Manto Seminar at Nehru Memorial Musium Library, Delhi

SAADAT HASAN MANTO (1912-1955) is one of the finest Urdu short story writers. Provocative, outrageous, scandalous, sometimes even blasphemous, in his lifetime he was the original enfant terrible of Urdu literature. Cocking a snook at society, literary norms and most notions of propriety, Manto touched the hearts of many with his convincing and utterly original portrayal of human fallibility. In an impudent epitaph written for himself a year before his death, Saadat Hasan Manto wrote: ‘Here [Manto] lies buried – and buried in his breast are all the secrets of the art of story-telling.’ Immodest, yes, but by no means outrageous, for it is true that whatever the merits of Manto’s style and craft, he was a story-teller par excellence. Indeed, Manto had the rare gift of being able to narrate the most blood-curdling events with faithful accuracy and an unsparing eye for detail.

In the 43 years that he lived, Manto published 22 collections of short stories, one novel, five (some say seven) collections of radio plays, three collections of essays and two collections of sketches of famous personalities. Though much of his writing was in the nature of ‘command performances’ – to feed the twin demons of drink and acute, chronic poverty – there is still a great deal in his vast and variegated ouvre that is touched by greatness.

In his Cenetenary Year, we at SAHMAT pay a tribute to this master story teller who transcends the barriers of language and literary sensibilities.


Manto Exhibition Click here



Press Coverage