Zahida Zaidi was a poet, dramatist, translator and critic whose literary contributions belong to the realms of both Urdu and English literatures. She was a prolific writer passionately concerned with the pulse of the times so one comes across varied political, cultural and social themes in her work. She was innovative too in her use of various literary forms. Sham-e-Tanhai was Zahida.
These two books have titles that sound deceptively similar. While their common theme is indeed the problem of poverty in developing countries, no two books can be more radically different in the basic approach in defining the nature of the problem and the possible directions in which policy-makers in these countries can seek a solution.
Literature is not only a mirror but also a major source of inspiration. With the formation of the Progressive Writers Movement in India in 1936 a radical shift emerged in the consciousness of Urdu writers. This book examines the role of progressive writing in the history of India.
This like all books on the Progressive Writers Movement is to be heartily welcomed as an attempt to redress a very serious historical neglect. To subtitle it an episode is however to acknowledge and reinforce the overarching and unquestioned authority of the national question over all other approaches and framings of this period.