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Scribe of Partition: Saadat Hasan Manto

September 2003

Saadat Hassan Manto was already renowned when India and Pakistan were partitioned in 1947, but works like the story Toba Tek Singh and his Third Letter to Uncle Sam cemented Manto’s reputation as the best Pakistani writer of the twentieth century. Robert McGill Murphy reflects on Manto’s untimely death in Playing Manto.

Toba Tek Singh
By Saadat Hasan Manto
This lunatic’s name was Bashan Singh, but everyone called him Toba Tek Singh.
Translated from Urdu by Richard McGill Murphy
Third Letter to Uncle Sam
By Saadat Hasan Manto
He is said to be now looking for an American wife. Uncle, for God’s sake help him there so that he can be saved from a sorry end.
Translated from Urdu by Richard McGill Murphy
Playing Manto
By Richard McGill Murphy
He was a miserable student who failed high school Urdu but went on to become the leading Urdu short story writer of his time.