108th anniversary of Saadat Manto: All you need to know about him
Sadat Hussain Manto popularly known as Manto in the world of Literature was born in May 1912 at Ludhiana, India. He is a celebrated Pakistani essayist, screen writer, and novelist.
Manto delivered 22 collections of short stories, 5 series of radio plays, three sets of essays, and two collections of personal sketches. Though his life was short due to addiction to alcohol, he still dared to talk about the harsh truths of the society which no one risked to discuss. Manto was already a recognized writer before the separation of 1947, but the stories he would write on separation make his reputation stronger. Manto wrote about sex, drugs, alcohol, prostitute and was charged with obscenity 6 times, thrice before partition and thrice after independence. In his inscription, he foretold the upcoming of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan.
Read more: Is Aurat March a symbol of pride or shame?
In the past year, there has been a reemergence in the life of Manto where a Pakistani biopic was made starring Sarmad Khoosat, Mahira Khan, Saba Qamar, and others in the lead roles. The life of Manto was also trailed by Indian Cinema; a film was released in 2018 where Nawaz Uddin Siddiqui portrayed his character.
The historian Ayesha Jalal, (who is Manto’s grand-niece) wrote in her book about him, The Pity of Partition: “Whether he was writing about prostitutes, pimps or criminals, he wanted to astonish upon his readers that these scandalous people were also human, much more than those who masked their failings in a thick veil of hypocrisy.”
The irony is that even Manto saw the future of Pakistan, it is now even harder for writers to write on a topic like these when he did 70 years ago. “The world of today is rougher than they were in his period and we are now more narrow-minded as a state,” says his daughter Nusrat.
The fierce Manto died at the age 0f 40 in January 1955 but his legacy lives on with us.