Amrita Pritam was considered the first prominent woman Punjabi poet, novelist, and essayist. She was the leading 20th-century poet of the Punjabi language, who is equally loved on both the sides of the India-Pakistan border. With a career spanning over six decades, 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.
She is most remembered for her poignant poem, Aj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu (Today I invoke Waris Shah - "Ode to Waris Shah"), an elegy to the 18th-century Punjabi poet in which she expressed her anguish over massacres during the partition of India in 1947. As a novelist, her most noted work was Pinjar (The Skeleton) (1950), in which she created her memorable character, Puro and depicted loss of humanity and ultimate surrender to existential fate. The novel was made into an award-winning eponymous film in 2003.
When British India was partitioned into the independent states of India and Pakistan in 1947, she migrated from Lahore to India, though she remained equally popular in Pakistan throughout her life, as compared to her contemporaries like Mohan Singh and Shiv Kumar Batalvi.
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