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19 Feb 17

Amrita Pritam was a popular Indian poet and writer, who wrote in Hindi and Punjabi. She is acknowledged as the first eminent Punjabi woman essayist, novelist and poet. She is also considered the leading Punjabi poet of the 20th century who is adored equally in India and Pakistan.

She created more than 100 books of essays, biographies, fiction, and poetry; an autobiography; and a collection of Punjabi folk songs over a period of six decades.

Ajj aakhaan Waris Shah (“Today I invoke Waris Shah”) is one of her poems for which she is most remembered. It expresses her agony over the mass slaughters during the partition of India.

Another notable work of hers is the novel Pinjar (the Cage). Puro, a memorable character in it is a personification of loss of humanity, violence against women, and eventual surrender to fate. This evergreen novel was transformed into the awar-winning film, Pinjar.

She was the first woman to be given the Sahitya Akademi Award for her poem, Sunehade (Messages). She also received the Bharatiya Jnanpith, one of India’s highest literacy awards; and the Padma Shri award, the Padma Vibhusan award, and the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship. 

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