Ahead of her 101st birth anniversary on Monday, fans remember Punjabi poetess Amrita Pritam who penned the pain of partition, is credited for paving the way for modern day feminism and whose works speak of turbulent times. Born on August 31, 1919, in Gujranwala, Amrita migrated to India after the Partition and became a published writer in 1936 when she was barely 17 years old.
She rose to fame with her literary works like Pinjar, Suneray and Nagmani apart from 100 other books both on poetry and fiction and many folk songs but is best remembered for her Punjabi poem Ajj aakhaan Waris Shah nu (Ode to Waris Shah), which pours out the pain of massacres during the Partition in 1947. She was the first woman to receive the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1956 and the first Punjabi woman to be felicitated with the Padma Shri Award.
Some of the greatest love stories are tragically heartbreaking and same was the case with Amrita whose unrequited love for writer Sahir Ludhianvi is no secret. Celebrated for her vision and diction, Amrita’s works had hallmarks of direct tone and forthrightness in telling female desire since she was quite adamant on rights of women.
Fearless and fierce, the 20th-century poet is equally loved on both sides of the India–Pakistan border and many of her works are still etched in the hearts of literature lovers. Check out some of Amrita’s famous and iconic quotes on love, pain and partition here:
1.तेरा मिलना ऐसे होता है जैसे कोई हथेली पर एक वक़्त की रोजी रख दे
Transliteration: Tera milna aisa hota hai jaise koi hatheli par ek waqt ki roti rakh de.
2.उमर की सिगरेट जल गयी,मेरे इश्के की महक कुछ तेरी सान्सों में
Transliteration: Umr ki cigarette jal gayi, mere ishq ki mehek kuch teri saanson mein
3.जहाँ भी आज़ाद रूह की झलक पड़े, समझना वह मेरा घर है
Transliteration: Jahan bhi azaad ruh ki jhalak padey, samajhna wah mera ghar hai
4.धरती का दिल धड़क रहा है सुना है आज टहनियों के घर फूल मेहमान हुए हैं
Transliteration: Dharti ka dil dhadak raha hai, suna hai aaj tehniyon ke ghar phool mehmaan hue hain
5.उम्र की कागज़ पे तेरे इश्क़ ने अंगूठा लगा दिया
Transliteration: Umr ki kagaz pe tere ishq ne angutha laga diya
Here’s wishing that Amrita Pritam’s path-breaking works live on forever and may the torchbearers of literature look up to the maverick novelist as their guiding light so as to be similarly ahead of their times.