Amrita Pritam is a towering name in Hindi and Punjabi literature! Hats off to the women that she portrays in her stories! In her opening lines she writes, every story has a protagonist and the second character is either the circumstances or the lover. The peripherals could be the other supporting characters, doors, windows, house or even the stairs. However there is a third character also, the one who writes the story. But Amrita Pritam refuses to become the third character because she says that a writer lives the protagonist’s life. She takes the burns and brunt on her chest and she even cries along with the main character.
How true it is! A writer is the shadow of the protagonist and with every calamity that the protagonist faces, she herself undergoes the trauma, calm or joy. There is one more angle to a story, and that is the reader. A reader is the sound board and a mirror. It is for the readers that a writer writes and takes her inspiration from.
Pritam’s protagonists are women of grit and valour. They have chosen to be independent and resilient and reject those who try to bully them. In the days of partition when women had no voice, Pritam portrayed gritty women who never compromised on self esteem.
They all had beautiful dreams in their hearts. They came from various strata of society but they were all the same in their mind, never compromising on their goals and beliefs. They were intense and never let their demure down. They were all lovable.
They would believe in a person very easily and hence were an easy prey. When they realized their mistakes they never took any revenge but chose to live their life on their own terms. Whether it’s Angoori or Lachcho or Amkadi all of them are equally lovable. You cannot choose Pritam’s one protagonist over another. It’s a proof enough how deeply Pritam must have felt about all of them and how much care she must have taken to pen them one by one. Each one with equal zest and depth!
When today we talk about feminism and fight over more powers for women, Pritam’s protagonists come to my mind as the most forward thinking women. There was nothing going right for them. They worked hard in most difficult conditions, they were overpowered by men, they had no say in any matter but they still kept up their individuality. They did not fight for their rights, they fought their own emotions. They never made any attempt to change the society but they never let their hearts change even in the adverse conditions.
Amrita Pritam has given us a treasure that is very precious. Her writings are fresh even in the days of Facebook and Google. I salute to her and her pen which is immortal!!!
Let us all make an attempt to glance through the minds of these women, at least once!