Amrita Pritam

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    Amrita Pritam, the famous woman writer and poet, novelist, and essayist, and the leading 20th-century poet of the Punjabi language was born in 1919, in gujranwala, Punjab (present day Pakistan) she was known as amrita kaur. She was the the only child of a school teacher, a poet and a scholar of Braj Bhasha, Kartar Singh Hitkari, who also edited a literary journal. Her mother died when she was eleven and after that she and her father moved to Lahore, where she lived till 1947’s partition after which she came back to India. Before getting back to India, Amrita also worked at a radio station in Lahore. Her loneliness put her into writing and Her first collection of poems, Amrit lehran (immortal waves) thus came into publish in 1936. When she was 16 she got married to Pritam singh and Amrita kaur was changed to Amrita Pritam. But she was not manage her wedded life well and left her husband. She had an affair with Sahir Ludhianvi but even this love affair had a very short life. Finally she found her soul companion in Imroz, with whom she spent almost 40 years of her life. She was a subject of Imroz’s most of paintings and he even designed the book covers of her books. Their love story is best depicted in Amrita-Imroz:A love story. She began her journey as a romantic poet but the circumstances around her and the condition of people in India inspired to become a part of Progressive Writer’s Movement and thus Lok Peed (people,s anguish) got published in 1944 that openly criticized the war torn economy. After partition and the great blood shed the hurt Amrita Pritam wrote “Aj akhaan waris shah nu” in 1948 that become the most poignant reminder of the horrors of Partition. She didn’t confine herself to the writing only, she actively participated into social activities after independence even. She worked with all India radio, delhi till 1961 but she continued with her writing carrier . The first of Amrita Pritam’s books to be filmed was Dharti Sagar te Sippiyan, as ‘Kadambar’ (1965), followed by ‘Unah Di Kahani’, as Daaku (Dacoit, 1976). Her novel Pinjar (The Skeleton, 1970) was made into an award winning Hindi movie because of its humanism and the directoer Chandra prakash said: “Amritaji has portrayed the suffering of people of both the countries.” She also edited “Nagmani”, a monthly literary magazine in Punjabi for several years, which she ran together with Imroz, for 33 years. Later in life, she turned to Osho and wrote introductions for several books of Osho, including Ek onkar satnam and she also started writing on spiritual themes and dreams. She had also published autobiographies, titled, Kala Gulab (Black Rose) (1968), Rasidi Ticket (The Revenue Stamp) (1976), and Aksharon kay Saayee (Shadows of Words). Her remarkable writings and the magic that she created with words made her the first recipient of Punjab Rattan Award which was given to her by Captain Amarinder singh. She is first woman recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1956 for Sunehey (Messages),received the Bhartiya Jnanpith Award (India’s highest literary award), in 1982 for Kagaj te Canvas (Paper and Canvas). She received the Padma Shri (1969) and Padma Vibhushan (India’s second highest civilian award),and Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (India’s highest literary award), in 2004. She received D.Litt. honorary degrees, from many universities including, Delhi University, Jabalpur University and Vishwa Bharati. She also received International Vaptsarov Award from the Republic of Bulgaria(1979) and Degree of Officer dens, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officier) by the French Government (1987). She was nominated as a member of Rajya Sabha 1986–92. Towards the end of her life, she was awarded by Pakistan’s Punjabi Academy, to which she had remarked, Bade dino baad mere maike ko meri yaad aayi. To honor her the Punjabi poets of Pakistan, sent her a chaddar, from the tombs of Waris Shah, Sufi mystic poets Bulle Shah and Sultan Bahu. Renowned theatre person and the director of the immortal partition movie ‘Garam Hava’, MS Sathyu paid a theatrical tribute to her through the rare theatrical performance ‘Ek Thee Amrita’. This legendry poet died in sleep after long illness in 2005 at the age of 86 but her numerous beautiful writings will live forever. She was and will always be a pride for Indian as well as Pakistani nation.