Amrita Pritam: The Feminist Chronicler of the Horrors of Partition

Amrita Pritam was born on this day in a village in present-day Pakistan in 1919. Her mother’s death left a void in her life that writing was a balm for. She wrote her first anthology when she was just sixteen.

Although she started writing sweet love dirges, Pritam’s heart was with the people. The partition wrenched at her heart and shaped her art. In anguish, she wrote the famous poem Ajj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu addressed to the Sufi poet Waris Shah. Amrita Pritam was one of the first writers who addressed the horrors of partition through a feminist lens.

Her work has been translated widely and adapted as screenplays, Pinjar being one of her most famous stories. She was the recipient of various awards and was the first woman to win the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Padma Shri. She also received the Jnanpith Award for her lifetime contribution to Punjabi literature.

Find her books here.