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Writer-activist Sadia Dehlvi passes away after a lengthy battle with cancer in Delhi | Delhi News

Sadia Dehlvi

NEW DELHI: Noted author, activist and an expert on Sufism, Sadia Dehlvi, passed away on Wednesday evening after a long battle with cancer. She was 63.
Dehlvi was known for her two books on Sufism — Sufism, the Heart of Islam and The Sufi Courtyard: The Dargahs of Delhi. A devotee of Sufi saints Moinuddin Chishti and Nizamuddin Auliya, she was a familiar face in the social and literary circuit of Delhi. She was also part of the Times Litfest Delhi.
Historian and author Rana Safvi said, “For me she was synonymous with Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya dargah as that is where I would meet her.”
Identified by many as the quintessential Dilliwala, Dehlvi was quite proud of her heritage. In fact, she radiated a deep love for Delhi and a strong sense of belonging. She would say often that Delhi wasn’t a city, but a feeling. At the Times Litfest Delhi in 2017, she had said that her family never moved out of Delhi even during Partition as her ancestors were buried here. “How could we leave when our baap-dada were buried here?” she had asked.
She also loved talking about food. In fact, this other love made her explore the culinary history of Delhi in a book called Jasmine & Jinns, which contained some lost recipes. However, her creative side wasn’t just limited to writing books. In 1995, she scripted, co-produced and acted in a TV show called Amma And Family that also starred the late Zohra Sehgal.
People who knew her remembered her as a principled, strong-willed person. She was also among those whom the late Khushwant Singh counted on as a friend. He had dedicated his 1993 book, Not A Nice Man To Know, to her. “Delhi has lost a beloved citizen,” Safvi lamented.
Renowned Pakistani journalist and author Raza Ahmed Rumi knew Dehlvi closely. “Sadia was not just a friend, but a soulmate. We met each other when our lives were taking different paths and they converged. Her death signifies a profound personal loss. It also denotes the end of an age where Indians and Pakistanis could be friends beyond the nation-state rhetoric and connect at a civilisational level,” Rumi told TOI.

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