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History of 21st August- Ismat Chughtai

History of 21st August- Ismat Chughtai

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Explore the history of 21st August, from the Mongol civil war’s end in 1264 to Ottoman conquests and modern-day events like the Wildlife Protection Act in 1972. We pay our tribute Ismat Chughtai on her birth anniversary, and share her groundbreaking contributions to Urdu literature.

History of 21st August takes us to the year 1264 when on this day Ariq Boke the younger brother of Kublai Khan surrendered marking the end of the Mongol civil war.

Moving on with the history of 21st August we come to the year 1541 when on this day the Ottoman Turks under Suleiman the Magnificent capture Buda, the capital of the Hungarian Kingdom and go on to dominate central Hungary for 150 years.

Other significant events from the history of 21st August are :-

On this day in the year 1972 the Wildlife Protection Act was passed in Parliament.

On this day in the year 1988 over a thousand people died in a strong earthquake on the Indo-Nepal border.

On this day in the year 2005 a ceasefire agreement was concluded between the Border Security Force personnel of Bangladesh and India.

On this day in the year 2008  India joined hands with NASA on the Moon mission on this day.

With this we come to the feature story from the history of 21st August, where we remember Ismat Chughtai on her birth anniversary.

Ismat Chughtai: Breaking Boundaries in Urdu Literature

Urdu literature has been blessed with the talents of many great authors who have left an indelible mark on its landscape. Among these luminaries stands Ismat Chughtai, a trailblazing writer who fearlessly delved into taboo subjects and challenged societal norms. Born on August 21, 1911, in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, Ismat Chughtai’s literary legacy continues to inspire and provoke thought even decades after her passing.

Chughtai shared her creative space with contemporaries like Saadat Hasan Manto and Rajinder Singh Bedi, all of whom were pivotal in reshaping Urdu literature during the 20th century. Chughtai’s pen was her sword, with which she pierced through the veils of conventional thinking to explore themes like female sexuality, class conflict, and middle-class morality. Her writing was unapologetically bold, reflecting a deep understanding of the human psyche and society’s undercurrents.

One of her most iconic works is the short story “Lihaaf” (The Quilt), originally published in the literary magazine “Adab-i-Latif” based in Lahore. Through the eyes of a young girl, Chughtai painted a vivid portrayal of a hidden aspect of human relationships – homosexuality concealed beneath the metaphorical “lihaaf” or quilt. This groundbreaking narrative, published in 1942, was not just a literary exploration but a societal critique that provoked controversy and ignited discussions. The author’s courage to unmask hidden desires and unconventional relationships was met with both praise and criticism, with charges of obscenity even leveled against her.

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Chughtai’s literary repertoire encompassed a range of short stories, including “Kalyan,” “Ek Baat,” and “Choten,” all of which provided windows into the world of women, their aspirations, and the societal constraints they navigated. Rejecting conventions, she harnessed her pen to address the multifaceted lives of women, crafting narratives that resonated deeply with her readers.

However, her crowning achievement might be the novel “Tedhi Lakeer” (The Crooked Line), a masterpiece that stands as a testament to her prowess as a storyteller and social commentator. The novel introduces us to Shama, a protagonist who defies norms, embodies resilience, and seeks her rightful place in a society under colonial rule. Through Shama’s journey, Chughtai captures the intricacies of Indian Muslims’ lives during this turbulent period, chronicling their struggles, aspirations, and the complex web of desires that were often stifled. “Tedhi Lakeer” is not just a novel; it’s an insightful window into the historical and emotional landscape of a nation on the brink of Independence.

On October 24, 1991, Ismat Chughtai bid farewell to the world, leaving behind an unparalleled legacy in Urdu literature. Her works continue to ignite discussions, resonate with modern readers, and serve as a cornerstone in the edifice of feminist literature. The essence of Chughtai’s writing lies in her ability to transcend temporal and societal barriers, offering narratives that remain as pertinent today as they were when first penned.

In contemporary discussions about feminist literature and women authors, Ismat Chughtai’s name is inseparable from the discourse. She was not merely a writer but a torchbearer who illuminated unexplored corners of human experience, pushing the boundaries of what was deemed acceptable in literature. Chughtai’s works challenge us to confront our assumptions, question norms, and empathize with the struggles and aspirations of characters that continue to breathe life into her pages. In the realm of Urdu literature, Ismat Chughtai is an eternal flame, illuminating minds and hearts, and guiding us to explore the depths of the human condition.

That’s all from the history of 21st August.

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