people’s lives as quotidian experiences and in spectacular ritual enactments.