(Translation by Darshan Singh Maini)
Amrita’s childhood was marked by her mother’s death and later, during her adolescence, she faced stiff resistance from her father about composing poetry since he disapproved of her unconventional pursuits. Nevertheless, her rebellious nature resisted this pressure and continued to blossom, finding new meanings within her self. Amrita’s poetry represents a woman completely in love with the pleasure and suffering that follow in wake of the total surrender of the self.
It is in this context that her most well known passion – for the famous Urdu poet Sahir Ludhianvi – typifies her ability to ‘feel’ with abandon and not be ashamed about it. Her obsession for Sahir intensified while she was living with Imroze, the eminent Indian artist who was Amrita’s partner until her death. By the early 1960s, Amrita had liberated herself from an unhappy marriage and found a complete companion in Imroze. Her post-modern autobiography, Raseedi Ticket (Revenue Stamp) details her love for Sahir and inspires any ordinary mortal to rise above his/herself. In fact, in her books, her son questions whether he was Sahir’s son. While Amrita tells him that his father was Pritam Singh, she also narrates how she used to look at the flower pots in her house and see Sahir’s countenance each time the plants moved. This honest expression of her desire for Sahir was a rare female voice.