An Indian Civilizational Perspective

More on Amrita Pritam

Dont know how I missed this one – Amrita Pritam died on October 31st 2005 in Delhi. This is what BBC said about it:

Renowned Indian writer Amrita Pritam has died at her home in the Indian capital Delhi after a long illness.

Known as the doyenne of Punjabi literature, 86-year-old Ms Pritam also wrote extensively in Hindi and Urdu.

Her first story collection, in the Punjabi language, was published when she was 16 years old.

She has received many awards, including India’s highest literary award, Jnanpith, in 1981.

read more

Came across more details on Amrita Pritam on Amardeep’s blog… who in turn quotes Uma’s blog!

Here is Amrita Pritam’s poem that I have always really liked!:

aj aakhan waaris shah nooN kito.n qabra.n vicho.n bol!
te aj kitab-e-ishq da koi agla varka phol!

ik roi si dhii punjab dii tuu likh-likh mare vaiN
aj lakkha.n dheeyan rondian tainuu.n waaris shah nooN kahaN!

uTh darmandaN diaa dardiiaa uTh tak apNa punjaab!
aj bele laashaa.n vichiiaa.n te lahu dii bharii chenaab!

kise ne panja paaNia.n vich dittii zahir rala!
te unhaa.n paaNiaa.n dharat nuu.n dittaa paaNii laa!

jitthe vajdii phuuk pyaar di ve oh vanjhli gayi guaach
ranjhe de sab veer aj bhul gaye usdi jaach

dharti te lahu vasiya, qabran payiyan choN
preet diyan shaahazaadiiaa.n aj vich mazaaraa.n roN

aj sab ‘qaido’ baN gaye, husn ishq de chor
aj kitho.n liaaiie labbh ke waaris shah ik hor

aj aakhan waaris shah nooN kito.n qabra.n vicho.n bol!
te aj kitab-e-ishq da koi agla varka phol!

English Translation

(This translation is taken from book in English by Darshan Singh Maini called STUDIES IN PUNJABI POETRY)

I say to Waris Shah today, speak from your grave
And add a new page to your book of love

Once one daughter of Punjab wept, and you wrote your long saga;
Today thousands weep, calling to you Waris Shah:

Arise, o friend of the afflicted; arise and see the state of Punjab,
Corpses strewn on fields, and the Chenaab flowing with much blood.

Someone filled the five rivers with poison,
And this same water now irrigates our soil.

Where was lost the flute, where the songs of love sounded?
And all Ranjha’s brothers forgotten to play the flute.

Blood has rained on the soil, graves are oozing with blood,
The princesses of love cry their hearts out in the graveyards.

Today all the Quaido’ns have become the thieves of love and beauty,
Where can we find another one like Waris Shah?

Waris Shah! I say to you, speak from your grave
And add a new page to your book of love.

[Quaido’n, a maternal uncle of Heer in “Heer Ranjha” is the villain who betrays the lovers]
=============

Here is a little thing about Amrita Pritam – her love affair .. platonic albeit .. .with another of those great Indian poet – Sahir Ludhianvi!

A bachelor to the end, Sahir fell in love with writer Amrita Pritam and singer Sudha Malhotra, relationships that never fructified in the conventional sense and left him sad. Ironically, the two ladies’ fathers wouldn’t accept Sahir, an atheist, because of his perceived religion. Had they seen the iconoclast in him, that would have been worse; being an atheist was worse than belonging to the ‘other’ religion. Sahir, perhaps, had an answer to such artificial barriers in these lines written for Naya Raasta (1970):

Nafraton ke jahan mein humko pyaar ki bastiyaan basaani hain
Door rehna koi kamaal nahin, paas aao to koi baat bane

A young Amrita Pritam, madly in love with Sahir, wrote his name hundreds of times on a sheet of paper while addressing a press conference. They would meet without exchanging a word, Sahir would puff away; after Sahir’s departure, Amrita would smoke the cigarette butts left behind by him. After his death, Amrita said she hoped the air mixed with the smoke of the butts would travel to the other world and meet Sahir! Such was their obsession and intensity.

Here are the lyrics of one of his songs – that is my all-time favorite!

Maine shaayad tumhe pahale kahee dekhaa hai

ajanabee see ho, magar gair naheen lagatee ho
wahum se bhee jo ho naajook wo yakeen lagatee ho
haay ye fool saa cheharaa, ye ghaneree julfen
mere sheron se bhee tum muz ko haseen lagatee ho

dekhakar tum ko kisee raat kee yaad aatee hai
yek khaamosh mulaakaat kee yaad aatee hai
jahan mein husn kee thhandak kaa asar jaagataa hai
aanch detee huyee barasaat kee yaad aatee hai

Get Drishtikone Updates
in your inbox

Subscribe to Drishtikone updates and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Get Drishtikone Updates
in your inbox

Subscribe to Drishtikone updates and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.