Partition: The Punjab 1947
This stunning new work by Kanwal Dhaliwal encaptures a South Asian author whose work created an impact on Urdu literarture as overpowering as that of a thunderstorm, the 1947 Partition, itself.
A writer of short fiction, Manto experienced the tumultuous and disturbing time of Partition of India in the Punjab. He was one of those undeniable creative spirits who were able to continue to create art and literature amidst that raging thunderstorm of communal violence.
Dhaliwal creates an amazing photo-imaginary work, at once gripping and moving, as he depicts a Master Vibration sitting in the thunderstorm contemplative, composed, and unsoiled. The noises of whirlwinds, blue trees bending their root-like branches, a tidy orange flow of falling leaves, a body in the path of silver lightening, a face half-hidden, a steady hand holding the pipe.
Contemplative, composed and unsoiled Yes.
Manto trapped a thunderstorm in each little story he wrote, detonated, and ready to blow in the face of the reader, so as the violence carried out by us against each other remains in our view. In that, he gave to us each and every jolt he received from unjust and discriminatory systems and their outcomes.
Each jolt in Manto’s stories is safe. He made it safe for us to read, discuss, paint and articulate the time of Partition. To be aware of it as he is, be honest as he is, be courageous as he is, and, to be creative as he is.
Dhaliwal brings back a Manto that we often failed to see for the fears of knowing him and his time, of knowing us and now.
As well, this is the first most beautiful artists’ image of Saadat Hasan Manto that honours the creative spirits of both the Writer and the Artist.
SL [Sardari Lal] Prasher, painter and sculptor, was born in Gujaranwala on April 7, 1904. He took his Masters degree in English literature at the Forman Christian College Lahore in 1935. The following year he joined the Mayo School of Art as a lecturer and vice principal.
In 1938 he married Lajjya Kapila, who was staying with her uncle on a visit from Burma. They had four daughters and one son.
In 1947 their peaceful lives took the first of many turns; his first hope was that he could stay on in re-invented Pakistan. As that became impossible, he and his growing family experienced an odyssey through the refugee camps to become the Founder Principal of the School of Arts, Shimla in 1951. After several years he moved to Bombay as Director of the All India Handicrafts Board and settled finally in Delhi in the early 1960s. He died in 1990 of leukaemia far away from his homeland.
His prolific work is preserved all over. He will always be known for his art produced out of the traumatic experience of partition of the Punjab.