100 Years of Sa’adat Hasan Manto


 

 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           August 02 , 2012           00.40 A.M.

This year is the Anniversary Year of so many historical and literary figures and luminaries of our generation . Anniversaries of various historical events are also being celebrated this year . These anniversary celebrations , as I remember , took momentum from 2010 . Or may be , since I was not into blogging , I never realized or became aware of their existence .

In 2010 we celebrated 2 anniversaries . They were ; 100 YEARS OF HISTORIC JUMP OF VEER SAVARKAR , and 150 YEARS OF TAGORE .

In 2011 there were 6 anniversaries . They were as varied as ; 40 YEARS OF VIJAY DIWAS & BIRTH OF BANGLADESH , 50 YEARS OF THE LIBERATION OF GOA , DAMAN & DIU , 100 YEARS OF OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM , 100 YEARS OF NEW DELHI , 150 YEARS OF MAHAMANA MALVIYA and 250YEARS OF THE 3RD BATTLE OF PANIPAT .

This year only half of 2012 is over and we have already celebrated 4 anniversaries . They are ; 60 YEARS OF CORONATION OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II , 150 YEARS OF THE 1ST CHRISTIAN SAINT OF INDIA , 150 YEARS OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA and 200 YEARS OF CHARLES DICKENS .

Now I am writing about the 5th , 100 YEARS OF SA’ADAT HASAN MANTO .

8 more anniversaries are tempting me to write a blog on them . It comes to total 13 anniversaries in 2012 .

Quite early in my life , I was slowly introduced to Indian literature , then English literature and finally Russian and world literature . In Indian literature my first brush was with Bengali literature . Hindi literature came later and then came Urdu literature . Other Indian literature , translated in Hindi , came much later in my life .

Indian Books 3

Indian Books (Photo credit: Celeste33)

When I talk about Urdu literature , I must make a note that my first introduction was through the poetry . Shairi , as Urdu poetry is known , was my early fascination . HIND POCKET BOOKS came out with Hindi transliteration [ not translation ] of various works of Shairs or poets of Urdu . I bought them and became familiar with Urdu poetry and grew into a life long fan . I still remember many Urdu couplets or Sher by heart .

The phrase Zaban-e Urdu-e Mualla (

The phrase Zaban-e Urdu-e Mualla (“The language of the exalted camp”) written in Nasta’liq script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Urdu prose came much later in my life . Kishan Chandar was the first Urdu novelist , whose works I read and admired . I have heard about Sa’adat Hasan Manto and his works during those days but I didn’t read him as he was despised by large number of people including my teachers and was vehemently criticized by the critics and intelligentsia .

English: manto in his middle age.

Sa’adat Hasan Manto in his middle age. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So naturally I avoided reading him . In my mind he was akin to novelists like Kushwaha Kant and Ibn – e – Shafi B.A. Though hugely popular , these two authors are not considered as men of letters . Now I am very much ashamed that once upon a time I thought so low of Manto and degraded him .

My impression about him changed when I read his memoirs about the famous personalities of Hindi film industry . I was impressed with his style of prose writing and lucidity of  language .

Sa’adat Hassan Manto (May 11, 1912 – January 18, 1955)  is best known for his short stories, “Bu” , “Khol Do” , “Thanda Gosht” , and his magnum opus, “Toba Tek Singh“.

Manto was also a film and radio scriptwriter and a journalist . In his short life , he published twenty-two collections of short stories , one novel , five collections of radio plays , three collections of essays , and two collections of personal sketches.

Manto was tried for obscenity six times, thrice before 1947 and thrice after 1947 in Pakistan , but never convicted . Some of his works have been translated in other languages .

Saadat Hasan Manto is often compared with D. H. Lawrence , and like Lawrence he also wrote about the topics considered social taboos in Indo-Pakistani Society . His concerns on the sociopolitical issues , from local to global level are revealed in his series , Letters to Uncle Sam , and those to Pandit Nehru . 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 .”

After 1936 , he moved to Bombay  [ now Mumbai ] where he stayed for the next 5 years editing Musawwir , a monthly film magazine . He also started writing scripts and dialogues for Hindi films , including ” Kishan Kanhaiya ” [ 1936 ]  and ” Apni Nagariya ” [ 1939 ] . He continued writing for films until he left for Delhi in January 1941 .

Manto 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 , Manto ke Drame , Janaze , and Teen Auraten . He continued to write short stories and his next short story collection Dhuan 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 Drame in 1943 . Meanwhile , due to a quarrel with then 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 Naujawanand ” Mirza Ghalib ” , which was finally released in 1954 .

Some of his best short stories also came from this phase including  “Kaali Shalwar” ,  “Dhuan”  (1943) and “Bu”, which was published in Qaumi Jang (Bombay) in February 1945 . Another highlight of his second phase in Bombay was the publication of an important collection of his stories , Chugad . He stayed in Bombay until he moved to Pakistan in January 1948 after the partition of India in 1947.

During those days in Pakistan , Manto tried his hand at newspaper column writing . He started off with writing under the title Chashm-e-Rozan for daily Maghribi Pakistan on the insistence of his friends of Bombay days , Ehsan Ba and Murtaza Jillani, who were editing that paper . After a few columns, the space appeared blank under the column saying that due to his indisposition Manto couldn’t write the column. Actually, the owner was not favourably disposed to some of the content .

The only paper that published Manto’s articles regularly for quite some time was Daily Afaq , for which he wrote some of his well-known sketches . These sketches were later collected in his book Ganjay Farishtay . The sketches include those of famous actors and actresses like Ashok Kumar, Shyam, Nargis, Noor Jehan and Naseem (mother of Saira Banu) . He also wrote about some literary figures like Meera Ji , Hashar Kashmiri and Ismat Chughtai . Manto’s sketch of Muhammad Ali Jinnah was also first published in Afaq under the title Mera Sahib.

He , during his later years in Pakistan , embarked on a journey of self-destruction . The substandard alcohol that he consumed destroyed his liver and in the winter of 1955 he fell victim to liver cirrhosis . He was 42 years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife Safiyah and three daughters . Born in 1912 in Samrala , Ludhiana district of Indian Punjab , he died in 1955 in Lahore , Pakistani Punjab .

This year in 2012 India and Pakistan , both the countries , are celebrating his anniversary .

Manto collection (Books)

  • Atishparay (Nuggets Of Fire) – 1936
  • Chugaad
  • 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
  • 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
  • Tahira Se Tahir (From Tahira to Tahir) – 1971

I was re – introduced to him and his literary world , when I started training Dino Morea recently . We read several stories written by Manto and discussed them and thus a new vision about Manto was opened in front of my eyes . I deeply regret that once upon a time I degraded him in my mind and didn’t read his books earlier .

[ List of the works of Manto and some dates and facts of his life is taken from Wikipedia . I express my gratitude . ]

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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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200 Years of Charles Dickens


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 29 , 2012           00.30 A.M.

Charles Dickens, a former resident of Lant Street.

Charles Dickens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Years ago , when I was still a child , my grand father introduced me to the world of books . He bought some books from Gita Press , Gorakhpur and gave them to me . Those were illustrated books about the lives of Bhagwan Ram and Bhagwan Krishna . Each illustration was explained with the help of a couplet . I still remember the name of the books ; BAL CHITRAMAYA RAM LEELA and BAL CHITRAMAYA KRISHNA LEELA  . I read those books countless times , almost mugged up each line and I still possess those books in my library in Deoria .

Since then I was hooked to the world of books and the fascination still continues many decades later . When I was in High School , I became member of GHARELU LIBRARY YOJNA of  HIND POCKET BOOKS , which was initiated by a famous Hindi publication house , Rajpal & Sons .

I used to order books and used to receive them through post office . One muggy afternoon , when the post man delivered packet of books to me , I opened the packet with excitement . There was a book titled DO SHEHRON KI DASTAN . I glanced the book and went through the introduction and got to know the name of the writer . It was Charles Dickens . I also got to know that original name of the book in English . It was A TALE OF TWO CITIES .

It was my first introduction with the celebrated British writer . Though I could not complete the reading because I got bored . Many years later , when I was doing post graduation in Allahabad University , I got to know the writer once again . A TALE OF TWO CITIES was in my course and this time I was able to understand it properly . I then realized beauty of his prose and appreciated his style of narration . Hindi translation , which I read years ago , was not lucid enough .

 

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

When I read in the papers that 2012 is the 200th birth anniversary of the celebrated British author and novelist , I decided to note down my encounter of Charles Dickens also . These old memories , which were consigned in some dark and hither to unvisited corners of my being , rushed to the firmament and I decided to become a part of the 200th anniversary celebration of Charles Dickens .

My curiosity reached its zenith , when I read a news item in a paper . The heading was enough to draw my again to Charles Dickens .  ”  Christopher and Jonathan Nolan Explain How A TALE OF TWO CITIES Influenced THE DARK KNIGHT RISES “

Charles Dickens a.k.a. Charles John Huffam Dickens , ( 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic who is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period and the creator of some of the world’s most memorable fictional characters .During his lifetime Dickens’s works enjoyed unprecedented popularity and fame , and by the twentieth century his literary genius was fully recognized by critics and scholars . His novels and short stories continue to enjoy an enduring popularity among the general reading public .

Born in Portsmouth , England , Dickens left school to work in a factory after his father was thrown into debtors’ prison . Though he had little formal education , his early impoverishment drove him to succeed . He edited a weekly journal for 20 years , wrote 15 novels and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles , lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer , and campaigned vigorously for children’s rights , education , and other social reforms .

 

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dickens rocketed to fame with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers . Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity , celebrated for his humour , satire , and keen observation of character and society . His novels , most published in monthly or weekly instalments , pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction , which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication .The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience’s reaction , and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback . For example , when his wife’s chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities , Dickens went on to improve the character with positive lineaments . Fagin in Oliver Twist apparently mirrors the famous fence , Ikey Solomon ; His caricature of Leigh Hunt in the figure of Mr Skimpole in Bleak House was likewise toned down on advice from some of his friends , as they read episodes . In the same novel , both Lawrence Boythorne and Mooney the beadle are drawn from real life – Boythorne from Walter Savage Landor and Mooney from ‘Looney’ , a beadle at Salisbury Square . His plots were carefully constructed , and Dickens often wove in elements from topical events into his narratives .Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha’pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them , opening up and inspiring a new class of readers .

Dickens was regarded as the ‘literary colossus’ of his age .His 1843 novella , A Christmas Carol , is one of the most influential works ever written , and it remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre . His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to G. K. Chesterton and George Orwell—for its realism , comedy , prose style , unique characterisations , and social criticism . On the other hand Oscar Wilde , Henry James and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth , loose writing , and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism .

Most of Dickens’s major novels were first written in monthly or weekly instalments in journals such as Master Humphrey’s Clock and Household Words , later reprinted in book form . These instalments made the stories cheap , accessible and the series of regular cliff-hangers made each new episode widely anticipated . When The Old Curiosity Shop was being serialized , American fans even waited at the docks in New York , shouting out to the crew of an incoming ship , “Is little Nell dead ? ” Part of Dickens’s great talent was to incorporate this episodic writing style but still end up with a coherent novel at the end .

Charles Dickens published over a dozen major novels , a large number of short stories (including a number of Christmas-themed stories) , a handful of plays , and several non-fiction books . Dickens’s novels were initially serialised in weekly and monthly magazines , then reprinted in standard book formats .

Novels

Short story collections

Christmas numbers of Household Wordsmagazine:

  • What Christmas Is, as We Grow Older (1851)
  • A Round of Stories by the Christmas Fire (1852)
  • Another Round of Stories by the Christmas Fire (1853)
  • The Seven Poor Travellers (1854)
  • The Holly-Tree Inn (1855)
  • The Wreck of the “Golden Mary” (1856)
  • The Perils of Certain English Prisoners (1857)
  • A House to Let (1858)
Christmas numbers of All the Year Roundmagazine:

  • The Haunted House (1859)
  • A Message from the Sea (1860)
  • Tom Tiddler’s Ground (1861)
  • Somebody’s Luggage (1862)
  • Mrs. Lirriper’s Lodgings (1863)
  • Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy (1864)
  • Doctor Marigold’s Prescriptions (1865)
  • Mugby Junction (1866)
  • No Thoroughfare (1867)

Selected non-fiction, poetry, and plays

[ Facts of his life and list of the books , written by him , are taken from Wikipedia . I express my deep gratitude . ]

 

Charles Dickens, ca. 1865

Charles Dickens & His Famous Chair (Photo credit: Penn State Special Collections Library)

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