Pervaiz Anjum: Exploring new dimensions of Manto

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Naeem Sadhu

Astriking fiction writer and keen researcher Pervaiz Anjum was born in Faisalabad in 1959 to a businessman running a film distribution company in UK.

He was not into politics but the company of Left-oriented political activists and literary people helped him read and understand pro-people and progressive literature challenging the socio-political concepts.

“The original literature was created by the progressive writers only. The other school of thought was promoted by the dictators, they got name and fame though, it is a matter of fact that imitations of Tolstoy like ‘Ali pur ka aili’ faded away by the passage of time,” he believes.

While reading an autobiography, he came across a dialogue between Saadat Hassan Manto and Ustad Daman. It was a blunt discussion during a session at Daman’s small room in the walled city. He remembered the conversation between the two legends but forgot the name of the book.

The pursuit to read it again leads him to a serious research on the life and works of Manto. The journey spans over more than 15 years, materialised into seven publications by leading Urdu publishers of Pakistan.

“With limited resources available I would come to Lahore, spend all the day reading and photocopying the books in public libraries and spend the night at cheap road side ‘Manji Bistra’ hotels near railway station.

“I would opt for the bed with bulb on it to work till late hours, the night life of this area of Lahore especially during Ramazan is amazing. I met so many colourful characters and penned them for sure,” he vividly recalls.

During one of his four visits to India for research, he went to see his ancestral house in a small village of Jalandhar on his mother’s will.

This emotional and overpowering experience inspired him to write ‘Kalian Pura’ , his first short story. This stunningly beautiful and simple piece of writing was widely appreciated. It gave him a lot of energy to keep on doing creative writing.

‘Mongray kay phool’ was the collection of his short stories printed in 2009. It was followed by a novlette ‘Dil kay kehnay pr’ in 2013, based on a true story narrating the romantic life of an Afghan refugee girl living in Islamabad.

Despite all odds he stayed determined to his research work, visited all the major libraries and institutions of Pakistan and East Punjab.

“I usually would start working at two early in the morning when all the family members go to sleep and I go to bed when they wake up for breakfast, for more than ten years,” he said.

He suffered his family life, business and faced financial hardships but the most disappointing was the discouraging behaviour of publishers.

“There was a time when I used to think that all my work is going to waste if I die accidentally before it is published, my friends would laugh and make fun of this fear of mine which was developed after bomb blast at Moon Market where we used to sit in the evenings,” he narrates.

During his visits to India he interviewed the legends of Indian film, music and literature incuding Gulzar, Majroh Sultanpuri, Kaifi Azmi, Noushad, Ali Sardar Jaffri, Nida Fazli, Ashook Kumar, Amrita Pritam and Amroz. All of these discussions were compiled in ‘Mantoo Bateen’ which was published in 2014.

Recently printed ‘Manto orr cinema’ is one of his major works narrating the rarely known contributions of Manto to Indian cinema.

Humble and soft spoken Pervaiz Anjum is living a low profile life. He is contented and happy, loves to spend time with his friends, family and listening to classical music. For the last couple of years he has been in the process of making a short film.

He loves traveling, interacting and observing people. His short stories reflect his romance with people and a detailed study of cultural landscape. Even narrating the tales of other people, he treats them so intimately that they look like the first-hand experience of the writer.

Though he is eclipsed by the passion for research on Manto, this talented story writer keeps an individual accent of his own and have a lot of stories to tell.

Naeem Sadhu, “Exploring new dimensions of Manto,” in Dawn, June 24, 2015. Accessed on June 24, 2015, at:

The item above written by Naeem Sadhu and published in Dawn on June 24, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on June 24, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

Recent items by Naeem Sadhu:

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