VALIDA AFZAAL ALI’s real name was Kaneez Abbas but she was better known as Akbari Begum. She was born sometime in the 1860s. She was an aunt of the famous Urdu novelist Qurratulain Hyder’s mother. Her family hailed from Lucknow, moved to Muradabad and, later, owing to her father’s government employment, to Panjab. Her first novel, published by Public Press, Muradabad, was Guldasta-e Muhabbat which was written under the pseudonym “Abbas Murtaza.” This novel is now very rare. Qurratulain Hyder believes she has the only remaining copy. Akbari Begum wrote two other novels, Sho‘la-e Pinhaan and ‘Iffat-e Nisvaan, before Goodar ka La‘l, which was first published in 1907. The latter created a furor immediately upon publication but quickly acquired a special place among middle-class Muslim women and was usually included as an item in their dowries.