Since my early age, I have been greatly enthralled by literature. The moments arrive in one’s life when one thinks of himself invigorated and reborn into a new formation, while putting his/her past aside. Amongst many of those moments in my life, was the time when I had read each and every word Manto ever wrote and it got published too. Sa’dat Hasan Manto, who is the iconic figure in Urdu literature, left ceaseless impressions on people’s lives.
I still remember the olden days when my mates prompted me to go for Manto since his stories are replete with erotica and I would enjoy reading his books more than anything. In those bygone days reading of Imran Series (detectives’ stories) used to be the only diversion from our curricular books. The voices of my fellows still echo in my hollow mind when they, with great surprise, would tell me that Manto stooped to the extent that he so unabashedly swore in his writings.
With great curiosity, I managed to find a collection of his stories. I read one book after another till I drained all of them from the very first page to the last one. The deeper I plunged in his stories the more pearls I gleaned.
Manto, so wonderfully, delineated every aspect of life with his characters of his dismal society by combining psychoanalysis and human behaviour in his unmatched oeuvre. Much has been written about his literary works. It would look bulky to mention the splendours of his works right here.
He, somewhere in his writings (apologies for the absence of the exact reference) claimed himself to be a prophet and a reformer. Regardless of the status he associated himself with; he very deftly spotlighted our blemished society. Let me cite only one of his findings around which his every story gyres: ‘awry suppression begets nothing but hypocrisy and extremism’.
The man, now, sleeps an eternal sleep far away but his findings still reverberate in this dismal society. According to a recent study The Islamic Republic of Pakistan stands uppermost in list of the countries in googling up the word ‘sex’. Isn’t it an ‘eighth wonder’ of the world to our so called ‘survivors of the faith’? What a huge sarcasm!
The only word which, during the past years, perpetually haunted me was none but ‘extremism’. It changed its forms ad infinitum from mongering hate to suicidal bombing. Extremism devoured offenseless people and voraciously swallowed everything it ever faced. Pointless to mention all of the forms it changed into, since its brutalities have become a daily grind with which we are well accustomed.
Yet, I am hugely perturbed by the new transformation of the word from ‘extremism’ to ‘sextremism’. We do not know where we are heading. We talk of an Islamic State while craving for pornography. If we did not realise, we would end up in naught. No! I must add, we never realised, and we are ending up in naught. Nay let me put it this way; we never realised, we have ended up in naught. Happy New Year to Sextremist Nation!