In celebration of 100 years of Manto, Mohammed Hanif, the popular Pakistani writer and journalist and author of the novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008), wrote a very Manto-esque article in the Herald Pakistan.
Below is an excerpt from the article:
Congratulations on your 100th anniversary. “What is there to celebrate,” you ask. “I am dead. And why are you, the judges of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, my eternal tormentors, celebrating my birthday?” We need to talk because you might be dead but your books are still published in many different editions, some on very fancy paper. I saw one edition with a price tag of 750 rupees. Now don’t start calculating how many pints of the good stuff you could buy with that kind of money. Not a drop, sir. Or maybe a quarter of that foul stuff that contributed to your demise.
If you were writing today, and specially if you were writing in English, you could go to all the literary festivals and drink all the free booze you wanted. But they probably wouldn’t invite you because before and after drinking their booze you’d rant against the festival organisers, you’d raise questions about the sponsors’ parentage. Just like you maligned us judges. Having made your acquaintance while you were in the dock, and having familiarised ourselves with the filthy bits in your writings in the privacy of our chambers, we just wish to elaborate on the verdicts we handed down in those trials. No, this is not an apology on behalf of Islamic Republic’s judiciary, just some observations, clarifications – and we are sure you still hate it – some literary advice. Times have changed. If you were writing today we’d probably ignore your little blasphemies against good taste and national interest and would just book you for that half pint in your pocket. But since you are probably sipping some superior stuff in heaven, can we ask you what this obsession was with human anatomy and edible birds?
Click here to read the entire article: Our Case Against Manto
The same edition of Herald, which had Manto as the cover story, also carried this article by Dr. Waqas Khwaja that delved into the perceived arrogance of Manto, (as depicted through his famous epitaph).
Read the article here: Poetics of Storytelling
Urduwallahs celebrate 100 Years of Saadat Hasan Manto!