Ismat Chughtai () ~~~~~~~~~~~. *Chauthi ka jora (The 'fourth-day' outfit) ()*, in an extremely literal, annotated, text-linked translation by FWP. An Urdu novelette by the famed writer Ismat Chughtai. Ismat's name figures with distinction among the Progressive Writers Association. Lihaaf - Ismat Chughtai. IdentifierLihaafTheQuiltIsmatChughtai. Identifier-arkark:/ /tqx9d. OcrABBYY FineReader Ppi
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Biography[ edit ] Early life and career beginnings —41 [ edit ] Ismat Chughtai was born on 21 August in Badayun, Uttar Pradesh to Nusrat Khanam and Mirza Qaseem Baig Chughtai;  she was ninth of ten children—six brothers, four sisters. The family shifted homes frequently as Chughtai's father was a civil servant ; she spent her childhood in cities including Jodhpur , Agra , and Aligarh , mostly in the company of her brothers as her sisters had all got married while she was still very young. Chughtai described the influence of her brothers as an important factor which influenced her personality in her formative years. She thought of her second-eldest brother, Mirza Azim Beg Chughtai, a novelist, as a mentor. The family eventually settled in Agra, after Chughtai's father retired from the Indian Civil Services. Upon publication, readers mistook it as a play by Chughtai's brother Azeem Beg, written using a pseudonym. She met Shahid Latif , who was pursuing his master's degree at the time and the two developed a close friendship.
Even so, the novel is more than a historical artifact and holds more interest for the contemporary reader than simply the autobiographical. In the first phase, the action of the novel occurs primarily at home, in a largely female soci- ety.
For Shamshad, the most important relationships are with females: her wet-nurse, her sister Manjhu, Bari Apa, and her female friends at school. Here she encounters a mixed-gender society and learns to relate to men, albeit in the restricted ways allowed at the time. In the third phase, Shamshad enters the colonial milieu, becoming the headmistress of a national school and interacting with government offi- cials. More important, despite her deeper involvement in the nationalist movement, she meets and marries an Irish man and thus encounters at a personal level the communal antagonisms and strains of the colonial ex- perience.
The English text is peppered with Urdu words, fortunately without distracting notes.
For the uninitiated reader, a brief glossary is provided at the back of the book, with a helpful list of the most commonly used Urdu kinship terms. The volume begins with an appreciative preface by Anita Desai, who characterizes Ismat as a truly liberated soul, as someone who is both inside and outside traditional culture and consequently able to depict it both sympathetically and criti- cally.
Told in the first person from the point of view of a child, but filtered through the recollections of an adult, the story thus depends for its effect on the contrast between those points of view, between the confusion of the child and the under- standing of the adult. Belying the humor, however, the irony and pain in the ending of the story, in which the widower dies and the young second wife is stranded, are also unmistakable.
In the ironic ending of the story, the man fails to recognize Sarla in her new outfit. The story is heavily critical of both the pressure exerted on a single woman to attract a man and the wiles thought necessary to do so. Nevertheless, the ending is also hopeful in its suggestion that the real Sarla is attractive as she is and could therefore, if she chose, form a rela- tionship with the man without the artificiality of special clothing and makeup.
The translations included here generally read well, especially consid- ering that neither translator is a native speaker of English.
But these are quibbles. Although written twenty-five years apart, these are an interesting pair, in that both treat similar themes of interest to contemporary feminists. In both cases, too, the translations are sprightly and readable, carrying the reader along without any jarring notes. Initially Puran is rebellious, lively, charming, and wild.
When he announces his intention to marry Asha, his family spirits her away and persuades him to marry a woman of his own class. As a result, Puran literally becomes lifeless, and ultimately, the marriage fails. Ismat Chughtai's th birthday: Google Doodle salutes 'grande dame of Urdu fiction'.
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