Monday, October 31, 2005

Noted Punjabi writer Amrita Pritam is no more

Amrita Pritam (born 31 Aug 1919, Gujranwala, Pakistan)- a person I have admired since my school days is no more. Eminent writer, brave woman and an excellent human being, she will be missed. She had been keeping bad health for the past few years. Author of works like Amrit Lehran (1936), Jinnda Jian (1939), Trel Dhote Phul (1942), O Gitan Valia (1942), Badlan De Laali (1943), Lok Pigr (1944), Pagthar Giite (1946), Punjabi Di Aawaaz (1952), Sunehray (1955), Ashoka Cheti (1957), Kasturi (1957), Nagmani (1964), Ik Si Anita (1964), Chak Nambar Chatti (1964), Jilavatan (1968), Raseedi Ticket (1976), Uninja Din (1979) and Kagaz Te Kanvas (1981). Winner of many awards including Sahitya Akademi Award (1956), Padmashri (1969), and Bharatiya Jnanpith Award (1981). Divorced in the early sixties she had been living with her companion Imroz. Imroz looked after her and nursed her through her illness right till the last moment of her life. Indian literature is poorer as we lost noted Hindi writer Nirmal Verma a few days ago.

The Class VIII Hindi text book published by NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) in the seventies had a chapter which was from one of her works and had been translated from the original Punjabi into Hindi. That was my introduction to Amrita Pritam and her work. As I belong to an army family I have heard first person accounts of partition from many friends and classmates whose parents went through those traumatic times. But it was in the translated works of Amrita that I really saw images of violence which made me shudder. Manto and Khushwant Singh have also written about partition but Amrita was a young woman in 1947 and the impact of seeing the violence which occurred then through the eyes of a woman is much, much more. Khushwant Singh has never been kind to her. But then those who know Khushwant and his likes and dislikes are not surprised. Her novel Pinjar which deals with partition was made into a Hindi film and a TV Serial. One feels sad when such an eminent person's innings on earth comes to an end. This is inspite of the fact that one knows that good writers never die, their works make them immortal.

Some links:
The sad passing away of Amrita Pritam:
Tribute in the weekly Outlook
The Indian Express pays tribute
The Times of India
Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta's tribute
Searching blogger for Amrita Pritam

Biographical links:
Entry in SAWNET
Poem and translation in
Entry in
Article in Life Positive magazine
Story published in The Little Magazine
Entry from the SAWNET database
Short Story Stench of Kerosene
Biographical note in Daily Times (Pakistan)
Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty's article in The Hindu (2002)
Article in Outlook when she was awarded the La Route des Indes Literary Prize of France
A tribute by the Sindh Research Council


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9:30 AM  
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10:31 AM  

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