But Manto was a rebel by nature and he was not convinced
The reality of Manto has several layers in it, and every layer provides a new dimension of deeper reality. It’s on reader’s capability, where he stops and how he utilizes its dimension to enhance the understanding of a text. Looking for purity in the filth is the art of Manto. In the studies of Manto the social realism has always been superimposed on imagination. Apparently imagination is not visible but when we observe the technique of storytelling it is uncovered layer by layer. Siraj Munir has also said in his article “Manto Ek Sarsari Jayeza” that the story before Manto was based on rationale and it is Manto who started writing the story based on imagination. This was a strange aspect of Manto expressed by him but no one of us considered it as a topic of further discussion. Most of the stories written before Manto were written with a motive of reform.
The Romantic trend in Urdu rejected the remainder of Sir Syed Movement based on rationality, utility, enlightenment and presentation of nature and promoted passion against it. Progressive movement rejected passion and rationality both and promoted objectivity. But Manto was a rebel by nature and he was not convinced with the parameters of his time. He is a realist, but far away from the realism carved by Progressive movement based on the values of social welfare and neither he considers Marx a sacred ideological idol. It was said about Manto that he depicted reality in its naked form. This concept reveals the reality removing layers which were not supposed to be removed in that society. The way Manto writes on relationship of man and woman was never done before. He discovers a beast in human and human in beast to carve a theme. He goes deeper into the psychology of a prostitute. The established concept of realism is based on logic but not before the Manto. Characters of maniacs, fanatics and prostitutes are against the hypo critic rationalism. The reason behind his rebellious attitude against consciousness and strong bond with unconsciousness is the dream of a new world. Manto has seen life in its contrast instead of its ideal condition. He believes in life as a whole.
He never accepts two things, partition of India and injustice with women. In ‘To baTek Singh’ he uses the psychology of a maniac to criticize the partition. In the short story, only a mad man has a rational approach and death of Bishan Singh becomes the death of borders too. Interestingly, the characters that have lost their minds and are not in their senses have better vision intellect. They have deep sense of belongingness from their roots. Their activities are based on the real political understanding of their age. Partition had politically been executed but the characters of Manto declined to accept it as a reality. What kind of realism it is which rejects the reality of its time. It dreams about a new reality and converts it into virtuality. Virtuality is the other aspect of reality. Exemplary character of Ishar Singh in ‘ThanDa Gosht’ works in contrast to the logic. Intercourse with a dead body is the symbol of fanaticism and brutality. His conduct against nature makes him psychologically impotent. Finally, lust is defeated and the inner reality wins over the apparent reality. In the same way, Manto carved the character of Babu Gupi Nath which is the symbol of passion’s victory over the logic. He rejects the apparent reality and embraces intense human spirit. His deep sympathy and love for a prostitute has humiliated the custodians of logic badly and has torched the light of humanity in the kingdom of heart. What was the spirit behind the courage of Mangu Kochwan which made him confronting a white man and imagines a new version of a new law? Character of Khushiya recognizes its own existence and connects with inner reality.
Means pandering had put a thick curtain on his existence and Kanta‘s silent humiliation was like dusting to bring her female identity up. She recognizes herself and the pandering which was her economic fact becomes a deceit. In the depth of her heart the margin clashes with core and reveals its existence. Clash of facts creates a new fact based on imagination, instead of logic. Saugandhi in ‘Hatak’ prefers a dog as her bed partner instead of a man. What kind of reality is this? This form of reality rejects the logic and establishes an imaginary world away for materialistic surroundings. Imagination is the core of virtuality.
Photo Credit: Bhaswati Thakurta