Ismat and Manto and My Activist Performance
Presented by: Anuradha Marwah, ICGC Visiting Faculty
Department of English at Zakir Husain Delhi College, Delhi University
Abstract: This presentation is about my current creative work: a play, ‘Ismat’s Love Stories’, that I wrote between 2014 and 2016 and my novel-in- progress, tentatively titled My Family Drama in Too Many Acts. The play explores the mercurial relationship between two well-known Urdu writers, Ismat
Chughtai (1915-1991) and Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955). The representation of the two writers led to many discussions about the ‘truth’ of Ismat and Manto’s lives, both in-house - while I was working on the script - and during interaction with the audiences after the seven public performances in Delhi. In this presentation, I attempt to formulate questions about the relationship between life-stories, performance, truth, and activism and trace continuities of these concerns in my novel-in- progress which is about the many roles played simultaneously in a middle class neighbourhood of Delhi.