Ismat Chughtai’s short story ‘Lihaaf’ became disputable as soon as it was published due to its homosexual theme. However, sexuality may be as intrinsic to our relationship with ourselves and the world as we grow older, and with the confidence that comes with life experience and self-awareness, may be even more authentically expressed and enjoyed. Our engagement with dating is expected to culminate in cisgender-heterosexual marriage, but what if we aren’t looking to live ‘happily ever after’ with another person? Lihaaf is a landmark portrayal of an insulated life of a neglected wife as seen from a little girl's eyes. But this short story is narrated by a little girl from her point of view and there is no obscene language used in the story. Told from the perspective of a young girl, the story explored the theme of homosexuality under the ‘lihaaf’. As poetic as it may sound, it created a massive uproar at the time as languages in India are also associated with religion. Her relationship with Rabbu and Nawab Saab’s relationship with the young men;the bodies and their desires bridge the gap left by the heteronormative marriage. But Chughtai places a lihaaf or a quilt of vagueness and euphemism over her writing as she explores the homoerotic theme in her story. Ageing and Sexuality,  I Issue – March 1, 2021 The little girl was made to sleep in another bed adjacent to Begum’s. /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. When we are older, our relationships, especially those which are romantic, are often portrayed as devoid of sexual passion and instead, as hingeing on companionship and caregiving, which is fine if that indeed be the case. Do take a look at our submission guidelines! In the March 2021 issue of In Plainspeak, we examine the place sexuality occupies in our life as we grow older, how it relates to our self-expression, relationships, and sexual and reproductive health and rights, and how notions of sexual wellbeing in older adulthood may be expanded. Golda, who also heard the narration from Namita in Goa was happy to be a consultant to this team. Begum expressed her pleasure with ‘sensuous breaths’, allowing her to touch all the parts of her body. Ismat Chughtai (21 August 1915 – 24 October 1991) was an Indian Urdu novelist, short story writer, and filmmaker. We are told finding ‘The One’ is integral to our well-being; our ‘soulmate’ will intuitively understand as well as fulfill all our emotional, sexual, and material needs and desires. Are we to see her “de-formation” as itself a response to her patriarchal domination by the Nawab and by her immediate hyper-conservative milieu? Her research interests include Gender studies, intersectional studies and media studies. We live in a culture organised around relationships. She did try to draw his attention but ‘Nawab didn’t budge an inch’. ‘She was pressing her as though she was a clay doll’, ‘She (Begum) was like one possessed’ that the girl wanted to scream. Would you like to contribute? Begum Jaan uses her sexuality as a means to empower herself. [2]Chugtai, Ismat. Lihaf is an Urdu short story that made Ismat Chughtai popular for its controversies. Lihaaf ("The Quilt") is a Urdu short story written by Ismat Chughtai. Being a student of Gender and Intersectional studies, I was proud that Ismat Chughtai’s writing had the power to break barriers of patriarchy and bring to light the untouched subject of female desire and sexuality. The unknowingness of the whole truth can also be seen in the narratorial voice. At a time when we are witnessing violence (sexual and otherwise) and uncertainty in our world, we probe wellbeing again – how might we care for ourselves, especially while caring for one another, and cultivate practices and spaces which may contribute to a sense of wellbeing? The man of the house could use this marriage as a front to continue his ‘veiled’ activities like Nawab Sahab did. All these describe the homosexual relationship in Begum that she had developed as her sexual desires were not gratified by her husband. At night she found ‘Begum’s quilt shaking vigorously as though an elephant was struggling inside’, ‘slurping sound of a cat licking a plate’ which had the sexual connotation showing the homosexual relationship between them. "Lihaaf" ("The Quilt") is a 1942 Urdu short story written by Ismat Chughtai. Setting: 1941 India. In our anthology issue in January 2021 we republish In Plainspeakarticles from previous years about what wellbeing means to our contributors. The memory pops up when she takes the quilt to cover herself in the winter. The Quilt and Other Stories. With Tannishtha Chatterjee, Sonal Sehgal, Virendra Saxena, Rahat Kazmi. This was the argument from Ismat that the case was solved, the story became popular and earned fame for her. In the February issue of In Plainspeak, we attempt to delve into these aspects of singlehood and how they relate to our socio-economic location, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability status. Chughtai was inspired to write the story upon hearing of the rumored affair of a begum and her masseuse in Aligarh, the story chronicles the sexual awakening of Begum Jan following her unhappy marriage with a nawab. That night the little girl was made to sleep in the arms of Begum, who started rubbing the body of the little girl which made her feel jittery (nervous). Directed by Rahat Kazmi. The constant reference to “the elephant” under the “quilt” which doesn’t let the narrator sleep, also serves as a metaphor for the sexual desires and relationships that are either not spoken of or only talked about in terms of metaphors and not addressed directly. “Lihaaf” does not have the typical Bollywood flavour and storyline but an offbeat film that deals with same-sex relationship, considered taboo in parts of the world. The The Quilt Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, theme list, historical context, author biography and quizzes written by community members like you. Although veiled, the references were not missed by the readers. Begum Jaan was married to a Nawab of ‘ripe years’ (very old man), because of his virtuous nature – that is he didn’t visit prostitutes. The little girl could not bear the sight of Rabbu massaging or ‘rubbing at all hours’, this also made other maids mutter in disapproval. The terminology used to describe ‘beauty’ is thus, problematic. The same aversion to addressing sexuality in general can be seen even now. Being a student of Gender and Intersectional studies, I was proud that Ismat Chughtai’s writing had the … One of her most enduring works remains the short story, Lihaaf (The Quilt) that appeared in Adab-i-Latif, a literary magazine based in Lahore. Instead of apologizing, Chughtai chose to contest this charge and although the case dragged on for two years in Lahore, in the end she won the trial. A potent idea that is propagated in this story is the idea of subjugation of female sexuality and desire. It … Their existence was accepted but it was something that was ‘veiled’ and so the narratorial voice in the story uses metaphors so as to not address it openly. Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. "My students can't get enough of your charts and … Ismat Chughtai’s Lihaaf challenged the conventional feminine qualities of obedience, abstinence and modesty in a patriarchal society and. To Begum massage became ‘the basic necessities of life’. The story is a ‘terrifying’ memory of an unnamed narrator that happened during her childhood. Image source: World People’s Blog. A woman can be more than something that just exists in a marital home, a woman can be more than just a beautiful body used as a mere decoration in the household. Send an email to blogeditor@tarshi.net with your idea. The content and theme of this book in fact will touch your heart. “Having married Begum Jaan he tucked her away in the house with his other possessions and promptly forgot her. February 2014; Social Change 44(1):67-80; DOI: 10.1177/0049085713514824. Lihaaf is not only one of Ismat Chughtai’s most celebrated works but was also one of the most controversial, for which she was summoned to court on charges of obscenity. It was about repressed sexual desires and the exploitation of another’s body to fulfil oneself. January 2021 Book: Lihaaf (The Quilt) Author: Ismat Chughtai Language: Urdu Gay Interest: Lesbian Characters "Lihaaf" is a short story written by Ismat Chughtai and first published in 1942 in the Urdu literary journal Adabi Latif. She subverts the patriarchal norms that she has to adhere to by recognising her sexuality and her sexual desires. Many called it “very bad”. UNDER THE LIHAAF- The ‘threat’ of queer desire . Read this article to know about Lihaaf The Quilt summary by Ismat Chughtai. Some of these works include EM Foster’s Maurice (1971), Manju Kapur’s A Married Woman (2002) , Dr.R Raja Rao’s The Boyfriend(2003) etc. ‘Begum’s quilt was swaying like an elephant’, ‘sound of someone smacking her lips as though savoring a tasty pickle’ and ‘the quilt began to assume grotesque shapes’ that the little girls switch on the light in fear. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. Begum has no choice but to get married off and "installed" in Nawab's house. Ismat Chughtai, ‘Lihaaf’ and Lifting the Veil Off Same-Sex Desire. The film is based on an eminent Urdu novelist Ismat Chughtai’s most celebrated yet most controversial story “Lihaaf”. A Life in Words: Memoirs. March 2021 Lihaaf: The Quilt (2019) Titolo originale: Lihaaf: The Quilt Rilasciato: 2019-07-19 Durata: minuti Votazione: 0 di 0 utenti Generi: Drama Stelle: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Sonal Sehgal, Veerendra Saxena, Rahat Kazmi Paese: India Lingua Originale: Hindi Parole Chiave: Chughtai fought a legal battle, defending her writing from charges of obscenity and eventually won. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis. You can locate more and more experience and knowledge how the sparkle is undergone. This is another theme that is seminal not just to this story, but to most of Chughtai's works. ‘Lihaaf’[2], the controversial short story by Ismat Chugtai was published in the year 1941, way before Independence, in an Urdu Literary Journal titled Adaab-i-Latif. The story brought me so much notoriety that I got sick of life. (That is he was not interested in women but in young men). Quoted from:- Lihaf (The Quilt) – Ismat ChughtaiTranslated from Urdu by M.Asaduddin. Socio-cultural negativity around sexuality and ageing make the physical, psychological, and psychosexual changes that come as we grow older, unnecessarily difficult to deal with. When other girls were engaged in ‘girly’ games, the narrator was engaged in fighting with her brothers and her brother’s friends (with the opposite sex). Her writing talks about women’s bodies not as an object of the male gaze but rather as independent entities. After marriage Begum was ‘tucked away in the house with his possessions and promptly forgot her’. We often don’t know the name of body parts in languages other English. Checkout English Summary's free educational tools and dictionaries. Singlehood carries stigma – of being lonely, materialistic, selfish, sexually restricted or ‘unlucky in love’. Soon Rabbu returned. She spent sleepless nights ‘yearning for a love that had never been’. She has been given no space to explore her identity or sexuality. Though unique to each one of us, our wellbeing is affected by some overarching aspects such as our physical and mental health, our self-image, and our relationships. Faced with a pandemic in 2020, we were reminded to reimagine wellbeing as more than the absence of disease and rather as a mosaic, its many differently coloured tiles together constituting an intricate and interconnected whole. It was too much for conservative India to … On Chughtai’s death anniversary, The Quint curates from ‘Lihaaf’, one of her most read short stories. It also involves the freedom to express ‘sexuality’ which is not right according to society) and was banned. The story refers to a time when women’s bodies were traded in the name of marriage and treated as possessions. Today, when we talk about female bodies or anything related to our sexuality, we often find solace in the English language. Because it was branded as a feminist work (feminism – not attacking men but the social structures. Authors: Anamika Priyadarshini. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain Summary, Raag Darbari Part 1 Summary by Shrilal Shukla, Jane Eyre Short Summary by Charlotte Bronte, Summary of Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Where Shall We Go This Summer Summary by Anita Desai, Symbolism in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Americanah Summary by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. He could be seen with the young, slender-waisted men in the story, while the patriarch in him didn’t let Begum Jaan go out of the house or visit her relatives. Ismat Chughtai’s Lihaaf, indisputably, remains one of her most (in)famous works and the controversy it sparked hung like a perceptible shadow over everything Chughtai wrote after that. In the November of 1946, summoned for the second hearing by the courts of the colonial Indian State on the charges of obscenity for her Urdu short-story Lihaf (‘The Quilt’), the writer Ismat Chughtai reaches Lahore.It had been about four years since Lihaf had been published in the Urdu journal Adab-e-Lateef. The frail, beautiful Begum wasted away in anguished loneliness.”. Singlehood and Sexuality, I Issue – Feb 1, 2021 Get the entire Brokeback Mountain LitChart as a printable PDF. It also involves the freedom to express ‘sexuality’ which is not right according to society) and was banned. This is the feeling of every girl who is newly married yet her desires were never fulfilled by her husband that she wanted to gratify her wishes by other means. Begum was gaining the glow that she lost. As older adults we may be made to feel that our desires are superfluous and undignified, and our sexual performance is diminishing or compromised, as is our desirability. The language and the words used are related to sexual re-presentation of a woman’s body. We may not consider love or commitment a prerequisite to engaging in sexual activity; we may simply be ‘single and not looking to mingle’; we may express and experience intimacy outside of romantic and/or sexual relationships. This caused the controversies. That night the peculiar noise started. The purpose of this piece is not to question the progressive nature of Lihaaf, but to provide an alternate perspective on the story by shifting attention from the salient theme of homosexuality. Also, giving voice in the story to a young girl, who did not know much about what was going on around her and with the homosexual Nawab and Begum, is quite representational of an India, a place where homosexuality was till now ‘veiled’. इस लेख को हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें।. The “flaw” of this story was perhaps not that its theme was sexual but more that the objectivity and vision which gives width to a theme by extracting it from its limited meaning is missing here. Ismat Chughtai wrote about bodies in Urdu. SHORT STORY Lihaaf [The Quilt] O Ismat Chughtai Translated from Urdu by M. Asaduddin In the last issue of manushi, while reviewing Deepa Mehta’s Fire, we. Isn’t it high time we talked about the problems of the terminology used to define beauty and the association of it with sexuality if Chughtai tried doing this in 1941? Lihaaf not only re-presented the unspoken but also brought to light the taboo subject of female sexuality and the presence of female desires in a heteronormative marriage. In the forefront she works within patriarchal norms and adheres to the standards of a dutiful  wife, while within the quilt, she acknowledges her sexual desires and does everything in her power to fulfil them and seeks solace in a non-conforming sexual relationship. Main Theme: Homosexuality, sexual discrimination, marriage for money etc. When our self-worth is considered to be inextricably tied to having and being desired by a partner, being single may be an assertion of our agency against patriarchal norms around legitimate relationships, sexual behaviour, and family. The story was charged with obscenity and she was summoned to Lahore to defend it. Penguin Books, 2013. February 2021 Is it time to come out of ‘the quilt’? Publication: published in Adab-i-Latif. Not much has changed since then. For example, what are we to make of the Begum’s transformation into a sexual predator? Yeah, even many books are offered, this book can steal the reader heart thus much. 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