Inner Courtyard or Aangan, Khadija Mastur
It is her first published novel, written in 1952 over eight months, is Mastur’s best loved and most acclaimed fiction. Set in British India and moving in to post independence Pakistan, Aangan is the story of dystopic home where the battles of the world are played out. Based on the interiority of women’s lives, the inner courtyard, it explores realpolitick through the diverse political affiliations of the members of one family. That it does so without espousing any one shade of opinion makes Aangan a politically sensitive and not a political novel. Khadija Mastur deals with the theme of the Freedom Movement, not from the perspective of men but from the point of view of the women whose lives were changed radically by the decisions made by men in the public arena. It is a powerful novel built around female protagonists and the ways in which they mediate their space in society while condemned to the enclosed world of the inner courtyard, enmeshed in and sustained by strong familial ties and age-old customs.