Translation of Shahnawaz Taing’s Urdu Short Story ‘INSANIYAT”
She was walking like a cat. Happy and calm. It was a warm, beautiful morning. Suddenly she felt nauseous. Her head began to spin. Blood pressure reached the sky (must have been 180/170 if checked sphygmomanometer). Her condition was getting worse and with a loud thud, she fell on the road.
Bystanders — comprised of people and paramilitary forces — encircled her unconscious body.
One advised sprinkling water on her face and the other recommended making her smell an old shoe.
People began to assume different diagnoses. “She must be suffering from epilepsy” said one among the crowd. “No, she must be a heart patient”, said the other.
No one among the crowd knew her. While searching her purse, they found her identity card. Her name was Humanity. Where she lived and all other details were missing.
Men in the uniform were advising people to take her to the hospital. But no one had time for that. Everyone was busy. Some were out in search of vegetables. Some needed to buy meat and other grocery stuff. One was out to buy a toy for his kid and others were busy selling their conscience.
Lying there unconscious, the whole body of poor Humanity began to tremble violently. Everyone was in their tune but also a bit worried about the condition of Humanity.
And right there, Humanity breathed her last.
It is said that whosoever dies on the road is considered a martyr and no last rituals are necessary. So, her body was left there without a shroud.
No one was able to guess what exactly her religion was. Removing her clothes might have given a clue but one can’t be hundred percent sure.
Now the question was whether to bury Humanity or cremate her body. It was not being decided either. Finally, it was decided that the cold Humanity should be left as it is without any last rituals.
The dead body shouldn’t become a hurdle in the traffic, so it was decided Humanity should be thrown away in some abandoned place.
After a while, a wake of vultures was seen hovering over a nearby mountain where the body was left. Maybe they were busy performing the last rituals of the poor, dead Humanity. And here, in some other part of the valley, the Government and the leaders were busy deciding curfews, declaring hartals, and commencing talks.