Qurratulain Haider – Biography & Literary Works

Qurratulain Haider was a renowned Urdu fiction writer, novelist, short story writer, and journalist from Pakistan. Her Magnum opus was Aag Ka Darya (River of Fire) – a famous Urdu fiction novel published in 1959 from Lahore.

Quratulain Hyder being, a novelist and short story writer, influenced Urdu literature. She belonged to a literary family of Uttar Pradesh, undivided by British India. Her admirers and friends knew her as ‘Ainee Apa’ due to her impressive writing skills.

This article will discuss the most influential Indian Urdu short story writer and novelist, Qurratulain Haider: her biography, literary works, awards & nominations, and much more.



Qurratulain Haider was born in a literary family on 20 January 1927 in Aligarh, UP, British India. Her father, Sajjad Haider Yildrim, was also a pioneer short story writer of the Urdu language. Following her father, her mother, Nazar Zahra, contributed a lot to the efforts of Sajjad Haider.

Also Read: Ehsan Danish Literary Works and Books

She is one of the most famous Urdu short stories writers, fiction writers, and novelists of all time in South Asia. Her Magnum Opus Aag Ka Darya brought her to mainstream fame in a short period.


She was named after the Iranian most powerful poet Quratul ain Tahirih which means ‘solace of the eyes.’ She opened the way for the novel’s writer when there was insufficient space for literature. Initially, there was a comprehensive talk about her about River of Fire, whether it is a novel or book. Gradually, it crossed the readers and found an edge of excellent Indian history.

Alma Mater:

Qurratulain Haider completed her education at Indraprastha College of Dehli. After that, she studied at Lucknow University Isabella Thoburn College. Since the creation of Pakistan, she moved to Pakistan with her family and remained there till 1960 to return to London.

Surprising Facts about Qurratulain Haider:

  • She is widely regarded as the ‘Grande Dame.’
  • She had never married in her life.
  • Quratulain Haider remained a guest lecturer at the American Universities of Chicago, Arizona, Wisconsin, and California.
  • Qurratulain Hyder left Pakistan for India just after coming back from England.
  • After leaving Pakistan, she took Indian citizenship and influenced the people of South Asia.
  • Dehli was her death place, where she spent her last days after Mumbai.

Literary Works:

A distinguished fictionist and short story writer Qurratulain Haider wrote when she was 11. Her literary work includes four collections of short stories and twelve novels, including novellas. She also translated some classical works into Urdu. Later, her works were translated too into other languages as well.

Aag Ka Darya – River of Fire, a landmark novel, tells a hundred years of history. It started in the fourth century BC and ended in the post-partition of India and Pakistan. Moreover, the crucial epoch of history ended with Qurratulain Haider’s struggles.

Awards and Nominations:

Following are the achievements of the legendary Ainee Apa Aka Qurratualain Haider:

  • Sahitya Akademi Award (1967) for – Patjjhar Ki Awaz
  • Jnanpith Award (1989) for – Akhir e Shab Ke Humsafar Novel
  • Bahadur Shah Zafar Award (2000)
  • Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (1994)
  • Padma Bhushan in 2005 – The third highest civil award by the government of India for her contribution to Urdu literature.
  • Padma Shri – the highest civilian award by the Govt. of India.

Qurratulain Haider’s Books List:

  • Aag Ka Darya
  • Akhri Shab Ke Humsafar
  • Gardish Rang e Chaman
  • Roshni Ki Raftar
  • Housing Society
  • Patjhar Ki Awaz
  • Kaar e Jahan Daraz Hai
  • Jahan e Deegar
  • Safeena e Gham e Dil
  • Dilruba Novel
  • Mere Bhi Sanam Khane
  • Chaar Novelat
  • Fasl e Gul Aai Ya Ajal Aai
  • Khayali Palao – Translation Work
  • Aaina e Jahan Kulliyat
  • Hamein Charagh Hamein Parwane
  • Kaar e Jahan Daraz Hai
  • Chandni Begum
  • Sita Haran
  • Chaye Ke Bagh


Although Qurratulain Haider was an eminent fiction writer of her time, she has no parallel to her works. There was one and only critic who pointed out her literary writings. A prolific novelist Paigham Afaqui criticized her magnum opus Aag Ka Darya with some standing questions about the post-partition history and migration.


Qurratulain Haider suffered from Lung Illness and died in NOIDA hospital in New Delhi on 21 August 2007. She was buried at Jamia Millia Islamia cemetery in New Delhi.

The literary circle went into grief after the death of renowned novelist and short story writer Qurratulain Haider. Even high officials of India, including the President, Prime Minister, and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, sent their condolence message on her demise.

All splendid works of Qurratulain Haider touched on history with a little mixture of the romantic essence. Urdu readers can read Qurratulain Haider’s biography and books in this article. You may also read Fahmida Riaz’s biography & Works.

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