Manto’s birth anniversary goes unnoticed amidst election fever


As the nation was preoccupied with polling and elections excitement, the 101st birth anniversary of famous literary figure Saadat Hasan Manto went by without much ado.

Saadat Hasan Manto was born on May 11, 1912 in Samrala in the Ludhiana district of Indian Punjab. His father Ghulam Hasan Manto was a Sub-Judge in Amritsar.

In his brief life, he published 22 collections of short stories, five of radio plays, three of essays, two of personal sketches and one novel. He was also a film scriptwriter and a journalist.

He started his literary career translating the works of literary giants like Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde, Chekhov and Gorky.

Their collective influence compelled him to search for his own artistic moorings, culminating in his first short story “Tamasha”, which was based on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre at Amritsar.

Manto was arguably one of the best 20th century short story writers. His earlier works explored themes of socialism, however, with time; his writing took on darker tones. He sought to investigate the murky recesses of the human psyche, choosing to write on tabooed social issues. His work also covers the themes of partition, particularly the violence and chaos that accompanied it.

Manto’s renowned short stories include “Khol Do”, “Thanda Gosht” and “Toba Tek Singh”. His works have also been translated into a number of languages.

After the partition, he moved to Lahore with his wife and three

daughters. He lived in LakhshmiMansion for eight years. Manto’s work bears the imprint of his son Arif’s loss who died at a tender age.

Saadat Hasan Manto died on January 18, 1955 and his legacy continues to tower over Pakistan’s literary heritage.