Thursday, 2 May 2013

Short Story Reads: Four stories by Qurratulain Hyder

I recently chanced upon and read four stories (Best Indian Short Stories: Volume I (compiled by Khushwant Singh) by Qurratulain Hyder, the legendary Urdu writer. These stories were indeed a delight despite their twist-in-the-tale endings with an element that called for a reader's interpretation. They were haunting too; these stories are Memories of an Indian Childhood, A Candle for St. Jude, My Aunt Gracie and Honour. First written in Urdu by the author, these were later translated by her in English.

Memories of an Indian Childhood describes a childhood in India in the midst of culture and changing ethos among a varied and colorful people: Indians, British and Anglo-Indians at a time when the sun had almost set in the British Empire. A Candle for St. Jude describes the hopes and love of an innocent woman. My Aunt Gracie is the story of a loving woman who showered unconditional love while Honour is quite a story on opulence and royalty, loss, betrayal and starting life afresh in a world of indifference and uncertainty where only the seedy rule.

Hyder was also former editor of the bygone Imprint magazine. She was a recipient of the Sahitya Academy Award, the Jnanpith and the Padma Bhushan.

(Article by Kabita Sonowal)

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