03 Sep Centenarian Prime Mover: Amrita Pritam
Amrita Pritam is considered as the first renowned poet, essayist, and novelist of Punjabi literature. She is the first versatile poet of Punjabi literature, migrated to India from Lahore after the partition in the year 1947. She was the only child of a poet and schoolteacher, Kartar Singh Hitkari.
Amrita Pritam was born on 31 August 1919 at Gujranwala, Punjab, now in Pakistan. The renowned 20th-century poet wrote over 100 books of poetry, fiction, memoirs, essays, several Punjabi folk tunes and an autobiography that were translated into different languages.
Her magnum opus was her poignant poem, ‘AjjAkhaan Waris Shah’ (Today I Invoke Warish Shah) composition to the 18th-century Punjabi poet, the face of her agony over sufferings during the partition of India. As a novelist, she noted work was Pinjar (the Skelton) 1950, in which she has created her memorable character, Pure, and an epitome of violence against women. The novel was made an award-winning film, Pinjar, in 2003.
Apart from Punjabi poetry, Amrita is known for her Hindi and Urdu writing.
In 1956, Amrita Pritam became the first woman to win the Sahitya Akademi Award for her long poem, ‘Sunehade’ (Messages). The Padmashree was awarded to her in 1969 and finally Padma Vibhushan, India’s highest civilian award in 2004. In 1982, In ‘Kagaz Te Canvass’ (the paper And Canvass) in 2004. She was honoured with India’s highest literary award Sahitya academy of letters, the Sahitya Academy Fellowship given to the immortal literature for her lifetime achievements. In 1981, she won the Bharatiya Jnanpith for the novel ‘Kagaz Te Canvas’ (The Paper and the Canvas). She was also awarded the highest honour conferred by the Sahitya Akademi – ‘Immortals of Literature’ in 2005.
In 1986, Amrita Pritam was nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Noted lyricist Gulzar released an audio album, ‘Amrita recited by Gulzar’ in the year 2007.
Google on Saturday, August 31, celebrated Amrita Pritam’s 100th birth anniversary with a doodle by artist Vrinda Zaveri. In the doodle, Amrita Pritam is seen sitting in front of a bunch of black roses as she writes in a diary. The doodle carries a reference to Amrita Pritam’s autobiography ‘Kala Gulab’ (Black Rose).
Amrita Pritam Poems