• Laiba Zaman

Letter to Manto

Dear Manto,


It has been 64 years, many springs bloomed, and shivering winters creped in the flesh; on human bones. You had worn that white dress and slept under the warm humus blanket, in your grave at Lahore. Your gravestone shouts, 'Here lies buried Saadat Hassan Manto in whose bosom are enshrined all the secrets and art of short story writing'. Indeed your every word is a gem sewn in the thread of beautiful sentences. Sometimes I wonder what you are doing in your grave, still cursing the treachery and aloofness of our so-called sophisticated society or what?

Photo courtesy Manto Family Archive

Your stories once challenged the social norms and lead you to the Court. I want to tell you that they are still in our hearts, but after 64 years even now, it is taboo to talk about the things you once stand for. Whenever I read about you, a strange peace and felicity fill my heart that is followed by the desire to change this society towards betterment. This society has closed its eyes from the ugly realities.


Your stories remain a big slap on the face of our society even now, and I believe that till the Day of Judgment, no other Manto will be born.


I hope that you find peace in your grave because the mortals that are roaming on the land above you are involved in all those dirty acts that you once mentioned. I am sure your soul would not be in peace on this sight.


You once said, '...and it is also possible, that Sadat Hassan dies, but Manto remains alive'. Yes! You are alive. Still many curse you, but there are some people who have your name engraved on their hearts.

Laiba Zaman is a literature student who wants to bring a positive change in society through her words. Her Instagram handle is laiba.zaman01


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