Google doodle pays tribute to Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai


Google doodle pays tribute to Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai. Born on 21 August, 1915, Ismat Chughtai is still remembered for her unorthodox writings. She was also awarded the prestigious Padma Shree by the Indian government in 1976 for her exceptional contributions to the field of literature.

Ismat Chughtai's one of the most talked about stories was "Lihaaf" ("The Quilt"). Published in a Lahore-based literary journal, "Lihaaf" depicts the tale about a woman who strikes up a romantic relationship with her masseuse. She was one of those great authors who ended up in prison for their bold writings. She had always believed in being upfront and fearless when it came to writing. Her books like "A Life in Words", "Dil ki Dunia", "Ek Qatra Khoon", etc., made a mark in the field of literature. The women characters in her tales never failed to cut across all barriers of class and caste. Her work was already considered to be against the conventions, but when "Lihaaf" was published, it definitely broke new ground and made some groups of the society raise their voice against her work. When she was arrested for "Lihaaf", she was advised by some senior Urdu writers to apologize to the judge and have her case dismissed. She believed her state-of-the-art writing was only a depiction of women’s lives and sexuality, which shouldn't have offended anyone. She refused to apologize to the judge, for she had done nothing wrong.

According to the authors of "Women Writing in India", Ismat Chughtai always stood out for her refusal to be a part of the traditional activities for women like embroidery. She was also never hesitant to make friends who didn’t belong to her social caste. Her desire and inclination towards education was unshakable. She refused to get married during her teenage and convinced her parents to let her pursue a bachelor’s degree at Isabella Thoburn College. She discovered her passion for writing while pursuing her education, and also attended meetings for the Progressive Writers Association. These meetings inspired her to write for the human rights.

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