KARACHI: Distinguished playwright Fatima Surayya Bajia, who passed away on Feb 10, was laid to rest in the Gizri graveyard, DHA Phase IV, on Thursday afternoon.
Bajia’s funeral prayers were offered after Zuhar prayers at 38D, Miran Mohammad Shah Road, Mohammad Ali Society. Apart from her family members, hundreds of the playwright’s friends, admirers, colleagues and a big number of showbiz personalities, politicians and scholars attended the funeral. Bajia’s younger brother, eminent writer Anwar Maqsood, stood at a corner of the house where Bajia spent her last few years, receiving the mourners. They, along with members of television and print media, started trickling into the street at least a couple of hours before the Namaz-i-janazah. Despite Mr Maqsood’s request to the media that they needed not interview him because he was not in a position to answer their questions, they did not listen to him. And when preparations were under way for the Namaz, they rushed with their cameras near the coffin, creating a difficult situation.
Talking to Dawn about Bajia, scholar Dr Nomanul Haq said: “It seems as if a significant era has lost its link with our times. This troubles me. Bajia’s disposition, her nature had certain mellifluousness (halawat) to her, which was rare. Though the bulk of her work was for television, what was key in all those plays was her personality itself which had a great deal of sweetness (mithaas).”
Actor Qazi Wajid articulated: “People like Bajia don’t die. They live in their creative pursuits.”
Underlining the significance of Bajia’s presence in Pakistani society, poet Pirzada Qasim said: “There was no one like Bajia. Now that she’s no more, her absence would be felt badly. She wrote a lot of historic plays, but she herself was the central character of the drama and story of the culture of our times.”
TV producer Ali Rizvi reminisced about the times when Bajia worked for Karachi Television. He said: “Bajia was the only person in our community that everyone, be it a young man or a seasoned person, felt comfortable talking to. They used to seek her counsel treating her like their mother. We can say that we have lost our mother.”
When asked to give his opinion about her craft as a writer, Mr Rizvi said: “What can I say about that. Great directors and producers have (proudly) worked with her. Her Afshan and Aroosa were two of the most memorable drama serials produced by Pakistan Television. As far as I’m concerned, I only got to direct a couple of her dramas. She did most of her work with Qasim Jalali, Zaheer Khan and Haider Imam Rizvi.”
Architect Arif Hasan, expressing his opinion on the generation of writers and intellectuals that’s fast disappearing, some of whom died very recently, and because of which intellect was getting depleted, said: “What we see today is a different kind of intellect. The continuity that there was with history is no more. I think a lot has been written about it.”
Bajia’s soyem will be held today (Friday) at 38D, Mir Miran Mohammad Shah Road, Mohammad Ali Society, between Asr and Maghrib prayers.
Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2016