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Friday, May 24, 2024

Remembering Manto on 69th Death Anniversary

Saadat Hasan Manto's enduring literary legacy reflects the profound impact of his nonconformist Urdu fiction, especially his poignant stories on the partition, which continue to resonate and inspire amid contemporary literary challenges.

Today marks the 69th death anniversary of the renowned Urdu fiction writer Saadat Hasan Manto, whose works continue to be celebrated for their profound reflection of society. Born on May 11, 1912, in Ludhiana, Manto was a prolific writer and playwright known for his contributions to literature, including over 20 collections of short stories, a novel, radio plays, and essays. Despite facing financial and emotional hardships, Manto’s nonconformist approach to writing made him a prominent figure, especially during the challenging socio-political times of the partition.

Manto’s literary prowess shone brightest in the last seven years of his life, during which he crafted compelling narratives that captured the brutal realities of the 1947 partition. Notably, his story “Thanda Gosht” faced a trial in a criminal court for obscenity, depicting the sordid truth of communal violence. His collection “Bitter Fruit” encompassed short stories, plays, sketches, and letters that delved into the complexities of post-partition life, including reflections on communism, Russia, and the political landscape.

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On January 18, 2005, the Government of Pakistan issued a postage stamp to commemorate Manto’s services on his 50th death anniversary, recognizing his lasting impact on literature. Furthermore, on August 14, 2012, Manto was honored with the prestigious Nishan-e-Imtiaz award by the Pakistani government, underscoring his enduring influence on the literary landscape.

While Manto’s stories of partition continue to resonate with readers, there has been a renewed interest in his life and work, including biopics and films. However, the challenges he faced, such as obscenity trials, predicted the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan. Today, his daughter Nusrat acknowledges that times are tougher, and intolerance has grown, making it harder for a writer like Manto to navigate the current socio-political landscape. Despite this, Manto’s writings remain a timeless exploration of human complexities, leaving an indelible mark on literature.