Search giant Google on Tuesday celebrated what would have been the 107th birthday of Indian author Ismat Chughtai. She was not just a writer of short stories or poems but was a feminist who depicted women’s lives in the most uncensored way in her time. She was a revolutionary in her work and a rebel in her mind.
Born in Budaun, Uttar Pradesh on August 21, 1911, Chughtai championed free speech, social liberation, and gender equality through her writing. Her best-known works, according to Google's blog post, questioned double standards and encouraged liberation.
"Her short story 'Lihaf' (The Quilt), narrated in the voice of a young girl, was viewed as controversial, given its portrayal of a relationship between an upper-class woman and her servant. This was also the case for another of her famous stories, 'Gainda' (Marigold), which told the tale of a domestic worker who falls in love outside the caste system. Chughtai's character violated the rules prohibiting different castes from associating with one another, as well as the social custom forbidding widows from pursuing a second love," it added.
It was her most famous story and was published in a Lahore-based literary journal in 1942. It was not easy for people at that time to accept the free imagination of a women writer and she was criticised many times for being outspoken in her work. However, Ismat Chugtai was not someone to listen. Her most brave step started when she was young and demanded education.
With a large body of works, Ismat Chughtai established herself as a significant author in the realm of 20th-century Urdu literature.
In 1976, she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India "in recognition of her literary accomplishments and her fearless dedication to her beliefs."
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