The Legendary Saadat Hasan Manto

Intro to the Exceptional Writer – Manto

Saadat Hasan Manto was born on 11th May, 1912. He was not only a well know Pakistani writer but also an author and a playwright who was said to be one of the marvelous writers of particularly short stories in the history of South Asia. His writing career came up with twenty-two brilliant collections of various short stories; five radio play series, one novel, two personal sketches, and three essay collection and remarkably, his hit short stories are ranked high in esteem by the critics and writers. Initially, Manto wrote stories just to stable him financially but as Manto’s artistic passion started growing, he made innovations which influenced and forced evolution of conventional short story. Along with Rajinder Singh Bedi and Ismat Chughtai, Manto is referred as seminal figures of modernism and progressivism in the Urdu literature. Manto was troubled by obscenity six times but he never convicted.

Mind Capturing Writings of Manto

The chronicles that he writer stated about the chaos after and during India’s partition in 1947. Manto’s literary career started by translating works of the literary giants like Oscar Wilde, Victor Hugo and popular Russian writers for instance Gorky and Chekhov. The very first story he wrote named tamasha which relied on the lethal event that took place in Amritsar called Jallianwala Bagh massacre. His work later became progressive but stark in depicting the darkness and hollowness of dwelling in human psyche. He did this after witness that humanist values were on a great decline at the time of partition. Manto’s final works were generated from social climate as well as his personal financial struggles which reflected an intrinsic human impotency sense towards the dark and carried out satirical forms verging on the dark comedy. This feature was seen apparently in his last work naming Toba Tek Singh.

More Fascination on the Writer’s Account

He mainly showed the collective lunacy that he witnessed in ensuing years of his own life. Adding spices to this, his societal rebukes and multiple court cases deepened Manto’s cynical thoughts about the society due to which he got thrusted into isolation. No region of the human existence was untouched or simply a taboo for the courageous writer. He fearlessly came up with stories that dealt with subjects such as pimps and prostitutes and also highlighted devastating sexual women slavery of his era. Many contemporary and affluent women writers adored his mannerism of portraying reality and providing women with the respect, integrity and dignity they yearned for and truly deserved. Surprisingly, Manto is known for scathing views on human behavior.

Inquisitive Comparison of Manto with Lawrence

Strikingly, Hasan Manto is mostly compared with the admirable writer D.H. Lawrence. This is because of the fact that Lawrence also had a habit of writing on controversial topics that were taken as heavy taboos in indo-pak society. His major concerns on social and political issues starting from local and ending at global level are unraveled in his letters series to Pandit Nehru and Uncle Sam. In his writing which people utterly found offensive, he often stated that if anybody marks his stories as dirty then simply the society surrounding us is dirty and he only reveal the truth which becomes hard for people to digest.

Noteworthy Career of the Outstanding Manto

The greatest turning point in the writer’s life struck at the age of 21 in 1933 when he got the privilege to meet Abdul Bari Alig who was a polemic writer and s scholar in Amritsar. He encouraged Manto to figure out his real talents and start reading French and Russian authors. Within a couple of months, Manto generated Urdu translation of victor’s the last day of a condemned man. It was published in Lahore by the Urdu book stall as sarguzasht-e-aseer. His increasing enthusiasm compelled him to pursue his graduation at the prestigious Aligarh University. Manto joined the university in 1934 and soon collaborated with IPWA (Indian Progressive Writers Association). Here he fortunately met Ali Sardar Jafri (a writer) and discovered a new spirit in his writings. His second leading story called “Inqlaab Pasand” got published in the Aligarh magazine around 1935. Manto once boldly said to the judge that a writer only picks up the pen when he gets his sensibility hurt.

Golden Period of Manto’s Life

In 1941, Hasan Manto started working as a writer in All India Radio. This was the most constructive time of his life as within eighteen months, Manto published more than four radio plays naming Manto ke Drama, Aao (come), Teen auraten and janaze (funerals). He continued writing short stories and the next story collection smoke (dhuan) were released. This period surpassed publication of mingled collection of Manto’s Dramey and Afsane in 1943. In the meantime, he had a dispute with All India radio director due to which Manto resigned from the job returning back to Bombay and started working again in film industry in 1942. He entered the most shining phase in screenwriting producing movies like Chal Chal Re Naujawan, Mirza Ghalib and Aatth Din. From the same phase, he came up with other fantastic stories including Bu, Qaumi Jang and Kaali Shalwar. Another highlighting factor of his golden phase was publication of his stories called Chugad which involved Babu Gopinath. Manto continued staying in Bombay till 1948. After India’s partition in 1947, he migrated to Pakistan.

Migration of the Legend to Pakistan

Manto along with his family migrated to Pakistan and they were among those millions of people who left currently known as India for the sake of separate nation Pakistan. When Manto reached Lahore from city Bombay, he chose to reside near and get associated with various prominent intellectuals that included Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Ahmad Rahi, Nasir Kazmi and Faiz Ahmad Faiz. They all had a habit of gathering at Lahore’s Pak Tea House in order to formulate some fervent literary debates also flaming political arguments in 1948 till 1949.

About Manto’s Legacy

On January 18, 2005, the 50th death anniversary, Manto was remembered on Pakistani post stamp. Manto was awarded by the title of Nishan-e-Imtiaz by Pakistan’s government on 14 August, 2012. The government issued postage stamps honoring the commendable writer. The postage stamp mentions “Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955) men of letters.”

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