I read your stories with Ghalib in hell. I wonder if you talk to Ghalib about the current situation of Pakistan. You must have felt the same humiliation as you did right after partition for showing our men of renown and of low customs the mirror of their hypocrisy. Probably, they got afraid of it, and that’s why you had to face trials over your stories.
Tell me, do you ever think for a moment that Ismast Chugtai was right? You should have stayed in Bombay for the rest of your life instead of coming here and engulfing the grief of not just young girls looted of their honor, ruined lives, and dead bodies but also of ignorant eyes and dusted minds.
Did you see the man who abolished the foundation of the temple in the name of the religion of peace and then wen back home, burning his wife for not feeding him warm rice? Did you see the same man taking over streets, organizing long Marches, or holding flag high for justice?
But then, turning deaf and dumb when a Christian man in his neighborhood was burned or when the girls of his land were abducted and converted forcefully into another religion?
Manto, tell me what names or titles you would have given to these tales when most from the nation chose to ignore them. What TV channel or newspaper you would have chosen for publication of your tales? I’m just telling you it would have been almost impossible. Most of the stakeholders from this nation have been sold to fake custodians of customs and traditions, and the rest have been left with bullets and guns instead of pens
I know you are worried and, maybe, you would need whiskey to get over it but, I guess, hell has no bars at your service just the way we don’t have justice even though when we need it badly.
Or, do you remember the trains to India or Pakistan with loaded compartments of ghosts, ashes, and coffins? I’m sorry if you do but Manto, I’m afraid something similar would soon happen to us. And just like you, I would write stories while my people and city will burn along with me from within.
You took some time when you chose to move out of the city you loved the most just because it smelled of burning flesh, the so-called ideology of equal rights and justice, and maybe it smelled of the dead dreams you had of growing minds.
Manto, you have witnessed it all. So, I request you to please make me aware too before I see my loved ones in corpse and coffins.