Ismat Chughtai: Tehri Lakeer (Urdu)

  • Saleem Kidwai


Major Urdu fiction writer Ismat Chughtai (1915–1991) came to public attention in 1944 when she was charged with obscenity for her short story “Lihaf” (The Quilt) published in the journal Adab i-Latif in 1942. The story depicts sex between a neglected wife and her maidservant, witnessed by a horrified girl child. The married woman’s husband is interested only in boys. Although the story takes a very negative view of homosexual relations, people were shocked by its explicitness. Chughtai’s family, including her husband, tried to persuade her to apologize, but she refused. She got support from the famous writer Saadat Hasan Manto, himself often charged for obscenity. Finally she was exonerated by a Lahore court.


Young Girl Famous Writer Autobiographical Essay Popular Girl Arab Youth 
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© Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai 2000

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  • Saleem Kidwai

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