Lihaaf Short Story Summary

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Stories regarding homosexuality are generally hidden, untold and uncountable. Usually the attitude of people towards the LGBTI people is hardly good. Novels and short stories featuring homosexual themes do not find expression in public at large. Usually such themes face charges of obscenity and are controversial. In literature, many writers have written works which were longed banned and underwent censorship. 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. Ismat Chughtai’s short story ‘Lihaaf’ became disputable as soon as it was published due to its homosexual theme. Although the same sex relationship does not feature explicitly in the story yet the sexual implication of the relationship between the protagonist of the story Begam Jaan and her domestic help Rabbu can be seen. The conflicts of mind and the disturbed married life of Begam Jaan can be seen in the initial paragraphs of the story until Begam Jaan finds her love in a lesbian relationship with Rabbu. In this paper, I will analyse the ‘newly found’ lesbian identity of the Begum Jan –the protagonist of the story ‘Lihaaf’.
KEYWORDS : Homosexuality, Queer Studies, marriage, lesbian identity.
“I read through the summons but could barely make sense of it. My story Lihaaf had been accused of obscenity.”
Ismat Chughtai’s short story Lihaaf was published in 1942 in an Urdu Journal Adab-i-Latif for which she was summoned
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