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 . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

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Al – Vidaa Shahryar Saheb !


Shahryar Taking Jnanpith Award from Amitabh Bachchan

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY 18 , 2012           01.45 A.M.

A renowned poet of Urdu language , Shahryar a.k.a. Akhlaq Mohammad Khan , who also won Jnanpith Award in 2008 for his contribution to Urdu literature , died on February 13 , 2012 in Aligarh , Uttar Pradesh . He was suffering from lung cancer . He was the 4th Urdu writer to win prestigious Jnanpith Award .

Born in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh on June 16 , 1936 , he went to Aligarh Muslim University for higher education and later on became a lecturer of Urdu Literature in the same university and retired as Head of Department of Urdu Literature . He was co – editor of  ” Sher O Hikmat ” , a literary magazine .

Bab-e-syed, the gateway to AMU

Gate of Aligarh Muslim University

He , apart from writing ghazals and nazms , also wrote lyrics for highly successful films like ;  ” Gaman ” [ 1978 ] , ” Umrrao Jaan ” [ 1981 ] and ” Anjuman ” [ 1986 ] , all directed by Muzaffar Ali .

Who can forget ghazal of  ” Gaman “  ” Seene me jalan , saanson men toofan sa kyon hai ; Is shaher me har shakhs pareshan sa kyon hai ……

Or these immortal ghazals of ” Umrao Jaan ”  :

In aankhon ki masti ke mastane hazaron hain …… or

Dil cheez kya hai aap meri jaan leejiye ; bas ek baar mera kaha …….. …or

Jab bhi milti hai mujhe ajnabi lagti kyon hai ……… or

Ye kya jagah hai dosto ; ye kaun sa dayar hai …….. or

Zindagi jab bhi teri bazm me laati hai hamen ……..

Lyrics of ” Umrao Jaan “ are immortal and they are still popular among the connoisseurs of Hindi film music and ghazal lovers of this country and Urdu speaking diaspora .

He got Sahitya Akademy Award in Urdu for his poetry in 1987 . Later on in 2008 , he got prestigious Jnanpith Award . As stated earlier , he was the 4th Urdu writer to get Jnanpith Award . Firaq Gorakhpuri was the 1st to get this award in 1969 . Qurratulain Hyder was the 2nd and got the award in 1989  . Ali Sardar Jafri was the 3rd , who got Jnanpith in 1997 .

Firaq Gorakhpuri

Firaq Gorakhpuri

English: http://www.loc.gov/acq/ovop/delhi/new...

Qurratulain Hyder

Ali Sardar Jafri (1913-2000)

Ali Sardar Jafri

Some famous books of Urdu poetry written by Akhlaq Mohammed Khan alias Shahryar :

1 – Ism – E – Azam [ 1965 ]

2 – Satvan Dar [ 1969 ]

3 – Hijr Ke Mausam [ 1978 ]

4 – Khwab Ke Dar Band Hain [ 1987 ]

He got Sahitya Akademy Award in 1987 for his book ” Khwab Ke Dar Band Hain ” .

With his death the last doyen of Urdu literature , the last titan of modern Urdu ghazal is gone . World of Urdu poetry will never be the same again .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

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Jagjit Singh Ji ! Chitthi Na Koi Sandesh , Kahan Tum Chale Gaye ?


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA             DECEBER 31 , 2011                   7.00 P.M.

On October 09th , when I came to my institute and started going through all the twitter postings , I found a tweet , to my shock and dismay, about the sad demise of Ghazal King Jagjit Singh Ji. I knew about his medical condition and also that he was admitted in Lilawati hospital due to brain haemorrhage , but still I was hoping against hope that he would survive .

Jagjit Singh and his singer wife Chitra Singh were not only one of the most popular Ghazal singers of India but they are solely responsible for the resurrection of this genre of singing , popular among royalty of South East Asia . Before the advent of Jagjit Singh , Ghazals had classical base and flowery and chaste Urdu poetry and that too heavily Persianised Urdu . Because of this , genre of Ghazal became the thing of wealthy Zamindars and the selected royalty. This was the reason of limited reach of Ghazals and its subsequent decadence in popularity.

English: Cropped version of File:SAARC.PNG foc...

Ghazal Loving Countries of South East Asia

When Jagjit Singh came to the scene , he realized the precarious situation and single-handedly fought and changed the scene. He chose easy but meaningful and poignant words, simplified the classical Ragas and introduced modern orchestra. His music arrangement was also very modern and catchy. Puritans frowned , as they always do , whenever a change is ushered in , but masses lapped this new kind of Ghazals and slowly puritans also fell in line because you can’t fight with the masses.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

SAARC Countries

” The unforgettables ” [ 1976 ] , was the first LP records of Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh and it hit  the market like a tarnado. It created sensation and a new icon was ushered on the firmament of the music world. I am proud to say that I have LP record of ” The unforgettables ” .

English: Lata Mangeshkar releases music album ...

jagjit Singh with Lata mangeshkar

But the journey of Jagjit Singh was not easy . Born In Sri Ganga Nagar , Rajasthan on February 08 , 1941 , Jagjit Singh started learning music at early age . He came to Mumbai in 1961 and started his struggle . Success came to him after 15 long and arduous struggling years . But once it came , Jagjit Singh created history .

Combined album of film songs sung by him ; ” Arth “ and Saath Saath is India’s largest selling album of all times . His ghazal album ” Sajda “ with Lata Mangeshkar is the largest selling album of all times in India in non – film category .

He gave music for films like ; ” Prem Geet ” [ 1981 ] , ” Arth ” [ 1982 ] , ” Saath Saath ” [ 1982 ] ,  and TV serials like ; ” Mirza Ghalib [ 1988 ] and ” Kahkashan ” [ 1991 ] . Just like his ghazal albums , all the songs of these albums were hits . In total he has given us 80 albums and all of them are best sellers .

Besides ghazals . Jagjit Singh also sung bhajans and gurbani . His albums like ; ” Maa ” , ” Hare Krishna ”  and ” Hey Ram … Hey Ram “ and ” Man Jeetayi jagjit “ are much renowned and acclaimed .

His concerts were almost always sold out .

English: Jagjit Singh performing live at Symph...

Jagjit Singh - Live Performance at Symphony

I am ashamed that I am posting this obituary after 3 months . I started writing immediately after his death . But it remained incomplete because so many luminaries died in the last quarter of 2011 and I was travelling incessantly .

I am ashamed for the delay and saddened at the loss of the world of music .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

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My Association with ” Dhobi Ghat “


Today , on January 21, 2011 Aamir Khan‘s film Dhobi Ghat is releasing worldwide. Aamir Khan is known for his quality work and penchant for perfection. But Kiran Rao is unknown as for as her working style is concerned. So when I got a call from Advait Chandan , Kiran Rao’s Associate Director , for supervising the dubbing of the film, I was apprehensive initially. I was wary of a star wife, who is making her debut. I didn’t jump at the offer. But since Aamir Khan’s name was involved and in the credits of the film , he is billed as the producer as well as lead actor , I agreed to be part of the film.  After all, who will not be tempted to work with Aamir Khan ?

THE PRESENT BANNER OF AAMIR KHAN PRODUCTIONS

Image via Wikipedia

I reached a studio in Bandra and met Kiran Rao. I must admit that after meeting her all my apprehensions disappeared and I was pleasantly surprised . Kiran Rao is so unassuming and easy-going girl that I developed an instant admiration for her. She introduced herself to me and then introduced me to her artiste Kriti Malhotra and other assistants and members of her technical team. I started my work. Kriti Malhotra started dubbing her part. You can see the studio and Kriti’s photo on the monitor in following photos.

Kiran Rao’s penchant for perfect accent of Uttar Pradesh and her insistence on details was a revelation. She was very particular about Urdu pronunciation also. She was insistent that accent of Uttar Pradesh should come clearly and prominently in the dialogues of Kriti , as she is playing a muslim girl from Uttar Pradesh. I am posting my photo with Kriti Malhotra.

I must admit that Kriti Malhotra is very hard-working girl, though she is not an actor by profession. She is a costume designer and lives in Pune and has never visited Uttar Pradesh. Despite the obvious handicaps, she worked hard and mastered the accent. I must say that Kiran Rao should also be congratulated because she had guts to cast a rank newcomer [ who is basically not an actor by profession ] in her debut film as a director.

From Bandra to Versova, dubbing continued in various dubbing studios and I got opportunity to know Kiran Rao personally. Now I admire her as a film maker.

Her Sound Designer and the whole technical team was fabulous. It was a nice working experience. I shall always be proud of the fact that I have an association with this amazing film called ” Dhobi Ghat .” I am yet to watch it completely, but I have gut feeling that after ” Lagaan ” , ” Taare Zameen par ” and ” Peepli [ Live ] ” , Aamir Khan has again a winner in his hands.

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

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