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Manto- A Realist

By Rutaba

Born on 11th May, 1912… Saadat Hassan Manto, a realist, was an Indo-Pakistani writer, playwright and author. One of the greatest writer of short stories in South Asian history. He produced 230 stories, 67 radio plays, 22 graphical stories, 70 articles and 2 collections of personal sketches.

He’s a revolutionary writer and most of his works were considered Taboo. He was banned many times. He chose the subjects which were forbidden to discuss at that time. Most of his characters were prostitutes.

His best-known works are centered on the horrible human cost of partition, the dark period of history. His stories are the breathtaking and heartbreaking stories of betrayal of evil return for generations of good, senseless violence, meaningless cruelty, deaths of innocents and deaths with no reward but the temporary satiation of blood, lust and religious hatred.

Saadat Hassan Manto is often compared with D.H. Lawrence, partly because he wrote about taboos of Indo-Pakistani society. He often commented,

If you find my stories dirty, the society you’re living in, is dirty. With my stories, I only expose truth.

He fearlessly came up with stories that highlighted devastating sexual women slavery in his era. Many contemporary and affluent women writers adored his mannerism of portraying reality and providing women respect. A year before his death, he wrote his epitaph with the following assertions,

Here (Manto) lies buried —- and buried in his breast are all the secrets of the art of storytelling.

He embraced death on 18th January, 1955. On January 18, 2005, on his 50th death anniversary, Manto was remembered on Pakistan Post stamp. Manto was awarded by “Nishan-e-Imtiaz” by Government of Pakistan on August 14, 2012. The government issued postage stamps honouring the commendable writer. The postage stamp mentions “Saadat Hassan Manto (1912-1955) men of letters”.

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