Saadat Hasan Manto is considered a name that evokes the picture of a man who used his stories to portray the squabbles and pains of the oppressed people in our society. Manto is a writer who can make you question the things no one challenges to question easily. Keeping the legacy of Manto regarding the awakening of insights, let me suggest a story that you should read and comprehend. A story to incite the bitter truth in this gloom of fallacies of the society.
In the world of shimmering filters, Manto’s stories regarding the unfiltered truths have to be an important read. This generation is obsessed over how they look, how people perceive them, and how remarkable they can be. We have forgotten to appreciate the beauty that God has bestowed on us; instead, we are concentrating on how we can amuse more eyes.
Manto is a blunt and fierce writer, his stories question the notions of society and the people inhabiting it. One of his impactful stories, “Badsoorati“, takes you through the different tints of stigmas. Manto has gracefully tried to apprehend the harsh reality of society in this work of fiction. This story of Manto is thought-provoking and is directed at the people who have a stereotypical mindset about racial discrimination or one’s outer beauty. I personally believe this story should be a must-read for the Gen-Z people.
The story commences with two sisters named Sajida and Hamida. Hamida is elder to Sajida. Sajida has beautiful looks whereas Hamida doesn’t stand by the traditional parameters of beauty. As Hamida isn’t beautiful, she feels insulted as no one wants to marry her whereas Sajida gets numerous proposals because of her glamour. So eventually, she gets married to a man who loves her a lot. Hamida remains unmarried by then. She has a sort of resentment towards her sister.
In the end, Sajida catches a glimpse of her husband, unknowingly and accidentally sleeping with Hamida, and curses him for the betrayal. Although her husband attempts to make her understand that it was a mistake, she doesn’t believe him. Eventually, Sajida’s husband gives her divorce and marries Hamida afterward.
This story ends with an ethical conquest of appreciating beauty over decency. Beauty is considered a substantial part of Indian society, especially for women. It is generally acknowledged that women should be beautiful and men should be rich and physically tough. In short, we can say that we give primacy to the outer beauty of people.
Our society has enthralled such notions in our subconscious and we have carved them out in our minds as well. Everyone is socially conditioned in the way that they try to question their existential beauty. Not deliberately but unconsciously, everyone is dominated by such maligned notions of beauty standards. But after reading this story, I hope the stereotypical mindset changes to some magnitude.
I would like to recommend this story to the people who deem someone inferior to them based on their race or the way they look. This story should be read by every person who believes in equality for every human being, instead of discrimination.
Such stories not only make us think about the hidden and harsh realities of our lives but also make us accountable enough to change society for something better. Read Manto to amplify your perspectives about society, I hope you would not be left in the lurch.
Laaiba is a student pursuing Masters in English from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Maria Aqdas