Bapsi Sidhwa

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Bapsi Sidhwa
بیپسی سدھوا
Bapsi Sidhwa at the 2008 Texas Book Festival.
Bapsi Sidhwa at the 2008 Texas Book Festival.
Born (1938-08-11) 11 August 1938 (age 85)
Karachi, Bombay Presidency, British India
Notable awardsSitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) Award by the Government of Pakistan (1991)
RelativesMinocher Bhandara (brother)
Isphanyar M. Bhandara (nephew)
Mohur Sidhwa (daughter)

Bapsi Sidhwa (Urdu: بیپسی سدھوا; born 11 August 1938) is a Pakistani[1] novelist of Gujarati Parsi Zoroastrian descent[2] who writes in English and is a resident in the United States.

She is best known for her collaborative work with Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta: Sidhwa wrote both the 1991 novel Ice Candy Man which served as the basis for Mehta's 1998 film Earth as well as the 2006 novel Water: A Novel on which Mehta's 2005 film Water is based. A documentary about Sidhwa's life called "Bapsi: Silences of My Life" is released on the official YouTube channel of " The Citize Archive of Pakistan" on 28 October 2022 with title " First Generation -Stories of partition: Bapsi Sidhwa" .[3][4][5]


Sidhwa was born to Parsi Zoroastrian parents Peshotan and Tehmina Bhandara in Karachi, Bombay Presidency, and later moved with her family to Lahore, Punjab Province.[6][1] She was two years old when she contracted polio (which has affected her throughout her life) and nine in 1947 at the time of Partition (facts which would shape the character Lenny in her novel Cracking India as well as the background for her novel).[6] She received her BA from Kinnaird College for Women University in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1957.[1][5]

She married at the age of 19[1] and moved to Bombay for five years before she divorced and remarried in Lahore with her present husband Noshir who is also a Zoroastrian. She had three children before beginning her career as an author. One of her children is Mohur Sidhwa,[7] who is a candidate for state representative in Arizona.[8]

She currently resides in Houston in the US. She describes herself as a "Punjabi-Parsi". Her first language is Gujarati, her second language is Urdu, and her third language is English.[9][10] She can read and write best in English, but she is more comfortable talking in Gujarati or Urdu, and often translates literally from Gujarati or Urdu to English.[9]


She has previously taught at the University of Houston, Rice University, Columbia University, Mount Holyoke College, and Brandeis University.[1]


  • Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard (1986)[1]
  • Visiting Scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation Center, Bellagio, Italy, (1991)
  • Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) Award, (1991, Pakistan's highest national honor in the arts)[11][1]
  • Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award (1994)[1]
  • Mondello Prize (Premio Mondello for Foreign Authors) for Water (2007)[1][3]
  • Inducted in the Zoroastrian Hall of Fame (2000)[1]


The city of Lahore, Pakistan, where she was brought up, is central to her four novels below:

  • Their Language of Love : published by Readings Lahore (2013, Pakistan.)
  • Jungle Wala Sahib (Translation) (Urdu) : Published by Readings Lahore (2012, Pakistan)[12]
  • City of Sin and Splendour : Writings on Lahore (2006, US)[1]
  • Water: A Novel (2006, US and Canada)[1][3]
  • Bapsi Sidhwa Omnibus (2001, Pakistan)
  • An American Brat (1993, U.S.; 1995, India)[6][1][3]
  • Cracking India (1991, U.S.; 1992, India; originally published as Ice Candy Man, 1988, England)[6][1][3][5]
  • The Bride (1982, England; 1983;1984, India; published as The Pakistani Bride, 1990 US and 2008 US)[1]
  • The Crow Eaters (1978, Pakistan; 1979 &1981, India; 1980, England; 1982, US)[6][1][5][12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Bio of Bapsi Sidhwa. Archived from the original on February 4, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  2. ^ Sharma, Pranay (June 2, 2014). "Those Nights In Nairobi". Outlook (India magazine). Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Bapsi Sidhwa wins Italy's Premio Mondello". website. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  4. ^ "Bapsi Sidhwa (profile)". website. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Shashi Tharoor (October 6, 1991). "Life With Electric-aunt and Slavesister (A review of Bapsi Sidhwa's book)". The New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Bapsi Sidhwa profile". The Literary Encyclopedia website. July 18, 2002. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  7. ^ Allen, Howard (May 9, 2002). "Worldly Lessons". Tucson Weekly magazine. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  8. ^ "Meet Our Candidates: Mohur Sidhwa for State Representative, LD 9". Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. July 11, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Jussawalla, Feroza F.; Dasenbrock, Reed Way (1992). Interviews with Writers of the Post-colonial World. University Press of Mississippi. p. 214. ISBN 9780878055722.
  10. ^ Deshmukh, Ajay Sahebrao (2014). Ethnic Angst: A Comparative Study of Bapsi Sidhwa & Rohinton Mistry. Partridge Publishing. p. 247. ISBN 9781482841534. Gujarati is the first language of Bapsi Sidhwa and most Parsis.
  11. ^ "Sense of the City: Lahore". BBC News website. July 29, 2003. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  12. ^ a b Asif Farrukhi (July 14, 2012). "Cover Story: Review of The Crow Eaters in Urdu (includes an interview with Bapsi Sidhwa)". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved November 3, 2021.

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