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Qurratulain Hyder (20 January 1927 – 21 August 2007) was an influential Indian Urdu novelist and short story writer, an academic, and a journalist. One of the most outstanding literary names in Urdu literature, she is best known for her magnum opus, Aag Ka Darya (River of Fire), a novel first published in Urdu in 1959, from Lahore, Pakistan, that stretches from the 4th century BC to post partition of India.Popularly known as “Ainee Apa” among her friends and admirers, she was the daughter of writer and pioneers of Urdu short story writing Sajjad Haidar Yildarim (1880–1943). Her mother, Nazar Zahra, who wrote at first as Bint-i-Nazrul Baqar and later as Nazar Sajjad Hyder (1894–1967), was also a novelist and protegee of Muhammadi Begam and her husband Syed Mumtaz Ali, who published her first novel.

She received the 1967 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu for Patjhar Ki Awaz (Short stories), 1989 Jnanpith Award for Akhire Shab Ke Humsafar,and the highest award of the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1994.She also received the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India in 2005.

She received the Jnanpith Award in 1989 for her novel Aakhir-e-Shab ke Hamsafar (Travellers Unto the Night). She received the Sahitya Akademi Award, in 1967, Soviet Land Nehru Award, 1969, Ghalib Award, 1985. She won Sahitya Akademi Award for her collection of short stories Patjhar ki Awaz (The Sound of Falling Leaves) in 1967. The Urdu Academy in Delhi conferred upon her the Bahadur Shah Zafar Award in 2000. She was conferred Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1984, and in 2005 she was conferred the Padma Bhushan the third highest civilian honour awarded by the Government of India, for her contribution to Urdu Literature and education.

Qurratulain Hyder died in a NOIDA hospital, near New Delhi, India on 21 August 2007 after a protracted lung illness. She has been buried in the Jamia Millia Islamia cemetery, New Delhi.

Her death has been condoled by the President and Prime Minister of India, and Chief Minister of her home state Uttar Pradesh.

It is believed that due to her high stature in social circles no criticism about her vision emerged although she was not infallible. Eminent Urdu novelist Paigham Afaqui has pointed out in his well appreciated article ‘Aag Ka Darya – chand sawalat’ that because she wrote Aag Ka Darya at an early age and because she was encircled by those who did not stay back in India at the time of partition she could not appreciate the point of view of those who did not migrate. After this article of Paigham Afaqui, she indeed reviewed such content and deleted in the English translation of the novel.