04 December, 2020

Manto Bridge

To Manto, Bombay was about its people

Apoorva Salkade
Manto Bridge

Just as we honk our way into Faras Road, a name that’s one of the few indicators of ‘Bom­bay’ in Saadat Hasan Manto’s work, a real-life scene plays out before us. A man, grabbing a woman by her hair, is pushing her and she is screaming. He tries to beat her but she isn’t as weak as he thinks. No one on the road pays much attention and in a few seconds the ruckus fades to give way to some of the familiar dramatised sights of the city—the commercial sex workers lining up on the streets near Grant Road and Byculla, complete with red lipstick and garish make-up.

It is this Bombay that Manto gave voice and place to in his writing. He lived and worked in the area. It was through these characters that he once let the city exp­ress itself. Now, some 60-odd years after he left Bombay to move to Pakistan after Partition (he died there in...



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