Bapsi Sidhwa

From ArticleWorld

Bapsi Sidhwa was born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1938. Later, her family moved to Lahore, Pakistan. She contracted polio as a child. She saw the violence of the Partition (of India and Pakistan) with her own eyes when she was only nine years old. Limited to the pram pushed by her ‘ayah’ because of her affliction , she turned to books. She found great pleasure in writing as well. Her background contributed little to the writer in her. Her books had few takers in the beginning. She never gave up.

She earned a degree in Bachelor of Arts from Pakistan. She did not write her first novel untill years after. Her first novel was The Bride . Unlike the rest of her novels, Crow Eaters is a humorous look at Parsi customs and traditions. It was her second novel and did not receive a warm welcome in Pakistan. She decided to publish and distribute on her own. Then, in 1980, Jonathan Cape from Britain offered to publish it. Spanning half a century from the late nineteenth century to 1940 this is an very humorous, comic account of Parsis in the pre-Partition Lahore.

Her writings, besides describing Parsi customs in detail, also focus on women and generally her books are about strong female characters. Being born before Partition has a lot of significance in her case. She portrayed the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 through the eyes of a young Zoraostrian girl. This novel Cracking India is one of her best works. The book was later made into a film called Earth by director Deepa Mehta, an Indian film-maker. Among the many awards she received, one of the most valuable is the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan's highest honor.

At present

For the past several decades where she has lived in Houston, Texas and speaks very frequently at conferences. Her illustrious career includes teaching at University of Houston, Rice University, Columbia University, Mount Holyoke College, and Brandeis University.