Lifting the Veil: A Study of Ismat Chughtai’s “Lihaf”

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Narjis Fatima Zaidi
Prof. Tanveer Khadija


‘Queer’ is defined as anything which is against the ‘normal’, ‘biological’, ‘God-given’ or ‘natural’. Queer theory is a field of study within gender and sexuality that challenges normative understandings of gender, sexuality, and identity. It emerged in the late 20th century and seeks to deconstruct traditional notions of binary gender and heterosexual norms, questioning societal assumptions about sexuality and identity. Queer theory broadens the scope of its analysis to include all types of behaviors that entail “queer” forms of sexuality because it is concerned with all kinds of sexuality which are “queer” in this regard. It rejects the notion that one’s sexuality is a fundamentalist in nature, something defined by genetics or assessed by immutable moral and truth standards, in line with feminist theory and gay/lesbian studies. The most controversial & popular work of Ismat Chughtai, “Quilt,” or “Lihaf” was authored in 1941 and released by Adab-e-Latif, a literary magazine sometime later in 1942 voicing a woman’s sexual desires and setting an example of liberation of women from the shackles of the society which suppresses their need to be vocal about their sexual needs. The present research article aims at evaluating Ismat Chughtai’s short story, which delves deeply into a woman’s sexual needs and focuses on female sexuality. It also goes a long way towards examining a woman’s conscious decision to choose an alternative sexuality over her naturally heterosexual behavior.


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How to Cite
Narjis Fatima Zaidi, and Prof. Tanveer Khadija. “Lifting the Veil: A Study of Ismat Chughtai’s ‘Lihaf’”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 8, no. 3, June 2023, pp. 98-103, doi:10.53032/tcl.2023.8.3.12.
Research Articles


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Kumar, Sukrita Paul & Sadique. Ismat: Her Life, Her Times. Katha, 2000.

Kumar, D. Sexuality and Self-Representation: The New Woman in Ismat Chughtai “The Quilt” 2012, Retrieved from