A Life in Words: Memoirs

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9780143420316: A Life in Words: Memoirs

A Life in Words, the first complete translation of Ismat Chughtais celebrated memoir Kaghazi hai Pairahan, provides a delightful account of several crucial years of her life. Alongside vivid descriptions of her childhood years are the conflicted experiences of growing up in a large Muslim family during the early decades of the twentieth century.

Chughtai is searingly honest about her fight to get an education and the struggle to find her own voice as a writer. The result is a compellingly readable memoir by one of the most significant Urdu writers of all time.

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About the Author:

Ismat Chughtai (1911 91) was Urdu s most courageous and controversial woman writer in the twentieth century. She carved a niche for herself among her contemporaries of Urdu fiction writers Rajinder Singh Bedi, Saadat Hasan Manto and Krishan Chander by introducing areas of experience not explored before. Her work not only transformed the complexion of Urdu fiction, it brought about an attitudinal change in the assessment of literary works. Although a spirited member of the Progressive Writers Movement in India, she spoke vehemently against its orthodoxy and inflexibility. Often perceived of as a feminist writer, Chughtai explored female sexuality while also exploring other dimensions of social and existential reality.

M. Asaduddin is an author, critic and translator. His work has been recognized with the Sahitya Akademi Prize, and the Katha and A K Ramanujan awards for translation. Among the books he has published are The Penguin Book of Classic Urdu Stories, Lifting the Veil: Selected Writings of Ismat Chughtai, For Freedom s Sake: Manto, Joseph Conrad: Between Culture and Colonialism, and (with Mushirul Hasan) Image and Representation: Stories of Muslim Lives in India. He is currently Professor, Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia.

Review:

She spearheaded a literary revolution --The Hindu

Translator M Asaduddin has . . . done a remarkable job, catching all the nuances of Chughtai s luscious prose and extraordinary wit. This is a book for all to read and enjoy --Hindustan Times

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