Please Wait...


Item Code: IDF988
Author: Ismat Chughtai
Publisher: Women Unlimited
Language: English
Edition: 1995
ISBN: 8185107556
Pages: 374
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.1" X 5.2"
weight of the book: 460 gms
From the Back of the Book

An emotionally deprived childhood with siblings, ayahs, parents and servants convinces Shaman that she is destined to remain unloved. She suffers a traumatic separation from her wet-nurse Unna, then her older sister, Bari Apa. She grows up mutinous with no regard for convention.

Shaman forms deep friendships in school and college, but is unable to come to terms with her sexuality. By the time she marries an Irish Army Captain her passionate nature has been corroded by years of denial and disappointment.

In The Crooked Line, Ismat Chughtai, reveals the core of female psyche. She exposes all. She draws upon all aspects of female experience and tells her tale with incomparable skill. In her effort to seek and define connections between culture and female experience, Chughtai dissects custom and ritual with a keenly discerning eye and sharp turn of phrase.

"Long before feminism and Simone de Beauvoir were available to women writers here, Ismat Chughtai had her finger on the Pulse of a changing cosmos.

About the Author

Ismat Chughtai was born in Badayun in 1915. She was the first Muslim woman in India to gain both a BA and a degree in teaching.

In 1941 she wrote and published The Quilt, a story about a neglected housewife's erotic relationship with her maid. Charged with writing pornography, she underwent a trial in Lahore which lasted two years until the case was finally dropped. The Quilt has been published in one of her several collections of short stories. Ismat Chughtai also wrote novellas, novels, plays and essays. With her husband, Shahid Latif, a film director, whom she married against her family's wishes in 1942, she produced and co-directed six films, and produced a further six independently after her husband's death.

The Crooked Line is he magnum opus, written in the early 1940s; it remains one of the most important novels to date by a subcontinental woman writer.

She received a number of literary awards, the last being the Iqbal Samman Award for Literature in 1989.

Ismat Chughtai died in Bombay in 1991.

About the Translator

Tahira Naqvi gained a BA in English Literature from Lahore College for Women in Pakistan, and an MA in psychology from Punjab University. She has taught for a number of years, and since 1983 has Adjunct Instructor of English at Western Connecticut State University.

She has translated a substantial body of work from the Urdu, including Ismat Chughtaia's 'The Quilt' and many of her other stories. As well as writing her own fiction, Tahira Naqvi has also contributed academic papers on socio-cultural themes, and on the challenges of translation.


In The Crooked Line, Ismat Chughtai, one of Urdu's boldest and most outspoken writers, cuts to the core of the female psyche, exposing it layer by layer in her searing, candid style as no other writer of the Indian subcontinent, male or female, has done before or since. She leaves out very little. Relationships of women with each other within the sphere of the extended family, the dynamics of a nascent female identity as it reveals itself in relationships between young girls grappling with sexual urges in an environment dominated by a female presence, relationships between women and men, the connection between women and their social and political milieu there is hardly any aspect of female experience that Chughtai does not draw upon in The Crooked Line. The narrative, drawing heavily on Ismat Chughtai's own experiences of Shaman, beginning with her birth as the tenth and youngest child in a middle-class Muslim family where traditional mores and cultural constraints maintain an oppressive hold on the lives an behaviour of all its members. But the narrative functions only as a vehicle whereby Ismat Chughtai exposes the social cultural conflicts and the psychosexual determinants that govern the development of female consciousness.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published *

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Post a Query

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Related Items