Reading : Bombay Stories by Sir Manto


This is not a book review. It is just a reading of the book after which I am now going to express what I felt about this book. I do not think I should be reviewing work of Sir Manto. He was himself a generation of writers. And if I attempt to review his work it would be certainly be a shameful thing on my part. …


Been a literature student reading introduction to an author is very common practice for me. From Chaucer to Eliot to kalidas, I have read introduction to all authors  And with great confidence I can say that this book had the best introduction to an author by far. It is indeed beautiful in its own way that translated  have described Manto’s life, Bombay and Bombay stories so well. Just reading the introduction makes one read this book so much more.

An irony of reading this book was that in background I was over-hearing some news that Manto’s play “Matorma” and “Kaun ha ye Gustakh” were been cancelled in New Delhi.

An irony of reading this book was that in background I was over-hearing some news that Manto’s play “Matorma” and “Kaun ha ye Gustakh” were been cancelled in New Delhi

….On Stories

All the stories are based in Mumbai. Most of them revolves around prostitution and movie industry. Stories are crisp and short and delivers the message in much elegant manner. Among all my favorite were ‘Mammad Bhai’ and ‘Rude’. Manto’s Bombay stories were mostly written in Pakistan, where he lived his last years.

….On Translation

This is not the first work of translation that I have read. Before this I’ve also read English version of Toba Tek Singh and Shakuntalam among many others, but with sense of respect towards translators Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad I say that none of the other work has been so mesmerizing.  If this book had not been a translation and just a book of short-stories by translators, my respect for the writing would have stood same, if not higher. The language is flawless, and is an absolute pleasure to read. No questions that the stories add to make it much more pleasurable.

I would travel anywhere with Manto. In every lane, he points out the errors of God. In every bazaar, he kicks away the gold coins of men. He can hear colour in betrayal and street argument, and can smell disease in the bloodstream. As long as there is a Lahore, a Bombay, a Toba Tek Singh, a Wagah- Manto will be alive. He is magnificently immortal

-Nadeem Aslam

…..On Appendix
Apart from stories, this section of book has a three letters like essays written in first person by Sir Manto.  These letters can surely be read with great interests. Among these three, ‘Why I Don’t  Go to the Movies’ and ‘Women and the Film World’ are my favorite. They are written with rare honesty and give the readers a joyous end to a beautiful book.

..Final words
You do not have to be a book worm or a student of literature to read this book. This one is actually meant for anyone who is looking forward to be a progressive human. (Reminds me of the section where sir Manto talks about Progressive literature and humans.) This book is a sheer delight to read and I must recommend this book to everyone.

P.S. Time to go back to read this book again. I feel intoxicated reading Manto.

About: Aditya Bhasin hails from India, Delhi-an avid reader, who enjoys his cup of tea over it, a racist in purest form as he hates chocolate and coffee. He does not like traveling much, but, if he gets an opportunity to travel he chooses to do that by a train instead of a car or a plane. He is an ambivert person and is happy that way. + + + + + + + = /meadityabhasin Email: adityabhasin81 (at) (gmail) (.com) This book was sent to me by publisher for an unbiased review. If you are a publisher or author and would want me to review your books, please drop an email at : adityabhasin [81] @ gmail [.com]


5 thoughts on “Reading : Bombay Stories by Sir Manto

  1. I haven’t had the opportunity to read this book yet. Since you have already done so, could you perhaps tell me if this book has a story in which Manto writes about himself walking along a promenade/near a dockyard, where he meets a vagabond/passerby who then start talking while smoking cigarettes, where the passerby then proceeds to tell the story of his life to Manto?
    I would be grateful if you could get back as soon as possible. 🙂

    • Hello Sourabh,

      Good to see you here and your excitement to to get a reply soon. 🙂 I am sorry if you think that this is late.

      Well, as per what you mentioned, I do not seem to find any relevance between ‘Bombay Stories’ and the description you gave.

      ‘Bombay Stories’ does have a section where Sir Manto meets a stranger man who goes share his life experience with him. But, that was not near a dockyard or something. Sir Manto met him near sea in Bombay.

      Moreover, that person who met Sir Manto is not the protagonist of the book. whereas why you mentioned makes me think that this stranger man was projected as protagonist.

      So, I suggest picking up this book, it is a brilliant read. You will surely enjoy.

      Do get back here when you are done reading ‘Bombay Stories’


      • Does that story begin with them starting to smoke a cigarette? And does it entail the stranger telling tall tales to Sir Manto?
        I plan on buying the book only if it contains this particular story. I remember having read this story a long time ago and can’t seem to find it anywhere. 😛

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