Bano Qudisa: Pakistan’s iconic Urdu writer

Bano Qudsia, a towering writer of her era is one of Pakistan’s iconic Urdu writers, has several awards to her name, including Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Hilal-i-Imtiaz and Kamal-e-Fun Award.


Bano Qudisa, a towering writer of her era is one of Pakistan’s iconic Urdu writers. She was part of the golden era for Pakistani writers that included Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The writing was in her blood already by grade 5, she pleased her friends and teachers by reading to them stories she had written.

Muhabbat apni marzi se khulay pinjray main totay ki tarha bethnay ki salaahiyat hai. Muhabbat is ghulami ka toq hai jo insaan khud apnay ekhtyar se galay main dalta hai.

By the time she graduated from Kinnaird College in Lahore in 1951, she was writing high-spirited pieces for college magazines and other journals. Qudsia’s novel Raja Gidh (The Vulture King) is considered a modern Urdu website classic. The love triangle story based in Lahore has thinking about family structures and the meaning of love in middle-class Pakistan.

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Intertwined in this is Bano Qudsia analyzing what are the meanings of Haraam and Halaal and whether a genetic transmission of haram exists. In a period in which PTV plays were world-renowned and appreciated, she gained much acclaim for the plays she composed both for radio and TV, including her play Adhi baat which is considered a classic.

Bano Qudsia was a trendsetter in television plays in the 1970s and ’80s. She wrote for television and stage in Urdu and Punjabi languages. Some of them gained widespread popularity across the border for their warmth, buoyance, and courage. Her prominent writings include Aatish-i-zer-i-paa, Chhotaa Sheher Baray Log, Aik Din, Amer Bail, Asay Pasay, Chahar Chaman, Footpath ki Ghaas, and Hawa Kay Naam, among others.

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Bano Qudsia has several awards to her name. In 1983, Qudsia was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) by the Government of Pakistan. In 2010, the Pakistani government awarded her the Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Crescent of Excellence) for her services in literature. In 2012, the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) awarded Qudsia the Kamal-e-Fun Award.

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