Hyderabad: Noted social activist and writer Bilkees Latif, a Padma Shri awardee, and wife of former Air Chief Marshal Idris Hasan Latif, died at the age of 86 on Friday.
She was suffering from cancer.The couple is survived by three children. Bilkees Latif was born into a royal family her father was Ali Yawar Jung, who served as vice-chancellor to Osmania and Aligarh Muslim universities, and her mother was a French woman, Alys Iffrig.
Bilkees Latif was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009 for her work in the slums of Mumbai.
She worked for the upliftment of the poor in Dharavi, believed to be the largest slum in the world, and her experiences were documented in her book O Dharavi.
Her first book, Essential Andhra Cookbook, was a study of the cuisine of Andhra Pradesh.
She wrote Fragrance of Forgotten Years, an autobiographical account of her early years, published in 2010, and Forgotten which narrates the lives of six notable women from Indian history.
Her latest publication was on her husband, former Air Chief Marshal I.H. Latif, called The Ladder of His Life. ACM Latif (retd) was formerly the Governor of Maharashtra.
Wing Commander C.J. Reddy (retd), president of the Air Force Association for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, recalled his association with Bilkees Latif and the philanthropic work she did for the Air Force personnel.
He described her as a very humane person, always concerned about the poor and the needy....