Ismat Chughtai: The Woman And Her Writings
Saba Mahmood Bashir
QUIT INDIA AND OTHER STORIES / AN UNCIVIL WOMAN: WRITINGS ON ISMAT CHUGTAI by By Ismat Chugtai. Translated from the original Urdu by Tahira Naqvi Women Unlimited / Oxford University Press, 2018, 145 pp., 300
February 2018, volume 42, No 2

Ismat Chughtai (1915-1991) was known, and is remembered for her frankness in writing, be it the topics she chose for her stories or the language her characters used. A distinguished writer in Urdu, Chughtai has a huge body of work to her credit—five collections of short stories, seven novels, three novellas along with various sketches. Surprisingly, not much academic work on Chughtai (in English) has been published as a compilation. Tahira Naqvi and Professor Asaduddin are the two popular translators of her work in English, while the former has translated The Crooked Line (Tehri Lakeer) and A Very Strange Man (Ajeeb Aadmi) and the latter has translated Lifting the Veil and her memoirs, A Life in Words among her other works.
The two books under review are Tahira Naqvi’s translations of Chughtai, titled Quit India & Other Stories and An Uncivil Woman: Writings on Ismat Chughtai, a volume edited by Rakshanda Jalil. It is not quite possible to separate the two as, apart from the common factor of Chughtai, Naqvi contributes an essay in the volume edited by Jalil. The essay is titled, ‘Looking for Ismat Chughtai: Journeys in Reading and Translation’ where two of her separate articles for two different publications are merged. Naqvi writes:

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