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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.
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