“Are we allowed to speak everything we see? Or are we living in unendurable time?”
Saadat Hassan Manto was a humane writer, who had witnessed the filth of society. He awakened the society when it was high on the luscious of lust. Manto stood for humanism and exposed characterless elite of his times. Manto was hard to swallow for people who wanted to dilute the truth. In an era of conservatives, Manto was considered as a progressive writer.
Let’s ponder on Manto’s time with current tenure and imagine, if Manto was our century’s writer, how he would be treated. Would he be ever able to contagious words with the power of pen? Would he be able to highlight the social issues without any pressure of high authoritarians?
Can we openly talk about today’s flaws of the society? Or we will be labeled as impugning and contravening for exhibiting the reality? Our society is the victim of many ignoble stains. Rape, child abuse, child labor, harassment and kidnapping are the current flaws of the society. Kidnapping is a common crime which has never been highlighted and has not been given enough importance it requires. Even many writers have shut their mouth and throw the paper written with such crimes. Journalists have been threatened and what not. In 2016, many cases of child kidnapping called, “kill and dump,” were reported and they’re said to be increasing this year as well. The survey conducted by Federal Bureau of Statistics estimated out of 40 million children in Pakistan, approximately 19 million are working as child laborers. It is been said that, Allama Iqbal awakened the nation and infused a spirit into the Muslims. Sadly, the nation never awoke and provoked even by these revolutionists.
The one who sees everything, but remains silent.
His conscience is voiceless.
And if someone’s conscience is voiceless.
He has no right to speak.
Manto was a mirror for society to see itself. The trouble with Manto was that he was brutally honest, and perhaps the society was not yet ready to accept him for who he was. After a century, do people read Manto with a completely renew perspective? Or they’ll call him a rebellion or an exaggerator? Manto was lucky to belong from previous century, because if he would be from this century, many people would have loaded his mouth with money to alter his mind. Instead of washing out the stains of our society, we choose to ignore them.
Imagine a short story, “Reality & Realism,” by Saadat Hassan Manto. In which he discuss all the major issues of our society such as kidnapping, child abuse and child labour. Imagine Manto narrating a story of a young girl, who got kidnapped while her parents were out of country. Imagine Manto’s saying, “There is no preference for reality in this society. We are living in a country of freedom with limitation on thinking.” Are we lacking Manto of this century? What if we say, that Manto in today’s century would be given billions of dollars to speak in someone’s favor. He must be having bigotry opinion. Only some liberal minds would be accepting Manto’s story, because of the vulgarity not for the reality. The critics mock him for being an exaggerator and for being a human who focused on the negative aspects only, with his sight. We need Manto in this era as well. We need someone to speak on such issues that are slowly and gradually poisoning our society. Any society and nation who exists for a long is the one who say wrong to wrong, and right to right.
Most of the people would ignore his story and our prodigious blind era with an excuse. The bitter truth is, he would have been facing many death threats now for presenting the harsh realities of society. People are less tolerant now than they were, during Manto’s lifetime. Manto is the only writer who captured the underbelly of our culture with such vividness. He exposed the wicked people with his insightfulness. He believed in the basic human right of equality for every member of the society. We need more Manto for this era and society. As the society unfortunately is indulged into negativity more than before and quite openly this time.
Leafs of neem perhaps bitter, but they can remove the stains of blood. Truth hurts but the reality bites. Ignoring the reality of the society won’t make us sensible. Talk shows today only debate on the political issues. Social issues are mostly highlighted in the breaking news, but the tongue along with actions and paper along with gestures will never highlight such considerable issues. We are living like a kid who don’t speak, because of the fear of being interrupted by others.
Speak, this brief time is ample
Before the death of tongue and body
Speak, for the truth is still alive
Speak; say all that you have to say