NEW DELHI – Sadia Dehlvi, a celebrated author, activist, food connoisseur and a true Delhiite, died aged 62 on Wednesday after losing her long-drawn battle with breast cancer.
According to The Indian Express, she had been admitted to a hospital for a few days, and on August 1, her son Arman Ali Dehlvi posted a “cancer treatment fundraiser request” for his mother on social media. A close friend of Dehlvis said she passed away at home on Wednesday night.
Sadia belonged to a well-known family that owned popular Urdu film and literary magazine Shama. The family also brought out several other magazines such as Sushma in Hindi and Mujrim, Khilona and Bano in Urdu, all of which are now defunct. Sadia edited Bano which was a magazine for women. She has also been a columnist for Hindustan Times.
In 2017, she wrote a book on Delhi’s culinary history titled, Jasmine & Jinns: Memories and Recipes of My Delhi. Sadia, an expert on Sufism, also penned other well-known works–The Sufi Courtyard: Dargahs of Delhi, and The Heart of Islam.
She also scripted the hugely-popular TV show, Amma and Family, starring Zohra Sehgal. Sadia founded Al Kauser, the restaurant in Chanakyapuri, with her mother in 1979.
In 2017, she had told The Indian Express, “Al Kauser was the first roadside kebab shop in New Delhi. It became quite a rage in the ’80s and ’90s. The kitchen was in our house.”
Sadia was also a close friend of celebrated author Khushwant Singh, who dedicated his book Not a Nice Man to Know to her.
Later, she produced a television serial called Not A Nice Man to Know, in which Singh was the anchor.
The Indian Express also quoted city chronicler Rana Safvi who recalled several meetings with Sadia at the Nizamuddin Dargah. Safvi said, “I love her writing, especially her book The Sufi Courtyard: Dargahs of Delhi. I used to often see her at the Dargah… With her gone, the dargah will feel empty.”
Several of her well-wishers condoled her death on Twitter. Notable among them are Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin and Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia.
“Sadia Dehlvi, a well-known author and columnist passed away. She was a great devotee of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. Please pray for her maghfirat,” read a message by Delhi’s world-renowned Sufi shrine, Dargha Hazrat Nizamuddin.
Sadia Dehlavi, a well known author and columnist passed away. She was a great devotee of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. Please pray for her maghfirat. pic.twitter.com/rL4HpV5sy4
— Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin (@SufiCulturalOrg) August 5, 2020
“Saddened by the untimely demise of historian and writer Sadia Dehlvi Ji. Delhi will remember her as a true dilliwali and a historian of the people. RIP,” said separate messages by Kejriwal and Sisodia.
— Arvind Kejriwal Army (@army_kejriwal) August 6, 2020