“I don’t write faith! I don’t write obscenity! I only write what is there in your society!”
Born in Punjab on 11 May 1912, Saadat Hasan Manto is a widely read short story writer who wrote in Urdu. His stories have been translated to English and other vernacular languages. They are widely read and some have been adapted into movies. He started out translating Russian and French literature into Urdu and later wrote his own stories. His collection of works includes two collections of short stories, one novel, five collections of radio plays, three collections of essays, two collections of reminiscences and many scripts for films.
His stories captured the dark side of the places and people he came across and the events he had to deal with the major one being partition. He captured the events poignantly in his short stories. His stories emphasised partition to be a grand political divorce, the stories like Toba Tek Singh, Thanda Ghost, and Khol Do are crafted with emotions and situations so intricate that they considered his defining pieces of work.
After partition, he had to move to Pakistan in 1948 during which he faced financial constraints and about which he quoted, “Despite trying, I could not separate India from Pakistan, and Pakistan from India.” He died on January 18, 1955, at Lahore.