A MAN-TO be Remembered

Yamini Bhagat and Shwetha Gopal (I Year)

On the 30th August, 2013, psychology department in collaboration with English Department presented an interdisciplinary talk on ‘Manto’s Works: An Interface of Psychology and Literature’. Deepti Sachdev along with Dr. Maya Joshi took up Manto’s works as an illustration of the interface of psychology and literature as apertures into human subjectivity, delving into three of his most popular stories i.e. Toba Tek Singh, Thanda Ghosht and Khol Do.

Deepti Sachdev who is currently working as an Assistant Professor in Ambedkar University has a Master’s degree in Psychology from University of Delhi and a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology from University of Oxford. Her research interests include urban anthropology and application of psychoanalytic work . Dr. Maya Joshi is an assistant professor in English Dept. at Lady Shree Ram College.

A Manto once is a Manto forever. Raw, hard hitting yet true are the works of Manto. Saadat Hasan Manto was a man who could capture mysterious, gloomy realities into simple vocabulary. Goosebumps, chills in the spine, heaviness of heart, speechlessness is what one is left with after finishing a story filled with pathos. It was more than a pleasure to talk of a man of this kind of enigma.

Ms. Deepti very rightly remarked that there is an ‘absurd quest between literature and psychology.’ And then she took us through the stirring journey of insanity and brutality of his stories. There was a heated discussion on what makes Manto’s work different from others, what is that essence and flavor in his style which makes it extra-ordinary. Subtlety, brusqueness were his strengths of expression. It would not be wrong to call Manto a man with audacity, because he confronted issues that were hard to absorb in. Be it the afore mentioned stories, or Boo(Fragrance),Letters to Uncle Sam, he had a knack of storytelling. He succeeds and leaves the reader thunderstruck by the unscrupulous natures of man.

This  dialogue later explored partition as an Event. Many people let out their families’ experience of partition. The horrors of partition and the tragedy of life which seized to be were evoked. Manto was seized with an obsessive compulsion to delineate the heinous and often bizarre relationship between sex, religion and violence. This strange quality of his was contemplated in the house. In the end, there was an interactive session with Ms. Sachdev in which students critically discussed his works, whether it was regarding the gender perspective or the society’s stand on obscenity. Time to time, Ms Sachdev quoted Andre Green, Veena Das, Julia Christina, Aalok Bhalla and Martha Bragen. She went into nuances of his written word and scrutinized all viewpoints.

Two horizons met, merged ,meshed in a manner which was magnificent. The hall reverberated with a round of applause for a unique and unparalleled experience. A more free-thinking , liberal audience left after a thought provoking talk on a legendary man and his works.


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