Saturday, 14 March 2015

"The grand dame of Urdu fiction: Ismat Chughtai"

Ismat Chughtai (1911–91) was Urdu’s most courageous and controversial woman writer in the twentieth century. She carved a niche for herself among her contemporaries of Urdu fiction writers—Rajinder Singh Bedi, Saadat Hasan Manto and Krishan Chander—by introducing areas of experience not explored before.
Chugtai stayed on in India after the subcontinent was partitioned. Ismat's work revolutionized feminist politics in the twentieth century Urdu literature. She explored feminine sexuality, middle-class gentility, and other evolving conflicts in modern India. Her outspoken and controversial style of writing made her the passionate voice for the unheard, and she has become an inspiration for the younger generation of writers, readers and intellectuals.
She also wrote for films and much later, even acted in one-- she played the role of the grandmother in Junoon (1978). Several of her stories have been made into films. Of these, Garam Hawa (1973) won a great deal of acclaim. She is, therefore, also a part of the complex relationship that existed between Indian cinema and the progressive writers in Urdu.

Ismat Chughtai was a born rebel. She led an unconventional life, went in for higher education, took up a job, lived alone, married a man of her choice and was cremated, as she had desired, instead of being buried.

Submitted by:
Muktaparna Boruah

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