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Manto described Partition’s ‘morning after’. Pak still doesn’t understand

30 17 133

Pakistan, predictably, banned Nandita Das’s film “Manto” last year because “it does not subscribe to the correct version of the Partition”. Filmgoers were outraged in Lahore, Manto’s city, and even the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhry, was forced to make a somewhat inane defence of the film, saying, “I am trying to persuade importers to bring this movie to Pakistan.” The Censor Board repeated its determination to not let the film be shown in Pakistan.

Historian Ayesha Jalal — Manto’s grandniece, whose version of Pakistan’s history is equally indigestible to the state — gave her own take on Manto’s worldview in “The Pity of Partition: Manto’s Life, Times, and Work across the India-Pakistan Divide” (2013), and spoke at a literary festival in Lahore soon after the ban, condemning Pakistan’s ingrained inferiority complex vis-à-vis India and said, “Whatever decision Manto made at Partition, he reconciled with it, but his status in his new country was never clarified.”

Jalal added pointedly: “One day he was called the best short story writer in the country and the next day asked to abandon the only flat he had been given to........

© Indian Express