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Renowned Urdu playwright Fatima Surayya Bajia passes away at 85

Updated February 10, 2016

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In recognition of her services, besides the local awards, she has been given the highest civil award of Japan.– Photo: Facebook
In recognition of her services, besides the local awards, she has been given the highest civil award of Japan.– Photo: Facebook

KARACHI: Renowned Urdu novelist and playwright Fatima Surayya Bajia passed away on Wednesday in Karachi after prolonged illness, DawnNews reported.

Talking to media after his sister's death, Anwar Maqsood said "Bajia was a motherly figure for all her siblings".

Anwar Maqsood said Bajia was a motherly figure for all her siblings. ─DawnNews screengrab
Anwar Maqsood said Bajia was a motherly figure for all her siblings. ─DawnNews screengrab

“She not only left her family members but hundred of thousands of her fans to mourn the loss,” said a distraught looking Maqsood, adding that he was with Bajia at the time of her passing.

According to Bajia's family, her funeral prayers and burial will take place after Zuhr prayers on Thursday.

Bajia wrote several popular serials for PTV, including Shama (based on A.R. Khatoon' novel), Afshan, Aroosa, Aagahi, Ana and Zeenat. Besides, she had done historical plays, children's programmes, women's programmes and literary programmes such as Auraq.

In recognition of her services, besides the local awards, she has been given the highest civil award of Japan. Bajia also served as president of the Pakistan-Japan Cultural Association.

Born into an educated in family of Hyderabad Deccan in 1930, Fatima Surayya was the eldest of the 9 siblings. The family sailed to Karachi on September 18, 1948, immediately after the fall of the Hyderabad state, which was invaded by the Indian army on September 11, the day the Quaid-i-Azam died here.

She did not have a formal degree but had acquired extensive knowledge of Arabic, Persian, English and Urdu literature and history at home through private tuitions.

In Karachi, when her grandfather and father died, she took up the responsibility of looking after her younger siblings, who all received a good education and some successfully carved out their own identity in separate fields of art and culture.

Her brother Anwar Maqsood became a multi-talented artist writing plays for TV and theatre, her sister Zehra Nigah became a renowned poetess while Zubaida Tariq turned into a cooking expert.

Whether Bajia wrote a play, serial or any other TV-adaptable piece, she elaborately depicted the culture of the area and the period she set the story in.

In Auraq, the literary programme that ran for about two years on PTV, she vividly depicted the culture of the area -- whether Sindh, Pubjab, Balochistan, Frontier or Kashmir -- in the stories she included in the programme.

Also Read: literary notes : May they live longer — oldest living authors of Urdu

Condolences pour in