I know only a few of the poems from this book, mostly the Allama Iqbal ones. Um, I don't think the translation of Urdu poetry can be done well in any instance/book/volume, because the cultural references are somewhat lost/make no sense to those not familiar with the culture. And in the case of Urdu, there can be seven Urdu words for every one word there might be in English (especially adjectives, or emotional states).
The stories were interesting and odd, in the way Manto and Ismat's stories are wont to be. I always feel a bit confused whenever I watch a drama based on Manto's writing, he seems very abstract and unrelatable to the common person from that region. As much as I enjoy drama, as young as I am, and as much time as I've spent outside that region, his stories seem soooo far fetched to me, I can't get into them. But I found this story surprisingly well written, more relatable than I'd like it to be, and refreshingly honest (which is what I always FEEL like he's trying to be, but ends up NOT being to me... the complete opposite if anything).
This is one time I didn't end up thinking, "oh God, here he goes trying to be deep and weird again". I actually found the message to be an IMPORTANT one for people of that region itself, PARTICULARLY the theme of honesty/dishonesty to oneself about one's intentions/emotions and the "showmanship of fighting for freedom/living up to your principles" which is so common, and a weakness, of the South Asian culture.
But it was very VERY interesting to read how certain metaphors in the poems were attempted to be deciphered in English; this was the the reason I couldn't give it five stars. Poems that were meant to be very very deep ending up sounded two dimensional and almost silly/humorous. Two of his poems, that I LOVE, basically got butchered in translation, but honestly, I don't see how they could've been carried over intact.