May 11, 2022 2:39:07 pm
A prolific writer and playwright, Saadat Hasan Manto was born on this day in Ludhiana in 1912. He died young, in his early 40s, but over the short course of his life, produced over 20 collections of short stories, a novel, radio plays, and essays. Despite his love for Bombay and intention to stay in the city, Manto migrated to Lahore, Pakistan.
A nonconformist writer who was deeply affected by the reality of the socio-political structure and communal and regional divide of the time, Manto produced some of the best works in the last seven years of his life when he was going through great financial and emotional hardships. Manto passed away on January 18, 1955.
On his birth anniversary, looking back at some of his most celebrated works that are milestones in the literature of the Partition:
Toba Tek Singh
Best of Express Premium
A powerful satire on the partition of India and Pakistan, the short story Toba Tek Singh follows inmates of Lahore asylum some of whom are being transferred to India.
Bombay was Manto’s forever muse, and his book Bombay Stories paints a vivid picture of the mid-century Bombay’s underbelly—from the prostitutes, pimps, and gangsters that filled its streets to the aspiring writers and actors who arrived looking for fame.
The story for which Manto faced a trial in criminal court for obscenity, Thanda Gosht is about the sordid reality of the communal violence of 1947, told through Ishwar Singh, his mistress Kalwant, a murder, and a confession.
Bitter Fruit is a collection of Manto’s short stories, plays and sketches, portraits of cinema artistes, a few pieces on himself, and his letters to Uncle Sam with references to communism, Russia, politics after the Partition and his own financial condition.
Kingdom’s End: Selected Stories
Published posthumously in 1987, Kingdom’s End includes 24 short stories consisting one of the former anthologies in English of Manto’s work.
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.