16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square #14: December 25th - Quaid-e-Azam

Kingdom's End: Selected Stories - Saadat Hasan Manto Manto: Selected Stories - Aatish Taseer

Book themes for Quaid-e-Azam:  Pakistan became an independent nation when the British Raj ended on August 14, 1947. Read a book set in Pakistan or in any other country that attained sovereign statehood between August 14, 1947 and today (regardless of what part of the world).



I had a lot of help with this task: I love exploring. I love going new places and I love reading about new (to me) places. So, when the task came up to read about Pakistan I got excited. Then I realised that I don't know that much about Pakistan and that I cannot actually name a single author who actually lived in Pakistan and wrote with a setting in Pakistan. (I did briefly consider Exist West, but I believe Mohsin Hamid may be writing about the human condition in general without naming a specific country.)


So, I asked Midu for help and she recommended to try Saadat Hasan Manto, whom I would never have come across if it had not been for Midu's recommendation! (Btw, if you're not following Midu already, check out her BookLikes Follow Friday post!)


The more I read about the author, the more intrigued I am about his short stories. I mean, what's not be intrigued by about an author whose openness apparently led to several trials for obscenity, who's been labeled as a rebel, and whose despair over the social and political situation he lived in led him to seek relief in an addiction to alcohol that ultimately killed him.  


Link to a fascinating article about Manto in The Guardian


I have a couple of choices of books - I found a reasonably priced collection on Ammy, translated by Aatish Taseer, which seems to include some of his most controversial stories, and I also found a collection of Kingdom's End at my library, which seems to contain a wider selection of his writings. 


I'll start with Taseer's collection for the purposes of the 16 Tasks.