DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
DAV CENTENARY COLLEGE, FARIDABAD, HARYANA
Ismatchugtai’s “Lihaaf” is the most controversial and well-known work. Lihaaf is based on homosexuality which is still the most disputatious subject in India. This short story brought immense notoriety to her because the subject she chose is still considered a taboo in polite society of India. It was written at that time when the subject “sex” was discussed among women only in whispers. With the help of her characters “Begum Jaan” and her maid,Rabbu homosexuality were described. The building of character like Begum Jaan is a step towards modernity. Begum Jaan is an archetype of the “new woman”. She represents those women who meekly submitted to the dominated male and also suppressed their sexual desires. Lihaaf was a frontal attack on that society which is responsible for the suppression and the pitiable position of woman in society. My paper is a humble attempt to draw attention towards the bold step taken by Chugtai to discuss the topic considered as a taboo in our society.
Keyword: Homosexuality, Taboo, Female suppression, Modernity