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The pity of partition [electronic resource] : Manto's life, times, and work across the India-Pakistan divide /
Ayesha Jalal.
imprint
Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2013.
description
xv, 265 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
9780691153629 (hardcover : acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2013.
isbn
9780691153629 (hardcover : acid-free paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Prelude: Manto and Partition -- I. Stories -- "Knives, Daggers, and Bullets Cannot Destroy Religion" -- Amritsar Dreams of Revolution -- Bombay : Challenges and Opportunities -- II. Memories -- Remembering Partition -- From Cinema City to Conquering Air Waves -- Living and Walking Bombay -- III. Histories -- Partition : Neither End nor Beginning -- On the Postcolonial Moment -- Pakistan and Uncle Sam's Cold War -- Epilogue: "A Nail's Debt" : Manto Lives On...
catalogue key
9872491
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 245-247) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This is a masterful historical study of partition as seen through the life and writings of one of the subcontinent's foremost storytellers--Saadat Hasan Manto. A work at once scholarly and emotive, panoramic and personal, gripping and empirical, this is Jalal at her spectacular best."-- Seema Alavi, author of Islam and Healing "This lovingly written, informative, and thoughtful book by Ayesha Jalal is a fitting tribute to the life and work of her great-uncle, Saadat Hasan Manto, one of the leading writers of modern South Asia, on the occasion of his centennial birthday. Jalal moves deftly between history, biography, and literature, experimenting with a narrative method that succeeds in capturing the sense of 'cosmopolitanism in everyday life' that Manto championed. The Pity of Partition deserves a wide readership."-- Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago "This is a captivating, beautifully written intellectual and artistic biography of Manto, focusing on the contribution of his writing to our historical understanding of the partition of British India. The book is a revelation, a unique personal history of partition that will stimulate new research into the connections between cultural production, social experience, and politics during these crucial transitional decades."-- David Ludden, author of India and South Asia: A Short History "Jalal's book is timely and necessary. Manto remains one of the subcontinent's most important literary figures, yet outside India and Pakistan there is a sad lack of knowledge about his oeuvre and hugely interesting historical milieu. The Pity of Partition is the most comprehensive English-language study of Manto's life, times, and work."-- Priya Gopal, University of Cambridge "Manto is a twentieth-century master of Urdu fiction who is becoming known worldwide. Until now there was no account in English of his life and literary battles. The Pity of Partition is invaluable for students of Manto and general readers interested in his writing, whose numbers have continued to grow in recent years."-- Aamir R. Mufti, author of Enlightenment in the Colony
Flap Copy
"This is a masterful historical study of partition as seen through the life and writings of one of the subcontinent's foremost storytellers--Saadat Hasan Manto. A work at once scholarly and emotive, panoramic and personal, gripping and empirical, this is Jalal at her spectacular best."--Seema Alavi, author of Islam and Healing "This lovingly written, informative, and thoughtful book by Ayesha Jalal is a fitting tribute to the life and work of her great-uncle, Saadat Hasan Manto, one of the leading writers of modern South Asia, on the occasion of his centennial birthday. Jalal moves deftly between history, biography, and literature, experimenting with a narrative method that succeeds in capturing the sense of 'cosmopolitanism in everyday life' that Manto championed. The Pity of Partition deserves a wide readership."--Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago "This is a captivating, beautifully written intellectual and artistic biography of Manto, focusing on the contribution of his writing to our historical understanding of the partition of British India. The book is a revelation, a unique personal history of partition that will stimulate new research into the connections between cultural production, social experience, and politics during these crucial transitional decades."--David Ludden, author of India and South Asia: A Short History "Jalal's book is timely and necessary. Manto remains one of the subcontinent's most important literary figures, yet outside India and Pakistan there is a sad lack of knowledge about his oeuvre and hugely interesting historical milieu. The Pity of Partition is the most comprehensive English-language study of Manto's life, times, and work."--Priya Gopal, University of Cambridge "Manto is a twentieth-century master of Urdu fiction who is becoming known worldwide. Until now there was no account in English of his life and literary battles. The Pity of Partition is invaluable for students of Manto and general readers interested in his writing, whose numbers have continued to grow in recent years."--Aamir R. Mufti, author of Enlightenment in the Colony
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-07-01:
Eminent historian Jalal (Tufts Univ.) has written a rich, engaging, at times moving account of the life of Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-55), interweaving biography with the tumultuous events of Indian nationalism, the Partition, and early Pakistan. Manto is largely unknown in the West, despite being one of the most innovative and iconoclastic writers of his generation. His life, moving from Amritsar to Bombay to Lahore, creatively and tragically epitomizes the dialectic of Muslim alienation and belonging in South Asia that has interested the author throughout her academic career, e.g., Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia (CH, Mar'09, 46-3998). But here, Jalal unearths history with considerable restraint, allowing Manto's humanism, rejection of predetermined politics, and eye for psychological nuance to speak louder than any sweeping historical narrative. While Manto's many Partition stories are his most famous, Jalal references a range of writings, including his character sketches and "Letters to Uncle Sam," a series of epistles satirizing the burgeoning Pakistani-US military alliance in the 1950s. In these letters, Manto anticipated with terrifying prescience the ways this alliance would dramatically alter the fabric of Pakistani society--a reality all too evident today. A much-needed study of a pioneering public figure. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. U. Anjaria Brandeis University
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2012-12-10:
Tufts University historian Jalal (Partisans of Allah), a great-niece of Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955), gives readers an intimate, passionate, and insightful portrait of this brilliant but tragic man as he navigated and interpreted the repression, chaos, and violence of the final years of British colonialism and the upheaval of India's 1947 partition. The book follows Manto's life from his rebellious youth and early adulthood translating Victor Hugo and Oscar Wilde in Amritsar, Punjab, to his years as a struggling journalist and film writer in Bombay, where his provocative stories elicited numerous obscenity charges while building his reputation as "the father of the Urdu short story" and a " 'unique literary miracle' destined for immortality," and his prolific but troubled later years in postpartition Lahore, premature death at 42, and his boisterous funeral, where "several of Manto's fictional characters were spotted in the crowd." Despite occasionally drifting into obtuse academic language, Jalal shows how, in the midst of religious wars and ideological posturing, Manto uncompromisingly expressed a humanistic vision. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
[A] fine introduction to Manto and his work, and his depiction of partition.
"[A] fine introduction to Manto and his work, and his depiction of partition."-- M. A. Orthofer, Complete Review
"Eminent historian Jalal has written a rich, engaging, at times moving account of the life of Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-55), interweaving biography with the tumultuous events of Indian nationalism, the Partition, and early Pakistan. . . . A much-needed study of a pioneering public figure."-- Choice
"[S]ome of the finest pictures of Manto, his wife and of his friends embellish this book. Yet, the highlight of Jalal's work is that she has not let her proximity to Manto and his family affect in any way the objectivity that such a study would demand. Her unbiased approach to presenting Manto with his failings and foibles helps a more considered understanding of the writer."-- Business Standard
Tufts University historian Jalal ( Partisans of Allah ), a great-niece of Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955), gives readers an intimate, passionate, and insightful portrait of this brilliant but tragic man as he navigated and interpreted the repression, chaos, and violence of the final years of British colonialism and the upheaval of India's 1947 partition. The book follows Manto's life from his rebellious youth and early adulthood translating Victor Hugo and Oscar Wilde in Amritsar, Punjab, to his years as a struggling journalist and film writer in Bombay, where his provocative stories elicited numerous obscenity charges while building his reputation as 'the father of the Urdu short story' and a "'unique literary miracle" destined for immortality,' and his prolific but troubled later years in postpartition Lahore, premature death at 42, and his boisterous funeral, where 'several of Manto's fictional characters were spotted in the crowd.'
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, December 2012
Choice, July 2013
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
The contents of this book cover Amritsar dreams of revolution, remembering Partition, living and walking Bombay, on the postcolonial moment, Pakistan and Uncle Sam's Cold War, and much more.
Main Description
Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955) was an established Urdu short story writer and a rising screenwriter in Bombay at the time of India's partition in 1947, and he is perhaps best known for the short stories he wrote following his migration to Lahore in newly formed Pakistan. Today Manto is an acknowledged master of twentieth-century Urdu literature, and his fiction serves as a lens through which the tragedy of partition is brought sharply into focus. In The Pity of Partition , Manto's life and work serve as a prism to capture the human dimension of sectarian conflict in the final decades and immediate aftermath of the British raj. Ayesha Jalal draws on Manto's stories, sketches, and essays, as well as a trove of his private letters, to present an intimate history of partition and its devastating toll. Probing the creative tension between literature and history, she charts a new way of reconnecting the histories of individuals, families, and communities in the throes of cataclysmic change. Jalal brings to life the people, locales, and events that inspired Manto's fiction, which is characterized by an eye for detail, a measure of wit and irreverence, and elements of suspense and surprise. In turn, she mines these writings for fresh insights into everyday cosmopolitanism in Bombay and Lahore, the experience and causes of partition, the postcolonial transition, and the advent of the Cold War in South Asia. The first in-depth look in English at this influential literary figure, The Pity of Partition demonstrates the revelatory power of art in times of great historical rupture.

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