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Saadat Hasan Manto was born on 11 May, 1912 in Ludhiana. Bangalore International Centre and Bangalore Literature Festival marked the author and playwright’s birth month through a BIC Streams session with the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University, Ayesha Jalal and writer, columnist and translator of Manto’s non-fiction work, Aakar Patel.
Drawing parallels to the times of partition characterised by turmoil and tragedy in which Manto – who has been described as a distressingly prophetic and daring writer – lived and wrote, this episode of BIC Talks speaks to the nuances of making sense of a maddening situation. Ayesha and Aakar in this free flowing exchange talk about politics, governance, literature, the will of the people and their sense of self being distilled in stories that have been told over ages.
Ayesha Jalal is the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University. After majoring in history and political science at Wellesley College, she obtained her doctorate in history from the University of Cambridge. Jalal has been Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge (1980-1984); Leverhulme Fellow at the Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge (1984-1987); Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. (1985-1986); and Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies (1988-1990). From 1998-2003 she was a MacArthur Fellow.
Her publications include “The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan,” “The State of Martial Rule: the Origins of Pakistan’s Political Economy of Defence,” and “Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: a Comparative and Historical Perspective.” Jalal has co-authored “Modern South Asia: History, Culture and Political Economy” with Sugata Bose. Her study of Muslim identity in the subcontinent, entitled “Self and Sovereignty: the Muslim Individual and the Community of Islam in South Asia since c.1850.” Her most recent book is “Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia.”
Aakar Patel is a columnist. He has edited and translated a collection of essays by Manto titled, Why I Write: Essays by Saadat Hasan Manto.