Akhir-e-Shab Kay Humsafar | KitaabNow

Akhir-e-Shab Kay Humsafar

  • Author: Qurratulain Hyder
  • ISBN: 9693505476
  • Publisher: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers
  • Format: 311 Pages
  • Language: Urdu

Author Biography

Qurratulain Hyder (20 January 1927 – 21 August 2007) was an Indian Urdu novelist and short story writer, an academic, and a journalist. One of the most outstanding and influential literary names in Urdu literature, she is best known for her magnum opus, Aag Ka Darya (River of Fire), a novel first published in Urdu in 1959, from Lahore, Pakistan, that stretches from the 4th century BC to post partition of India.

Popularly known as “Ainee Apa” among her friends and admirers, she was the daughter of writer and pioneers of Urdu short story writing Sajjad Haidar Yildarim (1880–1943). Her mother, Nazar Zahra, who wrote at first as Bint-i-Nazrul Baqar and later as Nazar Sajjad Hyder (1894–1967), was also a novelist and protegee of Muhammadi Begam and her husband Syed Mumtaz Ali, who published her first novel.

She received the 1967 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu for Patjhar Ki Awaz (Short stories), 1989 Jnanpith Award for Akhire Shab Ke Humsafar, and the highest award of the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1994. She also received the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India in 2005.

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 Dariya (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. In a review for a 2019 reprint by New Directions Publishing, Aditi Sriram wrote in the New York Times that the novel “is as relevant in 2019 as it was when she first wrote it in 1959.”

Kamil Ahsan in The Nation wrote: “River of Fire tells a completist and syncretistic version of 2,500 years of history in modern-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—beginning with the Nanda Dynasty on the brink of defeat by the founder of the Mauryan Empire (323 to 185 BCE), and ending in post-Partition despair.”

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). “Gardish-e-Rang-e-Chaman” (a voluminous documentary novel on the post 1857 tragedy befalling women of respectable families), “Aakhir-e-Shab kay Hamsafar” (A novel on the Naxalite Movement and Bengal unrest), “Chandni Begum” (a novel on the general social condition of Muslims forty years into Partition).

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”.

Qurratulain Hyder died in a NOIDA hospital, near New Delhi, India on 21 August 2007 after a protracted lung illness. She has been buried in the Jamia Millia Islamia cemetery, New Delhi.


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