Ismat Chughtai (21 August 1915–24 October 1991) was an Indian Urdu language writer. Beginning in the 1930s, she wrote on themes including female sexuality and feminity, middle-class gentility, and class conflict, often from a Marxist perspective. With a style characterised by literary realism, Chughtai established herself as a significant voice in the Urdu literature of the twentieth century, and in 1976 was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India
Early life and career beginnings (1915–41`)
Ismat Chughtai was born on 21 August 1915 in Badayun,Uttar Pradesh to Nusrat Khanam and Mirza Qaseem Baig Chughtai;she was ninth of ten children–six brothers, four sisters. The family shifted homes frequently as Chughtai's father was a civil servant; she spent her childhood in cities including Jodhpur, Agra, and Aligarh, mostly in the company of her brothers as her sisters had all got married while she was still very young. Chughtai described the influence of her brothers as an important factor which influenced her personality in her formative years. She thought of her second-eldest brother, Mirza Azim Beg Chughtai, a novelist, as a mentor. The family eventually settled in Agra, after Chughtai's father retired from the Indian Civil Services.
Chughtai received her primary education at the Women's College at the Aligarh Muslim University and graduated from Isabella Thoburn College with a Bachelor of Artsdegree in 1940. Despite strong resistance from her family, she completed her Bachelor of Education degree from the Aligarh Muslim University the following year. It was during this period that Chughtai became associated with the Progressive Writers' Association, having attended her first meeting in 1936 where she met Rashid Jahan, one of the leading female writers involved with the movement, who was later credited for inspiring Chughtai to write "realistic, challenging female characters".Chughtai began writing in private around the same time, but did not seek publication for her work until much later.
Chughtai wrote a drama entitled Fasādī فسادی (The Troublemaker) for the Urdu magazine Saqi ساقّی in 1939, which was her first published work. Upon publication, readers mistook it as a play by Chughtai's brother Azeem Beg, written using a pseudonym.Following that, she started writing for other publications and newspapers. Some of her early works included Bachpan بچپن (Childhood), an autobiographical piece, Kafirکافر, her first short-story, and Dheet ڈھیٹ (Stubborn), her only soliloquy, among others. In response to a story that she wrote for a magazine, Chughtai was told that her work was blasphemous and insulted the Quran.She, nonetheless, continued writing about "things she would hear of". Her continued association with the Progressive Writers' Movement had significant bearings on her writing style; she was particularly intrigued by Angaray انگارے, a compilation of short-stories by the progressive writers. Other early influences included such writers as William Sydney Porter, George Bernard Shaw, and Anton Chekhov.Kalyān (Buds) and Cōtēn (Wounds), two of Chughtai's earliest collections of short stories, were published in 1941 and 1942 respectively.m Her first novellaZiddi, which was first published in 1941 was later translated into English as Wild at Heart.