Ismat Chugtai brought a lesbian relationship into sharp focus. This, at a time when the very word was taboo. Chugtai was one of the leaders in bringing about some degree of freedom to the seriously oppressed Muslim ladies in India - one of those who dared to step out without purdah in the 1930s, she defies generations of tradition when she went on to head a girls' school when education itself was denied to women. She also threw aside a conventional marriage at a young age for a man she fell in love with when she was in her 30s. More than a mere rebel - she was an individualist, and a woman genuinely concerned with the plight of others of her religion around her. "Ismat, Her Life, Her Times" offers everything about Chugtai's social and personal life and should be of interest to readers interested in making a study as to how Urdu literature, and the place of women in it evolved over the 20th century. It contains excerpts from Chugtai's autobiography "Kaghazi Hai Parihan" (a verse by Ghalib, calling the human body cloaks of paper), letters written by her to friends and relatives and the views of critics and contemporary writers plus rare photographs supplied by Chugtai's family. The book lends an insight into the reasons why Chugtai lashes out so badly against the double standards of a patriarchal society existing behind the facade of refined gentility.