Chandigarh: The decision of the Board of Postgraduate Studies of Punjabi University to eliminate Punjab’s legendary raconteur of Partition Saadat Hasan Manto from its M.A Punjabi (Honors) courses is extremely irrational and deserves instantaneous revisit. We have recently celebrated the birth centenary of Manto with great passion and sense of belonging the year 2012. A memorable commemorative function was organized to remember Saadat Hasan Manto at his native village Paproudi, near Samrala ( District Ludihana) on September 5, 2012, where his three daughters; Nighat Patil, Nusrat Jalal and Nuzhat Aishad specially came from Pakistan to participate in the function, held at the ‘Birth place’ of their ‘Abbu’ Saadat Hasan Manto. Their presence on the occasion was a nostalgic affair for everyone who participated in the function, all through the proceedings.
I can intensely recall that Dr. Jaspal Singh Vice Chancellor of the Punjabi University, not only participated in the commemorative function held at Samrala, he also played a pivotal role in organizing a wonderful seminar in the Senate Hall of the Punjabi University, Patiala in which elderly scholars of rare eminence, virtually relived ‘Manto’ through their excellent narratives.
It would be exceedingly difficult, rather impossible for the present young generation to understand the manifestation of horrendous psychic barbarism, and pattern of inhuman behaviors of the communities against each other during the Partition; without the profound study of the gut-wrenching tales of Saadat Hasan Manto, having a comprehensible perspective of human pain in mind. I am of the firm view that Manto is much more relevant in India today than the yester years, in the present scenario of communal frenzy and hatefulness, unleashed by the fringe elements of the different hue. His satirical depiction of the horrific beastly incidents during and after the partition leaves everybody incredibly astounded.
Whereas we hold no malice or ill will against the Japanese writers, whose collections of stories has been included in the syllabus of M.A (Honors) Punjabi, which may help the students of higher learning, to broaden their horizon of knowledge, but certainly not at the cost of legendry Saadat Hasan Manto. He cannot be omitted from the courses of studies, so insouciantly and arbitrarily.
I would therefore appeal to the astuteness of the Vice Chancellor of the Punjabi University, Patiala Dr. Jaspal Singh to revisit the hauntingly regressive decision of the Board of Postgraduate Studies of Punjabi, University, and the wisdom demands the reintroduction of Saadat Hasan Manto to the syllabi of the Postgraduate courses in Punjabi.
(Bir Devinder Singh is former Deputy Speaker, Punjab)