Sex, War, and Saadat Hasan Manto

The writer sought bought justice and pleasure, telling the truth but never preaching it.

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Michaela Stone Cross


December 14, 2020


11 min

They called him kala qalamthe black pen. Saadat Hasan Manto, South Asia’s short story master, was revered and reviled in his lifetime, unable to find a home in a country torn in two. He was accused of everything, from being a pornographer to a reactionary, first by his enemies and eventually by his friends. Maybe that’s why he made no distinction between friend and enemy, calling them ‘dost-dushman.’

But Manto lived in times where people were drawing lines, not erasing them, and the bloodiest line drawn in his lifetime left him exiled in Pakistan, where he wrote his greatest, darkest tales.

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