Despite its lofty claims of being one of the most developed states in India, Punjab continues to bear the tag of ‘scholarly bankrupt’ state. Its close brush with pre and post independence external aggressions, ordeal of blood-soaked partition and traumatized black-phase of terrorism did not prompt many to raise pen and write something remarkable to go down the annals of history as immortal literature.
Saadat Hassan Manto was one of the few noted writers of the region to get world-wide acclamations, though posthumously. Born a century ago in a tiny hamlet Papraudi near sleepy town Samrala and left for heavenly abode at a ripe age of 42, the soul of this outstanding genius would be troubled even today, the persona of whom born and lived among people with no regard for writers.
The centenary birth celebrations of Manto, early this month, attracted no intention of thePunjabgovernment. What to talk of chalking state-level function or an initiative to develop a memorial of this legendary writer, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal or any of his cabinet colleagues, did not find it fit to even issuing a statement dedicated to Manto. Not only the ruling Punjab SAD – BJP combine, former Chief Minister and state Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh, who has himself penned two books, turned back towards the centenary celebrations of this great writer of the previous century.
Even the central government and scholars, who suffered with ‘Tagore fatigue’ by celebrating 150th anniversary of Rabindernath Tagore, took no interest in Manto’s birth centenary.
Literature aficionado Bir Devinder Singh was the only political leader, who on his own participated in the low-key celebrations organized by the Lekhak Manch of Samrala by cutting a cake and holding a candle march at Papraudi. A play by Rang Manch Rang group ofAmritsar, a seminar and a Mushaira sponsored by Punjab languages department at Samrala, were other few events that took place at the birth centenary of one of the best short story writers.
Manto’s daughters, who live in Pakistan, were keen to join celebrations inIndia, but, strict visa regime spoiled their plans.
“We are satisfied to acknowledge that our humble efforts succeeded to make people of Samrala region aware that they belonged to the land that once produced a great writer Saadat Hassan Manto,” said Samrala based Lekhak Manch President Daljit Singh Shahi.
Columnist Vandana Shukla observed that Manto never pleased the civil society, nor the state for their power constructs. This could perhaps be the reasons for his centenary being ignored primarily so as Manto remained writer of the marginalized.
Share This Article on Facebook