She was born Amrita Kaur (1919) in Gujranwala, which is now in Pakistan, as a daughter of a school teacher and poet. Her mother died when she was quite young and she grew up with adult responsibilities. Amrita began to write at an early age, and her first collection of poetry (Amrit Lehran) was published at the age of 16. She got married at an early age of sixteen to Pritam Singh, son of a leading hosiery merchant of Lahore. And Amrita Kaur became Amrita Pritam. Amrita Pritam is now a household name with no need of such introduction.
After divorce she fall in love with Sahir Ludhianvi. The story of this love is depicted in her autobiography, Rasidi Ticket. When another woman intruded into the love life of Sahir, Amrita found solace in the companionship of the renowned artist and writer Imroz. She spent the last forty years of her life with Imroz, who also designed most of her book covers. Their life together is also the subject of a book, Amrita Imroz: A Love Story.
Amrita Pritam died in her sleep at the age of 86 in New Delhi, after a long illness. She was survived by her partner Imroz, daughter Kandlla, son Navraj, daughter-in-law Alka, and her grandchildren, Taurus, Noor, Aman and Shilpi. Amrita Pritam had willed that her house in the New Delhi should be preserved as a memorial to her and that her partner Imroz should live there. However, just five years after her death, it was sold by her son to some builders, who did not waste any time to bulldoze it to the ground.
Until some day ago, when I came across this article, I had no idea what tribute do we, as a nation pay to our heritage. K-25 in Hauz Khas Enclave was a heaven to punjabi writers. It is where refugee poets, painters and publishers were allotted plots after the Partition—was well-known. She nurtured two generations of writers in her magazine. The doors of K-25 were always open to Punjabi writers. Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Sahir Ludhianvi, Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Gurdial Singh as well as a host of Pakistani writers are frequent visitor to K-25. K-25 was different. It was also the love nest of Amrita and Imroz with her two children, Kandla and Navraj, growing up in it and living there for many years. It was willed to Navraj, on whom the mother doted and she felt he would honour her wish and will of retaining the first floor, where she and Imroz lived, as it was. The house was full of art, poetry and memories. There was the Harshingar tree that the two had planted together, the bougainvilleas that trailed into windows, the painted dining table, portrait after portrait of Amrita by Imroz, her poems written out by him on lampshades, pen stands, clocks and what not. He had made it a memorial to her well within her life.
After legendary Hindi writer, Munshi PremChand, whose house was allowed to go to pieces. The great poet of Urdu, Mirza Ghalib, whose house until some years ago, was used as coal depo. This shows our regard, our attitude the rude one..the ignorant one towards our cultural heritage. That’s the sad fate of our grand values.
Source: The Tribune. Sunday, July 10, 2011