KARACHI - Renowned Urdu novelist and playwright Fatima Surayya Bajia passed away after a prolonged illness here on Wednesday night. She was 86.

Bajia’s brother Anwar Maqsood, talking to The Nation, said that she had been suffering from paralysis and during her prolonged illness she was admitted to hospital intermittently. He said her funeral prayers would be offered today after Zohr prayers.

Bajia was born in 1930 in Hyderabad, India. She never attended a formal school. She got her education at home. She is ranked an eminent intellectual, reader and writer. She had nine other siblings, some of whom have also been blessed with fame and talent such as the famous cooking expert Zubeida Tariq, the playwright/actor/host Anwar Maqsood, dress designer Sughra Kazmi and poetess Zehra Nigah.

Bajia got her break as an actress in a play that aired on PTV-Islamabad in 1966. From then on, she began writing and that lead to more than 10 successful dramas and serials. Her most popular dramas are Shama, Afshan, Aroosa, Tasweer, Zeenat, Ana, Aagahi, Aabgeenay, Babar, Tareekh o Tamseel, Ghar Aik Nagar, Sassi Punno, Anarkali and Auraq.

These classical dramas were aired on PTV and the impact of Fatima’s dramas was such that families across Pakistan used to complete all their chores and duties quickly in order to be free at the time these dramas came on air. Quality family entertainment was therefore the hallmark of Bajia’s plays and that is what made her so famous.

She contributed for the literary programmes like Auraaq, and beauty care programmes under the title Aaraish-e-Khaam-e-Kakal. She also produced some children programmes. She is founder of Khwateen Key Meilaad.

Apart from her professional career, Bajia was also active in social welfare activities and loved to help the poor and the needy. She was honoured with various domestic and international awards like Pride of Performance Award, Hilal-i-Imtiaz and the highest civil award of Japan.

She also remained as the Adviser of the Chief Minister of Sindh province.

After years of work, Fatima quit writing. However, a biography about her entitled ‘Apki Bajia’ was written by Syeda Iffat Hasan Rizvi and published in 2012. This book gives an in depth look in Bajia’s life, work and other events relating to her.