Adab Foundation celebrates Centenary of iconic woman Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai

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NewZNew (Chandigarh) : In the countdown to Chandigarh Literature Festival (CLF 2015), being organized by Adab Foundation, the centenary of one of Urdu Fiction’s most respected women writers, Ismat Chughtai(1915–91) was celebrated in Chandigarh. Noor Zaheer, the renowned writer & performer presented stories by Ismat in a session held at Alliance Francaise, Sector-36, Chandigarh.

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Who does not know Ismat Chughtai? She 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, Saad Hasan Manto and Krishan Chander—by introducing areas of experience not explored before. Noor held a One & a Half Hour session for the audience in which she read ‘Lihaaf’ and other stories by Ismat Appa as part of the centenary tribute.

“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, Ismat Ji spoke vehemently against its orthodoxy and inflexibility. She was often perceived of as a feminist writer & she explored female sexuality while also exploring other dimensions of social and existential reality.” Said Ms. Noor Zaheer.

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It is noteworthy that Noor herself is an acclaimed writer. Noor Zaheer’s latest book is ‘Denied by Allah’. Her important published works include ‘My God is a Woman’ & ‘Aaj ke Naam- A Biography of well- known Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’ among others. She is also winner of-Foundation of SAARC Writers’ Literary Award & Delhi Hindi Academy Award.

Adab Foundation’s event remembered the Urdu literary figure — Ismat Chughtai, who had made a mark at a time when Urdu literature was dominated by men.  The tribute to Ismat Chughtai  was a very pertinent event as it also raised awareness about contributions made to Urdu writing by big wigs of yesteryears.

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“There is an onslaught of English literary  works by different authors but Urdu which is the World’s sweetest language & one which is known for its tradition of etiquette’s has not been talked about much. So we wanted to bring Urdu writing to the fore through this session and what better way to recognize & remember the literary works of Ismat Ji in a Centenary tribute to her.” Said Mr. Mitul Dikshit, Chairman, Adab Foundation.

Adab Foundation plans to organize similar sessions in the run up-to the 4th Chandigarh Literature Festival scheduled to be held from 6th to 8th November. Eminent writers who will attend CLF 15 include Dr Shashi Tharoor, Gulzar, Dilip Padgaonkar among others. Filmmakers & critics too will be part of the festival.