Saturday, October 15, 2011



Sadat Hassan  Manto  (1912-1955 )

I have always said that Saadat Hassan Manto’s Character Saugandhi ( created by him for his story HATAK) brings simultaneous hatred and sympathy in hearts of millions of MANTO readers . Till this society exists Saugandhi shall exist . Manto's pen has immortalized  this Character . Poets like Shaharyaar ( Gyan Peeth Awardee ) Balraj Komal, Kumar Paashi, Sarmad Sehbayee   and many more writers have commented or written poems on this character .Manto has given total freedom to this Character to evolve itself and then attack the very society that created it.I treat Saugandhi's dog  as an important  character in Manto's story HATAK. Manto calls it Khaarish-Zadaa kutta that sleeps  in her filthy room. When Saugandhi attacks and throws out Madho ( Her Exploiter ) from her room , this dog too joins and helps her by barking and attacking Madho. 

In Manto's  story, Saugandhi is rejected by a mere “Ooun!” word spoken by a wealthy  Seth brought by a pimp . This' Ooun' word of the seth is like a sharp wound inflicted on  her psyche.  She is agitated .In anger and humiliation,  she starts looking around her existence . Can a woman be rejected merely by staring at her? Is she soul-lessobject? Is it a denial of her existence?  The humiliation goes deep down her soul exploding  the lie of love that her exploiter Madho has been keeping alive.

Manto was subjected to harsh criticism for this Character . To  his critics Manto said

“If you are Ignorant about existing time or the period that we live in then read my stories . If you do not tolerate my stories then this period is certainly beyond toleration. The bad things that exist in me have come to me from this period alone .There is no defect in my scripts .The defect that is attributed to me is possibly a system defect .Trust me I am not a trouble creator .I do not want to create fatality in thought process or emotions of people. How can a poor man like me undress this society or its culture and the tradition ? Isn’t this society already naked ? yes, I also do not make an effort to dress it and cover its nakedness as that is not my job. Many readers call me a writer with black ink. Surely I do not use black ink to write on black boards . I use white ink to write on black background so that every thing emerges more distinctly .This is my special style. I do not know what it is and I know that some people call it Progressive and some call it rubbish . God alone knows the labels that are given to my writings. Hell be the place for this Manto for he can not be even cursed properly by people . ”

 “ If there is no god then none can keep count of innumerable sufferings and pains of Saugandhi except Manto . In fact Manto has repaid a Debt to Humanity at large by writing her story .”

 Waris Alvi

I also add lines  from a poem of Noted urdu poet shaharyaar titled saugandhi

"Badhee bhari Yeh Bohriyaan,
Na jaane kaun Morh tak,
Hamaare saath jaayeingi ……………

Teri gali Mein har taraf
Se Aa rahein Hain Bhediye ,
Havaa bharaa Woh Chaand
Saat Inch neeche aa gayaa ,
Gizaa milegi Chyoontiyon Ko
Tera kaam ho gayaa ,
Hamaare naakhoonon Ki Maeil Se,
Tere Badan ke ghaav Bhar gaye ,
Yeh haadisaa bhi Ho Gayaa .
Magar Kahaan Se beech mein Yeh Aasmaan Aa Gayaa"
( Shaharyaar )

Kumar Paashi also wrote a poem on Saugandhi I quote some lines

“ Ikk mausam mere Dil ke andher ,
Ikk mausam mere Baahar ,
Ikk rastaa mere peechhe Bhaage ,
Ikk Rastaa Mere aage
Rastey beech me khadee akeli ,
Piyaa na sang saheli ,
Kyaa jaane mujh janam jalee ne ,
Kyaa apraadh kiyaa hai ,
Aakhir kyon Duniyaa kaa maine saara zehar Piya hai ,
Saari Umar na jaane kaise apney badhan mein Kisse Jiyaa hai ,
Mere saath zamaane tuune
Achhaa nahin kiyaa hai ”

 (Kumar Paashi )

Saugandhi the Bad woman . Saugandhi the kind and tender hearted  woman. Saugandhi the exploited . Saugandhi the lonely woman  .  Saugandhi the woman who has gone too far in her dull and aimless life  that she has lost  the distinction between Man and Dog. And a different  Saugandhi   who finally spits venom and fire  when she throws out her exploiter Madho.   

Saugandhi knows it that she leads a false life;  But then the the real life  has slipped far away from her hands. She knows she can't catch it up any more. How shall she fill up the loneliness and vacuum now? This question troubles readers of HATAK.

( Avtar Mota )

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