Saadat Hasan Manto birth anniversary: Five best works of the great writer

Saadat Hassan Manto is regarded as the most broadly read and the most contentious short-story writer in Urdu.

Born on May 11, 1912, at Sambrala in Punjab's Ludhiana district, Saadat Hasan Manto produced twenty-two collections of short stories, one novel, five collections of radio play, three collections of essays, two collections of reminiscences and many scripts for films.

Some of Manto's greatest work was produced in the last seven years of his life, and that time was of very great financial and emotional hardship for him.

Manto was revolution personified. Born with fiery spirit he left no opportunity to expose the sordid underbelly of the crumbling socio political structure of his times. He was the most eloquent and shrill voice of the socio-literary feminist movement in the subcontinent.

Manto indubitably holds the fort of feminism with his gut-wrenching stories like Thanda Gosht and Kali Salwar.

Manto passed away on January 18, 1955.

Here are some of the famous books by Manto:

1. Toba Tek Singh: Stories

A short story, "Toba Tek Singh" is written by Saadat Hasan Manto and published in 1955. It is about the convicts in a Lahore asylum, some of whom are being transferred to India because of the partition in1947. The story is a "powerful satire" that deals with the repercussions of the India-Pakistan partition.

2. Bitter Fruit

Bitter Fruit presents the best collection of Manto's writings, from his short stories, plays and sketches, to portraits of cinema artists, a few pieces on himself, and his letters to Uncle Sam which have references to communism, Russia, politics after the Partition and his own financial condition. The concluding section of the book has acknowledgements and reminiscences from Saadat's friends and relatives.

3. Bombay Stories

Originally written in Urdu, Bombay Stories is a collection of short stories, by Manto. This collection of classic, yet amazingly modern, includes short stories set in the vibrant world of mid-century Bombay.

4. Kingdom's End: Selected Stories

Kingdom's End: Selected Stories, this book was published in 1987 and contained 24 short stories. It was one of the former anthologies in English of Manto's work. The story is set in Bombay and other parts of India which deals with prostitutes, pimps, street traders, gangsters, and those caught up in the Partition of 1947.

5. Manto: Selected Stories

Manto, Selected Stories, is a collection to be read and loved by new readers and old fans of Manto alike. The book comprises of the stories related to a gentle dhobi who transforms into a killer, a prostitute who is more child than woman, the cocky, young coachman who falls in love at first sight, a father convinced that his son will die before his first birthday and several other interesting topics.

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