In the Name of Those Married Women…


A Life in Words… is a chapter from the book A Life in Words: Memoirs translated from Urdu by M Asaduddin. It elaborates on the pursuits and exploits of the great female Urdu story writer and our very favorite, Ismat Chughtai.

Here is an excerpt from the book which describes the situation when Ismat is handed summons for charges of obscenity for her story Lihaaf (The Shroud) and her love for Lahore:

‘What is the summons about?’
‘Read it out,’ said the police inspector dourly.
As I read the heading — Ismat Chughtai vs The Crown — I broke into laughter. ‘Good god, what complaint does the exalted king have against me that he has filed the suit?’
‘It’s no joke,’ the inspector said severely. ‘Read it first, and sign it.’ I read through the summons but could barely make out the sense. My story “Lihaaf” had been accused of obscenity…

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