Qurratulain Hyder


Qurratulain Hyder : biography

January 20, 1928 – August 21, 2007


In translation
  • Sound of the Falling Leaves. Asia Publishing House, 1996. ISBN 0-948724-44-7.
  • A Season of Betrayals: A Short Story and Two Novellas. Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-19-579417-6.
  • River of Fire. Translated by Qurratulain Hyder. New Directions Pub., 2003. ISBN 0-8112-1533-4.
  • Fireflies in the Mist. New Directions Publishing, 2010. ISBN 0-8112-1865-1
  • The Exiles. tr. by Nadeem Aslam. Hesperus Press, 2010. ISBN 1-84391-854-4.

Literary works

A prolific writer (she began to write at the young age of 11), her literary works include some 12 novels and novellas and four collections of short stories. Hyder has also done a significant amount of translation of classics. Her own works have been translated into English and other languages.

Aag Ka Duriya (River of Fire), her magnum opus, is a landmark novel that explores the vast sweep of time and history. It tells a story that moves from the fourth century BC to the post-Independence period in India and Pakistan, pausing at the many crucial epochs of history. Aamer Hussein in The Times Literary Supplement wrote that River of Fire is to Urdu fiction what One Hundred Years of Solitude is to Hispanic literature. Aag Ka Darya is essentially a novel written from the point of view of the believers of Pakistan and depicts their agony in detail, specially towards the climax of the novel.

Her other published works include: "Mere Bhi Sanam Khane", 1949; "Safina-e-Gham-e-Dil", 1952; Patjhar ki Awaz (The Voice of Autumn), 1965; Raushni ki Raftar (The Speed of Light), 1982; the short novel Chaye ke Bagh (Tea Plantations), 1965 (one of four novellas including Dilruba, Sita Haran, Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Na Kijo, exploring gender injustice) ; and the family chronicle Kar e Jahan Daraz Hai (The Work of the World Goes On).

Compared to her exact contemporaries, Milan Kundera and Gabriel García Márquez, the breadth of her literary canvas, her vision and insight, transcend time.

Amitav Ghosh writes that "hers is one of the most important Indian voices of the twentieth century."

Her first short story, Bi-Chuhiya (Little Miss Mouse), was published in children’s magazine Phool and at the age of nineteen wrote her first novel "Mayray Bhee Sanam khanay".

Awards and honours

She received the Jnanpith Award in 1989 for her novel Aakhir-e-Shab ke Hamsafar (Travellers Unto the Night). She received the Sahitya Akademi Award, in 1967, Soviet Land Nehru Award, 1969, Ghalib Award, 1985. She won Sahitya Akademi Award for her collection of short stories Patjhar ki Awaz (The Sound of Falling Leaves) in 1967. The Urdu Academy in Delhi conferred upon her the Bahadur Shah Zafar Award in 2000. She was conferred Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1984, and in 2005 she was conferred the Padma Bhushan the third highest civilian honor awarded by the Government of India, for her contribution to Urdu Literature and Education.