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Manto was born today 108 years ago

KARACHI: Saadat Hasan Manto, who was born on 11th May, 1912 (in Ludhiana) and died on 18th Jan. 1955, produced the kind of bold chef-d’œuvres that many believe was meant for the people of next century.

Manto dared to write about the taboos in order to expose the darker side of the society setting the benchmark for progressive writing in Urdu.

His writings plunged him into trouble a number of times. In India and later in Pakistan he was charged with obscenity half a dozen times: “I am no sensationalist. Why would I want to undress a society that is already naked? Yes, it is true I make no attempt to cover it but that’s not my job… my job is to write with a white chalk, so that I can draw attention to the darkness of the board.”

Many of his writings focus on the Partition of India (which he incidentally opposed). Following Partition, Manto opted to live in the Walled City of Lahore. He was never well-off yet managed to produce masterpieces like Thanda Gosht, Khol Do, Toba Tek Singh, etc.

Between 1951 and 1952 Manto was twice admitted for treatment to the anti-alcoholic ward of the Punjab Mental Hospital. His piece Toba Tek Singh is a symbolic story of a looney. The scene was set in Lahore asylum from where a number of Hindu patients were to be sent to India in return many Muslims loonies were to be transferred to Pakistan.

Overall he penned 22 collections of short stories, a novel, five series of radio plays, three collections of essays and two collections of personal sketches. In recognition of his works Govt. of Pakistan bestowed upon him Nishan-e-Imtiaz. 

Eccentric Manto wrote his own epitaph (that was never used): “Here lies Saadat Hasan Manto and with him are buried all the secrets of the art of story writing. Under mounds of earth, he is still wondering which of the two was a greater storyteller: God or he!”

MantoPakistani artist Shehzil Malik, who drew the Google Doodle, held: “Today is Saadat Hasan Manto’s 108th birthday and I was asked to draw the Google Doodle to commemorate the occasion! Manto is a hero to me, so this was a huge honor!”


Dr. Iffet Sultana

Prof. Dr. Iffet Sultana PhD (Education), IQRA University, M.Phil. (Environmental Education) IQRA University, Master’s in Educational Administration & Management (University of Karachi). Dr. Iffet Sultana has been associated with IQRA University as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Management Sciences, Department of Business Administration since 2013. Her PhD Thesis is on “Girls’ Access & Equity in Primary Education in the Slum Areas of Karachi”. In the past, she has worked for the Ministry of Environment, Government of Pakistan. She has presented numerous research papers in National and International Conferences. Her areas of special interest are Girls’ Education, Inclusive Education, Environmental Education and Gender Studies. She has been actively teaching and stimulating student’s interest in Social Science and Developmental Sciences Subjects including Education, Sociology, Psychology & other Contemporary Subjects. Dr. Sultana is also associated with various NGOs in the capacity of Consultant. Writes for News as Contributing Editor (particularly focusing on the UN International Days.)