Why Ismat Chugtais stories should not be dropped from Rajasthans school textbooks
Recently, the Rajasthan Government decided to drop the stories of Ismat Chughtai from school textbooks. The decision, according to a textbook committee member was because the works of Chughtai along with Safdar Hashmis poems did not fit into the local culture of Rajasthan and that the students would not identify with the Muslim characters in their creations.
Born exactly a century ago, in 1915, Ismat Chughtai was among the most revolutionary writers of her age. No stranger to controversy, her brazen short stories (especially Lihaf) and bold novels caused a furore back in the 1940s, for discussing controversial ideas and themes that ruffled the established morality of her times. Chughtais stories were unabashed in their feminine and feminist worldview, political in their nature and questioned the established norms of the age. Chughtais writings and her life story – her defiance against religious and cultural ideologies, and her stubbornness to live her life on her own terms made her one of the most progressive intellectuals in India.
The works of a great writer are seldom defined by a language, geography or culture. Writers matter because of the ideas they spread and the questions they raise, within the ambit of the stories they tell. They expose the readers to new worlds, realities and perspectives, while depicting the human condition in each. Academic committees are known to influence education and often design syllabus to fit into their own normative values. However, an argument posited against a writer on the basis of her language, in this case Urdu, which is spoken widely across the country, is restricting a discipline and understanding it through the narrow lens of parochialism. Where would literary greats such as Munshi Premchand, Harivanshrai Bachchan, Dostoevsky or even Gabriel Garcia Marquez be, if they were confined within their own language and not allowed a global readership? What would be the purpose of Literature, or even more simply, stories, if we were confined to read only those identical to our own?
An academic committee that removes material because it is not local for the student subverts the purpose of education and knowledge. The purpose of education is to open minds and new vistas. It is not to curtail and inhabit students to live within the wastelands of the known. A student in Rajasthan should be exposed to diktats of Uttar Pradesh, Mizoram or Karnataka, and have an understanding of the people belonging to different religions and cultures. It does not need a government to recognise or emphasise that each is a part of sovereign and independent India and therefore, its contemporary reality. Insularity of identity is the worse form of insecurity. If the writings of these writers are not native to the student – it is precisely the reason why they must be taught. The reasoning as posited by the education board cannot be justified as logical, even in parody.
Even in the political domain, Chughtai, and her identity as a woman and a Muslim is significant across India. At a time when women were wrapped within the purdah and buried within the folds of traditions and religion, Chughtai stood for radical liberal ideas that instigated a fundamental shift in thinking. Her writings brought themes of gender, sexuality, politics, suffrage and identity to the fore. For a government wanting to uplift sections of the minority population and be inclusive in its growth and development agenda, exposing school children to the most progressive and liberal voice from that community, is within its own interests. Especially when this community is also battling its own internal parochialism and radical religious ideologies. Instead of removing Ismat Chughtai from schools, her writings should be celebrated and propagated. Claiming the language, characters or settings of a particular piece of literature as alien, points to a system that has no space for a liberal, progressive and feminist Muslim writer. It rips through the euphemisms and underlines the fact that anything that is not a part of the majority, as alien and outlandish.
When Chughtai was in the ninth standard, her family moved from Aligarh to Sambhar in Rajasthan, which was far away, in the back of beyond. This shift affected her and she obsessively brooded over her future, her education and eventual empowerment. As Chughtai describes in her autobiography Kaghazi hai Pairahan, she defiantly fought her parents to be allowed to go to a boarding school in Aligarh – an unheard proposition in a conservative Muslim family – where she would get the education that she so passionately desired. Eventually her parents relented after she threatened to convert her religion for the sake of her education, and Chughtai went on to gain not just her schooling but also a BA and a consecutive degree in teaching.
It is a tragedy that the defiance and fight Ismat Chughtai put up against her own family in the last century, in Rajasthan, for a liberal education is exactly the same as one, any child wanting to study Chughtai in this day and age will have to put up. And this time around not against a family but against the higher authorities that represent the country.
Use Social Media to Make Every Employee a Recruiter
Linkedin started the concept of Social Recruiting when they launched in 2003, and now it’s the. Read More
KCGI PANDOGA STUDENTS BROUGHT LAURELS IN THE INTERCOLLEGE COMPETITION
The students of KCGI Pandoga brought laurels to the institute by participating in the intercollege c. Read More
Effects of IoT on Mobile App Development
IoT is the next big thing in the IT industry. In IoT physical objects are connected over a networ. Read More
Register for RTE or face de-recognition Education department
AFTER REPEATED delays in starting the school registration process, the education department official. Read More
Best app analytics tool to provide real-time insight into performance
Do you have the experience of knowing how many users have downloaded your mobile app and how. Read More
Graduates / Post-graduates in any discipline. Strong analytical and typing skills (13WPM). Willingness to work in continuous night shifts. Welkin On 19th Jan to 25th Jan 10 am to 5 pm Venu
We have Urgent and Critical Opening for PHP/ MYSQL Tech lead This requirement is with our own Organization i.e Avantha Technologies. About Avantha Technologies: Our Annual Turn over is 3.5 Bi
Melody wedding and party decorators. We are providing all kinds of one-stop decoration,services providing are wedding decoration,car-decoration,all type of flower arrangements,mandap decoration
Should have worked in implementation of ISO9001-2000 & CMMI process implementation. Hands on experience on SQA Processes and procedures (SQA Activities) Good understanding of Software Develo
INDOSS Institute is a leading institute and the only specialized institute imparting comprehensive training program to students preparing for Bank PO and clerical exams.INDOSS INSTITUTE BECOMES