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Why This Is The Scariest Book I’ve Ever Read!

As a bibliophile, there are numerous books that have made me think, some books have made me cry and some books have turned out to be the scariest book. 

As a bibliophile, there are numerous books that have made me think, some books have made me cry and some books have turned out to be the scariest book. 

My grandmother handed me Premchand’s Gaban when I first started reading Hindi novels. I was reading Goosebumps about the same time, but I tried to avoid them at night because I was afraid to go to the bathroom.

But, like everyone else, I too had that one book that was by far the most scariest book I’d ever read, and it still lies in my closet, unfinished, after 5 years.

The scariest book, that still haunts me

The book, contrary to popular belief, is not about paranormal events; rather, it is about real-life events.  This book is none other than Saadat Hassan Manto’s short stories. This was, in fact, an English translation of the Urdu original.

For those unfamiliar with Manto, he was a writer who penned stories on events that occurred during India’s partition, and this collection of stories focused on the horrors of the time.

The scariest book about partition

For those who haven’t read it, the first chapter, “Khol Do,” is about a man searching for his daughter who was separated during the partition. Finally, he finds her in a morgue.

In ‘Khol Do,’ Manto describes the horrors of gang rape’ that was prevalent in 1947. This is the story of a girl kidnapped in East Punjab who is eventually found by her father in a hospital, ” one of the attendants asks the girl to open the windows, and the girl’s hands move and she opens the window.”

I had moved on to the next chapters since I couldn’t understand this story, after reading it thrice, I realised and understood the plight of the girl. It terrified me and I closed the book immediately and I haven’t been able to open it since.

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Manto’s stories, Khol do, typifies what the traumatic partition did to women

This is the story of a girl who is traumatised and abused by both her abductors and rescuers. The story’s conclusion makes the reader tremble at the level of barbarism unleashed during the 1947 upheaval.

I have read crime novels, murder mysteries, ghost stories, I have seen the most horrific movies with gory images but the words of the writer they shook me to the core. This was the scariest book I had ever read.

We hear about such things daily in our country, but the extent of the torture that woman went through shook me.I still don’t know if I can read it again and how would I have reacted if I could read Urdu and had actually read the real version.

I wish I can find some other works of Manto that I can actually read without being scared, but until then this is his first and last book that I ever got to read.

Picture Credits: Pexels


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