Google celebrates 100th birthday of one of history’s foremost female Punjabi writers Amrita Pritam with a doodle. The art is beautifully designed and is a reference to her autobiography Kala Gulab. She is considered the first prominent woman Punjabi poet, novelist, essayist and the leading 20th-century poet of the Punjabi language, who is equally loved on both sides of the India-Pakistan border.
With a career spanning over 60 years, she produced over 100 books of poetry, fiction, biographies, essays, a collection of Punjabi folk songs and an autobiography that were translated into several Indian and foreign languages.
Amrita Pritam published her first collection of verse at age 16. She is most remembered for “Ajj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu,” her poem lamenting the traumatic 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. The work’s title translates as “I Call upon Varis Shah Today,” referring to the 18th-century Sufi poet Waris Shah.
Her autobiography Kala Gulab (Black Rose), revealed many details of her personal life, allowing other women to speak more openly about their experiences with love and marriage. It was written in 1968.
Amrita married Pritam Singh, son of a leading hosiery merchant of Lahore’s Anarkali bazaar at the age of 16. After her divorce in 1960, her work became more clearly feminist. Many of her stories and poems drew on the unhappy experience of her marriage. A number of her works have been translated into English, French, Danish, Japanese, Mandarin and other languages from Punjabi and Urdu, including her autobiographical works Black Rose and Rasidi Ticket (Revenue Stamp).
According to Google, Pritam lived in Pakistan after the partition, but also wrote many works in Hindi and Urdu, as her work was admired on both sides of the border. She also worked in the Punjabi service of All India Radio, Delhi.
Pritam received many prestigious awards including the Sahitya Akademi Award(1956), Padma Shri (1969), Bharatiya Jnanpith (1982), Shatabdi Samman (2000) and Padma Vibhushan (2004).