The Year of Manto

“In the days of Partition,a father searches for his missing daughter,only to find her in the hospital: raped,battered and bruised.

Written by Parul | Published: May 11, 2012 1:08:15 am

“In the days of Partition,a father searches for his missing daughter,only to find her in the hospital: raped,battered and bruised. As a doctor steps forward to examine her,he tells the half-dead,young Muslim girl,‘khol do’. The girl immediately reaches to open her salwar,as the father looks on and says one word zinda.” This is the narration of an excerpt by writer Gulzar Singh Sandhu from one of his favourite stories by Manto,called Khol Do. “In one word,Manto captures the love of a father,who is just happy to find his child alive. That was Manto’s power,” says Sandhu,as he prepares for a multi-faceted programme on Urdu literature’s doyen,Saadat Hasan Manto,titled “Manto Will Never Die”.

Sandhu is part of the group of passionate readers,writers,thinkers and theatrepersons,who have formed The Manto Foundation in Chandigarh,which will celebrate Manto’s birth centenary for an entire year,starting today. With seminars,films,plays and discussions,the year-long celebrations will travel to different cities,including Delhi,in an effort to celebrate Manto’s works that transcend the boundaries of space,time and borders. “The idea has been on our minds for quite some now,and it’s finally taken shape on his birth centenary,” says fellow member Shayda Bano.

Starting with Quissa-E-Ranj-O-Boo and Ziqr-e-Manto on May 11,different people will read passages from Manto’s works and bring to fore the story behind each writing. “We also plan an exhibition of his books translated in several languages,” adds Bano.

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