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New Delhi, August 6, 2020
Writer, columnist, filmmaker and activist Sadia Dehlvi, a prominent critic of radical interpretations of Islam who urged a holistic understanding of the religion and was also a vocal critic of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on the ground that it discriminated against Muslims, died here late Wednesday after a prolonged battle with cancer.
She had turned 63 on July 16.
Hailing from a family of writers and publishers -- her grandfather Hafiz Yusuf founded the iconic Urdu film and literary monthly Shamaa in 1938 -- Dehlvi was a columnist with The Hindustan Times and regularly contributed to several prominent Urdu, Hindi and English newspapers and magazines.
A follower of Nizamuddin Auliya and Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, she was the author of two seminal works, "Sufism: The Heart of Islam" and "The Sufi Courtyard: Dargahs of Delhi", besides innumerable articles on women, minorities, Islamic spirituality and Delhi's heritage and culture.
She also scripted and co-produced the TV series "Amma and Family" that starred veteran actress Zohra Sehgal and also played one of the main roles in it.
Dehlvi was also the associate producer of the TV series "Not a Nice Man to Know" (1998) with late writer Khushwant Singh (who had penned a similarly titled anthology) interviewing women from various fields. She also acted in the TV series "Zindagi Kitni Khoobsoorat Hai" (2001).
Khushwant Singh, in fact, was a great admirer of Dehlvi's work, and wrote in his anthology that he dedicated to her: "To Sadia Dehlvi, who gave me more affection and notoriety than I deserve." His book, "Men and Women in my Life" features Dehlvi on the cover and includes an entire chapter on her.