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MANTO - The fearless writer, who gives you the most brutally honest & eye-opening account of Partition. - By Bobby Sing


One of the most controversial names of our Indo-Pak literature, Saadat Hasan Manto essentially needs to be introduced to the younger generation of both India and Pakistan (changing every two decades), who are unaware of the actual scary happenings of our bleeding past.

But here instead of going into the biographical details of the literary genius, I would like to give you a few indications why MANTO needs to be read as a basic text book material on Indo-Pak history, their relationship and the inner psyche of its people who still love to talk about and remember each other with a complex mix of love, affection and hate.
1. There are numerous actual facts, studies, researches, books and biographical as well as fictional writings on Indian Partition available for a thorough study of that particular era of our past. And one of the most important works amongst them all is FREEDOM AT MIDNIGHT by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. However no research/study of Indian Partition and the people’s state of mind at that time should be considered complete if it doesn’t include an in-depth and analytical study of Manto’s significant works.
2. Daringly unmasking the hidden inner demons of humans, particularly the men obsessed with the lust for a woman’s body, Manto wrote about criminals, prostitutes, pimps, rioters, killers, rapists and hypocrisy widely prevalent in our society in a brutal at-your-face manner. He narrated the chaotic bloodbath seen in the days of partition of 1947 like no other writer in India or Pakistan to be straight, as no one else fearlessly dared to expose the open truth without any hiding at all. And that is the reason he was also charged with obscenity several times for his unpleasantly shocking but truthful short stories.
3. Having a very fine mix of hard hitting sarcasm, wit and humour, Manto’s stories in reality portrayed the suffering life of a woman in particular providing them their deserving respect and dignity making a strong point. So a woman reading his stories can easily understand the way he boldly points towards a man’s psyche and his animal-like-nature, using or ill-treating the women around.
4. In his works related to politics and religion, Manto also made some indicative predictions about the future that all seem to be coming true, witnessing the hatred for each other that hasn’t declined but astonishingly grown in the last few decades, making his stories and plays even more relevant in the present times.
5. Many of his short stories (mainly about partition and women) are repeatedly mentioned in articles by all reputed authors and critics giving them the utmost respect as the works of a gifted master. But questionably, most of the times you find only those stories quoted that either faced charge of obscenity or have a very clear relation with a man’s lust for a woman, forgetting or irresponsibly ignoring his entire body of work to be honest. As a matter of fact, this selective choice exactly proves the man’s mental obsession towards the body, Manto has always been referring to in his stories.
6. Already an established writer before the partition, also active in the Hindi film industry, Manto lived his final 7 years in Pakistan. Yet many quote him as a Pakistani writer/playwright in their articles quite strangely. Ideally as a person born in the undivided India, spending most of his life here before moving on to Pakistan post the partition, Manto should specifically be mentioned as “an Indian migrating to Pakistan post the partition" or at least "an Indian-Pakistani author" passing on the right information to the present and the coming generations.
7. The most daring, straight forward and insightful creative personality of his times, Manto sadly got the much deserving recognition, awards and respect only decades after his demise, displaying our own impotence to accept the brutal reality expressed in his stories.
8. A biopic on Manto has already been made and released in Pakistan and another will soon be releasing in India, directed by Nandita Das, featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead.
9. Addicted to alcohol and also struggling with his mental illness, Manto unfortunately had a very short span of life of just 43 years and still wrote enough that will continue guiding and enlightening the coming generations forever.
10. However another eye-opener fact remains that had it been today, Manto would have certainly faced even more severe allegations, court cases, humiliation and threats in the present fanatic times unarguably.
As a conclusion, every young student of literature in both India and Pakistan, willing enough to witness the ugly, dark side of the human psyche and the insane collective madness seen around partition of the country, essentially needs to study Saadat Hasan MANTO and his works, as they indisputably remain the most revealing chronicles of those times expressed without any hiding, fear or shame.
(If possible read Manto's works translated in Hindi as that remains the closest to the original Urdu language. And most of his stories can also be read online at the famous Rekhta portal.)
(Note: The article was first published on UC-News Mobile App in January 2018)

Tags : MANTO The fearless writer by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, MANTO who gives you the most brutally honest & eye-opening account of Partition, Must Read Author, Not To be Missed Author
11 Jan 2018 / Comment ( 2 )

Thanks. Regards.

Bobby Sing

My pleasure Navdeep.
Do try to read Manto as a must and most of his short stories are available online too.

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