Saadat Hasan Manto

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Saadat Hasan Manto
Saadat Hasan Manto photograph.jpg
Born Saadat Hasan Manto
(1912-05-11)May 11, 1912
Samrala, Ludhiana, Punjab, British India
Died 18 January 1955(1955-01-18) (aged 42)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Occupation Novelist, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, short story writer
Nationality Pakistani
Period 1934–1955
Genre Drama, nonfiction, satire, screenplays, personal correspondence
Notable works Toba Tek Singh; Thanda Gosht; Bu; Khol Do; Kaali Shalwar; Hatak
Notable awards Nishan-e-Imtiaz
Spouse Safiyah
Children Nusrat Jalal
Nuzhat Arshaf
Nighat Patel
Relatives Ayesha Jalal

Saadat Hasan Manto (/mɑːn, -tɒ/; Urdu: سعادت حسن منٹو‎, pronounced [sa'ādat 'hasan 'maṅṭō]; 11 May 1912 – 18 January 1955) was a Pakistani writer, playwright and author considered among the greatest writers of short stories in South Asian history. He produced 22 collections of short stories, 1 novel, 5 series of radio plays, 3 collections of essays, 2 collections of personal sketches[1] and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics.

Manto was tried for obscenity six times; thrice before 1947 in British India, and thrice after independence in 1947 in Pakistan, but never convicted.[2]


Manto chronicled the chaos that prevailed, during and after the Partition of India in 1947.[3][4]

He started his literary career translating work of literary giants, such as Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde and Russian writers such as Chekhov and Gorky. His first story was "Tamasha", based on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre at Amritsar.[5] Though his earlier works, influenced by the progressive writers of his times,[4][6] showed a marked leftist and socialist leanings, his later work progressively became stark in portraying the darkness of the human psyche, as humanist values progressively declined around the Partition. His final works, which grew from the social climate and his own financial struggles, reflected an innate sense of human impotency towards darkness and contained a satirism that verged on dark comedy, as seen in his final work, Toba Tek Singh.[7] It not only showed the influence of his own demons, but also that of the collective madness that he saw in the ensuing decade of his life. To add to it, his numerous court cases and societal rebukes deepened his cynical view of society, from which he felt isolated.[8] No part of human existence remained untouched or taboo for him, he sincerely brought out stories of prostitutes and pimps alike, just as he highlighted the subversive sexual slavery of the women of his times.[9] To many contemporary women writers, his language portrayed reality and provided them with the dignity they long deserved.[10] He is still known for his scathing insight into human behaviour as well as revelation of the macabre animalistic nature of an enraged people, that stands out amidst the brevity of his prose.[3]

Saadat Hasan Manto is often compared with D. H. Lawrence, partly because he wrote about taboos of Indo-Pakistani Society.[11] His concerns on the socio-political issues, from local to global are revealed in his series, Letters to Uncle Sam, and those to Pandit Nehru.[3] On his writing he often commented, "If you find my stories dirty, the society you are living in is dirty. With my stories, I only expose the truth".[12]


Early life and education[edit]

Saadat Hassan Manto was born in Paproudi village of Samrala, in the Ludhiana district of the Punjab in a Muslim family of barristers on 11 May 1912.[13][14]

The big turning point in his life came in 1933, at age 21,[15] when he met Abdul Bari Alig, a scholar and polemic writer, in Amritsar. Alig encouraged him to find his true talents and read Russian and French authors.[16]

Early career[edit]

Within a matter of months Manto produced an Urdu translation of Victor Hugo's The Last Day of a Condemned Man, which was published by Urdu Book Stall, Lahore as Sarguzasht-e-Aseer (A Prisoner's Story).[17] Soon afterwards he joined the editorial staff of Masawat, a daily published from Ludhiana[18]

This heightened enthusiasm pushed Manto to pursue graduation at Aligarh Muslim University, which he joined in February 1934, and soon got associated with Indian Progressive Writers' Association (IPWA). It was here that he met writer Ali Sardar Jafri and found a new spurt in his writing. His second story, "Inqlaab Pasand", was published in Aligarh magazine in March 1935.[5]

Saadat Hasan Manto had accepted the job of writing for Urdu Service of All India Radio in 1941. This proved to be his most productive period as in the next eighteen months he published over four collections of radio plays, Aao (Come), Manto ke Drame (Manto's Dramas), Janaze (Funerals) and Teen Auraten (Three women). He continued to write short stories and his next short story collection Dhuan (Smoke) was soon out followed by Manto ke Afsane and his first collection of topical essays, Manto ke Mazamin. This period culminated with the publication of his mixed collection Afsane aur Dramey in 1943. Meanwhile, due to a quarrel with the director of the All India Radio, poet N. M. Rashid, he left his job and returned to Bombay in July 1942 and again started working with film industry. He entered his best phase in screenwriting giving films like Aatth Din, Chal Chal Re Naujawan and Mirza Ghalib, which was finally released in 1954.[2] Some of his short stories also came from this phase including Kaali Shalwar (1941), Dhuan (1941) and Bu (1945), which was published in Qaumi Jang (Bombay) in February 1945. Another highlight of his second phase in Bombay was the publication of a collection of his stories, Chugad, which also included the story 'Babu Gopinath'.[5] He stayed in Bombay until he moved to Pakistan in January 1948 after the partition of India in 1947.

Migration to Pakistan[edit]

Manto and his family were among the millions of Muslims who left present-day India for the Muslim-majority nation of Pakistan .[19]

Life in Lahore[edit]

When Manto arrived in Lahore from Bombay, he lived near and associated with several prominent intellectuals including Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Nasir Kazmi, Ahmad Rahi and Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi among others.They all used to gather at Lahore's iconic Pak Tea House,witness to some of the most fiery literary debates and passionate political arguments back in 1948-49. Pak Tea House holds a special place in the memories of those who know about Lahore's vibrant literary and cultural past. "There was absolutely no external influence and people would share their opinions on any subject without fear even during the military dictators' regimes."[20]


On 18 January 2005, the fiftieth anniversary of his death, Manto was commemorated on a Pakistani postage stamp.[21]

On August 14, 2012 which is Pakistan's Independence Day, Saadat Hasan Manto was posthumously awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz award (Distinguished Service to Pakistan Award) by the Government of Pakistan.[22]

On January 18, 2005,Government of Pakistan issued a postage stamp honoring him.This postage stamp reads "Saadat Hasan Manto(1912-1955) Men of Letters".[23]


  • Atishparay (Nuggets of Fire) – 1936
  • Chugad
  • Manto Ke Afsanay (Stories of Manto) – 1940
  • Dhuan (Smoke) – 1941
  • Afsane Aur Dramay (Fiction and Drama) – 1943
  • Lazzat-e-Sang-1948 (The Taste of Rock)
  • Siyah Hashiye-1948 (Black Borders)
  • Badshahat Ka Khatimah (The End of Kingship) – 1950
  • Khali Botlein (Empty Bottles) – 1950
  • Loud Speaker (Sketches)
  • Ganjey Farishtey (Sketches)
  • Manto ke Mazameen
  • Nimrud Ki Khudai (Nimrod The God) – 1950
  • Thanda Gosht (Cold Meat) – 1950
  • Yazid – 1951
  • Pardey Ke Peechhey (Behind The Curtains) – 1953
  • Sarak Ke Kinarey (By the Roadside) – 1953
  • Baghair Unwan Ke (Without a Title) – 1954
  • Baghair Ijazit (Without Permission) – 1955
  • Burquey – 1955
  • Phunduney (Tassles) – 1955
  • Sarkandon Ke Peechhey (Behind The Reeds) -1955
  • Shaiytan (Satan) – 1955
  • Shikari Auratein (Women of Prey) – 1955
  • Ratti, Masha, Tolah-1956
  • Kaali Shalwar (Black Pants) – 1961
  • Manto Ki Behtareen Kahanian (Best Stories of Manto) – 1963 [1]
  • Tahira Se Tahir (From Tahira to Tahir) – 1971

Further reading[edit]

  • Manto Naama, by Jagdish Chander Wadhawan.1998, Roli Books.
  • Manto Naama: The Life of Saadat Hasan Manto, English translation of the above by Jai Ratan, 1998,Roli Books.
  • Life and Works of Saadat Hasan Manto, by Alok Bhalla. 1997, Indian Institute of Advanced Study. ISBN 81-85952-48-5.
  • The Life and Works of Saadat Hasan Manto. Introduction by Leslie Flemming; trans. by Tahira Naqvi. Lahore, Pakistan: Vanguard Books Ltd., 1985.
  • Another Lonely Voice: The Urdu Short Stories of Saadat Hasan Manto, by Leslie A. Flemming, Berkeley: Centre for South and South east Asian Studies. University of California. 1979. [2]
  • Madness and Partition: The Short Stories of Saadat Hasan Manto, Stephen Alter, Journal of Comparative Poetics, No. 14, Madness and Civilization/ al-Junun wa al-Hadarah (1994), pp. 91–100. [3]
  • Bitter Fruit: The Very Best of Saadat Hassan Manto, edited and tr. by Khalid Hassan, Penguin, 2008.
  • Naked Voices: Stories and Sketches by Manto, Ed. and tr. by Rakhshanda Jalil. Indian Ink & Roli Books, 2008.
  • Stars from Another Sky: The Bombay Film World of the 1940s, tr. by Khalid Hasan. Penguin India, 2000.
  • Manto: Selected Stories, tr. by Aatish Taseer. Vintage/Random House India, 2008. ISBN 81-84001-44-4.
  • The Pity of Partition:Manto’s Life, Times, and Work across the India-Pakistan Divide. Ayesha Jalal.

Manto's works online[edit]

  • Toba Tek Singh in Urdu and English, plus essays in translation
  • Toba Tek Singh in Hindi or [4]
  • Thanda Gosht (Cold Meat) in English
  • A collection short stories in Hindi
  • My Sahib
  • First Letter to Uncle Sam
  • Second Letter to Uncle Sam
  • Third Letter to Uncle Sam


  1. ^ Saadat Hassan Manto Author detail at penguinbooksindia.
  2. ^ a b Author Profile Saadat Hasan Manto Books at indiaclub.
  3. ^ a b c d Social and Political World-View of Saadat Hasan Manto kashmirsentinel, February 2003 Issue.
  4. ^ a b Saadat Hassan Manto Author Profile at boloji, Retrieved 12 August 2015
  5. ^ a b c Early Years Biography Sharad Dutt, BBC Hindi, Retrieved 12 August 2015
  6. ^ ,Digital South Asia Library Mahfil. v 1, V. 1 ( 1963) p. 12., Retrieved 12 August 2015
  7. ^ GREAT MINDS The Tribune, 19 March 2000.
  8. ^ Memories of Manto, Friday Times Khalid Hassan, 2002.
  9. ^ Seminar papers The Annual of Urdu Studies, Vol. 11, 1996.
  10. ^ He presented women as humans Nasira Sharma, BBC Hindi, 2005, 12 August 2015
  11. ^ Rajendra Yadav quote BBC Hindi, 2005.
  12. ^ Manto on his writing BBC Hindi, 2005.
  13. ^ Leslie A. Flemming, Another Lonely Voice: The Urdu Short Stories of Saadat Hasan Manto, Center for South and Southeast Asia Studies, University of California (1979), p. 2
  14. ^ Abida Samiuddin, Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Urdu Literature, Global Vision Publishing House (2007), p. 391
  15. ^ The Quintessential Storyteller Khurram Ali Shafique. ZAMEEN, Jun–Jul 1999.
  16. ^ Pakistan Post, 2005, Retrieved 12 August 2015
  17. ^ Manto, Saadat Hasan Author Profile at bookrags.
  18. ^ Author Profile Lekhal at abhivyakti-hindi.
  19. ^ Manto, Saadat Hasan. Ganjay Farishtay. p. 190. , Retrieved 4 September 2015
  20. ^, Pak Tea House,19 March 2015, Herald-Dawn newspaper article, Retrieved 6 September 2015
  21. ^ Bio details, Saadat Hassan Manto (1912–1955) Men of Letters, PakPost, Retrieved 12 August 2015
  22. ^, Retrieved 12 August 2015
  23. ^,Pakistan Post Office, Retrieved 12 August 2015


External links[edit]

  • Saadat Hasan Manto at the Internet Movie Database, Retrieved 12 August 2015
  • Remembering Manto on his 101st birth anniversary
  • Manto, After Fifty year; A tribute at BBC Hindi
  • Watch Video Play of Saddat Hasan Manto
  1. ^ DAWN Daily Newspaper,Karachi,Pakistan Aug.14,2012