An Uncivil Woman : Writings on Ismat Chughtai

Rakhshanda Jalil
Oxford University Press, USA

Ismat Chughtai-one of the most provocative and rebellious writers in Urdu-wrote voluminously until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1988. Her formidable body of work comprises several collections.

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of short stories, novels, sketches, plays, reportage, radio plays, as well as stories, and dialogues and scenarios for the films produced by her husband Shahid Lateef as well as others. Much of her non-film writing was autobiographical; if not directly related to her own life, it certainly stemmed from her own experiences as a woman, especially a middle-class Muslim woman. Chughtai is considered as one of the four pillars of modern Urdu short story, the other three being Saadat Hasan Manto, Krishan Chander, and Rajinder Singh Bedi. 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. This work is a collection of reflections on Ismat Chughtai from a variety of scholarly and other sources, especially people who knew her personally. It brings together literature on Ismat Chughtai that had been in scattered sources, many of them out of print, into a single volume. Some pieces have been translated for the first time for this volume. The essays vary in their scholarly approaches, ranging from the theoretically erudite to the thoughtful general overview and interview, shedding light on multiple aspects of Chughtai.