A few years back, I came across an article accusing Pak education system of editing out bits and pieces from Manto’s write-ups. Flipping through my Urdu course books I found, that this indeed, was true.
It always amuses me to the core, when people of the subcontinent vehemently abuse the likes of Manto because his work was too vulgar or made derogatory remarks about our culture. The fact is that the history of violence against the weak, be it rape of women and children, or burning of people of different beliefs and caste has been the norm for a long, long while.
While Manto faced undeserved backlash back then, he’s extremely popular in the masses nowadays. This honestly doesn’t mean that we are more accepting of our true criminal selves. We still believe ourselves as champions of everybody’s rights while abuse and murder continue behind closed doors.
In the end, I guess Manto is beloved now because he just cannot write anymore. Or else, pretty damn sure he would’ve been charged with blasphemy or disappeared merely by you-know-who.
Anyway, that article ignited my interest in reading Manto’s work, and I found A Wet Afternoon at #LibertyBooks. It has most of his writings, and none of them is censored. My favorite piece is Colder Than Ice (Thanda Gosht if you search for it in Urdu) and it honestly points out the hypocrisy of our cultural and traditional men.
In times like these; when an epidemic of rape by men in the Indian subcontinent is finally coming to light, one should definitely read and ponder over Manto’s works. It is never too late to acknowledge the legacy, which was started in the 1940s, to understand the current abuse against women and minorities.
The submission was sent by Kashaf Asim.
You can follow her at @korakaghaz