A Chughtai Quartet
The four novellas in this volume span the inimitable Ismat Chughtai ’s literary career, from 1939 to 1971. Each one develops the author ’s central preoccupation with the lives of women as they experience love, tragedy, societal prescriptions and proscriptions, in collision with their own rebellious spirit. A keen sense of their individual subversive potential and a willingness to take the consequences of obduracy in the face of overwhelming odds, ensures that they are neither hapless nor victims.
Through them Chughtai delivers a scathing critique on the hypocrisy and cant of social mores, and the festering maladies that infect society. Chughtai ’s characteristic mastery of form and technique, her vivid imagery and richness of language make for marvellous story-telling, and create some of the most memorable female protagonists in Indian literature.
ISMAT CHUGHTAI is the author of several collections of short stories, four novellas, three novels, a collection of reminiscences and essays, My Friend, My Enemy, and a memoir, Kaghazi hai Perahan (The Paper-thin Garment). With her husband, Shahid Latif, a film director, she produced and co-directed six films, and produced a further six independently.
TAHIRA NAQVI is a translator, writer, and Urdu language lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. She has translated the works of Sa'dat Hasan Manto, Munshi Premchand, Khadija Mastoor and Ismat Chughtai into English.
This book is published by Women Unlimited.