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Saadat Hasan Manto's daughters relived their father's memories in the Capital on Saturday.
Literary stalwart Saadat Hasan Manto had once said "...and it is also possible, that Saadat Hasan dies, but Manto remains alive". His words only seemed apt when, on a Saturday afternoon, three women, dressed in simple cotton salwar kurtas, sat and spoke about him to a group of people, that heard them in rapt attention. "He was fond of juttis and pens," said one of them.
The women were the Lahore-based daughters of Manto — Nighat Patel, Nuzhat Arshad and Nusrat Jalal — who came to India to visit their father's birthplace, Papraudi, near Samrala in Ludhiana and lay a foundation in their father's memory. This is Manto's birth centenary year.
The visit has been aided by various organisations and individuals including A Rahman of Delhi's Alaami Urdu Trust, a local writers' platform called Samrala Lekhak Manch in Samrala, and Chandigarh-based theatre person and director Shakti Sidhu. As they addressed the press conference, Patel, Arshad and Jalal, (all well over 60, informs Patel) took turns to shed light on their little-known lives. While Arshad is a retired teacher, Jalal works with a voluntary hospital. "And I do nothing," said Patel with a laugh, clearly the most jovial and interactive one of the three. The three sisters drew from the stories and accounts they have heard from their relatives about their father. "When our father died, Nighat was just nine, Nuzhat was seven and I was five. Our relatives used to say that he was extremely rebellious," said Jalal.
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