“Kabhi Kabhi Maut bhi jab ek kitab likhti hai, to zindagi se ek bhumika likhwane ke liye aati hai”.
Amrita Pritam: Just two years ago, her 100th birth anniversary was celebrated. The name that stimulates feminism to every woman to a new level is the celebrated novelist and poet Amrita Pritam. Her works show us the profoundness of a human being. Be it love or feminism, she created a different personality through her work. Though she used to write in Punjabi and Hindi, her works are celebrated across the world. Many translated versions have printed throughout the years. We smell protest in her works. Her understanding of a woman’s perspective inspires the next-generation poets. Let’s see in detail about this legendary figure.
Amrita Pritam Bio
Amrita Pritam was born on 31st August 1919 when India was in the custody of British authority. Her birthplace was in Mandi Bahauddin, Punjab, which is presently in Pakistan. Her father, Kartar Singh Hitkari, was a poet and a scholar of the Braj Bhasha language and her mother, Raj Bibi, was a school teacher. At the age of 11, she lost her mother. Following the loneliness after her mother’s death, she started writing at an early age. Her first anthology of poems, Amrit Lehan, was first published in 1936 when she was only 16.
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So, her writing career started very early. She also married very early in the same year. She was in Lahore at this time, but later after the partition, she came to India and lived till her death. After her marriage with Pritam Singh, she changed her surname from Amrita Kaur to Amrita Pritam. In 1960, they divorced, and a new chapter was started in her life.
Amrita Pritam and the Birth of Feminism
“Jahan bhi azad rooh ki jhalak pade, samajh lena wahi mera ghar hai”
This quote implies her personality. A bird is trying to break the cage and free itself. She was born for showing freedom to every woman. This line resounds her yearning for freedom. She is considered the face of feminism. After her divorce, she showed us her feminist perspective on her bitter marriage experience. Both of them lived on mutual terms. Then, she focused more on her writing career. During this time, she wrote Ik Si Anita (1964), Nagmani (1964), Black Rose (1968), Doctor Dev (1968), Kore Kagaz, Rang Ka Patta, and many more.
She is not regarded as a poet only but a revolutionist also. Her works deal with motherhood, pregnancy, and marriage. She questioned the patriarchal society in her poems, “Night” and “The Scar”. “Nagmani” is another work where she raised the voice against the conventional society. She was praised because of her beauty for the award, not for her talent, and she questioned about this.
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Amrita Pritam and Imroz – A Different Perspective on Love
Does love need promises and commitments? Amrita and Imroz’s love story gives us a different perspective on love. She always reflected her love for Imroz in the later of her writing career.
When she worked in All India Radio, she met with him. One of her poems explains the late meeting of this couple. Being younger than her, there was no hesitation between them instead, they accepted themselves freely and mutually. We get a lot of interesting and inspiring stories between them. He was a painter, and she was a writer, but they understood each other properly and spent the rest of their lives together in a live-in relationship. They never married, but their love was eternal. It is interesting to know that Imroz started to write after Amrita’s death.
Another interesting story we always hear about them is when Amrita told Imroz to see the world out there and come back to her. In response, he said, “I took seven rounds around you and I have seen and traversed the entire world and here I am — all for you.”
Amrita Pritam and Sahir Ludhianvi – an Unrequited Love Story
Before getting into a relationship with Imroz, Amrita fell in love with Sahir Ludhianvi, another impeccable poet of all time. When Amrita was looking for freedom, spirit, she then met Sahir. Both were very intellectual and fell in love with each other. But Amrita loved Sahir more than he did. It was also an unusual love story because both of them were different physically. Amrita was very beautiful, but Sahir was ugly, but their intellectual connection pulled them each other. Amrita felt there was no intensity from his side.
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Finally, they departed because Sahir fell for Sudha Malhotra. Amrita also chose her partner, Imroz, later. He wrote, “Mujhe Apni tabahiyon ka koi gham nahin/ Tumne Kisi Se muhabbat nibaah toh dee (I’m not sad over my losses and ruins/ I’m happy that finally, you found someone worth living for)”. This was an unrequited love story finished that caused the buzz of the later generation.
Amrita Pritam’s Works
With over 60 years of her writing career, we have got many inspiring and incredible works from Amrita Pritam. There are 28 novels, 18 anthologies, five short stories, and 16 miscellaneous prose volumes. Some of her famous works are as follows –
- Doctor Dev
- Kore Kagaz
- Unchas Din
- Rang Ka Patta
- Black Rose
- Rasidi Ticket
- Kahaniyan jo Kahaniya Nahi
- Stench of Kerosene
- Amrit Lehran
- Punjab Di Aawaaz
- Ik Si Anita
- Kagaz Te Kanvas
She is the recipient of many accolades as well as honourable awards like Sahitya Akademi, Bharatiya Jnanpith, and Padma Vibhusha. She deeply felt a woman’s joys and sorrows. And that is why we see every woman can identify themselves with her stories. In her later career, we get some political works from her side, but those were not so impressive as the former works. She took her last breathe on 31st Oct 2020. She will always be regarded as one of the most honourable literature laureates in India.
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