Veterans and experts on Urdu literature will gather this evening to celebrate the writings of Saadat Hasan Manto
Saadat Hasan Manto
From being tried for obscenity to being one of the most powerful writers of the post-Partition era, Saadat Hasan Manto’s work has been both criticised and celebrated. His fearless and painfully real writings remain relevant till date and is one of the factors that made the organisers of Mehfil @ Prithvi, an informal gathering of the lovers of the Urdu language, choose to discuss his work. Earlier, the group had highlighted the works of stalwarts like Ghalib, Faiz, Begum Akhtar, Zohra Sehgal and Jagjit Singh among others.
Saadat Hasan Manto
We started organising these gatherings three years ago. It was an initiative by Prithvi Theatre. Kunal Kapoor’s idea was to familiarise the younger generation with Urdu.
The Kapoors have had a long association with the language. From Prithvi Raj Kapoor, to Shashi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Kunal Kapoor, all of them have studied Urdu. Today, many young people can’t read and write the language but are still interested in the literature, says Salim Arif, one of the organisers. “Manto’s work can be broadly divided into three parts: his writings on Mumbai, especially Central Mumbai where he lived, his writings on the partition and the material he write while in Pakistan, post the partition.
At Mehfil, which is usually a gathering of about 80 to 100 people, we will look at his composite writing through readings, presentations, discussions and Q&A sessions. Eminent scholars like Javed Siddiqui along with Rasika Agashe, Zeeshan Ayyub and Lubna Arif,” adds Arif, who has also written Manto Mantra, a play where Manto is seen narrating his own story, as a tribute to the legend in his centenary year in 2012. The 90-minute session will include readings and analyses of Manto’s stories like Aakhri Salute and Nangi Awazen among others.