Ek Chadar Maili Si
By Rajinder Singh Bedi
Translated into English as I take This Woman by Khushwant Singh
Ek Chadar Maili Si is a brutally honest exploration of sexuality, society and relationships marked by vivid realism and vigour of narration. It revolves around a tradition in Punjab, as part of which, the younger brother weds his elder brother’s widow upon the latter’s death. This tradition is called ‘chadar daalna’. Compelled by custom and physical force, the male protagonist, Mangal weds his sister-in-law Rano. In their marriage ceremony Mangal places a slightly soiled, somewhat tattered three-yard cambric sheet (maili si chadar) over Rano, signifying transference of shelter and security. Initially reluctant, with time both Mangal and Rano get over their dilemma and find not merely consummation but passion also in their union. This book, which has been hailed as ‘an outstanding contribution to contemporary Urdu literature for its powerful characterisation and innate humanity’, received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1965.
About the Author
Short-story writer, novelist, playwright and screenplay writer, Rajinder Singh Bedi is acknowledged as one of the most prolific Urdu writers of all time. Bedi published his first collection of stories Dana-o-Daam in 1938 and followed it with Grahan (1942) which was hailed as a landmark in Urdu short stories. His literary career of fifty years was marked with versatility and some of the finest creative writing seen in Urdu literature. He was honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1965, Padma Shri in 1972 and the Ghalib Award in 1978.