A chapter from the past

A chapter from the past


 Fans at the reading.

It was a unique setting. The gathering sat on the straw mats laid out on a layer of iron mesh held by iron poles. The place was dimly lit. The occasion was the reading of stories written by Sadat Hasan Manto.

Stories in Hindi and English were read out by many youngsters. Stories read out in Hindi were explained in English after each paragraph for the benefit of many foreigners present at the event. Importance was given to the sketches of Manto. The prominent ones from the sketches category included A Sweet Moment, Warning, Wages, Socialism, Luck and Mistake. From the Hindi version Khali Botle Khali D Tamasha, Bekhabri Ka Faida and Khabardari.

Another short story which made many people fall in love with the author was Dog of Thithmal.

The listeners made themselves comfortable with soft cushions and some sandwiches. The surprising element was the presence of youngsters, who were all Manto’s fans.

Sukhmani, an ardent Manto fan, says, “I just love Manto, I am able to connect with his stories well as he speaks about Partition. Since I am from Punjab, my family has experienced many things during Partition and I have heard many stories about it from my grandparents. That’s why I am here. His stories ring a lot of bells as he was himself scarred by Partition. It gives great pleasure to read out his stories.”

The main idea behind the reading was to connect people who are like-minded. This event provided a forum for such people to share ideas and give critical space. Rashmi, who had come to listen to some stories, says, “I am Manto’s fan, that is why I am here. Most of his stories are very moving and give you a slice of communalism and colonial rule in India during the national movement. His stories have a sense of humour as well,” she says.
This event created awareness about Sadat Hasan Manto among many people, who did not know about him and as for the others, who knew about him, they got a peek into many of his works.