Ismat Chughtai: A Voice with many Tunes

Credit: The Print

Ismat Chughtai was most profilic Urdu writer, novelist and filmmaker. She Published Short stories, novels, sketches, plays, radio plays. She wrote extensively on female sexuality, femininity, middle class morality and class conflict. She was born on August 21, 1911 in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. Ismat Chughtai was born on August 21, 1915, in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. Her father, Mirza Qasim Beg Chughtai, was a high-ranking government official. She was the youngest of nine siblings, all her sisters had been married until she gained awareness, thus, in her childhood, she only had the company of her brothers, and she continuously challenged their supremacy. Whether it was playing street football and climbing trees, she did everything that girls were forbidden to do at that time.

She studied up to the fourth standard in Agra, and till the eighth standard in Aligarh, but her parents were not in favor of her higher education, instead, they wanted to train her to become a decent housewife. But Ismat wanted to get further educated at any cost, she threatened to run away from home and become a Christian and enter into a missionary school if her education was not continued. Eventually, her father had to kneel in front of her stubbornness and she went to Aligarh and got admission in the tenth standard. Chughtai completed her Bachelor of Arts from Lucknow’s Isabella Thoburn college 1939 where she studied English, Polity and Economics and a teacher training course from Aligarh Muslim University in 1939, In 1941 Chughtai secured a job as a superintendent of Municipal Girls School, Mumbai.

Author’s Writing Guise

Her bold protagonists stood out from the ordinary, her outspoken approach jolted regressive minds & her rebellion themes raised many eyebrows. She is a Icon of women’s empowerment at the same time she was a women who understood the complexities of women’s mind, their surrounding and also their desires all of her writing reflected these complexities in lengths powerful voice of 20th century in Urdu literature, fearlessly talked by feminine sexuality through her powerful writing.

In her writing, we found the great regard to human psychology. She has raised issue of equality between men and women which did not suitable for patriarchal society. Ismat emphasizes on the point that women must treat as human not merely an object of copulation, she has her own physical & emotional needs that needs to be fulfilled and understood. Her writing was realistic with pierce understanding of human life that   relentlessly was main component of her artistic consciousness. Through the characters, she depicted the demons of society and tranformed them into joy and gratitude.

Ismat’s Exalted Fabrication of Work

Chughtai most prominent work was Lihaaf that explored the perspective of young girl under the theme of homosexuality. On the contrary, she did not want known by Lihaaf as she mentioned in her memoir, A life in words, Chughtai wrote: I am still labelled as the writer of Lihaaf. The story brought me so much notoriety that I got sick of life and whatever I wrote afterwards got crushed under it’s weights.

Kalyan, Ek Baat, Choten, Do haath, Badan ki khushboo, Amarbel and Aadhi Aurat Aadha khwaab among others. She constantly wrote about women related issues and their oppression they encounter. Her novel Tedhi Lakeer is one of the famous work in Urdu literature; it is  Magnus Opus position for her that ensured commentary on the state of the country pre – Independence. Ziddi, saudai, Ajeeb Aadmi were others novels of her. For Garm Hawa the film based on impact of partition she earned filmfare award for best story(that shared with kaifi azmi).

For her remarkable literary services, Ismat received many significant awards and prizes from government and non-government organizations. In 1975, she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. The Madhya Pradesh government awarded her the Iqbal Samman in 1999, the Ghalib Award and the Filmfare Award. On October 24, 1991, she died in physical form but very much alive forever through her work.

Credit : womenweb.in

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