Qurratulain Hyder (1927-2007): Literature Does Not Die

Posted on August 21, 2007
Filed Under >Raza Rumi, People, Urdu
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by Raza Rumi

I have been upset the entire day. Perhaps it does not matter in the larger scheme of things. But this is a sad, sad day. Qurratulain Hyder, the literary giant of our times is no more. At a personal level it is not just the death of another literary figure but it is far greater and deeper than that. Ainee inspired generations of Urdu readers and there is not a single Urdu writer of post-independence era who has not been influenced by her.

Ainee had a civilizational consciousness that took us beyond the nation-state identities that we are so familiar with in our everyday lives. And, of course there was romance – the notion of eastern and Indic romance – that touched our lives. As I wrote earlier, that the way I have understood the world and perhaps parts of myself were deeply influenced by Ainee.

And now her death is a blow that this source of inspiration is not there anymore; as it is we are living in barren times where literature is about marketing and packaging and catering to consumers.

Ainee primarily wrote for herself but reached out and made her mark – and in the process she connected with millions of readers. And I am just one of them. My friends and I have talked today and we recounted how she shaped our inner lives.

I have at least avoided a regret – I met her after years of longing. Met her twice at her house in her frail state and enjoyed the hours. The impressions were indelible. Of course, the ambitious self had planned a meeting later this year.

But there will be nobody in that Noida house. That little temple opposite her house will remain and the sound of Azaan from a neighbouring mosque will also heard. But the hearty laughter, quick witted lines and inimitable writings will not be there.

However, as a friend said – writers die, their stories don’t -makes me a little content.

Farewell, Ainee Apa. May God keep you happy wherever you are…

Photo Credits: The black-and-White photo in this post is courtesy of Prashant Panjiar

40 responses to “Qurratulain Hyder (1927-2007): Literature Does Not Die”

  1. François Joutet says:

    I would like to get in touch with Samina Taslim, who commented on August 22nd, 2007 9:12 am. Please communicate my e-mail address to her asking her to get back to me.

  2. Irshad Hameed says:

    While Aini was great on depicting the perspective of Indian civilization, and she was not only greatly moved by partition but also confused about it as she left India, went to Pakistan, and again came back, there was something lacking in her which made her to do it. She did not have the deep and clinching perception of new India that is visible in the trend setting novel MAKAAN of Paigham Afaqui or Divya Vani of Ghazanfer.Her novels Gardishe Range Chaman or Chandni Begum which appeared in the end of 20th century has absolutely no evidence of her wareness about the time in which she lived. She lived on the periphery of Indian life and cultural realms that she lived in and depicted was escapist venture. It gives nothing about mainstream Indian life. Not all writers are influenced by her like there seems to be no influence of the flowery and decorative language of Qurtul Ain or her traditional diction or imported technique of stream of consciousness on the most original Urdu novelist Paigham Afaqui whose novel Makaan not only revived the genre in Urdu but unchained the style of which Ain etc were prisoners.

  3. Naveed Abbas says:

    Dear Raza, Aaniee appa was a great writer and much more than that. “Aag Ka Dariya” amazing thought… Reminding, “Khak mein kya sorrtein hoon gee keh pinha ho gae”. Thanks for the excellent post.

  4. qurratulain ki maut…ek ahad ke khatme se tabeer ki ja sakti hai.lekin sach yeh hai-ki achha likhne walon ki aaj bhi koi kami nahi–waheed ahmed ka novel..zeenu, ashraf shaad ke 3 novel..wazeer azam, bewatan, sadre aala, asim butt ka daira, achhe novel hain..aur bade bhi—guftugu ka darwaza is liye nahi khul raha hai..ki ..ab mna naqqaad hain…na wo padhne waale–pakistan ke adeeb zyadater pak ke adeebon ko jaante aur unhi per likhte hain.hind ke adeeb hind ke logon ko–pak aur hind ke alawa bhi..urdu ki ek aalmi basti hai-khud mere novel BAYAN ke baare mein mashoor naqqad..DR.MD .HASSAN ne likha ki azaadi ke baad urdu mein aisa novel nahi likha gaya..pokemon ki dunia, aur..prof s. ki ajeeb daastaan via tsunami..mere naye novel hain—lekin kitne logon ki nazar se yeh kitab guzri hai–farooqi apni bekaar kitaab…novel ko apne chand chaapluson ke zariye..main stream mein le aate hain.lekin kitne adeeb self projection ka hunar jaante hain—is liye..qurratulain ke baad bhi..bahut achha adab likha ja raha hai—shayed un se behter adab..kam log hain is ka ehsaas hai..lekin adab zinda hai

  5. Sophia Ali says:

    Dear Raza and other friends,
    I can shed some light on why Ainee left. Going to Lucknow University before Partition my father was close personal friends with her.Many years after his death I spent the day with her in 1998 at her house in Noida and asked her exactly why she chose to leave Pakistan. She told me that at the time she was making a documentary on some rural folk dancing in what was then East Pakistan.The only problem was that the women were dancing around the figure of Krishna. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting told her that they could release the documentary but the footage of Krishna had to be cut. It was at this point she told me she was utterly disgusted at this senseless censorship and decided to return to India.


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