Google on Tuesday honoured eminent Urdu feminist writer Ismat Chughtai on her 107th birth anniversary with a Google doodle in recognition of her efforts for free speech, social liberation and ravaged patriarchy.
Born in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh on August 21, 1911, Chughtai championed free speech, social liberation, and gender equality through her writing. Her best-known works, according to Google’s blog post, questioned double standards and encouraged liberation.
She was inspired by her elder brother, Mirza Azeem Baig Chughtai, who was known for his humorous writings.
Her prominent pieces include ‘Lihaf’, in which she wrote about a queer relationship between a wealthy landlord’s wife and her female servant as well as, ‘Gainda’ in which she penned the story of a domestic worker falling in love with an upper caste man.
Chugtai faced a court trial in Lahore in 1944 for alleged obscenity in her writings. Along her was fellow Progressive Writers’ Movement member Sadat Hassan Manto.
Some of her work has also been depicted in Bollywood movies like Deepa Mehta’s ‘Fire’ (1996) and Abhishek Chaubey’s ‘Dedh Ishqiya’ (2014).
She also wrote for three Bombay Talkies productions that were directed by her husband Shahid Latif – ‘Ziddi’ (1948), ‘Arzoo’ (1950) and ‘Soney Ki Chidiya’ (1958).
Chughtai was honoured with Padma Shri by the government of India in 1976 for her literary contributions.
She passed away in October 1991.