Jumbo Editorial Team
The legendary writer Fatima Surayya Bajia’s autobiography was launched with great fanfare at Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, on May 21 with her illustrious brother, Anwar Maqsood, keeping the ceremony alight his razor-sharp wit and family anecdotes. He, however, never lost sight of the respect and reverence that Bajia deserved.
The autobiography has been authored by Syeda Iffat Hasan Rizvi after six years of research. She stayed with Bajia and talked at length to her siblings.
“At times I even asked extremely personal questions but Bajia never once raised an eyebrow,” she said. Anwar Maqsood admitted that the love shared by all of his 10 siblings, who include, eminent Urdu poet Zehra Nigah, fashion designer Bunto Kazmi and Zubaida Tariq, is seldom seen anywhere. “That’s because our parents never left anything for us,” he immediately quipped.
“All they left were around 10,000 books. Maybe if they had left some property then we wouldn’t love each other so much.” He introduced Qazi Wajid to the stage by saying he was the only actor who has been doing theatre before Bajia began writing plays. His best introduction was reserved for Zubaida Aapa.
Prof Sehar Ansari praised Bajia’s character and her works. Talking about her habit of calling everyone a beta (son), he said that Bajia even called an 80-year-old beta when she was herself only 40 years old.
He lauded the fact that a book on Bajia’s life and works had finally been published. He said affection and compassion for fellow human beings were integral to Bajia’s personality.
Agha Nasir told the audience how Bajia first got involved with Pakistan Television. Her flight to Karachi had been delayed and she came to PTV Islamabad station for a visit. He hired her and Bajia made her debut in 1966 by acting in one of his plays. She began writing afterwards.
He observed that the most significant feat that Bajia had accomplished was that she was able to put together the culture and values of this country at a time when they cut a disparate picture.
The author of the book, Iffat Hasan Rizvi, stated that Bajia was such a great writer that she felt it was her responsibility not to ignore her works. The book was an attempt at making Bajia an important part of Urdu literature.