Monday, March 10, 2014



 ( left to right ... Safia  ( wife of Manto ) , Zakia ( sister of Safia ) and sadat Hassan Manto with his little Daughter in Mumbai )


“ When a story enters Manto’s  mind  he goes  restless till he writes it down on paper . His  condition is like a hen that is about to lay an egg .”

That is what Manto wrote about himself.  He also informs us that that the man called MANTO,   writes his stories  sitting with his three little daughters who keep playing with him .They keep quarreling amongst themselves and he also comes to settle these quarrels in between . He may even   entertain any guest in the family  but remains focused on writing as well.

 Sometimes he is unable to write as the story takes time to come out of the mind. He turns restless. He  gets up to clean some room , polish shoes of girls. Goes to toilet repeatedly. He also  gets up and prepares SALAD for himself .  And then  Safia ( His wife ) often come to his rescue with her favourite suggestion
 “  Aap Sonchiye Nahin . Buss Kalam Uthaaiye Aur Likhnaa Shuru kar deejiye . You do not think much . Pick up your pen and start writing . ”

In his  essay  “MANTO ” he further strips open himself as under

“  This man who calls himself as Manto is nothing more than a Big fraud. People call him as  “Greatest Writer of urdu language ”.  Sir listen , this fraud of a man failed twice in his matriculation examination and finally cleared it in a third Division. Do not be surprised when I say that he failed in urdu paper  also . People call him great urdu writer but he does not know the  language fully.  I have seen him looking for urdu words while he writes. He runs after these words  the way a hunter runs after his prey . I smile at the foolishness of people who call him great urdu writer . ”

And Manto continues to add about his own self

“ His wife is not happy with his writing etc. Quite  Often she has advised him to open a shop and earn his living. But tell me what shall he do with the shop that is already open in his mind . He keeps worrying that should he open a cosmetic store , the commodities already  stored in his  mind  may have to be put in cold storage.

People call him irreligious and his writings as  obscene. Here I disagree with people . I for certain know that when he starts a story he writes  ”786” on the top of the paper . This man who looks irreligious suddenly turns  believer on the paper .May be he is a paper Manto or Kaagazi Manto who can be broken open like the Kaagazi Badaam ( Almond ) with fingers only. No one can break him open with an iron   hammer .

And then he takes good advantage of  the simple  nature of his  innocent wife SAFIA. . Sometimes he pays her 800 rupees for meeting household expenses and simultaneously keeps an eye on the safe place where safia keeps her purse .Quite often he steals   hundred or two hundred rupees from her purse allowing her to curse the servant and the  maid for these petty thefts .

He is a great liar as well. Let me tell you that this man ,who in the real sense of the term can be called an illiterate . He  has neither read MARX nor FREUD. He has only heard about HEGAL . But I wonder and feel amused when some critics write that he  is influenced by all these great thinkers and philosophers of the world . Let  me tell you plainly that his becoming a story writer is the  result of the Clash between his father and his mother . His father  a firm , unbending and tough person while his mother a soft hearted human being . And  you can yourself imagine how  this man  called Manto survived like  a grain of wheat in between these two parts of the grinding mill.

I known him since his birth . Born on 11th May 1912, this man always made himself appear like a tortoise .He would often hide his head and neck lest people trace and locate him.”

(  Selected portions translated from original urdu by Autar Mota 10.03.2014 )

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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