Amrita Pritam

I wasn’t a fan; her poetry left me unmoved. But I felt she deserved better than Khushwant Singh’s “tribute”, with its gratuitous emphasis on her beauty and her good looks, and the assumption that this is what earned Amrita Pritam her fame.

Anees Jung is far less condescending:
“I had first met her in the late eighties. She had sought me out for an interview. Why me, I asked her. “Because you matter to me,” she had said. The next day I was in her home, having a vegetarian lunch she had cooked herself, served by her silent friend, Imroz. I felt she was a friend I had lost and regained.
When the interview started I was ready for it. “Kalidas’ Meghdoot has three characters,” she started. “The megh or the cloud, a miracle of nature, second the virahini, and the third, Kalidas himself, the emperor of words. When you write about the congested lanes of Mathura or the spacious streets of Hyderabad, the colour and exuberance of Krishna-Leela or the refinement of the Nawabs you evoke the same poetry, your pen becomes the dooth and I see the two faces of yours — one the virahini and the other, Kalidas. How do you manage it?”
I was deeply moved by her question, more a statement of her own poetry, the way she lived, perceived and felt the world around her. I never answered her question but it has stayed with me. Every time we met, Amrita gave me a new sense of who I am. I found her open, so full of knowing, so ready to share. But she never discussed Imroz [her companion and partner of many decades].”

Amardeep and Uma have comprehensive, link-rich posts on Amrita. Go read them.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s