Born on May 11, 1912, Saadat Hasan Manto was famous Indo-Pakistani writer, playwright and author.
He is said to be called “greatest writers of short stories in South Asian history”.
Among his writings, around two dozen are collections of short stories.
He wrote novel, radio plays, essays, personal sketches and many more.
Manto started his career with transaction and later joined the editorial staff of Masawat, a daily published from Ludhiana.
Manto joined Aligarh Muslim University for his graduation.
It was Abdul Bari Alig who influenced Manto to find his true potential and read Russian & French authors.
Scroll.in writes “Unlike many writers and artists who have had muses galore and history has forgiven them for their transgressions, Manto was a family man.”
Manto is often compared with D. H. Lawrence because he has written so much about Indo-Pakistani Society.
The wire writes “Many Indians know Toba Tek Singh from their school textbooks – the poignant story set a few years after Partition that traces the transfer of Bhushan Singh and his fellow asylum inmates from Lahore to newly created India.”
During India Pakistan partition, Manto and his family left India and moved to Pakistan.
As a sad truth, though never convicted but he was tried for obscenity six times. This happened three times before 1947 in British India and thrice after independence in 1947 in Pakistan. It was all due to his write-ups about sex and desire, alcoholics and prostitutes.
“Manto’s stories were radical in their own time and they are still radical,” says the author and academic Preti Tanuja
Though he wrote stories before and after the partition but he was able to sense “rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan”.
Manto was a writer whose life journey became a subject of strong conversation and self-examination.
‘Ek Kutte Ki Kahani’, Danish Iqbal’s stage Play presented Manto in a new perspective.
After a biopic in Pakistan now a Bollywood biopic is also on the cards.
India Today writes him like this:
“The storyteller, whose fearless thoughts and writings painted a vivid picture of the chaos that ensued post partition in 1947, succumbed to liver cirrhosis at the age of 42 in 1955–but that hasn’t deterred his words from making their mark even years after his demise.”
As a tribute on his fifteenth death anniversary Pakistani Govt issued a postage stamp on Manto. In the year 2012, Pakistani Govt declared posthumously award of “Nishan-e-Imtiaz” for Manto.
Manto was addicted to alcohol and died on January 18, 1955 in Pakistan.
The Guardian writes for Manto like this “Saadat Hasan Manto: ‘He anticipated where Pakistan would go”. It further writes:
“The partition was brutal and bloody, and to Saadat Hasan Manto, a Muslim journalist, short-story author and Indian film screenwriter living in Bombay, it appeared maddeningly senseless.”
General perception is that the masses who were readers of his books were measured rebels.
Though his letters he anticipated censoring of things like music, art, poetry, writing etc.
Below are some of the famous Quotes of Manto
A writer picks up his pen only when his sensibility is hurt.
If you find my stories dirty, the society you are living in is dirty. With my stories, I only expose the truth.
If you can’t bear these stories then the society is unbearable. Who am I to remove the clothes of the society, which itself is naked.
I feel like I am always the one tearing everything up and forever sewing it back together.
You would not believe, uncle, that despite being the author of 20, 22 books, I do not own a house to live.
If I earn 20, 25 rupees based on the rate of seven rupees per column, I take the tonga [horse driven carriage] and go buy locally distilled whiskey.
To tell you the truth, the world seemed full of sad people – those who slept on the uncovered stoops of shops as well as those who lived in high-rise mansions.
I am writing enough so you will never starve.
If a man has to make a woman the center of his love, why should he integrate animality into this sacred human emotion?…Is love incompelete without it?…Is love the name of physical excersize ?
I wondered why people consider escapism so bad, even the escapism on display right then. At first it might appear unseemly, but in the end its lack of pretension gives it its own sort of beauty.
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful Here lies Saadat Hasan Manto and with him lie buried all the secrets and mysteries of the art of short-story writing….Under tons of earth he lies, still wondering who among the two is greater short-story writer: God or He.
If you cannot bear these stories then the society is unbearable. Who am I to remove the clothes of this society, which itself is naked. I don’t even try to cover it, because it is not my job, that’s the job of dressmakers.
Hindustan had become free. Pakistan had become independent soon after its inception but man was still slave in both these countries — slave of prejudice … slave of religious fanaticism … slave of barbarity and inhumanity.
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