Textualising the Erotic Body: Reading Chughtai's â€œLihaaf" through Lacanian Lenses
Ismat Chughtai, born of a Muslim middle class family in Lucknow-- the city of Nawabs rather a city of tehjeeb, educated in La Martiniere, Isabella Thoburn college and University of Lucknow, was a Nae- Adab-ke-Mimar (Builder of the New Literature) and one of the pioneers of Progressive Writers in India such as Munshi Prem Chand, Mulk Raj Anand, Saadat Hasan Manto, Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Ahmed Ali, Sajjad Zaheer, Rashid Jahan, and others.
Though all these progressive writers were diverse in the choice of area/subject of the writing but unified in sensibility for realism and exploring the natural extinct of life. Ismat was a bold woman with a radical feminist fervor, long before feminism has gained momentum in the world but without being conscious of it. For writing on taboo subjects like womanâ€™s desire, the desire for erotic pleasure, the jouissance and the orgasm through homoeroticism etc, especially in colonial India and in the world of domineering patriarchy, moreover, by a female and still more by a Muslim writer, was not only a challenging but also a perilous task.