Author: Rajinder Singh Bedi
Subject: Afsanay; Short Stories
Number of Pages: 103
Rajindar Singh Baidi was associated with Progressive Writers Association and as this association had an impact on all of its members (from Sahir Ludhianvi to Prem Chand) Baidi could not evade its impact either. But unlike Sahir Ludhianvi, whose art was engulfed and ruined by activism that he was purporting, Baidi (like Faiz Ahmad Faiz) retained his artistic value while propagating the same idea of Marxism by portraying the lives of the middle-class (proletariats). 'Garam Coat', 'Paan Shaap', 'Quarantine', 'Tula Daan', 'Mangal Ashtka', and the last one 'Dus Minute Baarish Mein', out of ten these three are primarily linked to the proletariats and their daily lives issues. While 'Garam Coat' (the title of the collection as well; which symbolizes the Baidi's condition in the Bourgeois Indian Sub-continent of longing to wear something warm but even if he has the money the system, that is cold, don't let him wear it or it has no effect against the coldness of the government) focuses on the dilemma of a breadwinner of a family either to buy to coat for himself or fulfill his children wishes.'Dus Minute Baarish Mein' and 'Paan Shaap' depict the difference of status and what proletariats do to cover that gap. 'Quarantine', 'Tula Daan' (though also points out the different treatment of rich and poor), and 'Mangal Ashtka' focuses on the exploitation of the poor (needy) by the rich. Specifically, in 'Mangal Ashtka' a needy and simple person, that tells us Baidi is emphasizing the true reason why the poor are poor because they are dumb and can be easily exploited (as we see in 'Kafan' by Prem Chand), whose simple wish and desire is marriage but the rich made him a laughing stock. The rest four (Bhola, Mann ki Mann mien, Hum dosh, and Chokri ki Loot) tells us the characters Baidi is genuinely interested in. These characters are simple, decent, have questions like children have, and energetic.
Coming to the Urdu and the storytelling of the author, it flows naturally, and yet the sentences are carefully weived the dialogues are meticulously written and the structure is carefully formed. He has written enough details, not less that you can't visualize and not much that you got lost and lose interest eventually, that takes the readers to his world, which is also the real world and makes the reader have the window open because that's how the readers will see the satire, irony hidden in these short-stories.