Amrita Pritam: The High Priestess of Love

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Amrita Pritam is widely known and loved for documenting the struggles faced by women during partition. Considered to be the first major woman Punjabi poet, novelist, and essayist, Pritam was also the first woman to win to win the Sahitya Akademi Award, amongst many other accolades. A pioneer in women’s writing post-independence, she opened the door for thousands of women who up until then were never given a voice.

But it was her personal life, more than the societal happenings that shaped her work. She is hailed more for the way she lived life on her own terms than the large body of literary work she left behind. Being trapped in a loveless marriage at a young age, she dared to love – lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi at first, and artist Imroz later, while her first love remained unfulfilled. She spent the rest of her life while living-in with a rather loving and caring Imroz.

Perhaps, love and affection were the most defining attributes of her personality.

We bring to you excerpts from some of her best works, translated from the original Punjabi by various poets.

1. एक मुलाकात

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2. याद

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3. आत्ममिलन

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4. मैं तुझे फ़िर मिलूंगी

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5. मैं

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Title image: quint

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