My Friend, My Enemy
Essays, Reminiscences, Portraits
This selection from Ismat Chughtai’s prose writing, comprising essays, commentaries and pen-portraits of her contemporaries, gives the reader a good idea of the artistic, political and social mores of her times. It also serves as a background to her own work and furnishes insights into the art and lives of her contemporaries.
Chughtai’s involvement with the Progressive Writers’ Association and her friendship with writers like Sa’adat Hasan Manto, Patras Bokhari, Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi, and others, have resulted in a treasure-trove of writing, marked by her characteristic irreverence and wit. Every chapter bristles with words, phrases, sentences, even paragraphs that clamour to be quoted. Witty, personal, descriptive, anecdotal and hectoring by turns, Chughtai’s style has few equals in contemporary Indian writing.