ISLAMABAD, Monday, May 11, 2020 (WNP): Today’s Doodle, illustrated by Lahore-based guest artist Shehzil Malik, honors Pakistani author, journalist, playwright, and screenwriter Saadat Hasan Manto on his 108th Birthday.
Known for his candid and often provocative narratives, Manto has been widely credited as one of South Asia’s most accomplished modernist fiction writers.
Saadat Hasan Manto was born on this day in 1912 in Samrala in the British Indian state of Punjab.
He came of age during an era of significant civil unrest amid the growing movement to liberate India from British rule.
Despite early troubles in school, Manto discovered a passion for literature, and by his early twenties, he had published his own translations of European classics in his native Urdu tongue.
He soon progressed to original fiction, channeling his iconoclastic spirit into short stories like the aptly titled “Revolutionary” (“Inqilab Pasand”, 1935).
By the 1940s, Manto’s Urdu literature was a tour de force. Through his unfiltered exploration of marginalized characters and social taboos, he charted controversial territory that few writers dared to explore.
The partitioning of India in 1947 prompted Manto’s migration to the newly formed Pakistan, and he is perhaps best remembered for his work examining this tumultuous historical moment.
Manto published 22 collections of short stories throughout his prolific career, but he wasn’t limited to the medium; he also wrote a novel, three collections of essays, over 100 radio plays, and more than 15 film scripts.
Guest Artist Q&A with Shehzil Malik
Today’s Doodle was illustrated by Lahore-based guest artist Shehzil Malik. Below, she shares her thoughts behind the making of this Doodle:
Q: Why was this topic meaningful to you personally?
A: I’m a big fan of Manto. He is a hero to me for pushing the envelope in Pakistan through his art (which I try to do and often get in trouble) so this is the perfect assignment! His stories are dark, beautiful, brutal, honest; once you read them, you can’t forget them.
He used his words as a mirror to society, to speak truth to power, and would not back down in the face of intimidation.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A: I recalled Manto’s stories by looking at photographs of him, as well as watching the biographical movie based on the life. Manto is a legend, and it’s hard to do justice to his personality.
Q: What do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A: To look up Manto and read his stories. I guarantee it’ll be like nothing you’ve read.