News By/Courtesy: Arya A. Kudchadker | 27 Oct 2020 11:20am IST


  • Works of Manto
  • Charge of obscenity
  • His importance in revolution of writing

How Manto used his freedom of speech in his writings


Saadat Hassan Manto was one of the greatest Indian and after partition Pakistani writer playwriter and author born in Ludhiana who gained prominence during the independence times. He used to write on topics based on the incidents taking place at that time with all the turmoil during the large scale migration of partition between India and Pakistan. He presented his views very wisely and boldly. At that time India was a very conservative society and his writings were considered to be that of an obscene act. But with time his articles aged well and became classics. 


One of his famous plays, Thanda Gosh is still a classic and haunting memory of rape and murder during the partition times. Others include a loudspeaker, Manto ke Afsaaney, Bu, Khol do, chugad, etc. These writings were considered to project a harsh reality of the society and spoke the truth about prevalence of prostitution, hard patriarchy, etc. which were normalized during that time but no one had the courage to call out.


Manto was charged for obscenity six times in his entire life under section 292 of the Indian Penal Code. Three times before independence in British India and three times after independence in Pakistan. He was never convicted. He always had the same defense in all of his trials that it was his freedom of speech to write and express his thoughts and that if people find his stories offensive then the problem is not with his writing but with the society. He considered his stories to be the mirror for society to see itself. He said if people find his writing unbearable, it is they themselves who are a part of this unbearable life. It was argued that if Manto had the freedom of writing his thoughts, he should also follow his duty as a responsible writer. At that time everyone was in support of the opinion that Manto was a culprit to write such obscene materials. In fact, it was to such an extent that his family was ostracized from the rest of the society and they had to starve for many days only because of his writings and the society's conservative views on it. 


One of his contemporary writers and his best friend miss Ismat Chugtai describe him as a very funny man who knew how to defend himself perfectly and the fact that it was him that needs to be given credit for changing the perspective of writers in India and Pakistan to freely express their views without any fear. Manto truly is one of the legendary writers who was never appreciated for his writings, whose true value the society discovered only after his death.



This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 28 Oct 2020 8:50am IST

Tags : #saadathassanmanto

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