Raza Ali Abidi

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Raza Ali Abidi
رضا علی عابدی
Born (1936-11-30) 30 November 1936 (age 81)
Roorkee, Uttar Pradesh, British India
Occupation broadcaster, journalist, author
Nationality Pakistani
Genre Travelogues, Fiction and Popular History
Partner Mahe Talat Abidi
Children Rabab, Mona and Babar

Raza Ali Abidi (Urdu: رضا علی عابدی‎; born 30 November 1936) is a Pakistani journalist and broadcaster who is best known for his radio documentaries on the Grand Trunk Road in Pakistan (called Sher Shah Suri Marg in India) and his travelogue along the banks of Indus River. His published works include several collections of cultural essays and short stories. He has worked with the BBC Urdu Service and retired in 1996.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Raza Ali Abidi was born in 1936. He moved to Karachi, Pakistan with his family in 1950. He graduated from Islamia College, Karachi and worked for 15 years as a little-known journalist. Then he moved to London and worked for BBC from 1972 to 2008.[2]

"Raza Ali Abidi is a writer of consequence because of his travels. He owes almost all his writings to his travels but he doesn't travel at random."[3] In November 2013, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by The Islamia University of Bahawalpur for his services in the field of broadcasting, journalism and arts.[4] He was also honored as adjunct professor by the same institute. It is to be noted that The Islamia University, Bahawalpur has recently been declared as the top higher education institute in Southern Punjab, by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.



"Abidi long remained associated with the BBC Urdu Service. There seems to have been an understanding between the BBC and South Asia as each time it was the BBC which had a project in store for him. And each time it was a journey in a different manner."[3]

This book is about his bus travel on 'The Grand Trunk Road'. A newspaper columnist describes it this way, "The first was bus travel on the Grand Trunk Road, commonly known as Jurnaili Shahrah, from Peshawar to Calcutta, now called Kolkata. After the journey, Abidi headed to London and narrated his adventures to his listeners at the BBC Urdu service."[3]
  • Sher Darya,[5] Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1992
A journey from Laddakh to Thatta in Pakistan all along the banks of river Indus also called the Lion River (Sher Darya)
  • Jahaazi Bhai, Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1995
  • Rail Kahani , Sange-e-Meel Publications, 1997[6]
Raza Ali Abidi, as a BBC producer, traveled from Quetta to Calcutta by all sorts of trains.[6] "Later he produced a radio documentary named 'Rail Kahani'." A radio documentary with 16 episodes.
  • Kutub Khana - his travels in search of rare books and libraries[7]
  • Tees Saal Baad, Pehla Safar Aur Hamare Kutub Khaane[3]

Children's stories[edit]

  • Pehla Taara, Pehli Kiran, Champa, Mun-mun, Meri Ammi, Pyari Maa, Zalim Bhedia, Ulta Ghoda, Qazi Ji Ka Achaar, Pehli Ginti, Gungunata Qaida, Bandar Ki Alif Bay. Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, Kamal Ke Aadmi , Nat Khat Ladka (poetry) Ammi ka Din (novel), Ek Gaon jis ka koi naam na tha (novel), Dunya Main Achche Log Bhi hain (novel) and Meena Ne Gudia ko Kaise Hasaya (short stories) All published by Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore.

Literary books[edit]

  • Kutub Khana[7]
  • Urdu ka Haal
  • Apni Awaz (short stories)
  • Jaan Saheb (short Stories)
  • Hazrat Ali Ki Taqreerein
  • Jaanay Pehchaaney
  • Malika Victoria aur Munshi Abdul Kareem
  • Naghama-gar (All about lyrics and the lyricists)
  • Pehla Safar (memoirs of his first Indo-Pak journey in 1982 - published in June 2011 from oxford university press)
  • Radio ke Din (personal memoirs - published in 2011 from Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore)
  • Akhbar Ki Raatain ( being published from Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore)
  • Kitaben Apne Aaba Ki (All about 19th century Urdu books), 2012[8]
This book was launched in 2012 at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi. "Speaking on how the idea of the book came about, Mr Abidi said in 1975-76, while working for the BBC, he presented a proposal to his bosses that the relatively less known books written by 19th century Indian authors (which could be found in the India Office Library and Records) should be discussed in a programme."[8] BBC officials gave him the green signal and he went ahead with the project.[8]
  • Tees Saal Baad (first Indo-Pak journey + Hamare Kutub Khaanay with additions)
  • Puraane Thug (A history of the Thugs of the 19th century in British India)

Awards and recognition[edit]


  1. ^ a b Raza Ali Abidi receives 'The Literature Award' in 2013 Dawn newspaper, Published 29 June 2013, Retrieved 15 April 2017
  2. ^ Profile of Raza Ali Abidi on Dawn newspaper, Published 29 September 2014, Retrieved 16 April 2017
  3. ^ a b c d e COLUMN: The travels of Raza Ali Abidi, Dawn newspaper, Published 13 January 2013, Retrieved 15 April 2017
  4. ^ a b Honorary Doctorate degree awarded to Raza Ali Abidi by Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Retrieved 16 April 2017
  5. ^ A journey along the banks of river Indus also called the Lion River (Sher Darya), Retrieved 16 April 2017
  6. ^ a b A good look at the grand railway network in Pakistan and India by Raza Ali Abidi, Retrieved 16 April 2017
  7. ^ a b Raza Ali Abidi's travelogue in search of rare books and libraries BBC BlogSpot.com, Published 16 March 2012, Retrieved 15 April 2017
  8. ^ a b c Raza Ali Abidi's Kitabein Apne Aaba Ki launched, Dawn newspaper, Published 5 June 2012, Retrieved 16 April 2017
  9. ^ Aetraf-e-Kamal (Appreciation of Art) Shield by Pakistan Arts Council, Retrieved 16 April 2017