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A Rebel and Her Cause: The Life and Work of Rashid Jahan

Rakhshanda Jalil, Women Unlimited, 2014, Pbk, 246 p, ISBN : 9788188965861, $25.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A Rebel and Her Cause: The Life and Work of Rashid Jahan

A remarkably perceptive, richly detailed account of a pioneering Communist.

Despite a brief and slender literary career, Rashid Jahan blazed like a meteor in the progressive firmament of pre-and post-Independence India. Doctor, writer, political activist, crusading member of the Communist Party of India, Rashid Jahan was radical in a way that defied all expectations - from her social class, her comrades, her peers and colleagues.

In a remarkably perceptive, richly detailed account of this pioneering woman, Rakhshanda Jalil offers readers an unusual document: a warm and informed biography - based on archival material, extensive interviews and critical commentaries - together with fine translations of Rashid Jahan’s best known stories and plays.

Through a subtle counterpointing of Rashid Jahan’s political purpose with her literary and professional skills and sensibility, Jalil paints an arresting portrait of a woman deeply and passionately engaged with the great debates of her time: fascism, imperialism, nationalism, socialism and feminism.  This intense engagement is reflected in every facet of her life and literature, as they unfold here in vivid and compelling prose.

Rakhshanda Jalil is a writer, critic and literary historian. Her published work comprises edited anthologies, among them a selection of Pakistani women writers entitled Neither Night Nor Day; and a collection of esssays on Delhi, Invisible City; she is co-author of Partners in Freedom: Jamia Millia Islamia and Journey to a Holy Land: A Pilgrim’s Diary. She is also a well-known translator, with eight published translations of Premchand, Asghar Wajahat, Saadat Hasan Manto, Shahryar, Intezar Hussain and Phanishwarnath Renu.  

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