Sunday, May 13, 2012

Late to the Manto love...

...but only slightly.

Here's Mohammed Hanif in Dawn:

How are you getting on with your creator?

Have you settled that old argument with your creator: Who is a better short-story writer? You do realise that that this kind of claim hurts people’s sentiments. Especially sentiments of people who don’t read stories, who can’t read stories or who think reading and writing stories was a perversion. I hope you understand why your family didn’t inscribe that God vs Manto argument on your tombstone as you had wished. Censorship even in my death, you protest. No Sir, just common sense. I hope that you are up there with your creator, being argumentative, still carrying on that debate about who is better at the storytelling game. (That kind of thing, by the way, is called a creative-writing workshop these days). If your old friend Ismat Chughtai drops by while you are having that debate, you and your creator should take a break from arguing and say to her: we’ll both go in the kitchen and make tea, why don’t you write us a story.

(I was tempted to quote the very last bit, but that would be unfair to both Hanif and Manto.)

And Supriya Nair's 'Here Lies Manto':

In search of Manto in Byculla, Baghdadi points out that the neighbourhood in which he once lived has changed little. The marble plaques in Christ Church, across the road from Manto’s old house on Clare Road, recall the histories of members of its congregation who lived here over a century ago. Scratch the Urdu and Marathi flyers from the walls of the municipal garden, and the Star of David underneath, confirming its identity as an old Jewish cemetery, is intact. Any evidence of the writer of Mirza Ghalib and Mozail, Thanda Gosht and Letters to Uncle Sam having once lived here, though, must now be imagined.

Also see MS Gopal's images

1 comment:

km said...

I read this Manto translation a few years ago. A rather ho-hum affair, quite frankly.

What am I missing? Are there any *great* Manto translations? Do the stories hold up better in Urdu/Hindi?