A new selection of stories from Ismat Chughtai’s formidable body of work takes a closer look at community dynamics through her personal and social bifocals.
“Quit India & Other Stories”, translated from Urdu by Tahira Naqvi comprises humorous, heartfelt and real tales that reflect Chughtai’s insights into the loves and lives, as well as the shared histories and experiences of Hindus and Muslims in India.
Translated from the original Urdu by Tahira Naqvi, the stories reflect Chughtai’s insights into the loves and lives, as well as the shared histories and experiences of Hindus and Muslims in India.
Besides stories like “Infidel”(“Kafir”), “My Child”(“Mera Baccha”), “Roots”(“Jarein”), “Quit India”(“Hindustan Chod Do”), “Fragile Threads”(“Kacche Dhaage”) and “Roshan”, the collection, brought out by Women Unlimited, also has Chughtai’s famous play “Green Bangles”(“Dhaani Baankein”) on communal tension.
“Today is Gandhi Jayanti. Such hustle and bustle in the city. On the roads, cars decorated with flowers and flags are moving speedily, transporting brand-new millionaires. Dressed in snowy white khaddar, these ivory-black puppets create a black and white dappled concoction that is a real eyesore. And sitting beside them, their unsophisticated sethanis and disorderly children only heighten the effect,”Chughtai writes in “Fragile Threads”(“Kacche Dhaage”).
“Wealth has overtaken them with no fuss at all. It looks like what they are wearing are not clothes at all; rather that someone has stuffed their cars with many unwieldy bales of cloth, and all the trappings, the powder and make-up, have jumped off dressing tables and landed on them…,”she goes on to write.
In the story “Quit India”, Chughtai tells about the 1942 movement at its height.