Chand and Sajjad Hyder Yaldram were pioneers in the field of Urdu short story
writing. Sultan Haider Josh, Niyaz Fatehpuri, Sudershan, Majnu Gorakhpuri, Ali
Abbas etc. the artists who were the with the ‘Angarey Group’, were no
doubt influenced by the pioneers. Their emergence saw the transition from
earlier themes based on romance and suspense to the articulation of nationalist
sentiments. The Indian writers tried to adopt the style of western writers.
stories began to be translated. The new Urdu short story writing reflected
diversity in form and themes, characterisation, background basis of plot,
psychological aspects of human life etc. The Urdu short story appeared in a
form, where there was intermingling of beautiful ideas with artistic awareness.
In 1930, prose emerged as the popular genre of writing in Urdu.
phase of short story writing in Urdu starts from 1930. Europe was in throes of
turbulence. The Indians wanted to break the shackles of slavery. Gandhi Ji had
emerged on the scene and his leadership was well recognised. He started the
civil disobedience movement. Urdu short story could not remain immune to these
influences. It took up a lead role in projecting social, political and
psychological problems. All these found place in 'Angarey' (1933). Some of these
stories had been published earlier in Humanyun and some other journals. 'Angarey'
did a commendable job in blazing a new path in literature. The old worn-out
themes gave way to new ones which were more solid, subtle and full of life.
Experimentation in form, structure was accompanied by including themes related
to everyday life. The standard of writing was also upgraded and also
incorporated pungent satire. Dr. Rashida Jahan, Sajad Zaheer, Ahmed Ali, Mehmood
Alzafar....were associated with 'Angarey group'. Some of the younger members of
the group also had taste for English literature. They began incorporating the
revolutionary ideas in their writings and this became the basis of Progressive
Literature. The themes were sexuality, religion, society etc.
Manto, Rajinder Singh Bedi and Krishan Chander were products of this epoch. They
were writers with fresh ideas, and had a distinct world-view and individual
style in writing. Till 1955 they constituted the Trinity in the field of Urdu
short story writing. Their stories bore a distinctive individual stamp. Though
Bedi was not as prolific as Krishan Chander and Manto, yet his writings had the
artistic grandeur. Krishan Chander and Manto, who produced gems in literature,
profoundly influenced Urdu short story writers.
Krishan Chander wielded a magic touch in his usage of words.
His friends and foes alike, appreciated his writing. Manto's repertoire was
not as big but his way of telling a story and the distinctive style captivated
the attention of the reader. Even after the reader had finished reading the
story, he remained glued to it. The readers would not leave the story half way.
Manto and Krishan Chander had many similarities. Both were stenographers, who
could write their story in one sitting with a style of their own. Both wrote
stories, dramas, essays, sketches, film script and screen dialogues. Krishan
Chander gained recognition as a novelist, while Manto failed. The former wrote
about two dozen novels, Manto could not go beyond one and a half. It was in
1940-41 that Krishan Chander published his first novel 'Shikast'.
This prompted Manto to try his had at writing a novel. Manto was a writer in a
hurry. His 'Begar Unwanon Se' and the incomplete novel 'Takhleef'
are lifeless, boring and below standard. Manto regretted this
shortcoming which he had in comparison to Krishan Chander. Manto passed away
when he was only 42. Who knows he may have succeeded had he lived longer? After
writing 'Shikast', and 'Doosri Barfbari Tak', Krishan Chander went
on to write around two dozen novels. Krishan Chander's elegant themes and
enchanting prose made him a successful writer.
Krishan Chander, both were born in Punjab and started journey in literature from
there. Manto was two years elder to him. Both were emotionally drawn to
Krishan Chander, though a Punjabi, spent best part of his life in Poonch, amidst
its Valleys. This brought
in his essays and short stories. The beautiful ambience of Poonch, with its
mountains, forests, streams, lakes provided the backdrop for his writings.
been only up to Batote, where he stayed to cure his lungs in the salubrious
climate. He never saw
His writings have backdrop of Batote and its landscape. We have stories 'Zindagi
Key Mode Par', 'Shikast' and 'Toofan Kee Kaliyan' by Krishan Chander
and 'Misri Kee Dali', 'Lalteen', 'Ek Khat', 'Teetwal Ka Kuta' and 'Aakhri
Salute' by Manto.
student life, both Krishan Chander and Manto were drawn to 'Red Revolution'.
Manto had named his room 'Darulahmar'. He and his friends talked and
discussed about revolution. The centre of attraction in this room was a large
life-size photograph of Sardar Bhagat Singh. Manto began calling himself a
revolutionary. He had translated Hugo's book and Oscar Wilde's novel 'Veera',
that was about the social revolutionaries of Russia. The intervention of
some relations helped Manto escape the long arm of the Police. Everything was
Chander too had actually joined Bhagat Singh's group and was imprisoned for two
months. After finishing his studies Krishan Chander continued his pursuit in
writing and participating in revolutionary activities. He subsequently joined MN
Roy's group, and had an urge to see India free. Later, he was influenced by the
Russian Socialist Revolution.
the influence of Bhagat Singh, had been reading socialistic literature and
propagated revolutionary ideas. He rendered Russian short stories in Urdu and
published the first collection 'Aatish Parey'. His first short story
indicates his leanings, its theme is Martial Law of 1919. His literary
activities reflect his mastery. It would not be wrong to say that he was
forerunner of Krishan Chander, who wrote his first story 'Yarqaan' in
1936. By that time, Manto's 4 collections of stories had already been published.
These were Ek Asser Kee Sarguzasth (1933). Veera (1943), Russian
Stories (1934), Atish Parey (1934). In short story writing the two writers
entered through different routes. Manto found his way through translations,
while Krishan Chander took to story writing directly.
Chander's recognition in short story writing was instant, while Manto had to
struggle harder. Krishan Chander's romantic themes and poetically rich prose
made him more acceptable. Manto had to concede this. In a letter to Ahmed Nadeem
Qasimi (February, 1939) he writes :
to read Krishan Chander's stories. I feel that he is a writer of merit".
Chander wrote the preface for Qasimi's collection of stories 'Bigoley'
(1941). Manto commented:
which Krishan Chander wrote to your collection of stories is indeed quite good.
Krishan Chander has picked up in writing preface and forward".
Chander too appreciated the force of Manto's pen. In 1939 he rendered "Sho-Sho"
(a collection of Manto's stories) into english. This created good impression.
More stories of Manto appeared in Musavir-'Khushiya', 'Dewali Ke Diye'.
Krishan Chander was all praise for this work and lauded Manto's talent. He
"I had read
his stories before I met Manto. These stories had been written quite powerfully,
in unusual ways. I had to accept his merits and wrote to him to convey my
Chander included Manto's 'Hatak' in his 'Naye Zaaivye'. He
comments, "Manto has systematically projected the life of a prostitute and laid
bare her sentiments, the soul, the inner and external situation of a prostitute.
After going through 'Hatak' one doesn't have a feeling of malice towards
these poor women-the prostitutes. Innocence of 'Sugandhi' and her
womanhood--all these elicite new feelings, those of sympathy. This is the
hallmark of a great litterateur".
Krishan Chander met first time in 1941. Manto had left 'Musavir' and had
to join AIR. Krishan Chander was already working with AIR. Manto was well-known
. The two developed a good rapport. Krishan Chander felt quite sad on Manto's
death fifteen years later.
remained Manto's permanent companion. Krishan Chander raised his powerful voice
on this. In "Khali Botal Bara Hua Dil", Krishen Chander writes :
worked very hard, he was disgusted with the society in which he lived.
Apparently, he never approved of progressive writers, nor did he lean towards
or India made no impressions on him. Uncle Sam and Russia also did not appeal to
him. His was a restless soul. His highly critical and bitter remarks were the
consequence of this restlessness. Though his writings had a caustic touch, yet
if his writings are seen in their proper perspective, his sweet and noble
intentions become clear. His malice had love, his 'obscene' language contained a
remedy, a cover, protection. Though he did not consider it has role to awaken
the masses, yet his writings performed this role. In his life he did not get
justice, but time won't be faithless. We all feel his loss. He won't come again.
What we have lost is lost for ever".
Krishan Chander worked together in Delhi for two years. They wrote short stories
and plays for the Radio, Manto wrote 'Journalist', 'Jebkutra', 'Neeley
Ragein' and other good dramas. Krishan Chander's drama 'Sarayi Ke Bahar'
was later made into a film. Their joint endeavour was "Banjara", the
script for a film. After one and a half years Manto returned to Bombay and again
took up the editorship of 'Musavir'. He also entered the film world.
Chander too bid good-bye to AIR and came to Poona at the instance of producer
Ahmed. Josh Malihabadi and Sagar Nizami were already there. Krishan Chander did
not succeed here, while Manto had done better in this field. He too came to
Krishan Chander share a lot, though their ways were different. Manto leaned
towards socialism and revolutionary ideas and did good job in propagating these
ideas. Later, he moved away from this philosophy but contrary to what some
critics say, he never turned into a 'reactionary'. He worked hard to explore the
inner recesses of life and was moved by bitter conflicts in it. He came to
project subsequently the goodness life essentially carried. Manto artistically
projected the bruised psyche of a human individual. Though the range of his
themes was narrow, yet he succeeded in doing justice to project the life. His
narrative in portraying the human individual had good historical backdrop. His
stories came in new form and content. Manto has brevity in his style. His use of
metaphors, words, expressions, in making his writing full of life, was
spontaneous and effortless. His writing style succeeds in shaking the conscience
of the reader.
Chander has variety in his themes and subject matter. He advocated struggle
against injustice, be it at national or international level. Peace, socialism,
culture and civilisation, vision for a better life, positive aspects of life,
nature etc. come in his literary outpourings. Be it war in Korea, Bengal famine,
wars and bloodshed anywhere, Krishan Chander's pen never stopped. He wrote
symbolic stories and novels and experimented with new themes and techniques.
This made him a unique writer.
Chander's style was different from Manto. Ali Sardar Jafri calls this romantic
style a great achievement. Krishan Chander wielded magic in his usage of words,
this is reflected in his writings. Sometimes, one experiences that Krishan
Chander shakes the very essence of a story, but the rainbow feeling his usage of
words give make his stories immortal. His story displays perfect unity. In 1941
Ahmed Nadeem Qasimi called Krishan Chander the King of Urdu short story.
and Krishan Chander turn spokespersons of the 'bruised' psyche of man. Their
writings indicate how they have been free from any prejudice or bias. No student
of Urdu fiction can move ahead without understanding what Manto and Krishan
Chander stood for.