Report 11 September, 2012
Manto Remembered in JNU with his daughters
It was festive and excited occasion in JNU, when Nighat Patel Manto, Nuzhat Arshad Manto and Nusrat Jalal Manto-all three daughters of Saadat Hasan Manto, now all beyond sixty, came to JNU, where an event was organized to commemorate Manto’s birth centenary by School of Languages, Literatures and Culture studies(SLL&CS) of Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU), New Delhi. Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. S.K.Sopory was present to welcome the loveable guests of JNU.
Professor Chaman Lal from Centre of Indian Languages(SLL&CS), while underlining the importance of Manto, not only as just Urdu writer , rather the internationally renowned author from South Asia; spoke about Manto’s early life spent in Punjab, mostly at Amritsar, referring to his story’ Tamasha’ on Jallianwalabagh massacre of 1919, written from the eye of a seven years old child; incidentally Manto himself was just seven years old at the time of massacre of Jalianwalabagh took place in Amritsar and he was studying in Amritsar at that time. The story written much later, had deep humanist touch, which became the landmark of Manto’s all writings later, which can be paraphrased by one of his dialogues in a story- it is not to say that a Hindu was killed in communal violence or a Muslim or Sikh was killed-it is to say that it is ‘the human being ‘who is killed in violence. Total corpus of Manto’s literature is based on the theme of deep humanism and the tragedy of communal violence, related to partition of India in 1947. Out of 42 years of his life Manto lived for 35 years in undivided India and just seven years in Pakistan, but his writings are so much valued and loved in India that almost all Indian languages have his writings translated and particularly in Hindi Urdu and English, there is huge literature available on Manto. One of the Hindi writers known for his writings on Manto, Narender Mohan presented his latest book ‘Manto Zinda Hai’ to Manto family. National Book Trust of India (NBT) also presented set of its best Urdu publications to the members of Manto family on the occasion and JNU Vice Chancellor honored them with Mementoes of JNU. Speaking on the occasion Prof. Sopory, who is a Scientist, said that he was impressed by Manto’s writings and feel that there should be more close relations between the two neighbors, so that more such literary exchanges should take place.
Welcoming the guests, representative of the Dean of the school and Arabic scholar Prof. Aslam Islahi expressed happiness at Manto’s daughters visit to the University and invited them to visit JNU many more times. Earlier, Dr. Khwaja Ekramuddin, Director of National Council for Promotion of Urdu(NCPUL) and Urdu scholar from JNU, expressed the hope that Manto museum and an auditorium in memory of Manto will be built in Punjab at birth place of Manto. He shared with the audience that how Manto daughters were welcomed in Punjab with people lining up to three kilometer route to shower them with flowers.
Nighat, Nuzhat and Nusrat, all shared Manto family’s inside happenings, though all of them were very small at the time of demise of the celebrated author at relatively young age in 1955, but they remembered their father very fondly and expressed sense of pride as being ‘the daughters of Manto’. Many research scholars of JNU interacted with Manto family on Manto’s writings. Large number of faculty members from JNU were also present on the occasion. Arvind Gaur, who has staged plays based on Manto’s partition stories many times, presented the album of his plays to daughters of Manto. On the whole it became one of the memorable events of JNU.
Professor Chaman Lal