And it is possible, that Sadat Hassan dies, but Manto remains alive”
These are the words of the notable short story writer Sadat Hassan Manto. He was born in 1912 in a village in Ludhiana district of Punjab in British India. Manto’s origin was Kashmiri but he grew up speaking Punjabi. Manto was an Indo-Pakistani writer who is considered among the greatest writers of short stories in South Asian history. Manto knew how to write truths, that no-one dared to spill the beans about. That is why he himself stated “If you cannot bear these stories, then the society is unbearable. Who am I to remove the clothes of this society, which it is naked? I don’t even try to cover it, because it is not my job, that’s the job of dressmakers”. Manto is best known for his stories about the partition of the sub continent immediately following partition in 1947. He wrote twenty two collections of short stories, one novel, three collections of essays and two collections of personal sketches.
Khol Do,Toba Tek Singh,Thanda Ghost,Thitwal ka Kutta are some of his significant short stories. Khol Do is the story that describes the experience of a daughter who has lost her father during partition and is gang raped by men charged with her rescue. Toba Tek Singh is a short story written on the partition. The partition was not just a grand political idea and this is exactly what the story tries to explore. Set in a mental asylum in Lahore, the subject of the story is the troubling tales of its inmates. The ending, which sees a man refusing to get off the no-man’s land on the Indo-Pak border,is the defining moment in the story with its thought-provoking implications. The main character of the story is Bhushan Singh.
The above cited book “Manto:Taqseem Hijrat Aur Ehtijaj” is a collection of essays, composed by those writers who know something unique about Manto. These essays help the reader to understand the persona of Manto. This book is edited by Dr Ashraf Lone,who has received his doctorate degree from Jawharal Nehru University Delhi. Ashraf Lone is also a columnist who regularly writes for the Urdu daily newspapers of Kashmir.
After interpreting the book one realizes that Dr. Ashraf has done an excellent piece of work by editing these essays and then published them in the form of a book. The essays in the book throw an ocean of light on the literary personality of Sadat Hassan Manto.
The books contain the essays of some great writers who have sound knowledge about Urdu literature and modern trends of literature. Musharraf Alam Zauqi, Mushtaq Haider,Altaf Annum are some of the writers who have penned down some interesting essays in the book.
Musharraf Alam Zauqi is a short story writer and a novelist. He writes in his essay that “ The short stories of Manto not only high light the tragedy of partition but also shows the image of society before partition. Dr Mushtaq Haider, who is working as Assistant Professor in university of Kashmir is a good critic and he has a sound grip on the history of short stories. He, in his essay , tries to prove that Manto was not just a renowned short story writer, but he has also a unique place in the dramatic writing. Dr Altaf Anjum is working as Assistant professor in Urdu. He is a writer and he attempts to analyze the short story “Tamasha” written by Manto.
Ashraf Lone , dedicates this book to his teachers, late Professor Majid Muzmir and Dr Fareed Parbati. He also offers a word of thanks to his teachers like Professor Anwar Pasha, Professor Mansoor Ahmad Mansoor, Arifa Bushra and Mushtaq Haider for encouraging him to complete this work.
This book is a unique one that has such power that it can attract every Manto lover. The book may aid in understanding Manto- the man and the writer- without reading many books.
—The Author is studying at university of Kashmir and can be mailed at [email protected]