Preeto & Other Stories: the male gaze in Urdu – edited and introduced by Rakhshanda Jalil
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In a world where more women are joining the work force, where ever more are stepping out from their secluded and cloistered world and can be physically seen in larger numbers, the short story collection Preeto & Other Stories: The Male Gaze in Urdu seeks to explore how male writers in Urdu view and consequently present or represent the women of their world.
In her Introduction, Rakhshanda Jalil traces the history of ‘writings on women’ by both male and female writers – from the doyens of Urdu literature to contemporary writers dealing with contemporary issues, setting the mood for the stories in this collection and giving the reader a sampler of what to expect in the ensuing pages.
The collection includes themes which are timeless as well as topics that are an outcome of the times we live in. Starting with two of the four pillars of the Urdu short story – Rajinder Singh Bedi and Krishan Chandar – who can be credited with introducing a realistic portrayal of women in Urdu fiction, the stories in this volume offer multiple ways of ‘seeing’ women.
About the Author
Rakhshanda Jalil is a writer, critic and literary historian. She has published over 15 books and written over 50 academic papers and essays. Her book on the lesser-known monuments of Delhi, Invisible City, continues to be a bestseller. Her recent works include: Liking Progress, Loving Change: A Literary History of the Progressive Writers Movement in Urdu (OUP, 2014); a biography of Urdu feminist writer Dr Rashid Jahan A Rebel and her Cause (Women Unlimited, 2014); a translation of The Sea Lies Ahead, Intizar Husain’s seminal novel on Karachi (Harper Collins, 2015); Pigeons of the Domes: Stories on Communalism (Niyogi Books, 2015) and Krishan Chandar’s partition novel Ghaddar (Westland, 2017); and most recently an edited volume of critical writings on Ismat called An Uncivil Woman (Oxford University Press, 2017). She runs an organisation called Hindustani Awaaz, devoted to the popularisation of Hindi-Urdu literature and culture.