Amrita Pritam: A path-breaking woman, who paved way to modern day feminism
New Delhi, Aug 31: Google today celebrates the 100th birthday of Amrita Pritam, considered a path-breaking woman, who rose to fame with her literary works like Pinjar, Sunehray and Nagmani.
In her entire career of 60 years, she produced over 100 books of essays, poetry, fiction, biographies including a collection of Punjabi folk songs which were later translated in many Indian and foreign languages.
The first woman recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award, she was also the first woman to be awarded the Padma Shri.
Born to a Sikh family in Gujranwala, Pakistan, on August 31, 1919, Pritam crossed over to India after the Partition and several of her writings dealt with the pain she felt at the division of the sub-continent.
The violence she witnessed at the time of Partition, in which innumerable people were killed in communal riots, was etched in her mind all through her life and formed the substance of a large part of her work.
The only child of a school teacher-poet father, Pritam lost her mother when she was only 11. She was only 16 when she got married to an editor.
Moving to Delhi after Partition, she began writing in Hindi too and worked for the All India Radio till 1961.
Pritam got divorced in 1960, roughly the time when her writings started becoming more and more feminist, a reflection of her unhappy marriage.
A winner of numerous literary awards, Pritam was given the Jnanpith Award for lifetime contribution to Punjabi literature in 1982.
Among her famous books are the novels 'Pinjar', which was recreated on celluloid recently by director Chandra Prakash Diwedi, "Ek Thi Saara', Kachchi Sarak', Unchaas Din' and Adalat' and a collection of 29 stories of love and romance Alif Laila -- Hazaar Dastan'.