Bitter Fruit The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto Kindle

Bitter Fruit The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto Widely renowned as the best short story writer in Urdu Manto's stories were mostly written against the milieu of the Partition 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 Bitter Fruit includes stories like A Wet Afternoon The Return A Believer's Version Toba Tek Singh Colder Than Ice The Assignment Odour By The Roadside Bribing the Almighty The Kingdom's End The Woman in the Red Raincoat The Room with the Bright Light The Great Divide The Angel Siraj An Old Fashioned Man The Price of Freedom It Happened in 1919 The Girl from Delhi A Man of God Free for All and A Tale of 1947 There is a collection of sketches too Manto used to write radio plays and this book has one of the dramas he penned called In This Vortex His short stories bring out the most delicate nuances of human nature

  • Paperback
  • 700 pages
  • Bitter Fruit The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto
  • Saadat Hasan Manto
  • English
  • 14 January 2016
  • 9780143102175

10 thoughts on “Bitter Fruit The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto

  1. Neha Neha says:

    Without giving an impression of bragging I would say that I have read uiet a lot of fiction authors but till date I have not found someone like Manto in fact I have no words to describe my adoration for himI think his death happened at an age when most of the authors only start gaining fame and we lost the master of short stories There can be a debate as to whether Manto was an Indian or Pakistani writer but it doesn’t matter because they say artists have no nationalities I read him once and I wish to read him again again his words create such images in my mind as if everything he is saying is happening right in front of my eyes and after reading each of his story I sit back start thinking how it would have been in those times what he would be thinking when he wrote that what inspired him to write it is it true story or not as if it is a play the characters are alive telling their own story I think as many authors I have read Manto is the most close to life a natural writer even if he writes a single sentence it turns out to be a story with a fast paced start the most shocking ironic ending He could write a story on anything and give it the most poignant angle Coming to the book ‘The Bitter Fruit’ is a collection of his short stories with some of the evergreen ones like ‘Toba Tek Singh’ ‘The Return’ ‘The Gift’ ‘The Assignment’ ‘Colder than Ice’ he was accused for vulgarity in this story One can feel that a lot of these stories are a piece form his life as they revolve around his time spent in the film world or the experiences during the partition in 1947 In fact I was uiet surprised to find that Manto could also write well in other forms like characters sketchesplays letters to Uncle Sam newspaper articles on film characters note to readers and his own story The film star sketches just show the vastness of Manto’s talent him being able to create a story out of anything He is frank to the point of inviting wrath from the people who he sketches describing their facial features to their personalities in the most honest cut to the point You can’t help but actually start seeing facts in his stories Though he has written about film stars their scandalous personal lives but the sketches are no less dramatic or colourful like the films they acted in He has described some of the big stars like Ashok Kumar Nur Jahan Nargis Naseem Bano Sitara Devi and personalities like Jinnah bringing them to life and light the way they were behind the screen public light He narrates his experiences as they were without mincing his words or hiding any factsThere was a phase when he used to write plays for Radio and his plays again have his distinct touch of being frank on the face like the artist who decides to open an animal fodder farm because of financial crisis – only Manto can think of such hilarious situations He would go to the publishers to ask for money for his writings when they would say he needs to submit a story then he would sit right there write one for them I have never heard any other author being able to roll out his beautiful creations just like that The sad part is that he was given only Rs 25 50 for such creations which now are considered literary masterpieces His letters to Uncle Sam bear a touch of after partition politics in Pakistan the cold war between America Russia the hot winds of communism the growing rift between India Pakistan and both the nations vying for affections of America He takes a pot shot at the rising communist propaganda misguided Progressive writers movement his own poor financial situation how the artists are being treated in a post freedom Pakistan Finally in his note to readers the write up of his nephew Hamid Jalal shows the dual face of Saadat Hasan Manto How Saadat Hasan was a father husband family man sensitive to his family needs and how Manto was a writer artist alcoholic a man who could not come to terms with his post partition situation in Pakistan He was devastated due to the accusations from the conservative strata of the society calling him a pornographic writer trying to get fame out of writing cheap vulgar stories He was notorious for his age of writers as he put things in black white without giving a religious touch to his stories or glorifying Islam defaming other religions or letting politics run his thoughts He wrote what he felt or what he thought not caring for the so called moral police but his innocent stories became the target and they crucified him on the altar of religion so called ‘pure’ society The alcohol dubious sympathisers pushed him to the edge and there was no return from there Manto’s tragic end has only made his family bitter and horrified of the fall of a writer in a not so liberal world Just like his stories Manto’s life death was short ironic where he received his fame only after he was hated in his living days I wish they put the epitaph he had written for himself where he wanted it to be In the name of God the Compassionate the Merciful Here lies Saadat Hasan Manto and with him lie buried all the secrets and mysteries of the art of short story writing Under tons of earth he lies still wondering who among the two is greater short story writer God or He

  2. Rakhi Dalal Rakhi Dalal says:

    Manto was a controversial writer of his times and while reading his stories you come to understand why that might have been the case These stories which I imagine to have been inspired from real life instances present to us the ethos of a world long gone of a country which witnessed turmoil of Partition and of the people who lived through those times Manto writes plainly even blatantly and with sarcasm at times Perhaps that is why the stories leave such an impact on the reader A few of his stories left me shaken in terror and I could only imagine the horrors that the people who went through the violence of Partition must have faced He is a writer who must be read for his stories lay bare before us the bestiality of human nature which inflicts torture on others in times of extreme turbulence He doesn't give hope maybe because he was cynical and had remained distressed most of his life But he is definitely to be read Recommended

  3. Katia N Katia N says:

    Saadat Hasan Manto has had a relatively short live He was born in Punjab in 1912 and died in 1955 Lahore in the newly created Pakistan Barely 43 years But the majority of this years he was writing His language was Urdu He has never finished any formal education; failed the school’s exams; dropped out of the university as well In spite of it he started from translating Victor Hugo and Oscar Wilde His translations has been published and that has started off his literary career He has become an editor of a magazine and has started to write short stories His life has fallen on the almost turbulent period in Indian history He was 7 when the massacre in Armister took place His youth took place on the background of political movements for independence He was not very political though He has spend his best years in Bombay working for a magazine related to the film industry Then came independence followed by religious violence on the scale never imaginable He witnessed this He lived through this Then came Partition He did not want to leave Bombay even then However he was asked to leave his job allegedly due to overrepresentation of muslims So he went to Lahore to join his family But he never was happy since then He missed Bombey; his heavy drinking has killed him in 6 years but he never stopped writing even when he was drinking Reading his stories i could not help wondering why I’ve never heard about him before? Why is he not better known worldwide but especially in the english speaking world His writing is terrific so controlled and economic but so poignant at the same time creating such a nuanced psychologic images just in a fews sentences Additionally the themes of his stories are universal Two main topics stood out for me the life of women majority of them are prostitutes; and the nature humanity versus violence be it war revolution or communal killings what happens to a human being facing something incomprehensible how it skews the whole definition of being human And his voice never goes anywhere near sentimentality never capitalises on the horror of subject matter It has been a few weeks since I’ve read this book However some of these stories simply stay in my mind In “Last Salute” two friends who fought together for the British are appeared to be in the different sides of India Pakistan War following Partition They are physically within short distance hiding from each other with their trapped regiments They’ve recognise each other voices Then the reuest for a favour and the tragedy follows In “A Tale of 1947” Mumtaz a muslim man is leaving for Pakistan “the country he knows nothing off” Three of his best friends who are all Hindus are seeing him off He has decided to leave after the one of these friends received the news of his uncle’s murder and acknowledged “If Hindu Muslim killings start here I do not know what I will do I do not know I might kill you” So Mumtaz is leaving But before that he is trying to talk to them one last time about what matters to him what is religion what does it mean to be devoted what is the human decency He says “Only a naive could believe that religion could be eliminated with a gun Why cannot they understand that faith belief devotion call it what you will is a thing of the spirit; it is not physical Guns and knives are powerless to destroy it” And he follows on with a story of the Hindu pimp he happened to know as an example of the most decent man The story is just 5 pages but it tells you much than an average novel“Toby Tek Singh” the one of his most well known stories is Manto’s Ward No 6 and Other Stories It is set in a lunatic asylum which is now in the process of exchange of its Hindu and Muslim inhabitants due to Partition And the one man just simply refuse to leave So much depth and poignancy is conveyed in this imageAnd now about the prostitutes In his life time Manto has received 6 charges of indecency I’ve read those stories And only “indecency” I found how good they were He managed to charge the atmosphere and convey the feelings hardly with any reference to sex More importantly how he cares about these women how he could see the individual behind the setting And all of it without sliding to the usual tropes of deprivation and moral compromises These women are alive fighting their daily problems and set backs and try to be happy like any other women In spite of the obvious there is no sense of victimhood which often prevails in such stories In “A Woman’s Life” the main character experiences a sort of epiphany in Joyce’s sense of the world In “Ten ruppies” a young girl around 12 who still plays with the dolls is being procured by her own mum But she does not realise that what she is doing is not normal She just lives her life and brings her sunny disposition to her engagements In “Mummy” the white brothel’s owner is looking after a very ill young Hindu man while everyone else has given up on him Not all of the stories are about the oldest profession The variety of his themes are wide But all of them are united by his desire to understand and depict the human condition I know how cliche this sounds but the stories are far from any clichesThis book is the one of his most comprehensive in English Translation is smooth and the translator claims he tried to convey the style of the original I believe it worked The book contains his short stories sketches biographical portraits and a play I have to admit that I have not read the portraits and the play yet But the short stories are the one of the best short stories I’ve ever read

  4. Hemani Hemani says:

    The mastery of Hasan's writing is most evident in his ability to convey all the intricacies of human desire without actually saying anything overtly He is deceptively simple and makes the reader work for the illumination In a word brilliantYou'll want to purchase your own copy of this collection because the short stories deserve multiple readings followed by lively discussions with friends who will most assuredly become a captive audience after you relay one of Manto's plots or gossip about one of his characters Too his essays are cunning provocative insightful and laced with his notoriously sharp wit His Letters to Uncle Sam had me in stitchesIf you want to gain a uniue perspective about partitioned India and Pakistan then this gritty fleshy comical and macabre collection is well worth your time your money and the extra weight in your bag you won't want to put it down

  5. Frogbear Frogbear says:

    it is possible to get shocked even in 2018 when reading saadat hasan manto because he seems to take a perverse joy in writing about how ordinary the fucked up is but his words could not have been written without deep compassion and love the kind that comes from clear sight

  6. Ramesh Prabhu Ramesh Prabhu says:

    After reading the introduction by translator Khalid Hasan and then reading Manto's account of his friendship with Ashok Kumar the Bollywood superstar of the Forties and Fifties I fell in love with the book I had borrowed it from the Just Books library so I would have to return it at some point The thought of having to give it back saddened me though so I decided to order my own copy on Flipkart This way I can take my time over reading the very best of Saadat Hasan Manto

  7. V.B. Eudaimonia V.B. Eudaimonia says:

    Now only I came across his books when I was shopping for books I just gave it a try and when I read his books I was flabbergasted by the topics which he chose to write He explains the present scenario of the society in such an impeccable manner Then after reading the first book I was tempted to read other works by this fabulous author

  8. Ashok Rao Ashok Rao says:

    Manto is a genius After you have finished this book you yearn for The short stories sketches portraits and letters are set during the pre partition era and you are are transferred to a period when partition was at the peak when sporadic incidents of riots were common when Ashok kumar was a super star who was a good friend of Manto And of course his favourite city was Mumbai Bombay thenwhich he calls his second home It makes you think why he left Bombay Although he was in Pakistan he thinks he is there because of what he learnt in Bombay He calls himself walking talking BombayHe was the most controversial short story writer as he always spoke his mind His stories reflected his personality He died young at the age of 43 but will always be remembered as someone who was different

  9. Shubham Joshi Shubham Joshi says:

    Manto's favorite friend Shyam a contemporary actor recalls the days when Manto was disillusioned after his migration to Lahore Manto told Shyam in clear cut fashion Saadat Hassan will perish but Manto will live on foreverIt is this unwavering honesty that kept Manto alive His body of work will keep him breathing and flourishing in the times to come After Partition Manto always faced a conflict Is he Pakistan's greatest short story writer or Hindustan's which because of the British had ceased to exist He couldn't find an answerSalman Rushdie provides one He is South Asia's greatest short story writerThis is Manto Unwavering Outspoken FearlessBitter Fruit an anthology of works translated from Urdu to English by Khalid Hasan in almost perfect fashion carries several of his short stories his sketches radio plays descriptions essays and his satirical Letters to Uncle SamSaadat Hasan Manto is the undisputed king of short stories The study of Urdu literature is incomplete without the mention of Mir Tai Mir and Ghalib I say Manto is a name that fits in between them without which Urdu literature would have it's foundation but not it's flairManto failed thrice in his intermediary exams; thrice in Urdu the same language he would end up championing He never passed his exams while he was admitted in Aligarh Muslim UniversityYet somehow Manto came to capture the reality of the Indian Subcontinent in ways that were haunting; his subjects were acute revelations his storytelling was pristine Premchand captured the plight of the downtrodden Manto uplifted the marginalized There have been several allegations against MantoAllegations of 'fayeshnighari' Obscenity of cultural corruption of misogyny and of producing a body of literary work that is so derogatory that even a slight consideration of it as literature is a considered a crime against the art itselfYet when you read Manto and his highly cited Partition story Toba Tek Singh you feel as if you are not worthy of living It sends you down a lane filled with existential crisis looming out of the ghost of his plot which by the way his every short story does and if you are not careful enough you just might end up in hell; trembling shivering and captivated with Insanity rather than Insaniyat In the end when he writes 'Bishen Singh ke hala se ek jordaar cheekh nikli Darmeyaan ke us paar Pakistan tha aur is paar Hindustan Darakht ke beech jis zameen ka koi naam nahi tha Toba Tek Singh khada tha' he ably captured the entire gist of Partition in these haunting lines His Partition stories gave me far far better insight of Partition than history courses could ever aim forManto faced several trials on charges of Obscenity; thrice in British India and thrice in Pakistan He writes in his first letter to Uncle Sam I faced 3 trials in undivided India and here in Pakistan I have already been tried once Yet Pakistan is still a young nationHis disdain for the entire conception of Pakistan can be clearly seen Pakistan is still a new boat that has just left the harbor yet boats do drownIt is this wit this sardonic humor his ability to satirize political situations that made him a cross platform genius No one can believe that Manto would have predicted with so pinpoint accuracy this political maneuvering from Uncle Sam back in the days when the Cold War hadn't even started and Communism was not yet a existential threat to the politco social fabric of America He writes in his 4th letter to 'Chacha Sam' as he called him Regardless of India and the fuss it is making you should sign a military pact with Pakistan because you are seriously concerned about the stability of the world's largest Islamic State since our mullah is the best antidote to Russian communism Once the military aid starts flowing the first people you should arm are the Mullahs I think the only purpose of military aid is to arm these mullahs I am your Pakistani nephew uncle and I know your moves Everyone can now become a smart ass thanks to your style of playing politicsManto himself claimed that his best years were those of Bombay where the vibrant intellectual environment made him flourish and seek the most out of his own self He became friends with several famous actors and screenwriters and wrote stories about the neo noir life of the majestic city of BombayNo one clearly knows why Manto ever left Bombay the city he loved the people he adored and the sidelined characters that were drawn from the real struggles that Bombay threw at each and every ones face Albeit he did choose Lahore thinking that this is the epitome of Punjab a thriving metropolitan city that had for centuries been a center of pluralism and religious harmony and tolerance He had for several years lived in Amritsar the other great Punjabi cityHis passionate connect towards Punjab is reflected when the other great Urdu short story writer Rajinder Singh Bedi visited him Bedi asked him why does he never write in Punjabi the language Manto claimed has utmost flair Manto replied in sparkling fashion the fashion that makes him Manto If I could write in Punjabi the way I write in Urdu I would never in my life touch the solid black ink pen and stroke it in right to left directionManto always had trouble with one thing How can lies be told as truths and truth be converted into lies ? There was a uality in Manto that I have never witnessed in any writer before a uality that glows out in each and every work of his Manto managed to tell the tale especially visible in his later Partition stories without ever taking sides Manto says that literature can never always be a medium for the expression of desire Literature must in parts at least should tell the truth the reality as it is not as it should be coated with desires and other seductions and fascinations that he considered supreme adulterantsSeveral feminists have blasted him for misogyny for always showing weak female characters characters that were always on the margins and ire of society Manto throughout his life rejected it And in the same way I reject it too No man today irons saris no man today cooks food no man today makes pickle and no man today combs and shapes the hair of their beloved I am included in this list of men who are hypocrites Manto at least taught me to be honest with myselfFor his stories he said in Government CollegeLahore If you can't bear my stories it's because we live in unbearable times Who I am I to dress society which is itself naked I am a writer that writes with a white chalk on a black board so that the blackness of the board becomes prominent My stories act as a mirror in which society can see itself If a ugly faced man is disappointed at the fact of his ugly face who am I to be blamed for itManto also had a premonition that in future the same Pakistani government that dislikes him now would award him its highest civilian award He said if he ever lived up until that day he would out rightly reject it He wrote his own epitaph showing his justified arrogance 'Here lies Saadat Hasan Manto with him buried all the arts and mysteries of short story writing under tons of earth he lies wondering who of the two is a greater short story writer God or he' Pakistan was established under the spiritual guidance of Allama Ibal but there is something that needs to be mentionedWe have always dreamt the glorious visions of Ibal but have forgotten the nightmares of MantoKhalid Hasan's translation is majestic and uite carefully captures the enigma of Manto that continues to thrive todayI am Manto you are Manto We all are Manto

  10. Yousef M Yousef M says:

    Fantastic English translations of Manto's Urdu short stories plays letters and essays I will have to read the original Urdu versions but if the English renditions are any indication the stories bring out Manto's mastery of varied story telling techniues that touch upon a range of taboo subjects in the Subcontinent that still resonate strongly today What I love about Manto is his uncanny ability to inject a wry and irreverent sense of humordark comedy to otherwise grim and depressing subject matterprostitution rape murderfanaticism lust etc and make it compelling readable and meaningful Manto isn't overly sentimental or melancholy which most writers indulge in when recounting the horrors of Partition or social injustices in IndiaPakistan Rather Manto is a master of subtlety often ending stories abruptly eg just as a character exits to leave the reader sometimes uncomfortably digesting and pondering what has just transpired Other than his famous short stories Toba Tek Singh and Tanda Ghosht particular favorites of mine were A Tale of 1947 a semi autobiographical account of his reluctant departure from Bombay to Pakistan Bribing the Almighty humorous account of an honest man trying to overcome economic uncertainties The Last Salute heartfelt tale of cross border skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani soldiers recognizing each other from pre Partition regiments The Dog of Titwal similar story of the senselessness of war By the Roadside poetic account of unreuited love and social stigmatragic circumstances of out of wedlock childbirth and Wild Cactus this can almost be characterized as Manto venturing into the horror genre Some of his stories can make one a bit uneasy but perhaps that is a dose of medicine every society needsThere are collections of sketches including the famous but brief Garland about the irony of mobs in Lahore trying to destroy a statue of the great philanthropist Sir Ganga Ram essays recounting Jinnah's demeanor and social life from peers and letters there are 9 letters from faithful nephew Manto to Uncle Sam taking sarcastic aim at targets from international and domestic politics and Bollywood in general A large portion of the book is dedicated to Manto's time in Bombay's film industryWhat truly opened my eyes was the very provocative and uncensored subject matter Manto writes about sex drugs violence etc no less in the Urdu language over 50 years ago My enthusiasm in visiting public libraries in Pakistan was recently dashed when I realized the vast majority of Urdu books available were on pre modern poetry religion history aka religious apologetics and the Urdu language itself This probably has to do with censorship something Manto confronted throughout his life than a lack of creative minds in the Subcontinent There have been plenty of brave voices confronting social illstaboo subject matter in the Subcontinent and Pakistan in particular but art and literature can deeply resonate at a personal level in confronting the status uo and pushing the envelope of freedom of speech To that end Manto should be reuired reading for lovers of the art of story telling or those with an interest in modern South Asia in general

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *