Editor’s note: This famous short story by the late
Ismat Chugtai (1915-1991) was written in 1941 and banned by the then State
Government on charges of obscenity. Ismat Chugtai challenged this decision and
won her law suit.
Bihar is among the most
socially and economically backward states in India. Social inequality in Bihar
is amply visible. In order to illustrate the socio-economic context within which
underprivileged groups (including Muslim communities) exist in Bihar, it is
necessary to highlight a few statistics from the state. While there does not
exist a direct causal relationship between customary practice and socio-economic
conditions, both are also not mutually exclusive.
At the beginning of the
women’s emancipation struggle among the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent
access to education and the campaign against Purdah were the main points.
The late nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries were
characterized by considerable debate on these issues in the Muslim community,
throughout India. The reform effort by men on behalf of women was sparked by the
considerable progress made by other communities in India and was inspired by
changes taking place in Muslim countries of the Middle East.