“...and it is also possible, that Saadat Hasan

dies, but Manto remains alive.”

-Saadat Hasan Manto

 

On 11th May 1912, Saadat Hasan was born in Ludhiana, Punjab. Manto, as he would later be called, was to become one of the finest Urdu short writers to have ever been born. He is best known for his works on the Partition of India which involves crude and devastating accounts of the human lives involved in the Partition. His finest works include Toba Tek Singh, Thanda Gosht and Khol Do, which are often described as a mirror for society to reflect on its horrors. Manto was tried for ‘obscenity’ more than six times in both India as well as Pakistan, where he migrated in 1948. “Who am I to remove the clothes of this society, when this society itself is naked,” Manto would respond.

In the past decade, interest in Manto’s life and works has been renewed through commercial success of films made on his life. In 2012, Manto was awarded with the Nishan-I-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan. In 2018, his short story, Toba Tek Singh, was named by BBC as the top 100 stories that shaped the world.

This day marks the 108th birth anniversary of Saadat Hasan Manto as his life and legacy continues to be celebrated by millions of people around the world. Till society continues to hide its deep-rooted ugliness beneath the garb of civilization, Manto’s stories will stay alive to force us to reflect on ourselves.