On 27th November 2020, Google honored legendary Urdu writer Bano Qudsia on what would have been her 92nd birthday. The US-based search engine said,
“Today’s Doodle honors the life and legacy of Pakistani novelist and stage and television playwright Bano Qudsia, affectionately known as Bano Aapa (Elder Sister). Who is widely credited as one of the most significant Urdu language authors in modern times”.
Bano Qudsia was known for her romantic writings, whose words were quoted by people in love throughout Pakistan and India. As a cultural trendsetter, she was also known to write thought-provoking plays for television. With Urdu classics like Aadhi Baat (Half Talk, 1968) and the novel Raja Gidh (The Vulture King, 1981) under her belt, Bano Qudsia has written a whopping total of 25 novels. She also went on to launch her own magazine “Dastango” meaning “story teller”.
Google went on to say in their tribute to her, “Even as her legend grew throughout her six-decade career, she maintained a reputation for her radical acceptance and kindness, known to embrace those from all walks of life who approached her for mentorship or assistance,”
This was indirectly proven by former cricketer and international cricket commentator Ramiz Raja. Who revealed on Bano Aapa’s 92nd birthday that he had accidently broken her porch light with a ball!
Ramiz Raja is a lucky man to have interacted with a legend like Bano Aapa.
Bano Qudsia was married to fellow writer Ashfaq Ahmed. The two were known to be deeply in love and held a great deal of affection for each other. They appeared to be joined by the hip. Close friends claimed they never saw one without the other close behind. At the time of Ashfaq Ahmed’s death in September 2004, his autobiography Baba Saheba was left incomplete. Qudsia completed the biography and the second part of it was published as Rah-i-Rawaan. The contrast in the narrative styles of the couple is clear in these two books. The first half is considered “provoking, lucid and utterly spellbinding” by critics. However, the second half is colored by the feeling of sorrow. One can imagine how alone Bano Qudsia might have felt after the loss of her husband till her death in Lahore on 4 February 2017.
Google Doodle has reminded us of the spellbinding writer that Bano Qudsia was. And with it, came a reminder for Pakistani’s to never forget the pioneers of the language we call our own.