My understanding is they lived 'au-pair' and he was/is Hindu.
As for Ismat being a role model let me ask a rhetorical question.
Who would you select for a life partner: (am oversimplifying a bit but you will understand)
(a) A Muslim who prays five times daily, pays zakat, fasts during Ramadaan but lies occasionally, cheats on taxes, drinks on the side and once in a while consorts with call girls.
(b) A non-Muslim who maybe an atheist or agnostic but is sensitive, considerate and a good 'corporate' citizen.
The answer should be obvious. But given the choice, what I find interesting to speculate about is what would God do?....well, that is His problem....really :)
Muniba has posted an excellent reply. Cannot add much to it.
The results of a quick net search.
Professor M Asaduddin of Jamia Milla has translated excerpts from her autobiography:
(Excerpted from Ismat Chughtai's autobiography, Kaghazi Hai Pairahan)
Translated from Urdu by Prof. M. Asaduddin
Rekindling an Old Fire
Ismat Chughtai made Urdu the language of rebellion
By Gillian Wright
ISMAT: HER LIFE, HER TIMES
EDITED BY SUKRITA
PAUL KUMAR & SADIQUE
Rekindling an Old Fire Ismat Chughtai made Urdu the language of rebellionBy Gillian WrightISMAT: HER LIFE, HER TIMESEDITED BY SUKRITA PAUL KUMAR & SADIQUEKATHAPAGES: 287 This is a fun and imaginative book. As a concept it's wonderful -- literary criticism, biography and autobiography, with lots of photos, box items and memorabilia -- a real guide book to Ismat Chughtai, one of Urdu's great modern writers and script/story writer of a bevy of Hindi films, particularly the moving Balraj Sahni starrer about Partition, Garam Hawa.To recreate her times Katha's editors have brought together all her "set" at a period when being a writer was truly exciting, when it mattered, when, and many of them were, of course, communists, and thought they could change society. The contributors read like a who's who of modern Urdu writing -- there's Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Sadat Hasan Manto, Krishan Chander and Qurratulain Hyder commenting on Ismat.Hyder sums her up very well as "Lady Chenghez Khan, because in the battlefield of Urdu literature she was a Chughtai -- an equestrian and an archer who never missed the mark". Hyder writes from experience. Ismat had used her for target practice in an essay entitled "Pom Pom Darling", a reference to Hyder's elitist duck-shooting characters.The question arises -- who is this book for? Priced at Rs 395 and in English its most likely readers are going to be people whose first language is English. However, they should have heard that Ismat is great, and ideally have read some of her works translated into English -- most likely Lyhaaf (The Quilt). This was the story for which she faced the trial for obscenity because of a lesbian scene between a lady and her maid. This compilation reveals that Lyhaaf, great though it was, hung like an albatross around Ismat's neck for the rest of her life, overshadowing her other writing which deserved just as much attention.The book provides for its readers a real insight into her character, her loves, her likes. She was a flirt, a wit, a born rebel and a fearless speaker of her mind. Ismat brought a new idiom to Urdu prose, the language of the urban and semi-urban middle class, and a new awareness of the woman's point of view and the oppression she faced and faces.It is important that here for the first time a number of chapters from Kaghazi Hai Pairahan, the nearest Ismat ever came to an autobiography, appear in English. The drawback is that the translation is in places sloppy. I will give one tiny example, not because it's the worst, but because it's the first. The translation of Ismat's words reads, "A heartless brute was beating a hapless, dark child." The original, however, has no P.G. Wodehouse-ian "heartless brute". It is more like, "One person was beating another mercilessly. The person doing the beating was tall and strongly built, and the one being beaten a rather frail and extremely black child."I'm not sure whether the fault lies with the translator or in excessive editing. The introduction admits that translators for many articles "knew Urdu" but had to work from Devnagari as they could not read the Urdu script. Ismat Chughtai was in favour of printing Urdu in Devnagari to save the language from extinction. However, if you are embarking on literary translation, ideally you should be familiar with its literature. With Urdu that means taking the trouble to learn the alphabet. It's not difficult to do and I am sure the results would show that it was worth it.
Two more reviews of the same book
Torchbearer of a literary revolution
Ismat Chughtai, enfant terrible of Urdu literature, has been accused of having a limited choice of subject matter. That is true, for she wrote of only what she knew at first hand. But within these limits she perfected her art, giving the greatest shock that an artist can ever give her readers, says RAKHSHANDA JALIL.
A BOLD and unconventional woman
Inscribing the Rebel reviewer sara rai
A haphazard but welcome tribute to Urdu's first lady
ISMAT: HER LIFE; HER TIMES
Edited by Sukrita Paul Kumar and Sadique
Rs 395; Pages: 287
And an english translation of the lihaaf:
by Ismat Chughtai
(Translated by Syeda Hameed
love and rgds