Amrita Pritam : The journey of a fearless , strong , and incredible women writer of India.

Features and interveiws Offbeat

By Manya Srivastavaa

In the times of this  pandemic , due to lockdown. , Many people are reading books and watching movies . One of the greatest female writer of India who is known for writing the content ahead of her times. She is none other than the legendary writer Amrita Pritam . She wrote what she felt, and her writings will always be relevant to Indian society. She wrote fearlessly on every topic which was a taboo at that time. The famous movie ” Pinjar ” is the adaptation of one of her works. Her literary work , poem ,stories are as great as her life journey. One should definetly read the work of Amrita Pritam in this lockdown. We bring you a small glimpse of journey of her life.

Birth & Childhood
Amrita was born on August 31, 1919, in Gujranwala, Punjab.  Amrita lost faith in God at the age of 11, when her mother passed away.After her mother’s death Pritam became more bold & independent and she expressed  her audacity in her writing. At the age of sixteen she became published writer and at the same time she got married with Pritam singh. She started questioning the wrong rituals at very early age and her writeups are proof of her bold personality.
Writing Career
Amrita Pritam this name reminds nothing but only love & modernity. Pritam was the very first well known Punjabi Female writer . She was the winner of the many prestigious awards. 
She wrote about Love, Partition, & Women. She was a True Modern Lady. She was too bold to accept by the society at that time. 
Once in a interview She explained to a journalist : “Man has not yet tasted the friendship and company of a liberated woman as an equal partner. Men and women have not yet met as two independent human beings. If men and women are not economically independent, how can they love? Generally women love out of a sense of insecurity. Love is admiration and companionship of the other person. Economic enslavement obstructs the experience of love.”
Throughout her life, Amrita had been a symbol of liberation for contemporary women writers.
With a career spanning over six decades, she produced over 100 books of poetry, fiction, biographies, essays, a collection of Punjabi folk songs and an autobiography that was translated into several Indian and foreign languages.She began to write poems at a very early age, and her first poem  collection, ‘Thandiyan kirnan’ ,came out in 1935 when she was sixteen.
Her initial work consisted mainly of romantic poems though she was a sensitive  writer and joined a  literary movement. In 1944, a poetry collection titled ‘Lok Peed’ (Anguish Of The Public) Amrita’s first social poetry emerged and she criticised the economy being depleted by the Second World War and the disastrous Bengal famine of 1943.
In 1947 She witnessed innumerable, unspeakable human tragedies  so She penned her most famous poem “Ajj Aakhan Waris Shah Nuu” The poem is addressed to the 18th-century Sufi poet Waris Shah and asked him to come back on earth and write about the grieves of womens during partition. 
Aj akhan Waris Shah nu ki tun kabran vichchon bol,
Te aj kitab-e-ishq da koi agla varka phol.
(I summon Waris Shah today, speak from thy grave, 
and find the next page in the Book of Love.)
Ik roi si dhee Punjab di, tun likh likh maare vain,
Aj lakhan dheean rondian tainu Waris Shah nu kahen.
(Once a daughter of Punjab cried and you wrote long and long,
 today millions of Punjabi women are crying out to you, Waris Shah!)

 In her 28 novels ‘Pinjar’ was her most famous novel. Pritam set out to construct a narrative of Partition from the women’s point of view.
She worked in the Punjabi service of All India Radio, Delhi till 1961. It was during the 1960s that she clearly became more feminist in her writings. Her later works include ‘Kaal Chetna’ (Time Consciousness), ‘Agyat Ka Nimantran’ (Call of the Unknown), ‘Kala Gulab’ (Black Rose), ‘Rasidi Ticket’ (The Revenue Stamp), and ‘Aksharon kay Saayee’ (Shadows of Words). In her last time she wrote another love poem ‘Main Tenu Fer Milangi’
” Main Tenu Fer Milangi
I will meet you again
Kithe? Kis trah? Pata nahi
Shayad tere Takhiyl di Chinag banke
Tere Canvas te Utrangi “
The young generation knows Pritam by this poem.  
Love Life
  Amrita confessed that her marriage was an unhappy experience. She finally left her husband in 1960 but she always used her husband’s name as her last name ‘Pritam’.Amrita Pritam & Sahir Ludhianvi
Amrita Pritam is often remembered through the men she loved because she loved the very famous writer “Sahir Ludhianvi”. Her love also showed her rebellious character , She loved Sahir very passionately but Sahir never admitted their relationship and Amrita never denied. Amrita had written about him in her autobiography, ‘Rasidi Ticket’.
After Sahir She developed a long term relationship with the famous artist and writer Imroz with whom she lived for the last 40 years of her life. it is said, she lay dying but with enough words to expressing her undying love to Imroz.  Her poem ‘Main Tenu Fer Milangi’ is a promise of eternal love, transcending lifetimes.
Legacy & AWARDS
Many of her works continue to serve as an inspiration to many. Many of her works have been adapted into films. In 2007, eminent Indian lyricist Gulzar released an album, which was basically a collection of Amrita Pritam’s poetry recited by Gulzar. Anurag Kashyap used her last poem ‘Main Tenu fer Milangi’ in his movie  ‘Manmarziyan’ .
Amrita became the first recipient of ‘Punjab Ratan Award’ prestigious award.
In 1956, Amrita Pritam became the first woman to receive the ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’.
Amrita received the ‘Jnanpith Award,’ considered as India’s highest literary award, in the year 1982.
In 2004, the ‘Sahitya Akademi’ (Indian National Academy of Letters) bestowed upon her ‘Sahitya Akademi Fellowship,’ the highest literary award given by the academy.
In 1969, she received India’s fourth highest civilian award – Padma Shri – for her contribution towards arts and literature.
Amrita passed away on October 31, 2005, in New Delhi. It’s  been 14 years of her demise.Still her writing is not  just a writing but  every single line is a deep feeling that felt by every reader who read her work.

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