AANGAN BY KHADIJA MASTOOR PDF

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It arrives on tiptoe. Today as well, clouds had been gathering since evening. There was a chill in the air now, and the electric lamp burned silently.

It is gratifying to see that the book takes its place as a Penguin Classic. Even more important, it is sheer reading pleasure to discover in the translation the unrequited desires and the sepia shades suffused in melancholic tones, true to the spirit of the original.

For me, it is a novel of significant absences, no less important for what it is not than for what it is. It is not a love story, although it could easily have been one. The characters come close to each other and then recoil without achieving any intimacy. It marks lives devoid of love in the conventional sense. Aangan remains low-key, perhaps deliberately so, focusing on girls and women and, of course, men as well, chronicling the disturbances and havoc created in their lives by political events.

Those large events remain off-stage. It is a novel which transforms previous definitions. A recollected past marks the beginning, a time impacting upon the present.

It was a presence throughout my childhood. Reading novels to while away the time, I saw my grandmother read it innumerable times sitting in her own aangan [courtyard], and relating totally with it. My parents would often talk about it. I saw Mastoor several times, but it was her sister Hajra Masroor that I felt an affinity with as a writer as well as a person.

She narrated an amusing story of how Mastoor completed the novel and went to deliver it to the publisher, but left behind the only copy in the tonga. When she could not find the manuscript, she sat down and wrote it all over again. Both sisters were very different as writers and I developed the idea that Masroor was more accomplished as a short story writer while Mastoor was a fine novelist. The later opinion became a truth universally acknowledged.

Critic and novelist Ahsan Farooqi wrote a detailed analysis of the story, finding much to praise in its form and structure, calling it the finest novel in the language. In a similar vein, but without going overboard, Asloob Ahmad Ansari from Aligarh regarded it as one of the 15 major novels in the language. In its own way, the aangan is not only the setting, but a perfect metaphor for the novel.

The central courtyard of a house would be the centre of the household. Technically, this space is not confined to women only — as conveyed by the title — but it contrasts with the more open and public spaces available to men. It is here that the central drama of the family plays out.

The many characters are clearly delineated and memorable, each sad and unfulfilled in their own way. Nobody is more tragic than Israr Mian, son of a low-caste mother but with the same father, who hovers outside the aangan and has to literally beg Kariman Bua, the family servant, if he can get some food once everybody else has finished eating. Good-looking and romantically inclined, Jameel does not wear the shoes of a hero.

He flirts with Chammi and tries to force himself on Aliya as the two female cousins become a contrasting pair, not rivals in love. The contrast reaches a climax at the end when, in a letter from Lucknow to Aliya in Lahore, Chammi announces her marriage to Jameel. The closure is subtle, but perfect.

It was Chammi twisting and turning in bed that Aliya could not hear right at the beginning and thought that she must be sleeping peacefully. She folds her hands on her chest. But has she lost? Or is there victory in her being free and independent from opportunistic suitors such as Jameel and Safdar? Rockwell contributes an afterword which offers useful insights into the story and its author. Rockwell is a far more careful and nuanced translator, hence superior.

The reviewer is a critic and fiction writer and teaches literature and the humanities at Habib University, Karachi. THERE is a Dickensian quality to the latest case of child abuse that has shocked the country — such is the OF late, a number of attacks targeting medical staff in hospitals in Karachi and Peshawar have given rise to Instead of building healthcare capacity and mulling an effective way to curb transmission, the government is talking about tourism.

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Khadija Mastoor

Khadija Mastoor was born on 11 December in Bareilly , India. He died after a heart attack. She migrated to Lahore with her family after the independence of Pakistan in and settled there. She started writing short stories in and continued writing till her death. Five books of short stories and two novels have been published until now. Her writing is based on experience and observation.

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Aangan / آنگن

It arrives on tiptoe. Today as well, clouds had been gathering since evening. There was a chill in the air now, and the electric lamp burned silently. It is gratifying to see that the book takes its place as a Penguin Classic. Even more important, it is sheer reading pleasure to discover in the translation the unrequited desires and the sepia shades suffused in melancholic tones, true to the spirit of the original. For me, it is a novel of significant absences, no less important for what it is not than for what it is. It is not a love story, although it could easily have been one.

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