LITERATURHUSET OSLO DIRECTOR PÅL ØVERLAND - WRITER KRISTIAN STRØMSKAG
Norwegian-Pakistani Farooq is apparently a normal family man with a job, car and house. But lately he has struggled with many questions about life. Neither his family, close friends or colleagues are able to understand and help him find the answers to such deep questions about life. He finds comfort in the literature of Saadat Hassan Manto (1912 – 55).
The problem is that texts of Manto reinforce the thought process and Farooq has even more striking and sarcastic questions on themes which are deeply serious and politically relevant. Why is the world as it is? What is the meaning of life? Why is one interested in national identity and not humanistic identity? Is one born a Pakistani, Indian or Norwegian or is it something one gets through one’s actions? Does one get national identity as a consequence of high politics? If one is a Pakistani, what was one before the State of Pakistan was created in August 1947? If you are a Norwegian-Pakistani, are you more Norwegian or Pakistani? How long do you have to be a “Norwegian-Pakistani” before you are qualified to be only “Norwegian”?
With these questions at the back of his mind, Farooq visited the grave of Saadat Hassan Manto in the cemetery Miani Sahib in Lahore in the hope that the deceased Manto will help him to a better understanding. That opens wider perspectives to discuss nationality, identity, modernity and imperialism. At the same time the questions remains about why Pakistan is still dominated by the same political, social and cultural chaos that Manto described 60 years ago.
Norwegian national newspaper
Through a synthesis of the countries a little over 60-year history, Tony Usman continues where Mano left off, and raises a number of relevant and burning issues of U.S. foreign policy.. The result is both fun and educational, which could advantageously be included in the cultural repertoire of many young peoples life.