Google Doodle on noted Punjabi writer Amrita Pritam (Screen grab)
Google has marked the 100th birth anniversary of noted Indian writer Amrita Pritam with a colourful picture doodle on Saturday, August 31, 2019. Being touted as one of the first prominent woman Punjabi writers, Pritam was born in 1919, same day, at Gujranwala in British India's Punjab. The doodle, depicting Pritam writing on her notebook and a bunch of roses placed at the front, is an apparent reference to her autobiography Kala Gulab.
Kala Gulab (Black Rose), one of her three autobiographies, shed lights on her personal life and encouraged millions of women to be straightforward about their experiences with love relationships and marriage. Other two autobiographies include Rasidi Ticket (The Revenue Stamp) and Aksharon kay Saayee (Shadows of Words).
Besieged by loneliness following her mother's death, Amrita Pritam began writing at a very early age and published her first anthology of poems, Amrit Lehran, in 1936, when 16 only. Pritam, who had a tremendous career spanning over six decades, she started her journey as romantic poet, but soon shifted genres to become a part of the Progressive Writers' Movement.
Known for her voice against odds, she is widely remembered for her poignant poem - Ajj aakhaan Waris Shah nu (Today I invoke Waris Shah – "Ode to Waris Shah"), which expresses her anguish over massacres during the partition of India in 1947.
Pritam, the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan awardee, produced over 100 books of poetry, fiction, biographies, essays, a collection of Punjabi folk songs that were hailed globally and translated into several Indian and foreign languages. Though Pritam is known for her grip in Punjabi language, she also tried hands in Hindi and Urdu.
Originally born as Amrit Kaur, she tied know to Pritam Singh, an editor to whom she was engaged in early childhood and changed her name to Amrita Pritam. However, she left her husband in 1960 and found solace in the companionship of renowned artist and writer Imroz. The book on their love story is titled - Amrita Imroz: A Love Story. Many also say that she had an unrequited affection for poet Sahir Ludhianvi.
In October 2005, Amrita died in her sleep after a prolonged period of illness. She was 86. In 2007, India honoured the gem with an audio album Amrita recited by Gulzar, where noted lyricist and director Gulzar recited some of Pritam's remarkable poems. A film on her life is also in pipelines.