Saadat Hasan Manto has a good claim to be considered the greatest South Asian writer of the 20th century. In his work, written in Urdu, he incarnated the exuberance, the madness, the alcoholic delirium of his time, when the country he loved cleaved into two and set upon each other, brothers of all religions murdering their infant nephews and raping their sisters-in-law.
Manto is best known for his stories about the partition of the subcontinent immediately following independence in 1947. Although he wrote essays, screenplays and one novel, Manto’s métier was the short story; he published more than 20 collections. He was an Indian F. Scott Fitzgerald, moving from north India to Bombay to sell his talents to the movie industry, and dying at 42, after a long struggle with alcoholism.