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A fierce writer and a feminist, Ismat Chughtai needs no introduction in Urdu literature. Born on 21 August, 1915, the year 2019 marks the 104th birth anniversary of Ismat Chughtai. She was often referred to as the 'Grande Dame of Urdu fiction', as she championed free speech through her writing.
It won't be wrong to say that Ismat Chughtai was the flag bearer of women empowerment. She was marked as a revolutionary feminist due to her outspoken nature and controversial writing style on sexuality, class conflict, and femininity.
Ismat Chughtai never let anyone outnumber her based on her gender or caste. She was brave and confident enough to express her thoughts whenever she faced oppression in any form. Because of her fierce nature she went on to become an eminent figure in the Urdu literature.
Chughtai wrote for many publications in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, but she gained popularity and critiques as well for Lihaaf, a story on female sexuality based on Begum Jaan and her masseuse. Her other successful writeups are Gainda, Intikhab, Terhi Lakeer, Garam Hawa, and many more.
Ismat Chughtai was inspired by Rashid Jahan, a leading female writer during that time, to write realistic and challenging roles of female characters in her stories. In those days when women were not allowed to speak their mind or pursue an education, Chughtai confidently completed her bachelor's degree and came out as a significant female writer and an inspiration to millions of women.
Inspirational Quotes By Ismat Chughtai
- "I wrote and do write as I speak, in a very simple language, not the literary language".
- "At my age, my other sisters were busy drawing admirers while I fought with any boy or girl I ran into".
- "I have always thought of myself first as a human being and then as a woman".
- "Amma always disliked my playing with boys. Now tell me, are they man-eaters that they would eat up her darling?
- "My father realised his daughter was a terror and that there wasn't a thing he could do about it".
- "I do not think men and women are two different kinds of beings. Even as a child, I always insisted on doing everything that my brothers did".