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The Nation

Published Date: Jun 19, 2012

MANTO EXPOSED US IMPERIALISM THROUGH LETTERS: SPEAKERS

the fact that he had a rich humanistic, progressive and anti-imperialistic vision which strongly comes out in works like Letters to Uncle Sam as well as his earliest collections of stories and essays.

He said Manto’s deep sympathy with Karl Marx and communism is also insufficiently appreciated by literary critics adding that one eminent literary critic has recently even labelled him as a cultural plank of Pakistan ideology or ‘Pakistaniat’.

Ahmad Salim said Manto wrote these precious letters when Pakistan was going to decide its fortunes under its foreign policy-making process during 1950s. He said the country joined the American block by signing different pacts amid supporting the right world while opposing the left wing. He said Manto wrote these letters not to become popular but his work represents the feelings and understanding of a politically conscious person who challenged this patron-client relationship amid facing the charges of being anti-social and obscene.

Dr Ayesha Siddiqa said it is sad that such a great and rich writer could not get recognition and remembrance in Pakistan. She said Manto’s 9 letters beautifully reflect the early development of politics and foreign policy in Pakistan and its relevance with today’s Pak-US ‘client-patron relationship’.

She was of the view that Manto, through his letters, criticized and assessed American foreign policy and its strong hegemony over Pakistan through the instrument of aid and its nexus with Pakistani ruling elites.

Dr Ayesha lamented that Pakistan never re-assessed its foreign policy choices to make the country economically sovereign through self-reliance instead the policy-makers especially the military dictators reinforced country’s dependency on foreign support and reliance. “Are we ready to genuinely re-assess our foreign policy options today or are we searching for another form of deep-rooted patron-client relationship with the US which Manto challenged through his letters” she questioned.